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Detroit Legal Blog

New Ideas to Help Young Offenders Avoid a Criminal Record

Jul 29, 2016, by Maurice Davis in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Student Crimes

In June, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill into law that tries to get more juvenile first-time offenders back on track and avoid a criminal record instead of putting them into a system that may not offer the help they need. Since the 1990s, Michigan has taken a tough stance on young offenders. Many 17-year-olds are automatically prosecuted as adults and the state is able to prosecute a juvenile of any age as an adult. According to the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, 58 percent of the 117-year-olds, who were prosecuted as adults between 2004 and 2014 had no prior record, and nearly 60 percent of them were charged with non-violent offenses. The newest legislation takes a step toward decreasing the number of young, first-time offenders receiving too harsh of punishments and being imprisoned in the state.

If you or a young loved one is facing their first criminal offense, contact the Michigan criminal defense lawyers of Davis Law Group at (313) 818-3238 for more information on avoiding a criminal record.

New Law Seeks to Help Young Offenders Avoid a Criminal Record

Sen. John Proos led the charge in getting a bill that softens how juvenile offenders are treated in Michigan made into law. The purpose of the bill was to ensure adolescents are given fair and “age-appropriate penalties” for their crimes. By going through this alternative system known as the consent calendar, juvenile offenders may be able to keep an offense off their record or avoid a permanent criminal record altogether. A juvenile record for adolescents can make it difficult for them to go to college or grad school, obtain technical training or professional licenses, be approved for affordable housing and much more. It can lead to discrimination in a number of ways, negatively affecting a young person’s life for years to come.

The consent calendar previously existed, but now it will be used consistently across Michigan counties and is open to all youth offenders, not those charged with certain offenses.

The Consent Calendar Instead of Court

When a juvenile is charged with an offense, they can be put on the consent calendar if the prosecutor, judge, and defendant’s attorney agree that it is in the best interest of both the defendant and the public. This is instead of the adolescent going through a formal court proceeding and being punished if they accept a plea bargain or are found guilty.

When the defendant is placed on this calendar, he or she doesn’t have to enter a formal plea. During this time, the defendant is placed on a probation of sorts. He or she needs to complete certain conditions like community service, drug and alcohol education or treatment, counseling, anger management, or compensating any victims of his or her crime. The defendant is monitored during this time.

The consent calendar isn’t public, which affords juveniles privacy while they complete their penalties. Plus, when the terms of the calendar are completed or when they turn 17, the consent calendar records are destroyed. This gives young offenders a clean record moving forward.

Setting Aside a Juvenile Record

If someone received a criminal record while they were under 17, they may be able to have that record expunged later in life. You must wait until you turn 18 or at least 1 year after you finished your sentence.
You may be eligible for expungement if:

  • You weren’t convicted of more than one offense that could have been a felony if committed as an adult, but the maximum punishment was less than life in prison.
  • You have fewer than 3 misdemeanors on your juvenile record.
  • Was a traffic offense that was not a felony or misdemeanor, and
  • Your case was not transferred to an adult court and had a conviction there.

For more information on potentially sealing your juvenile record, contact an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney.

Call the Davis Law Group Today

Teenagers make mistakes for a number of reasons. They may act out because of what’s going on at home or peer pressure. They may have simply made a mistake because they weren’t aware of the law or what to do in a certain situation. Young first-time offenders deserve to be treated fairly and in a way that helps them move forward with their life. A trial and a criminal record for initial non-violent offenses can be detrimental to their futures, when what they really need is support and treatment.

For more information on how to fight a criminal charge as an adolescent or Michigan’s new law, contact Davis Law Group at (313) 818-3238 or online.

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