Should 16- and 17-year-olds be prosecuted as adults?

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina will soon become one of the last remaining states that automatically prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for crimes.

But legislators are considering a proposal to allow those teens to be tried in juvenile court, like much of the rest of the country.

Supporters say teens at that age shouldn’t have a criminal record follow them around for the rest of their lives. Having a record can hurt them when they apply for jobs, try to secure loans or get professional licenses.

The House has already approved a measure to raise the age of juvenile court to include 16- and 17-year-olds. It would take effect in 2019 and apply to teens accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.

The bill is in the Senate, where a competing proposal exists.