Thousands of youth encounter North Carolina's juvenile justice system through interaction with the Juvenile Justice Section's Juvenile Crime Prevention Council services, community programs, juvenile court services and juvenile commitment facilities.
Juvenile Justice Process
When a youth is suspected of committing a crime, a citizen or member of law enforcement can file a complaint against them. At this time, a youth goes through an intake process with a juvenile court counselor, where complaints and evidence are evaluated. Court counselors then determine whether the complaint is serious enough to warrant court action, or obtain assistance from community resources when court referral is not necessary.
Within 2-4 weeks, the court counselor must decide whether or not to approve the complaint for court action. Serious felonies such as murder, rape and burglary must be approved for court. If it is found that there is no need for court action or referral to a community resource, the juvenile's case may be closed. If the court counselor believes the youth may benefit from a community resource, a diversion plan or contract may be created with the youth and his or her parents.
Court counselors also work with undisciplined juveniles who are placed under protective supervision and with delinquent juveniles who are placed under court supervision. In each case, a juvenile's need for treatment and service is identified and local resources are mobilized.