Does My Teen Have Special Rights if Arrested?

For most juveniles facing criminal charges in Lansing, Michigan, their legal rights are primarily identical to adults for most cases. If your teen is under 17 years of age and facing criminal accusations, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced juvenile defense attorney right away regarding your child’s legal situation. While courts try to use rehabilitative solutions instead of jail time and costly fines and fees, it is still possible for a teen to receive a harsher sentence. And depending on the nature of the crime, it’s possible that your child could be charged as an adult.

Such an adjudication (which essentially means “juvenile conviction”) can affect their options for college, housing, and employment in the future. This makes the skill of a knowledgeable lawyer invaluable in protecting your child’s rights and reputation. Kids make mistakes. Don’t let their poor judgment define the rest of their life. 

What are My Child’s Rights During a Criminal Investigation? 

When the police question your teenage child regarding criminal activity, they may try to emotionally manipulate or bully them into giving responses that benefit the prosecution. Before allowing them to speak with your child, consult with an experienced Lansing area juvenile defense attorney. Teens have the same legal rights as an adult before law enforcement files official charges against them. This includes the right to speak with counsel before answering questions. 

Once a trial begins, the rights of juveniles and adults slightly differ, more so when alternative juvenile court sentencing is desired. Other differences in rights for your teen facing charges would be that they don’t have the right to a jury trial. If your child agrees to conditions set forth by the Juvenile Consent Calendar, they will also have to follow every requirement of a judge’s decision. Teenagers who get sentenced on the formal calendar and go to trial will have the right to call witnesses, question them, get copies of the court’s transcription of their case, and appeal any conviction they receive.

What are My Teen’s Rights after Being Arrested in Michigan? 

Any juvenile delinquency action taken against your teenager in Lansing requires a knowledgeable defense attorney working your case. At Coontz law, we have the experience and skill you need to aggressively defend your child against crimes involving:

  • Drugs
  • Sex offenses
  • Theft
  • Violence
  • Other related criminal related charges

Our defense attorneys vigorously fight for your child’s rights and future by helping them avoid life-changing penalties like jail time. You can rely on our legal team to fully inform you of what rights your teenager has, how to utilize these rights, and always look out for their best interests in every action we take on their behalf. 

New State Law Doesn’t Guarantee Your Child Won’t Be Charged as an Adult

In October 2021, a law will go into effect, allowing 17-year-olds to be treated as minors when arrested. Current law automatically treats teenagers of this age to be considered adults. This is a significant change in Michigan’s criminal justice system because juvenile courts differ from adult systems in several ways, including:

  • Supportive setting
  • Extensive programs and counseling services
  • Less of an impact on the offender’s record

Unfortunately, this new law doesn’t apply universally to every case a 17-year-old offender might be facing. The primary focus of this legislation is to prevent automatic assignment to an adult court setting. This doesn’t mean it won’t happen, and Michigan courts have a history of charging teens as young as 14 as adults for certain crimes. This is due to the many factors that affect the determination to do so, including:

  • If the offense is equivalent to an adult felony charge
  • Psychological history of the alleged offender
  • Any past criminal history your child might have

There are also certain felonies where a prosecutor gets to unilaterally decide to charge your child as an adult, even without the judge’s involvement.

Speak with an Experienced Lansing Juvenile Attorney 

As criminal defense attorneys for teenagers in Lansing, MI, we’ve seen the devastation caused to a child’s future because of a wrongful conviction or overly stiff sentence. We understand the immaturity of youth and don’t believe a mistake should define the rest of their life. This is why we are your best choice for your child’s juvenile defense if accused of committing a crime. We have  a successful case record and the extensive understanding of juvenile criminal law you need to protect your son or daughter’s rights and future. Contact Coontz Law right away if your teen is facing criminal charges in Lansing.

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