JUVENILE COURT PROCEEDINGS

Jennifer M Paine

The procedures in delinquency cases in Michigan appear similar to those in criminal cases, but juveniles are treated very differently from adult defendants. Delinquency proceedings involve juveniles under age 17 charged with a violation of a criminal law or ordinance or with a status offense (an act that violates the law only when committed by a minor). Delinquency matters are handled in the family division of the circuit court. The purpose of delinquency petitions under the Juvenile Code is not to punish but to rehabilitate the juvenile. Michigan law reflects this emphasis in part. MCR 3.902(B)(1)-(2) states:

The rules must be interpreted and applied in keeping with the philosophy expressed in the Juvenile Code. The court shall ensure that each minor coming within the jurisdiction of the court shall:

(1) receive the care, guidance, and control, preferably in the minor's own home, that is conducive to the minor's welfare and the best interests of the public; and

(2) when removed from parental control, be placed in care as nearly as possible equivalent to the care that the minor's parents should have given the minor.

Your child may be entitled to a court appointed attorney. However, both parents may be held liable for fees, as well as ordered to participate in the child's treatment plan.