When is a Juvenile Tried as An Adult in Michigan?

juvenile tried as adult

In Michigan, if you are 17 years of age or older and are charged with a crime, you will be tried as an adult. If you are under age 17, you will be charged as a juvenile, unless the charges are very serious. Children under the age of 14 are rarely charged as adults, even in serious cases. However, there are rare instances in Michigan where a child as young as 11 has been charged as an adult.

The offenses for which a child between age 14 and age 17 will be tried as an adult are as follows:

If a child is under age 14 and has been charged with one of these crimes, the prosecutor may ask the juvenile court to waive jurisdiction.

Adult Court vs. Juvenile Court

The case outcome case can vary significantly if a child is tried as an adult or a juvenile. If your child has the option, it is almost always best to face juvenile charges.

Adult Court Procedures

One difference between juvenile court and adult proceedings is how the charges are presented. Someone facing charges as an adult is charged with a crime by way of a complaint.

An adult has a constitutional right to a trial by jury. Adult cases are conducted in open court, and records of the proceeding are available to the public. A person who is convicted and sentenced as an adult faces the possibility of jail time and significant fines.

Juvenile Court Proceedings

In juvenile court, a child is charged with a delinquent act through a petition.

Juvenile court trials are heard by a judge. There is no jury. While you will have access to the courtroom during a juvenile case, the judge has broader discretion to exclude people from the courtroom, especially during testimony from child witness and the if the victim or juvenile requests it.

Juvenile court records are also public; however, a juvenile can ask to have their juvenile record set aside if they were not convicted of a felony, have fewer than three juvenile convictions, and have waited at least a year since serving a court-ordered sentence or since they turned 18.

Finally, Michigan’s juvenile justice system emphasizes rehabilitation, alternative sentencing, and consideration of the child’s best interests.

Whether you are tried as an adult or as a juvenile, the consequences can be severe, and a criminal conviction or finding of delinquency can follow you for years and significantly affect your future.

Request to Try a Juvenile as an Adult

Even if your case does not automatically qualify to be tried as an adult, the prosecutor can request that the juvenile court waive jurisdiction. When considering a request to waive jurisdiction, the juvenile court judge will consider:

  • The nature of the offense and aggravating factors like the use of a firearm and the impact on the alleged victim
  • The suspected criminal responsibility and the extent to which the child planned the commission of the alleged crime
  • The juvenile’s prior record, including police records and school records
  • Past willingness to participate in juvenile rehabilitation programs
  • The adequacy of the punishment and rehabilitative options offered by the juvenile justice system
  • Case outcomes that are available to the child

How Elmen Legal Can Help

If your child is facing juvenile proceedings, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will convince the judge to keep the case in the juvenile justice system. The waiver hearing is a critical step where you can avoid having your child’s case heard as an adult. It is essential that you work with a lawyer who will work hard to keep your child’s case in the juvenile justice system.

At Elmen Legal, I understand the stress of any court proceeding, and I’m here to help.

I know how to defend juveniles accused of crimes in juvenile court or who will be tried as an adult.

I will thoroughly review every detail of the case and craft a defense strategy to protect your child’s rights during the investigation and at trial.

I take particular care to treat each person I represent as an individual, and I offer personal attention and accessibility that you won’t find at a big law firm. I will fight hard to challenge the charges and will advise you of the potential consequences of a finding of delinquency or a conviction.

If your child is facing criminal charges, contact Elmen Legal or call (734) 707-8915 today.

Elmen Legal proudly represents people in Ann Arbor, Saline, Pittsfield Township, Chelsea, or Ypsilanti, and in Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Ingham, Livingston, and Oakland Counties.