CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A woman said a 12-year-old and 6-year-old robbed her last week when they pointed a BB gun at her after stealing her phone on Diamond Creek Circle in southwest Charlotte.
While the 12-year-old is facing charges, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said it can't pursue criminal charges against the 6-year-old.
"I think we need to look at that 6-year-old as a victim of the circumstances of his environment," Capt. Jason Helton with CMPD said. "We can't charge a 6-year-old in the state of North Carolina."
So is that true?
- North Carolina law
- The National Juvenile Justice Network
- Criminal Law Attorney Aaron Lee
"Under the current law, a person needs to be 8 years old or older to have a proceeding brought against them if that's a juvenile complaint or criminal charges," Lee told WCNC Charlotte.
WHAT WE FOUND
North Carolina was allowing prosecution against 6-year-olds until 2021 when lawmakers bumped up the age to 8 years old.
"Under the current law, 8 years old is the cut-off for anything and if you are 6, you cannot be charged. Whether it was a murder, it would not matter," Lee said. "Now [at] 8 and 9 years old, there are some caveats for serious felonies or repeat offenders. They can bring them into court, but they are trying to keep them in counseling to help assist them."
Lee said it's because children don't have the mental capacity to form criminal intent.
"They don't know right from wrong and from an attorney standpoint, they can't help assist their case because they don't appreciate the consequences," Lee said
According to the National Juvenile Justice Network, 24 states have no minimum age for prosecuting children.
Here in North Carolina, WCNC Charlotte can verify that, yes it's true, police can not charge a 6-year-old with a crime.
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