If your child has been charged with a crime of any kind, you are naturally extremely upset by the situation. The most important point to remember, however, is that your child is innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by the state of Michigan. That’s an extremely high bar, which means that you should not lose hope. Instead, take action for your child by reaching out to an experienced Lansing juvenile criminal lawyer sooner rather than later.
Your Child Needs an Advocate
Your child has their whole future ahead of them, and being convicted of a crime can derail one’s plans quickly. The best practice in this situation is getting out in front of the charge and working closely with a formidable Lansing juvenile criminal lawyer who not only has the experience and drive to help but is also a strong legal advocate who cares about your child and their case. With a seasoned juvenile criminal lawyer in your corner, you significantly improve your child’s chances of achieving a great outcome.
Lansing Juvenile Criminal Lawyers and Juvenile Delinquency
In the Michigan juvenile justice system, the following generally apply when a child under the age of 18 is accused of a crime:
- Instead of being classified as a crime, the legal matter in question will be called a juvenile-delinquency matter.
- Juvenile delinquency cases proceed through family court rather than through the adult criminal justice system.
- Instead of punishing your child (the way the adult criminal justice system would), the intention of juvenile delinquency proceedings is to provide your child with rehabilitation.
While Michigan’s juvenile justice system is less harsh than the adult path, the consequences of a conviction (or adjudication, as it’s called in the juvenile system) are all too real. Protecting your child’s legal rights is paramount, and a dedicated Lansing juvenile criminal lawyer can help.
Juvenile Cases Differ From Adult Cases
If your child is charged, their case begins with filing a petition in the family division of the circuit court. The process from here is similar but distinct from the process for an adult case. The following applies:
- Unless your child’s case is dismissed or a plea deal is reached, it will proceed to trial.
- If your child is found guilty (or a plea deal is reached), it leads to an adjudication rather than a conviction.
- Instead of your child being sentenced, the court will order a disposition.
Generally, the court has considerable discretion in these matters, and even if your child receives a disposition, the results can vary from something as light as a warning (with a dismissal of the petition) all the way to detention in an out-of-state, privately run juvenile facility (don’t even get us started on how we feel about that). But throughout the process, your child’s juvenile criminal defense lawyer will zealously advocate for a resolution that impacts your child’s future as little as possible – if at all.
Work Closely With an Experienced Lansing Juvenile Criminal Lawyer
If your child is facing a criminal charge of any kind, the time to consult with a formidable Lansing juvenile criminal lawyer is right now. The juvenile justice system is as complex as it can be terrifying for you as a parent, but having a compassionate juvenile criminal lawyer helping you make well-informed decisions and guiding you through the challenging process can make a significant difference.