Wilmington Juvenile Defense Lawyers

Aggressive Defense Against Juvenile Crimes in North Carolina

If you or your child are facing criminal charges as a juvenile, do not hesitate to get started on your defense. A criminal conviction can be significantly detrimental to minors, as it could have an effect on your future ability to find employment, a place to live, and retain good academic standing.  

Our Wilmington juvenile defense lawyers at Whitley Coleman understand the importance and necessity of getting you out of your legal mess. With former prosecution experience and years of practicing law, we will help you strategize an effective defense against your accusations. We will gather the appropriate evidence in your favor and anticipate what the prosecution might claim against you. Whether you are facing underage DUI charges or drug possession charges as a minor, we can help you. 

Call Whitley Coleman today at (910) 218-9973 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our juvenile defense attorney in Wilmington!

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Schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options with Jessica and John today. Give us a call at (910) 218-9973 or contact us online.

Underage DUIs

One common juvenile offense is underage DUI. North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drivers under the influence; the state prohibits those under 21 years old from driving a vehicle while consuming any alcohol or while having any amount of alcohol or controlled substances in the body (unless the substance was lawfully obtained and taken as medically prescribed).

Underage DUI is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and $1,000 in fines, as well as possible license revocation. The judge may decide alternatively to place the offender on probation with terms like mandatory drug and alcohol assessments, recommended treatment, and community service, though the possibility of this alternative sentence depends on whether the defendant has no prior convictions.

In addition to criminal penalties, an underage defendant will face administrative penalties through license revocation. Underage driver charged with DUI will have their license immediately revoked for 30 days. If they refuse to abide by the state's implied consent laws (refuse to submit to a blood and breath test), they could face up to 1 year of license revocation. Limited driving privileges may be granted after a mandatory 6-month revocation period.

Keep in mind that even if the defendant refuses a test, the mere smell of alcohol on an underage driver's breath is enough to convict them. After conviction, their license will be revoked for at least one year. Drivers who are at least 18 years old at the time and have no prior convictions may request limited driving privileges.

Note that underage DUI and the standard DUI are considered separate criminal charges in North Carolina, so it is possible in more severe situations for a person under the age of 21 to be charged with both underage DUI and DUI. However, in such a case, the defendant will not face both sentences but the harsher of the two. 

Drug Possession by Minors

Another criminal charge that might involve minors is drug possession. Recall that North Carolina prohibits the personal use, possession, or distribution of Schedule I-VI controlled substances, including marijuana. Minors are no exception to the law, and they may have to go through the Juvenile Court System and even adult court, depending on their age and the severity of the offense. North Carolina law loosely defines a "juvenile" as someone under 16 years old, though even those aged 17 or 18 may come under the jurisdiction of some juvenile laws. 

In particular, underage individuals 16 years or older could face serious charges with consequences as serious as those for adults. It is possible for minors to participate in the First Offender Program if they have no prior convictions, which may allow them to remove the charges from their record by completing a 15-hour drug education program. Further, N.C.G.S § 5-90-96.1 grants immunity to minors with no prior drug convictions if they reveal the identity of the person who provided them the illegal substance.

What are the Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in North Carolina?

A minor's involvement in criminal activities can severely affect their future. Understanding the potential consequences of juvenile crimes is crucial to making informed decisions and taking appropriate actions. At Whitley Coleman, our experienced Wilmington juvenile defense lawyers are well-versed in North Carolina's laws regarding juvenile offenses and can provide you with the legal support you need.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Long-term impact: Juvenile crimes can have lasting effects on a young person's life, including limited educational and employment opportunities.
  • Legal process: The legal process for juvenile crimes differs from adult offenses. It is important to have a knowledgeable attorney who can navigate the juvenile justice system.
  • Defense strategies: Our team of skilled attorneys has successfully defended numerous underage DUIs and drug possession cases by minors. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and build a strong defense.
  • Protecting their future: Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for your child's current situation and ensure past mistakes do not overshadow their future. We will explore options for rehabilitation and support to help them move forward.

Don't let a juvenile crime define your child's future. Contact Whitley Coleman today for experienced legal representation and guidance tailored to your case.

What are the Benefits of Hiring a Juvenile Defense Attorney?

Hiring an experienced juvenile defense lawyer gives your child the best chance at a positive outcome. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the juvenile justice system and can navigate the complexities of these cases with skill and expertise.

Some of the benefits of hiring an experienced juvenile defense lawyer include:

  • Knowledge of the juvenile justice system and its unique procedures
  • Experience working with prosecutors and judges in juvenile court
  • Ability to negotiate for reduced charges or alternative sentencing options
  • Access to resources and experts that can support your child's defense
  • Guidance and support for your child and your family throughout the legal process

Contact Whitley Coleman today to meet with our juvenile defense lawyer in Wilmington!

Helpful Resources

Contact Our Wilmington Juvenile Defense Attorney Today

Juvenile charges are serious and must be handled by an experienced Wilmington juvenile defense lawyer. The consequences could significantly impact your adult life as you look ahead at your future, and it is not worth letting a mistake in your youth define your ability to grow in the future. At Whitley Coleman, we frequently work with underage individuals in the local college and school communities to navigate their criminal charges, from underage DUI to drug possession. We will help you get back on your feet.

Schedule a free consultation online or at (910) 218-9973 to learn more about how we can help!


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