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Detroit Legal Blog

When Might a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult in Michigan Courts?

Dec 24, 2018, by Maurice Davis in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog
juvenile defense lawyer

In Michigan, if you are 17 years of age or older and you get charged with an offense, you will be charged as an adult. If you are under the age of 17, you will be tried in juvenile court unless the offense is very serious, or other factors convince the court that you should be tried as an adult. Generally, only children over the age of 14 get charged as adults, but there have been Michigan cases involving children as young as 11 being tried in adult criminal court.

If your child is being charged with a serious crime, you need a juvenile defense attorney on your side. Contact Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 or use our online contact form.

For Some Serious Offenses, Minors May Automatically Be Charged as Adults

Michigan law holds that if you are at least 14 years old and are accused of an offense that qualifies as a felony, the juvenile court may give up jurisdiction over your case. The offenses that give the adult criminal justice system jurisdiction over your case include:

  • Arson
  • Assault with intent to murder
  • Assault with intent to maim
  • Assault with intent to rob
  • Attempted murder
  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder
  • Kidnapping
  • First degree criminal sexual conduct
  • Armed robbery
  • Carjacking
  • Bank robbery
  • Home invasion
  • Drug trafficking
  • Possession of large amounts of drugs

If you are under the age of 14, the prosecutor may request the juvenile court to waive jurisdiction if you have been accused of one of the crimes listed above. Similarly, a prosecutor may request that you be charged as an adult even if you did not commit one of these offenses.

Prosecutors Can Request that Minors Be Charged As Adults

Even if your case doesn’t meet the requirements for an automatic waiver of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction, you could still be tried as an adult. Prosecutors may request a hearing during which a judge must determine whether the best interests of the offender and public safety would be best served by having the offender tried as an adult. In making this determination, courts consider the following factors:

  • The seriousness of the alleged offense, including aggravating factors such as the use of a firearm or the impact on the victim.
  • The juvenile’s suspected criminal responsibility, such as the extent of participation in the planning and commission of the crime
  • The juvenile’s prior record of delinquency, including police and school records
  • The juvenile’s past willingness to participate in juvenile justice rehabilitative programs
  • The adequacy of the punishment or rehabilitative programming offered by the juvenile justice system.
  • The various case outcomes available to the juvenile

It’s up to your defense team to counter the prosecution’s arguments and to convince the court that your case should stay in the juvenile system. The waiver hearing is a crucial step in your case, where you can ensure that you avoid the devastating repercussions of a conviction in a criminal court. So if you a juvenile that has been charged with an offense, it is essential that you work with an experienced juvenile defense lawyer who can help keep your case in the juvenile system.

How a Detroit Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

If the judge decides to move your case into the adult criminal justice system, your case will not proceed directly to trial. Instead, you will have a preliminary hearing, which is also called a probable cause hearing. As the name suggests, the purpose of the hearing is for the court to determine whether the prosecutor’s evidence shows that there is probable cause to believe you committed the offense. This is another juncture at which the assistance of a Detroit criminal defense attorney can make a big difference.

Don’t wait to get legal help. The earlier that an experienced legal advocate begins working on your case, the better your chances of staying within the juvenile justice system. A conviction in criminal court entails a lifelong criminal record, heavy fines, and the possibility of prison time. To learn more about how you may be able to avoid these penalties, call Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation of your case.