Juvenile Defense Attorney Michigan

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Juvenile Defense Attorney MichiganIt is always hard to see people have bad legal results in criminal cases where a good advocate could have gotten them off the hook. This is particularly difficult when the person is a child for whom a criminal record will follow them for their whole lives. Many people think that a juvenile record is automatically expunged, but that is not the case in Michigan. Drug crimes, which are common for Michigan Juveniles, can affect eligibility for federal student loans. Further, employers report that one criminal conviction even as a juvenile can be the difference between hiring one of two similarly educated and experienced employees. A person who is convicted of a juvenile crime cannot honestly say on job or college applications that they have not been convicted of a crime.

If your child has committed a crime it may be tempting to allow them to face the consequences of their actions through the legal system. The original juvenile system was meant to be rehabilitative, but it has strayed further and further from that goal. Increased due process requirements evidence the reality that the juvenile system is quickly becoming more similar to the punitive adult system. As such, it is not the place to discipline your child. It is a system used to publically identify, confine, and segregate offenders with the effect of their delinquency following them throughout their adult life. It is best to handle the discipline of your child yourself, and invest in their future through hiring an advocate for the legal system. An experienced attorney can reduce the impact of the charges through negotiating an agreement with the prosecutor, or getting your child sentenced pursuant to a diversionary program. This means that after a period of good behavior on probation their crime will be erased from their record. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. Proven Juvenile Defense Attorney Michigan.

Juvenile Delinquency Sentencing/Disposition:

Sentencing for a juvenile crime is known as disposition, and the trial is known as an adjudication. There are various adjudicative outcomes that can come as the result of a juvenile offense:

  • Warn the juvenile and dismiss the petition. MCL 712A.18(1)(a).
  • Place the juvenile on in-home probation. MCL 712A.18(1)(b).
  • Place the juvenile in foster care. MCL 712A.18(1)(c).
  • Place the juvenile in or commit the juvenile to a private institution or agency. MCL 712A.18(1)(d).
  • Commit the juvenile to a public institution or agency. MCL 712A.18(1)(e).
  • Provide the juvenile with medical, dental, surgical, or other health care. MCL 712A.18(1)(f).
  • Order the parents, guardian, custodian, or any other person to refrain from continuing conduct that the court determines has caused or tended to cause the juvenile to be delinquent. MCL 712A.18(1)(g).
  • Appoint a full guardian under the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, MCL 700.5404. MCL 712A.18(1)(h).
  • Order the juvenile to engage in community service. MCL 712A.18(1)(i).
  • If the court finds that a juvenile has violated a municipal ordinance or a state or federal law, order the juvenile to pay a civil fine in the amount of the civil or penal fine provided by the ordinance or law. MCL 712A.18(1)(j).
  • If the juvenile committed a violation of a criminal law or ordinance, order the juvenile’s parent or guardian to personally participate in treatment. MCL 712A.18(1)(k).
  • Place the child in a juvenile boot camp. MCL 712A.18(1)(l).

As you can see, these options vary greatly and the Juvenile Court Referee (Judge) has significant discretion. Your child could get as little as a slap on the wrist, or as much as a period of commitment. An experienced attorney can be the difference between this charge being a mere growing pain, or affecting their future for the rest of their lives. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. Proven Juvenile Defense Attorney Michigan.

Use of Juvenile Adjudication to Enhance Adult Charges and Sentencing

Many people think that a juvenile record is automatically expunged at the age of majority. However, this is not the case unless a juvenile expungement has been granted. As a result, juvenile adjudications can be taken into consideration when sentencing an adult offender. Previous offenses whether juvenile adult can enhance an adult sentence. However, a juvenile offense cannot raise the level of your offense to that of a habitual offender for the purposes of sentencing. People v McIntire, 7 Mich App 133, 151 NW2d 187 (1967). Juvenile adjudications are scored as follows:

  • PRV 3: Scores points for prior high severity adjudications
  • PRV 4: Scores points for prior low severity adjudications
  • PRV 5: Scores points for prior misdemeanor juvenile adjudications.

What this means is that if you have a prior juvenile adjudication on your record and are convicted of another crime you will receive a harsher sentence. This is why it is important to prospectively fight juvenile charges. If you have already been convicted, we can work to get you a juvenile expungement. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. Proven Juvenile Defense Attorney Michigan.

Status Offenders:

What is a status offense? A status offense is a crime that would not be a crime except for the age of the Defendant. For example:

  • Possession of tobacco
  • Possession of alcohol
  • Underage driving
  • Ordinance curfew violations

The American Bar association has prepared some resources on status offenses:


Status offenses are usually low level crimes that allow the district to make some easy money through fines at the expense of your child. Retain an experienced attorney to make the prosecutor or city attorney prove every element of their case beyond a reasonable doubt. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. Proven Juvenile Defense Attorney Michigan.

What can our office do for your Juvenile?

Many of the typical diversionary options are not available to juveniles. For example, Holmes Youthful Trainee Act Status is specifically designed to bridge the gap between juvenile offenders and adult offenders so it only applies to offenses that occurred on or after the Defendant’s 17th birthday. However, we still have a few tricks up our sleeve:

    • “74-11 status”- While HYTA explicitly limits its applicability to ages 17 and above, 74-11 status, a diversionary program for drug offenses applies more broadly to “individuals.” While some judges refuse to apply it, if you or your child have been charged with a drug charge it may be a good option. After a probationary period of good behavior, your record will be wiped clean.
  • Juvenile Diversion pursuant to MCL 722.821. This section provides that minors be diverted from the court system. Prior to filing of the petition, either (1) the minor is released into the custody of his/her custodian and the investigation is discontinued; or (2) a private or public agency is selected to work with the family to facilitate the resolution of the problem.
  • Consent Calendar. Pursuant to MCR 3.932(C) after the petition against the minor is filed, the court may put the offense on its discretionary consent calendar if the judge or referee believes it serves the best interests of the child and the public. This is much like HYTA only for juveniles except that there is no formal plea. The juvenile receives a case plan and follows a term of probation. It also has a built in expungement after successful completion of the probation.

An experienced attorney can work to get you one of these “best case scenarios.” To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. Proven Juvenile Defense Attorney Michigan.

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