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From A Lawyer's View: Juvenile Collateral Consequences and DMV

There are a host of criminal offenses that result in license revocation upon conviction. When a person is convicted of such a triggering offense, the clerk notifies DMV of the conviction. A juvenile adjudication is not, however, defined as a conviction in G.S. 20-4.01. Juvenile adjudications have many collateral consequences which have been discussed in prior blog posts. Consequences to a youth’s privilege to drive have received less attention. Perhaps because 16- and 17-year-old youths charged with chapter 20 offenses are specifically excluded from juvenile jurisdiction, the issue does not often present itself (see N.C.G.S. 7B-1501(7)). However, there can be long-term consequences relating to driving privileges for youth involved in the delinquency system. As with a number of legal issues, the answer to the question “what are the possible DMV related collateral consequences for juvenile delinquency adjudications?” is “It depends…”

For any youth under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, including those who are 16- or 17-years of age and charged with an offense other than one included in Chapter 20, revocation of the youth’s privilege to drive is a dispositional alternative available to the court. N.C.G.S. 7B-2506 sets out the dispositional alternatives available following an adjudication of delinquency. G.S. 7B-2506(9) specifically states that a court may “order that the juvenile shall not be licensed to operate a motor vehicle in the State of North Carolina for as long as the court retains jurisdiction over the juvenile or for any shorter period of time. The clerk of court shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of that order.” Revocation under these circumstances may depend on the local jurisdiction, the presiding judge, and other stakeholders. Counsel should continue to argue that dispositional alternatives must be connected to a specific need of the youth and that the purpose of juvenile court does not include punishment. Under G.S. 7B-2412, an adjudication is not a conviction however, it is unclear whether a suspension of the privilege to drive ordered pursuant to disposition is recorded on the youth’s public driving record.

For youth under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for offenses including Chapter 20 offenses, the same dispositional alternative applies. Chapter 20 offenses for youth under 16 are charged through petitions and proceed to adjudication in juvenile court. In addition to G.S. 7B-2412, G.S. 20-4.01 does not define an adjudication as a conviction. However, the court may still revoke a privilege to drive as part of the disposition. Additionally, G.S. 20-11 sets out the criteria for learner’s permits and provisional licenses. Counsel should review this statute closely as it sets out punishments for noncompliance with a permit or provisional license and those punishments specify fines or charges of driving with no operator’s license. In addition, G.S. 20-11(n1) sets out certain conditions for denial of a certificate of eligibility for a permit/license if:

· a student is subject to disciplinary action (defined as expulsion, suspension for more than 10 consecutive days, or assignment to an alternative school for more than 10 consecutive days)

· for possession or sale of alcohol or any illegal controlled substance on school property

· bringing, possession, or use of a weapon or firearm on school property; or

· physical assault on a teacher or other school personnel on school property.

Counsel should review these possible consequences with youth charged with Chapter 20 offenses or certain school-based offenses.

For any youth charged with a DWI or other revocable offense in juvenile court, pretrial civil revocation may depend on whether the charging officer submits a revocation report. For information regarding the process for civil revocation for certain felony and misdemeanor offenses see G.S. 20-13.3. For information regarding the process for civil revocation for implied consent offenses see G.S. 20-16.5. Note these provisions are pretrial. As stated above, adjudications are not convictions so reporting of an adjudication in juvenile court depends on the location and stakeholders involved in the proceeding.

As always, remember your role as expressed interests advocates and contact OJD with any questions.

Black History Month Spotlight: Joretta Durant

“Black youth experience the highest rate of racial disparity in juvenile court. Why is it important to you, as a Black attorney, to represent youth in juvenile delinquency court and why is it important to you/what does it mean to you?”

It is important to me to represent black youth in juvenile delinquency court because I have a connection to them. I grew up in Carver Court (public housing) in Kinston. Whenever I tell my juvenile clients that, I can see sparks in their eyes that let me know I have hit a note that they can relate to. Many of my clients live in or near public housing in Kinston. I then go on to tell them that I went to two of the best schools in the country (UNC-Chapel Hill and Emory University School of Law) on Affirmative Action and financial aid. If I did it, so can they. I want to be of influence to all young people in juvenile court. When they see me, I want them to see an image of themselves. If I can influence at least one young person, then mission accompli!

OJD Black History Month Spotlight: Yolanda Fair & LaTobia Avent

Here at OJD, we are so lucky to have Yolanda Fair and LaTobia Avent as part of our team. Both are simply incredible people and each has tremendous patience, compassion, and leadership, both within the office and outside in our communities. Yolanda is an active leader in the Buncombe County Safety and Justice Challenge Racial Equity Workgroup locally in Asheville, among other projects. LaTobia is our House Mother at the Raleigh office and gives so much of her time and energy to support, educate, and lead others. We asked each of them to share with us their perspective as part of this year's Black History Month Spotlights.

"Black youth experience the highest rate of racial disparity in juvenile court. Why is it important to you, as a Black attorney (or a Black youth advocate), to represent (or advocate for) youth in juvenile delinquency court and what does it mean to you?"

Yolanda Fair, Project Attorney, Office of the Juvenile Defender

Representing youth in juvenile court is a great honor. You have the opportunity to help a child through an experience that is often scary and life changing for them. As a Black youth coming into court and into the juvenile justice system, kids often do not see many system actors that look like them. Just being there as a Black attorney can add comfort to an already nerve-wracking situation. Additionally, shared culture and shared understanding often help build trust and relationships with our young clients. It's important for me to provide a space for youth to feel comfortable to talk about their cases, their life, their goals, and their aspirations. Representation matters in all areas and sectors of life, and it matters greatly for youth. Often youth do not believe that all career paths are attainable if they do not see themselves in those roles. I hope that by seeing me as an attorney in the courtroom, youth know that they can be a lawyer too one day.

LaTobia Avent, Communications Manager, Office of the Juvenile Defender

As the only non-attorney in the Office of the Juvenile Defender, but a strong advocate and vocal speaker on Black rights, Black presence in juvenile court is something that can have a life-changing experience for youth charged. Knowing that there are people that look like them, believe and were taught the same things as them, and understand their culture and life experiences, can bring forth such comfort in a time when everything can feel out of place. As a Black woman, I live by the edict to "take up space", which means that wherever I am, I belong there. Black attorneys should feel that way as well and show up in juvenile court to steer our youth away from the school-to-prision pipeline and insert themselves into the community to show that while a system may be built against us, it doesn't mean that we need to fall prey to it on purpose. Black attorneys are needed and I would dare say required if we are seeking to make the change our youth need to see. As everyone has said in one way or another, REPRESENTATION MATTERS. Happy Black History Month!


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