Juveniles Charged as Adults in Michigan

Juveniles Charged as Adults in Michigan

Posted on:
June 14, 2016
Criminal Defense
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By standard definition, a juvenile is any person that is under the age of 18. However, when it comes to the law, sometimes minor individuals can still be charged as an adult in the state of Michigan. Juveniles charged as adults are subject to the same harsh sentences as adults who committed a similar crime. Because of the seriousness associated with charging children as adults, there are a number of factors that are considered. It is important to understand how the law views age in relation to crime. Sometimes, age really is just a number and actions go further in determining how your case will play out in court.

Factors that Influence Juvenile Cases

Michigan’s Juvenile Waiver Law of 1997 lowered the age that a child can be charged as an adult in cases where a violent crime was committed. Since it was accepted into law, children as young as 11 years old have been tried as adults in murder cases. However, the general approach to non-violent crimes is to determine if a juvenile over the age of 14 is accused of committing a crime that would be considered a felony if committed by an adult. If so, then the juvenile court judge can refer the case to regular court to be tried as an adult. This is not a decision that is made lightly by the courts as the overall focus is to ensure that the appropriate consequences are given for specific crimes. This is certainly a gray area of Michigan law that can vary case to case.

When a juvenile court judge refers a case for regular court, age is not the only aspect considered. Judges also consider the following:

  • The seriousness of the crime – The judge may take into account whether or not the crime was heinous, planned, or involved a weapon.
  • Circumstances of the case – The courts may consider whether or not the accused was provoked or influenced to commit a particular crime.
  • Psychological history – A child’s psychology is very different than that of an adult. The courts may consider the state of mind or the defendant’s ability to problem solve or determine right from wrong.
  • Past criminal offenses – The courts are always interested in prior criminal offenses, but can be even more so when it involves a juvenile. Past history may indicate the inability to learn from mistakes and indicate that a harsher punishment may be necessary.

Seek Legal Help

Juvenile cases can certainly be complex. The complexity is compounded when children are tried as adults. It is important that you have your case details examined by a knowledgeable attorney that will guarantee that your case is handled appropriately. There are a number of circumstances that should be fully considered by the courts before a minor is charged as an adult. The law office of Nickola Law located in Flint, Michigan has experience with adult and juvenile cases. Allow our knowledge to work for you. Reach out to us today to get your case moving in the right direction.


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