In the state of Michigan, anyone under the age of 17 is treated as a juvenile under law, except for in certain exceptionally serious felony cases.
Juveniles have many of the same rights as adults throughout the justice process, including:
Juveniles who are accused of a crime will have their cases heard in juvenile court. Juvenile courts can decide to do a number of things:
If a juvenile is placed on the formal calendar, he or she can admit to committing the offense and be sentenced, or deny the charges and request a judge or jury trial.
If a juvenile case goes to trial, it will generally proceed as follows:
The juvenile lets the court know if a private defense lawyer has been hired, or if a public defender is required.
The prosecution, defense, and court set a date for a preliminary hearing.
The first hearing involving testimony from witnesses, the defendant, the alleged victims, and others involved takes place. The prosecution will usually attempt to prove probable cause to move the case forward.
A judge or jury trial will commence, and the guilt or innocence of the juvenile will be determined.
The court enters the juvenile version of “sentencing” in which requirements will be set for the juvenile. These requirements could include probation, anger management, counseling, or placement in a juvenile facility.