Michigan has raised the age for prosecution as an adult from 17 to 18. Effective October 1, 2021, the juvenile courts have jurisdiction over criminal offenses committed by persons under the age of 18. MCL 712A.2. This change does not affect the ability of a prosecutor to seek to try persons under the age of 18 as adults for certain serious specified violations. But it is a significant change for less serious offenses and generally reflective of the recognition by courts and legislatures in recent years following the United States Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) that young people should be treated differently under the criminal law.
The change in age is not retroactive to those who have already been sentenced. But, per statute, anyone who is under 18 years old as of October 1, 2021 who still has a criminal case pending must have their case transferred to the juvenile court. MCL 712A.3. Evidently the State Court Administrator’s Office is taking the position that “pending” means that there has not been a finding of guilt, either by trial conviction or guilty plea. It will not apply MCL 712A.3 to those who are under the age of 18 but pending sentencing on October 1, 2021.
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If you fall into one of these categories, it is important that your criminal defense lawyer know of these changes and advocate for your treatment as a juvenile. Contact us today for help.