Will My Child be Charged as an Adult?

Whether your child is charged with simple assault as a result of a school yard fight, property damage, possession of a drug or alcohol, larceny, or another charge, your actions to make the best of a bad situation are extremely important. These charges could have a substantial impact on jobs, college applications, and other areas for years to come.  North Carolina is a state that does treat 16 and 17 year olds as adults in criminal matters, although there is a new bill to raise the minimum age of criminal charges to 18 years old. Governor Cooper has already given support for the bill, and although there has been debate on the budget, the legislators have also stated that a veto is possible, making the bill likely to pass.  

Until this bill passes, 16 year old kids are treated as adults, but there are a number of diversion and deferral programs available. The charge may be dismissed as a result of successfully completing one of these programs. 

One of these programs offered by Wake County is the Teen Court Program, allowing kids and teens 9-17 years old to participate to earn a dismissal. The Teen Court program requires the defendant to stand before a jury of their peers and accept sanctions that they impose like community service, writing an apology letter, and paying restitution. Volunteer teens act as the attorneys, and the only adult involved in the hearing is the judge. Successfully participating and completing all of the sanctions imposed results in a dismissal of the charges, which is a less severe alternative than going to court. Teen Court, and the new proposed bill, represent a shift in North Carolina to change how juveniles are treated in criminal cases, and show an effort to give minors an alternative than criminal charges and jail time. 

Once your case is over, you should consider getting the charge expunged.  There are special rules for offenders who were under 21 years old at the time they were charged with a crime. So, regardless of the outcome of your case, contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC  to learn how we can help you restore your child's record by getting an expunction.


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.