The ultimate goal of the Juvenile Criminal Court is to punish offenders while limiting the effect on the offender’s future, if possible. A child is considered a juvenile for most criminal matters until they are 17 years old. Juvenile crimes can be identical to adult crimes in what they are and how they are committed. The punishment is often different. It is a common misunderstanding that juvenile convictions do not follow a person in to their adult life. They do for purposes of computing possible sentences if the offender has committed a crime as an adult.
The Consent Calendar and How it Works
There is a way to keep any evidence of a crime from a juvenile offender’s record. This is the consent calendar. The consent calendar places the offender on probation and gives him/her conditions to fulfill and if everything is completed without problem – the case is dismissed and all evidence of it removed from existence.
Juvenile consent calendar placement may be considered for misdemeanor or non-violent crimes, or first time juvenile offenders. If an offender is placed on the consent calendar, no formal plea is entered. Effective September 1, 2013, no case may be placed on the consent calendar unless the juvenile and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian, and the prosecutor, agree. The court then sets out specific terms that must be completed by the juvenile within a specified period of time. Additionally, fingerprints may not be taken if a juvenile is placed on the consent docket, and any fingerprints already recorded must be returned. Consent calendar placement is completely non-public, and all records will be destroyed when the youth turns 17. The juvenile consent calendar gives adolescents the opportunity to keep a clear record and escape harsh lifelong penalties. If a case is on the formal calendar of the juvenile court the court may transfer the case to the consent calendar at any time before disposition.
There are special rules that apply to a case on a consent calendar. No formal plea may be entered except as required by the Crime Victim’s Rights Act. However, under no circumstance shall the court enter a finding of guilt.
The Court must hold a conference with the juvenile and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian to discuss the allegations. The victim may be present if desired. If is appears to the Court that the juvenile has committed an action that would make him/her subject to the Court’s jurisdiction, the Court may issue a written consent calendar plan. The plan cannot contain a provision for the removal of the juvenile from the custody of the parent, guardian or legal custodian.
Once the juvenile has successfully completed the terms of the consent calendar case plan, the court must order the close of the case and may destroy all records of the proceedings.
Violations of the Consent Calendar Plan
If the Court determines that the juvenile has failed to fulfill his/her obligations under the consent calendar plan and that it is not in the best interest of the juvenile or the public, the court can order the case transferred to the formal calendar on the charges contained in the original petition, citation or appearance ticket. Any statements made by the juvenile cannot be used against the juvenile if the case goes to trial on the formal calendar.
Also, it is important to note that if there is a violation of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, the violation must be reported to the Secretary of State.
Michigan Juvenile Defense Attorney
Most juveniles charged in delinquency court do not get consent calendar and having a top juvenile defense lawyer can give them the best possible chance of keeping a clear record. So, if you or your son or daughter are facing possible charges in the juvenile justice system it is important that you have legal representation in order to protect them. The juvenile justice system has many special policies and rules that are different from adult Court. An experienced juvenile law attorney will know and understand the requirements, rules and policies that are necessary to protect a juvenile faced with a crime.
The attorneys at Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. have a combined 50 years experience in all areas of the criminal law, including juvenile criminal law. If you or a loved one is faced with a possible juvenile criminal charge and you need information or speak to someone please complete the Request for Assistance Form or call us at (248) 263-6800. We look forward to being of assistance to you.