The Children's Alliance

Raise The Age Factsheet PDF Print Email

Raising the Juvenile Jurisdiction Age in NC to 18:

The State of North Carolina is one of only 2 states (the other NY) that automatically treats all 16 and 17 year olds as adults.

Current System for Treating Youth Under Age 18

  • 13-17 year olds who commit A felony – mandatory adult system
  • 13-15 year olds who commit B-E felony – juvenile system with option for transfer hearing to adult court
  • 6-12 year olds who commit any offense – juvenile court, no transfer hearing option

Proposed System for Treating Youth Under Age 18[1]

  • 16-17 year olds that commits an A-E felony will be transferred to the adult system (will remain in the adult system).
  • 16-17 year olds who commit B-E felony – mandatory adult system unless prosecutor finds extraordinary circumstances for juvenile system.
  • 13-17 year olds who commit F-I felony – juvenile system with option for transfer hearing to adult court.
  • 13-17 year olds who commit misdemeanor – juvenile court, but can transfer with hearing if also charged with a felony.
  • 16-17 year olds charged with motor vehicle violations remain in adult court.
  • Once juvenile is transferred to adult system, always remain in adult system for any subsequent charges (applies to any 16-17 year old that has already been charged in adult system when law takes effect).
  • DJJDP will be responsible for transporting juveniles under their jurisdiction to and from any state or local juvenile facility.
  • Where detention is necessary, places 16- and 17-year-olds in juvenile detention if they are under the jurisdiction of juvenile court and in county jail if they are under the jurisdiction of adult court.
  • Anticipate taking 4 years to move all 16-17 year olds to the juvenile system:
    • 2015 – less than 16 ½ year olds move to juvenile system
    • 2016 – less than 17 year olds move to juvenile system
    • 2017 – less than 17 ½ year olds move to juvenile system
    • 2018 – less than 18 year olds move to juvenile system

Costs and Benefits

  • Cost to move 16-17 year olds to adult system estimated at $49 million annually.
  • Long term cost benefits of moving 16-17 year olds to adult system estimated at $123 million. [2]

Stakeholder Opposition and Support

  • The NC Sheriff’s Association opposes the legislation. Chief law enforcement and legislative concern revolves around public safety and NC having the funds available to implement correctly. [3]
  • Raise the Age has the support of a bipartisan team of legislators, noteworthy judges and law enforcement officials, children’s advocates, church leaders, business leaders, medical providers, educators and concerned North Carolinians across the state.

Mecklenburg County Needs

  • More detention facilities (Mecklenburg’s closed in 2008, only one now in Gaston County)
  • More DJJDP Juvenile Court Counselors (Mecklenburg County lost 6 positions just this year)
  • More juvenile judges (currently have 4 in Mecklenburg County)
  • Significantly more services for juveniles (psychological evaluations, restitution, after-school programming, mentors, drug treatment, etc.)



More information is available at the following websites:

visit and

Advocacy Guide




[1] Per recommendation from the Youth Accountability Planning Task Force HB 632 and SB 506 will raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18 for youth who commit low-level felonies (F-I) and misdemeanors. HB 632 currently in House Judiciary A Committee.

[2] Youth Accountability Planning Task Force Final Report. January 2011.

[3] Main concern: adequate resources for the juvenile system (e.g. funding for prevention and intervention services, staff, bed space).


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