The teenage years are a difficult transitional time for many. The human brain isn’t done growing until the mid-twenties, which means that teenagers may not be as rational or focused on the long-term impacts of their decisions as they will be in just a few more years.

Additionally, teenagers are prone to rebellion and pushing back against the rules just because they can, which social pressure can sometimes exacerbate. Young adults in Michigan can easily make mistakes that result in them getting arrested and facing criminal charges. At what point will a juvenile criminal offense result in adult criminal charges?

Michigan has recently reformed its stance on teenage offenders

For many years, Michigan was one of a small minority of states that habitually charged teenage offenders as adults. Prior to a reform law passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor in 2019, it was common practice for prosecutors to charge most 17-year-old juvenile offenders as adults.

These days, while the prosecutor still has some discretion regarding whether to charge a teenager as an adult or juvenile, the severity of the offense and the mindset of the juvenile offender will impact how the state receives more than just their age. Serious and violent criminal offenses, as well as crimes committed by those with multiple previous juvenile arrests, might still result in the state pursuing adult criminal charges against a youthful offender.

Whether tried as a juvenile or an adult, your teen needs support

Teenager offenders often act out because of underlying social, emotional or psychological issues. Some teens may turn to crime to express frustration over a parental divorce, while others might give in to peer pressure because of their friends from school.

Wanting your child to learn from this mistake is one thing, but abandoning them to the criminal justice system is another. Helping your child learn and grow by aiding them in securing a criminal defense attorney and strategizing for their defense will show them that you are in their corner while also helping to reduce the impact of these charges on their future.