Michigan Senate Committee Passes “Raise the Age” Legislation

On October 10, 2019, a Senate panel passed a package of bipartisan bills—16 in total—that would raise the age at which juvenile offenders would be automatically treated as adults in Michigan. Currently, 17-year-olds are viewed as adults in the criminal justice system.

The legislation would make the following changes:

  • Juveniles who are at 17 years old will be tried in family court, instead of adult criminal court, making them eligible for alternative resolutions like counseling and monitoring.
  • Juveniles who are 17 won’t be kept in the same cells as adults.
  • The legislation doesn’t apply retroactively, meaning 17-year-olds who have already been tried as adults cannot obtain a retrial.

The proposed changes will be effective on October 2021. Michigan is one of only five states—which are Georgia, Missouri, Texas, and Missouri—which can charge a 17-year-old as an adult.

However, prosecutors still have the power to try individuals as young as 14 years of age as adults for certain violent crimes, such as murder and rape. Additionally, juveniles who committed such offenses can still be housed in adult prisons but must be physically separated from adult inmates.

When it comes to funding, the state will pay for 17-year-olds in the juvenile system for up to three years. After the deadline, the funding method will be reevaluated.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer could receive the measures for signing in the coming weeks.

If your child has been arrested for a crime in Okemos, contact White Law PLLC today at (517) 316-1195.