Under current North Carolina law, if a 16- or 17-year-old enters a store, puts a candy bar in his/her pocket and leaves, then that individual, if caught, will automatically be prosecuted as an adult. North Carolina is one of two states in the country that allows a child to be tried as an adult after committing a misdemeanor.
For years, advocates of changing the law have pushed for new legislation and on May 21, the N.C. House of Representatives agreed when a bi-partisan majority voted in support of House Bill 725 "Raise the Age" of juvenile jurisdiction.
“This is some great news,” said Deby Dihoff, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) N.C. after the news came in. “Please send thank yous to Marilyn Avila, the representative from Raleigh who championed this bill. This took years, but it got done.”