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17-Year-Olds Now Classified as Juveniles in MI

By Daniel T. Geherin


Parents are always shocked, angry and dumbfounded when they find out that their 17-year-old child is an adult for criminal justice purposes in Michigan.  After all, these same 17-year-old kids cannot vote, cannot buy a beer, and cannot rent a car---but they can go to Adult State Prison if they commit a serious felony.  Think about that:  Your son or daughter might be a senior or junior in High School, but if they get arrested, they’re going to be housed and treated along with seasoned criminals twice and three times their age.

Michigan has always gotten this wrong, until now…..

On October 31, 2019, Michigan’s Governor signed a law changing the maximum age of juvenile criminal jurisdiction from 16 to 17 years of age.  Effective October 2021, 17-year-olds are no longer automatically treated as adults in Michigan’s Criminal Justice System.  Michigan joins the vast majority of states which make 18 the starting point for adult jurisdiction. Until this change takes place, 17-year-old kids who allegedly commit crimes must be charged as adults. 

Now that the law will be changing, parents of 17-year-old kids arrested for an offense will be able to breathe a sigh of relief----but they will also need to find a juvenile defense specialist, which is not easy to do.  Many criminal defense attorneys have never handled a single juvenile case is their whole career, and aren’t comfortable wading into a court system with which they have no experience or knowledge. 

Dan Geherin, owner of the Geherin Law Group in Ann Arbor is a former prosecutor and board-certified criminal trial attorney who has been practicing juvenile law for over two decades.   Since starting his career as a juvenile court prosecutor in 1996, he has been defending juveniles -- and reassuring their parents -- for 25+ years. He has helped thousands of juvenile clients in that timeframe.  Dan has truly separated himself as an attorney dedicated to helping juveniles navigate their way through a very scary and uncertain process, and his firm has success in handling juvenile cases throughout Michigan. 

Because the consequence for a juvenile are often so serious (and open to the public), finding a specialized attorney who handles juvenile defense is of paramount importance.  After all, parents take their children to pediatric doctors and dentists, and should consider no different when it comes to their kids’ freedom, reputation, and academic career. 

Dan is a published author with the Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education on the Collateral Consequence of a Juvenile Conviction.  Dan’s track record of success in litigating and winning juvenile cases is lengthy and well-established.  His success in negotiating favorable outcomes for juvenile clients who face serious consequences following a delinquency charge in Ann Arbor is also remarkable.  And, he is the rare criminal defense attorney who also specializes in juvenile cases and truly enjoys that area of practice. 

For a dedicated, experienced and aggressive juvenile criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor, please contact Dan Geherin and his Ann Arbor-based team at GLG Michigan.  We’re available 24/7, and will help put you at ease, form a plan to handle the case, and fight aggressively to restore your child’s reputation and protect his/her freedom.  Visit us at GLGMichigan, or call 24/7 (734) 263-2780.