Michigan Juvenile Defense Attorneys

A juvenile conviction can be life-altering for a young person. Our defense attorneys have the care, compassion, and dedication to protecting clients from overzealous prosecutors, police, and judges. We will find a way to help.

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Many do not realize that juvenile adjudications typically stay on a criminal record, even into adulthood.

Juvenile delinquency law is unique because it combines civil law and criminal law. While juvenile delinquency law was initially meant to rehabilitate young offenders, it has changed into an area where juvenile records and adjudications can follow your children into adulthood. Many do not realize that juvenile adjudications typically stay on their criminal record into adulthood. An experienced juvenile defense attorney will know how to take advantage of programs and court rules to purge a juvenile’s criminal record when they turn 18. If your child is charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or other delinquent conduct, the Michigan Juvenile Defense Attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can provide a caring, dedicated, and passionate defense.

Experienced Michigan Juvenile Defense Attorneys for Minors

Many lawyers exclusively handle adult criminal cases or have general practices where they rarely, if ever, handle a juvenile delinquency case. The juvenile defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience and know the juvenile justice system in Michigan, the judges, referees, prosecutors, police, and the resources available to help young people. We represent children and teens facing criminal charges in Oakland County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Wayne County, Livingston County, and throughout Michigan.

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Michigan Juvenile Defense Attorneys Protect Their Client’s Rights

Technically, juvenile delinquency cases are not criminal; however, juveniles facing prosecution have due process and 4th Amendment protections. A top Michigan juvenile defense attorney will closely examine their client’s case to ensure their rights are protected and illegally seized evidence is suppressed. Unfortunately, judges and juvenile court referees report that few defense lawyers defending juvenile clients file motions or zealously defend their clients. According to the United States Supreme Court, the Fourth Amendment protects juveniles against unreasonable searches and seizures, and they enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Consent to search is a valid exception to the warrant requirement; however, a judge must look to the totality of circumstances to decide whether consent was freely and voluntarily given. Voluntariness is determined by examining the individual circumstances of the accused and the situation. Judges can consider a child’s age, education, intelligence, prior experience with the police, and the youth’s knowledge of their right to review consent. Additionally, a judge will consider the officer’s tone of voice, the number of officers, the display of weapons, the time of day, and the location of the stop or seizure. Failure to object to a search is not consent to search. Sometimes, a parent can override a child’s refusal to consent to a search. The parent or guardian’s ability to consent depends on the degree of control and authority.

A Distinction Without a Difference – Juvenile Records are Nonpublic

Under recent Michigan law, juvenile convictions are now “nonpublic.” Nonpublic means that the Michigan State Police do not report the adjudications with a public background check. No one should rely on this law to protect the child’s future and employability. First, private background investigation services often collect and report convictions and adjudications that are or become nonpublic. Second, the government or any employer with a position requiring a security clearance will search nonpublic records during the interview process and easily discover youthful brushes with the law. Finally, anyone with a juvenile adjudication, even one that is not publically reported, when asked in an interview whether they have a conviction, will be forced to lie or out themselves and lose a prospective job. Because even nonpublic adjudications can result in barriers to success for a young person, it is essential they work with a lawyer who can help them avoid a nonpublic conviction, if possible.

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School Searches

The prohibition against unreasonable searches extends to public school officials, such as counselors, liaison officers, administrators, and teachers. However, in the context of a school search, the public school official’s search must only meet a “reasonable” test. A search of a student by a school official is justified when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the student violated the law or rules of the school. The search’s scope must be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the offense. Note that there is no expectation of privacy in public school lockers.

Schools may require students to submit to random drug screens to participate in extracurricular activities and interscholastic athletic programs.

Juvenile Court Penalties

Another common misconception in juvenile delinquency law is the belief that juvenile offenders face the same maximum penalties that an adult would face if charged with a similar offense. Under juvenile law, misdemeanors and felonies do not have a maximum or minimum jail sentence. In fact, even for what would be a 90-day misdemeanor if committed by an adult, a juvenile can be held in custody until their 19th birthday and, under some circumstances, even longer. Experienced Michigan juvenile defense attorneys can help you understand the intricacies of juvenile law and potential penalties.

Motion to Set Aside a Juvenile Adjudication or Conviction

Under Michigan law, a skilled defense lawyer can request a court remove a juvenile adjudication from someone’s criminal history. New Michigan laws allow a juvenile record to be sealed; however, not all convictions are removed. Surprisingly, many judges are reluctant to clear a juvenile’s criminal history of certain offenses. One would think a family or juvenile court judge would understand that it is unfair for a young adult to go through life stigmatized by a youthful indiscretion. The Defense Attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C know the stakes are high, and there is no room for errors when seeking to give a young adult a shot at life without a criminal record. We will do whatever it takes to win!

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Protecting Your Child’s Future

Young people make mistakes. Sometimes, a mistake can be hanging out with the wrong people. Other times, a minor may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s easy for young people to get pressured by peers into doing the wrong thing. And it’s easy for adults, including police, to be suspicious of minors even with little evidence. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., our juvenile defense lawyers are here to protect your young person from false charges, overcharges, and unfair or overly harsh treatment by the police, prosecutors, and the court system.

Our good and affordable defense attorneys look at all the facts and present a complete picture of our juvenile client to the court. We know how to present evidence to the court to maximize its positive impact and mitigating value. If there is a juvenile adjudication, we want to ensure that any sentence they receive is the best one possible and does not set up the client for failure in the future. If the charges are unjustified or excessive, we will do everything possible to get the case dismissed or the charges reduced.

If you want your child, grandchild, or dependent treated by their defense attorney with patience, compassion, and dedication, we are available to work with your family. We will find a way to help, and are not afraid to win!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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