Michigan Juvenile Crime Defense Lawyers


When a Juvenile Is Charged with a Criminal Offense in Michigan

If your child is charged with a criminal offense in Michigan and they are under the age of 18, the case is called a juvenile delinquency proceeding and will be handled by the Family Court Division of the Circuit Court, commonly called ‘juvenile court’ or ‘family court.’

In Michigan, the courts look to rehabilitate those involved in juvenile crimes, not simply lock them up. Nevertheless, juveniles in Michigan can be tried as adults for certain serious felony charges. With experienced Michigan juvenile criminal defense lawyers by your side, you will significantly increase your chances of finding a favorable disposition for your son or daughter. Whatever your situation, the law offices of Jeffrey Buehner can help.

Free Consultation

Call us now at 248-865-9640
or use the form below

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship. *Required

Common Michigan Juvenile Criminal Offenses

Understanding the different types of Michigan juvenile crimes will give you a foundation for moving forward with a legal team skilled in juvenile criminal defense. Here are the juvenile crimes that come up most frequently in Michigan courts:

  • Assault & Battery – Assault occurs when a person attempts to commit a battery or an unlawful act that places another in reasonable fear of receiving an immediate battery. Assault does not require the touching of another person. Battery, however, does. A battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of a person or something connected with the person.
  • Disorderly Conduct – Disorderly conduct is an offense which includes a wide array of conduct including loitering, peeping-Tom-type acts, engaging in an illegal business or profession, public intoxication and disturbance, indecent or obscene conduct, vagrancy, and jostling or crowding in a public place.
  • Larceny – Stealing property from another person is called larceny and carries a felony or misdemeanor charge depending on the location of the theft, value of the property, and prior incidents of the act.
  • Joyriding – Taking a vehicle from another person without the intent to steal the vehicle, sell the vehicle, or profit from the act is misdemeanor called joyriding. Juveniles with this charge may face severe criminal penalties.
  • Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP) – Under Michigan law, criminal property damage is charged as willful and malicious destruction of property (MDOP). MDOP occurs when a person willfully and maliciously destroys or damages the property of another person.
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol – Those under the age of 21 in Michigan are regarded as minors in the eyes of the law and, with a few exceptions, may not attempt or execute the purchase, consumption, or possession alcohol. Penalties vary based on factors such as prior incidents.
  • Open Intoxicant in Motor Vehicle – Michigan motorists of any age may not transport alcohol or intoxicants in an open container. The charge is a misdemeanor criminal offense.
  • Possession of Controlled Substance – When it comes to drug charges, Michigan has some of most serious consequences. The penalties for possession of a controlled substance varies and are based on the type and amount of substance involved. The substances are categorized in a schedule, or list of substance types, with Schedule I substances the most serious.
  • Possession of Paraphernalia – Under Michigan law, the definition of drug paraphernalia covers a large expanse of items. Specifically, drug paraphernalia is any material, equipment or product, or combination thereof, designed specifically to cultivate, grow, plant, compound, process, package, test, store, conceal, harvest, analyze, inhale, inject, ingest, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body.
  • Retail Fraud – Retail Fraud is generally referred to as shoplifting, and is charged as a misdemeanor if the defendant has no prior Retail Fraud convictions and the value of the merchandise allegedly stolen was under $1,000.

Can a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult in Michigan?

According to Michigan law, certain serious crimes warrant stiffer measures, and this includes crimes committed by juvenile offenders under the age of 18. In cases involving serious crimes – called ‘specified juvenile violations’ – the prosecutor can bypass the juvenile delinquency process and proceed directly to adult criminal prosecutions. This is known under the law as an automatic waiver. In an automatic waiver proceeding, the prosecutor may elect to initiate the case by filing a complaint in district court rather than a petition in the Family Division of Circuit Court. If the juvenile is bound over for trial following a preliminary examination, he or she faces trial in a court of general criminal jurisdiction.

In a second instance, known as prosecutor designation, a prosecutor may choose to charge and try a juvenile as an adult in the Family Division of the Circuit Court. The court then has the decision-making authority to either enter a juvenile disposition or enter a conviction as an adult.

This can also happen under a traditional waiver by court designation. If a juvenile 14 years of age or older is accused of an act that would be a felony if charged as an adult, the judge of the family division may waive jurisdiction upon motion of the prosecuting attorney. The court may or may not grant this petition. If denied, the court can impose an adult conviction or a juvenile disposition for guilty verdicts or pleas. If, however, the petition is granted and the case is transferred to an adult court, any sentence handed down is considered an adult sentence. A Michigan juvenile who has been tried as an adult following traditional waiver generally must be sentenced as an adult.

Juvenile Lawyer Jeffrey Buehner can work to have the court handle a juvenile’s case entirely through the family court and avoid stiffer adult convictions and penalties.

First Steps in Michigan Juvenile Criminal Cases

When an individual under the age of 17 is taken into police custody in Michigan, contact with a parents/guardian must be initiated. The minor may then be released to their parent/guardian or remain in police custody until their preliminary hearing, which will take place within 24 hours of the alleged crime.

The officer will file a document called a petition or a complaint, known as the charging document. Once received, the court has numerous ways it may proceed. These options include:

  1. Denying authorization of the petition – Case is dismissed. This is the best scenario.
  2. Transferring the case through diversion – Minor must agree to certain stipulations, such as receiving counseling, writing apologies, paying/repaying a sum, or performing community service.
  3. Placing the case on the consent calendar – A court-supervised informal hearing ensues. The court creates a multistep plan for the minor to complete. When finished, case records are removed.
  4. Placing the case on the formal calendar – Charges against the minor stand, and the case proceeds.

Of all the ways your Michigan Juvenile Criminal Offense case could be handled, it is worth noting that being placed on the formal calendar is the most severe option. It means that the juvenile is formally charged with a delinquency offense – the equivalent to a misdemeanor or felony crime in adult court.

However, with the right legal representation, even if a juvenile delinquency proceeding is placed on the formal calendar, it may be possible to move the case to the consent calendar at the time of the juvenile’s disposition, which is the juvenile court’s version of sentencing.

The Best Way through Your Child’s Michigan Juvenile Criminal Offense Case

The juvenile justice system requires specific knowledge that only comes from experience in practicing juvenile criminal defense law. With so many roads the court can take, and so many impending choices, why risk your child’s future with anything but a local legal team with positive, proven results in juvenile criminal defense cases? Juvenile Crime Attorney Jeffrey Buehner is a former assistant Oakland County prosecutor with direct experience representing children in the Juvenile Justice Division. For your child’s best future, choose Jeffrey Buehner Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Call Our Michigan Juvenile Crime Defense Attorneys

Juvenile crimes can severely impact a child’s life…. this much you know. The juvenile justice process, from the initial charging of your child with a juvenile criminal offense to the final disposition, is substantially different than the adult criminal justice system. It is vitally important to retain a knowledgeable juvenile criminal defense lawyer from the very beginning. Who you choose to represent your son and daughter can affect every step of the winding road ahead. To give your child the very best chance of a positive outcome, Jeffrey Buehner, Michigan juvenile crime lawyer, is ready to take on your case. Your best interests are preserved in our capable hands. Before you do anything else, call Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeffrey Buehner.

The Right Michigan Juvenile Lawyers for Your Case

No matter how independent, capable, and mature your child might appear in your eyes, in the view of Michigan courts of law, until they are 17 years old, they are a minor. In Livonia, Birmingham, Sterling Heights, Howell, and beyond – your child is still just that, a child. And that means that until they are 17, parent involvement in a juvenile criminal defense case is of the utmost importance. We encourage every parent who finds themself in the position of dealing with the unfortunate instance of juvenile criminal charges to reach out to our offices for straightforward, sound legal guidance. Call (248) 865-9640 or fill out our Free Consultation form now. We’re ready to help win your Michigan juvenile criminal case.