Michigan Increases Age of Legal Adulthood for Most Crimes

On October 31, 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Raise the Age” plan, a multi-part bill that will enable minors who are 17 years of age to qualify as juveniles and go through the juvenile justice process, rather than the criminal justice system for adults. However, the law will take effect in October 2021 and isn’t retroactive.

The law will apply to all criminal offenses, except for violent crimes. A 17-year-old who is charged with a violent crime will be treated as an adult.

Common types of violent crimes include:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Rape and sexual assault
  • Domestic violence
  • Assault
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping

Michigan is one of four states that prosecutes 17-year-olds as adults--no matter the crime. The new legislation will keep these minors out of adult prisons and provide them with resources (e.g. counseling, education, alcohol/drug rehabilitation, etc.) to rehabilitate them into responsible and productive adults.

Additionally, a juvenile case will not appear on a minor’s permanent criminal record. Not having a criminal conviction on their record can help them obtain employment and educational opportunities.

The law made changes to reflect the new definition of legal adulthood in the following initiatives:

  • The Youth Rehabilitation Act
  • The Juvenile Diversion Act
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure
  • The Mental Health Code
  • The Probate Code
  • The Indigent Defense Commission Act

Studies indicate that raise-the-age laws throughout the nation have helped reduce juvenile court recidivism. The new legislation is a bipartisan plan.

If you or your child has been charged with a crime in Okemos, contact White Law PLLC today at (517) 316-1195 for a free consultation. Get over six decades of combined legal experience on your side.