Juvenile Diversion Programs

No one wants their minor child to be accused or charged with a criminal offense. Minors are usually in the midst of graduating high school, applying for college, or beginning their careers. A criminal record or prison time can have damaging effects on a minor’s career trajectory. Fortunately, the law in Michigan affords minors who make mistakes or commit crimes several options or “second chances.” These “second chances” are called diversion programs, and they essentially allow minors who commit crimes to avoid criminal punishment if they adhere to specific conditions. There are two primary diversion programs: the Juvenile Diversion Act and Juvenile Consent Calendar. I have extensive experience utilizing both of these programs to ensure that minors accused of crimes are not unfairly punished for their mistakes. If you or your minor has been accused or charged with a crime, contact me today for a free initial consultation.

Does My Minor Qualify for Juvenile Diversion Programs?

The Juvenile Consent Calendar and Juvenile Diversion Act are not available to all minors facing criminal charges. Placement is usually reserved for minors accused or charges misdemeanors or non-violent crimes, or first-time juvenile offenders. The court is particularly likely to transfer a case to either diversionary program when the judge is convinced the minor is unlikely to commit another crime.

Juvenile Consent Calendar

Once the police complete their investigation and the prosecutor proceeds with filing a petition with the Family Division of the Circuit Court, the case officially begins. The first court hearing in a juvenile proceeding is similar to an adult court arraignment. The minor is informed of the charges against them and they are advised of their constitutional rights. At this hearing, the Family Court’s Juvenile Division can place the minor on informal probation called the Juvenile Consent Calendar.

The Juvenile Consent Calendar is an informal process by which no formal plea or adjudication will be entered. Both the parents and the accused must accept the minor’s placement on the consent calendar. The minor will be placed on probation or a “correctional plan” whereby he or she must complete terms imposed by the court, which may include the following:

  • Counseling or anger management
  • Community service
  • Apology letters
  • Restitution

If the minor successfully completes the conditions imposed by the court, all records will be destroyed when he/she turns 17, and the Juvenile Consent Calendar will not be public. Additionally, any fingerprints already recorded must be returned. If a minor violates the conditions or is charged with another crime while on Juvenile Consent Calendar, the case may be placed on the formal calendar, and the minor risks going to trial with formal adjudication.

Juvenile Consent Calendar gives minors a second chance and helps them avoid the serious consequences of a criminal conviction. Placement on the Juvenile Consent Calendar and negotiating the conditions of probation requires the skill of an experienced attorney. With so much at stake for your minor’s future, it is critical to contact me today to preserve your minor’s rights and to explore every possible option to ensure your minor has a second chance to take back his/her life.

Juvenile Diversion Act

The purpose of the Juvenile Diversion Act is to permit certain minors to be diverted from the court system having jurisdiction over minors, to establish procedures for diversion from formal court procedures, and to require that certain records be kept in connection with diversion. Such services can be used only if they are voluntarily accepted by the juvenile and his or her parents, guardian, or custodian. Instead of a petition being filed or authorized with the court, either of the following occurs:

  1. the minor is released into the custody of his or her parent, guardian, or custodian and the investigation is discontinued, or
  2. the minor and the minor’s parent, guardian, or custodian agree to work with a person or public or private organization or agency that will assist the minor and the minor’s family in resolving the problem that initiated the investigation.” MCL 722.822(c)(i)–(ii) and MCL 722.823(1)(a)–(b).

The court will consider the following factors to determine whether a minor should be afforded a diversion:

  1. The nature of the alleged offense.
  2. The minor’s age.
  3. The nature of the problem that led to the alleged offense.
  4. The minor’s character and conduct.
  5. The minor’s behavior in school, family, and group settings.
  6. Any prior diversion decisions made concerning the minor and the nature of the minor’s compliance with the diversion agreement.” MCL 722.824(a)–(f).:

Diversion Conference: if the case is diverted, the law enforcement official or court intake worker will meet with the minor and his/her parent or guardian prior to the filing of a petition in order to discuss informal alternatives and potential terms of the diversion agreement.

Diversion Agreement: If a diversion agreement is reached that imposes conditions on the minor, the terms of the agreement must be set forth in writing, dated, and signed by the law enforcement official or court intake worker, the minor, and the minor’s parent, guardian, or custodian. MCL 722.825(3).

Contact ZAYID LAW to Discuss Juvenile Diversion Programs

There is no reason your minor should face criminal punishment for a one-time mistake if they do not have to. I understand how to effectively tailor the case to utilize these juvenile diversion programs so that your minor will have a “second chance” and get back on track. The earlier I get involved the better chance we can avoid the filing of a formal petition in court. If you or your minor have been charged with a juvenile offense, contact me today for a free initial consultation.