Labre Law Office | Family Law & Criminal Defense Lawyer | Edwardsburg, MI

Juvenile Crimes

Our Juvenile Crimes Attorney Team Helps Young Individuals Facing Criminal Charges in Michigan and Indiana. Don’t Leave Your Freedom to Chance — Call LaBre Law Office Today.

Do You or Your Child Require Guidance and Assistance from a Juvenile Crimes Attorney?

Facing a criminal charge as a juvenile can be an incredibly stressful experience — not only for the young person involved but also for their parents. The fear and concerns associated with criminal charges’ impact on a child’s future may overwhelm the entire family. A simple mistake or lapse in judgment could affect their ability to gain employment, secure housing, or pursue higher education later in life. An experienced juvenile crimes attorney can alleviate some of the anxiety and fear associated with this experience while answering questions, providing guidance, and building a solid criminal defense strategy.

Juvenile cases in Michigan can be particularly complex, as the decision to charge a minor as an adult may come into play. This choice hinges on the nature and severity of the alleged crime. To be charged as an adult can have significant implications because the penalties in the adult criminal justice system are often much harsher than those in the juvenile justice system.

A juvenile defense attorney can thoroughly investigate the case, challenge the evidence, and protect a young person’s rights. Your juvenile lawyer can also negotiate with prosecutors and argue for alternatives to detention, such as counseling, community service, or probation. If there is a risk of the juvenile facing adult charges, a skilled attorney can highlight the young person’s age, maturity level, and potential for rehabilitation while arguing for these alternatives.

An experienced juvenile crimes attorney can make a significant difference in the case, potentially protecting the young person’s future and defending their opportunity to learn from their mistakes without suffering life-altering consequences. Contact LaBre Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

Types and Examples of Juvenile Crimes: Delinquent Acts and Status Offenses

Juvenile crimes in Michigan can be broadly categorized into two main types: Delinquent Acts and Status Offenses.

Delinquent Acts are crimes that would also be considered illegal if committed by an adult. These are further divided into misdemeanors and felonies, depending on their severity. Examples of delinquent acts include:

  1. Assault & Battery: This involves causing physical harm or offensive contact to another person.
  2. Larceny: Also known as theft, this involves unlawfully taking someone else’s property with the intent of permanently depriving them of it.
  3. Joyriding: This refers to temporarily driving someone else’s automobile without permission.
  4. Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP): This involves intentionally damaging or destroying someone else’s property.
  5. Drug Offenses: These include possession, use, or distribution of controlled substances.
  6. Felonies: More serious crimes include arson, robbery, aggravated assault, Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), and unlawfully driving away an automobile.

Status Offenses are only considered illegal due to the minor’s age. Status offenses in Michigan include:

  1. Truancy: This refers to chronic absenteeism from school without a valid excuse.
  2. Incorrigibility: This term describes a minor who consistently disobeys authority figures, such as parents or teachers.
  3. Curfew Violations: These laws prohibit minors from being out in public places during certain hours.
  4. Running Away from Home: The law considers it a status offense when a minor leaves home without parental consent and does not return.
  5. Underage Alcohol Use: It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol in Michigan.

The consequences for these offenses can vary greatly, depending on factors such as the minor’s age, the nature of the crime, and whether the minor has a previous criminal history. Consult with a knowledgeable juvenile crimes defense attorney to understand the potential implications and navigate the legal process effectively.

When Can a Juvenile be Tried as an Adult?

In Michigan, a juvenile can be tried as an adult under certain circumstances. Factors such as the nature of the offense, the age of the juvenile, and their previous history with the court system often influence the decision.

  1. Automatic Waiver: If a juvenile aged 14 or older is charged with certain serious felonies, such as murder or armed robbery, they can automatically be tried as an adult. This is not at the discretion of the prosecutor but mandated by Michigan law.
  2. Prosecutorial Waiver: For certain offenses, the prosecutor has the discretion to decide whether to try a juvenile as an adult. This typically applies to juveniles aged 14 or older who are accused of serious crimes but fall outside the criteria for an automatic waiver. The prosecutor will consider factors such as the nature of the alleged offense, the juvenile’s maturity level, and their previous record.
  3. Judicial Waiver: In some cases, the judge can decide to try a juvenile as an adult. This usually happens after a hearing where the judge considers factors such as the severity of the offense, the juvenile’s age, and their potential for rehabilitation.
  4. Designation Cases: In these cases, the juvenile court retains jurisdiction, but the case is designated on the record as being in the interests of the public to potentially impose adult sanctions. Factors considered include the seriousness of the offense, the juvenile’s culpability in committing the offense, the juvenile’s prior record, and the adequacy of punishment and services available in the juvenile justice system.

The choice to try a juvenile as an adult is significant because it can lead to more severe penalties and long-term consequences. It’s crucial for a juvenile facing this possibility to work with a skilled juvenile defense attorney to navigate the complexities of the legal process.

Consequences of a Criminal Charge or Conviction for a Young Person’s Future

A criminal charge or conviction in Michigan can have significant consequences for a young person’s future. The implications vary based on the severity of the crime and whether the individual is convicted.


These are less serious crimes, like petty theft or minor drug possession. A conviction may lead to fines or short-term incarceration, typically less than a year. However, a misdemeanor conviction can still impact future opportunities. It can make it more difficult to gain employment, secure housing, or be accepted into certain educational programs, as some institutions conduct background checks.


These are more serious crimes, such as assault, robbery, or serious drug offenses. A felony conviction often leads to longer prison sentences and larger fines. The long-term consequences are also more severe. Felony convictions can drastically limit employment opportunities, as many employers are hesitant to hire felons. They can also affect eligibility for certain professional licenses, public benefits, and housing applications. In some cases, a felony conviction can also lead to loss of voting rights until the sentence is fully served.

Being Charged as an Adult

If a juvenile is charged and convicted as an adult, they face the same penalties as an adult would for the same crime. This can lead to longer prison sentences and more severe long-term consequences. Discuss the potential consequences of a particular criminal charge with your juvenile defense lawyer.

Criminal Charge vs. Criminal Conviction

Being charged with a crime does not necessarily mean a young person will be convicted. If the charges are dropped or the individual is acquitted, there shouldn’t be a conviction on their record. However, the charge itself may still appear on background checks, which could potentially impact one’s future opportunities.

The potential consequences of a criminal charge or conviction underscore the importance of legal representation. An experienced juvenile crimes lawyer can argue for reduced charges, negotiate plea deals, and work to lessen the impact on a young person’s future.

Benefits of Working With an Experienced Juvenile Crime Attorney

Working with a juvenile crime attorney can provide several key benefits:

  1. Legal Guidance: Juvenile law has its own set of rules and procedures that differ from adult criminal law. An experienced juvenile attorney understands these nuances and can guide the juvenile and their family through the process, explaining each step so they can make informed decisions.
  2. Protection of Rights: An attorney will ensure that the juvenile’s rights are protected throughout the legal process by scrutinizing the evidence, challenging unlawful procedures, and arguing against any violations of the juvenile’s rights.
  3. Negotiation and Plea Bargaining: Attorneys can negotiate with prosecutors to reduce charges or penalties. Plea bargaining could potentially lead to lesser charges or alternative sentences like probation or counseling instead of serving time in a detention center.
  4. Court Representation: A juvenile crime lawyer will represent the juvenile in court, presenting evidence, challenging the prosecution’s case, and advocating for the juvenile’s interests.
  5. Mitigation and Rehabilitation Focus: Juvenile courts focus more on rehabilitation than punishment. An experienced attorney can emphasize the juvenile’s potential for change and growth, arguing for solutions that support rehabilitation rather than harsh penalties.
  6. Avoidance of Adult Charges: In some cases, juveniles may be at risk of being charged as adults, which often comes with stiffer penalties. An experienced attorney can argue against this, highlighting factors like the juvenile’s age, maturity level, and potential for rehabilitation.
  7. Support and Reassurance: Facing criminal charges can be stressful for both the juvenile and their family. A supportive attorney can provide reassurance, answer questions, and alleviate some of your fear and uncertainty during this time.

We Defend College Students in Both Michigan and Indiana

At LaBre Law Office, we are licensed to practice in both Michigan and Indiana. We are proud to be a Michiana law firm, serving communities on both sides of the Michigan and Indiana border.

We understand that college students often face unique challenges and pressures, and sometimes these situations can lead to legal issues. Whether it’s a misunderstanding, a lapse in judgment, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a criminal charge can have serious implications for a student’s future.

We defend the rights of college students in Michigan and Indiana. Our firm has extensive experience dealing with a wide range of criminal charges, from minor infractions to more serious offenses.

The students of the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College in and around South Bend, Indiana are among the communities we serve in the Michiana region. We know the local court systems and thoroughly understand state-specific laws and procedures in Michigan and Indiana.

We provide legal representation to college students, guiding them through the legal process and protecting their rights and futures. We’re here to help our clients regain their trajectory so they can continue pursuing their educational goals.

Contact LaBre Law Office if You or Your Loved One Have Been Accused of or Charged With Juvenile Crimes

A criminal charge is stressful enough, but the situation can feel especially overwhelming when your child is charged or if you are charged as a student or young person. The implications for the future may come into question, including social and employment opportunities — not to mention the possibility of jail or prison time, fines, and being branded with a criminal record.

At LaBre Law Office, we understand your concerns and the anxiety you are feeling. We are prepared to guide you through this situation on either side of the Michigan-Indiana border. We will address your circumstances with a deep knowledge of the laws and a goal-oriented approach that keeps the future in mind.

It is important to understand that you should promptly contact a juvenile crimes attorney as soon as you believe you or your child may soon be charged. Your lawyer may be able to take steps to reduce or even prevent charges, based on the details of your case.

Contact LaBre Law Office today to schedule a consultation. We will assess the charges, implications, and your understanding of the events that led to the allegations to devise an appropriate criminal defense strategy to protect your future or your child’s future.

LaBre Law Office — Excellence is Our Standard

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Why Choose LaBre Law Office?

Our clients in the Michiana area have confidence when LaBre Law Office handles their legal issues because our general practice law firm has established a record as a trusted member of the community for over four decades, serving our neighbors:

  • Caring, aggressive advocacy for your interests in many practice areas
  • We represent clients in both Michigan and Indiana
  • Straightforward, assertive, and dependable guidance
  • Unique legal strategies tailored to each specific case
  • We fully address your concerns so you always understand your case’s status
  • We will be here for you long after your legal issue is resolved

Excellence is our standard. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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