Raise the Age in North Carolina


In 2017, North Carolina relinquished its title as the only state in the U.S. that automatically prosecuted juveniles 16 and older as adults. As a result of the North Carolina General Assembly’s Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, most 16 and 17 year olds will now be prosecuted in juvenile court instead of the adult court system.


Beginning December 1, 2019, a “delinquent juvenile,” as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1501(7), will include 16 and 17 year olds who commit crimes or infractions, except for motor vehicle laws, or indirect contempt by a juvenile. However, under the new law, once a juvenile has been convicted of any offense in either district or superior court, including violations of motor vehicle laws, the juvenile must be prosecuted as an adult for all subsequent offenses. This means that if a teenager already has an adult conviction when the new law becomes effective, the law will not benefit them.


The new law provides that all offenses committed by 16 and 17 year olds will originate in juvenile court. This means that 16 and 17 year olds accused of misdemeanors and low-level felonies such as larcenies, break-ins and other non-violent crimes, will now have a chance to for their cases to be handled in juvenile court. Since studies have shown that children in the juvenile system are less likely to return to jail, North Carolina is finally taking a step towards reducing its growing prison populations.


What has not changed is that violent teenagers can still be moved into the adult system. Class A-G felonies that are committed by 16 and 17 year olds require mandatory transfers to superior court by a notice of an indictment or a finding of probable cause by the court. However, this new provision will provide prosecutors with the ability to maintain some discretion by reducing charges before the time for filing or a probable cause hearing.


If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense and are 16 or 17 years old contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a free consultation.  Until the “Raise the Age” Bill becomes effective we can handle cases for 16 and 17 years olds in adult criminal court. 


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.