Frequently Asked Questions

You may have many questions regarding Juvenile Court and Your rights and the Law.  Below are several questions and answers regarding the 44th Circuit Court - Family Division - Juvenile Unit. 
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What happens when you are arrested by the police? ,
​If you are arrested you may be taken to the police station. While you are in the police station, you have the right to remain silent and anything you say may be used against you in Court.

If you are under 17 years of age:

1. Your Parents must be notified as soon as possible of your arrest.

2. If you are questioned, you have the right to have a lawyer and/or your parents with you

3. If your parents cannot afford to hire a lawyer and you want a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before questioning or at any point in the questioning if you so desire.

4. You have the right to know the nature of the charges against you.

The police may release you to the care and custody of your parents or take you directly to the Court for a preliminary hearing to be held within 24 hours. The Court may release you to your parents or detain you in a detention facility or foster care until your Court hearing.

Note: If you have been arrested for Retail Fraud, first or second degree, more commonly referred to as shoplifting, you may be required to pay a fee to the merchant. This fee, which is based on the amount of merchandise stolen, does not release you from criminal charges. This procedure should be explained to you by the merchant at the time of your arrest
What is my attorney's phone number or fax number?,

Attorney Contact information is available through the State Bar of Michigan website, under Member Directory.

How do I get a court appointed attorney?,
​To obtain a court appointed attorney you must completely fill out a Request for Appointment of Attorney form and a Financial Statement form and return the signed originals to the Livingston County Juvenile Court. The court will investigate and make a determination if you or your child are eligible for the appointment of an attorney. If you are eligible, the court will appoint an attorney and you will receive a copy of the Order Appointing an Attorney.
What is the court's fax number?,

The 44th Circuit Court - Family Division - Juvenile Unit fax number is 517-546-3731.

How can I speak to the judge, regarding my case?,

You may not speak directly to the Judge/Referee regarding your case. You may submit a letter to the Judge/Referee regarding your case. Your letter will be distributed to all interested parties and may be set for a hearing depending on the contents of the letter. 

Review of Referee Recommendations 

If you disagree with the Referee Recommendations, you may submit a Request for Review of Referee Recommendation - note: this request must be filed with the court within 7 days of the date of the referee's recommendation - Michigan Court Rules 5.991. 

Motion for Rehearing 

Except for the case of a juvenile tried as an adult in the juvenile court for a criminal offense, a party may seek a rehearing or new trial by filing a written motion stating the basis for the relief sough within 21 days after decision of disposition or supplemental disposition. - Michigan Court Rules 5.992.

Why is the parent responsible for court costs / court fines/ attorney fees / home placement costs?,

Parents are responsible for court costs, fines, attorney fees and out-of-home placement costs because the legislation requires it.

Why is my court appointed attorney so expensive?,

Court appointed attorneys are approximately 1/2 to 1/3 less expensive then a standard attorney.

On the petition it states "Take Temporary Custody of the Minor", does this mean my child is going to be taken away from me?,

Possibly. It is the philosophy of the Court that most children can best be served while remaining in their own homes. However, when parents are unable or unwilling to exercise their rightful control and responsibilities or when delinquent children fail to respond to the efforts of families and agencies, the Court will remove such children from their homes in order to protect the community and to initiate programs to change the attitude and behavior of these children.

What is Disposition?,

A Dispositional Hearing is similar to what is called sentencing in adult court. However, in the Juvenile Court there is no specific penalty for any specific crime. The Judge can decide what he/she thinks should be done in your best interests and the interests of society. Many juveniles who are found guilty are allowed to go home with their parents on probation, supervised by the Juvenile Court Probation Officers. Others are placed in detention, foster care homes, or in private or state institutional placements. The Judge will decide when you are released from probation or when you can go home; often based on your behavior and attitude. The Court can keep jurisdiction over you until your 19th birthday and in some cases, until your 21st birthday.

Can any parent bring in their child for random drug testing, even if the child is not under jurisdiction (Court Order) of the court ?,

NO. A juvenile has to be under the jurisdiction of the court.

What is the age range of Juvenile Court?,

Delinquency matters the age range us under 17 years of age. Neglect/Abuse proceedings the age range is under 18 years of age.

When are parents no longer responsible for the actions of their children?,

Parents are no longer responsible for the actions of their children when their child turns age 18 or is emancipated.

What is Emancipation?,

Emancipation is defined as the freeing of someone from the control of another. Emancipation of a minor means the parents "losing of rights in" or authority and control over a minor. Emancipation gives the minor some of the rights and responsibilities of an adult. Emancipation does not make a minor into an adult and does not give the minor adult status for all things.

Where is the Juvenile Court located?,

The Juvenile Court is located in the Judicial Center Building, Suite 3, 204 S. Highlander Way, Howell, MI 48843.

What happens at a Preliminary Hearing at Juvenile Court?,

If a petition is filed at the Juvenile Court you may be called to the Juvenile Court for a Preliminary Hearing. The Prosecution presents evidence from which the Judge or Juvenile Referee decides whether or not there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed by you. At this time, you have the very same rights as you would have if the police were questioning you, and in addition, you have the right to bring witnesses in to testify on your behalf, you may also confront and question those testifying against you. The Judge or Referee may require bail be posted as a condition of your release or you may be ordered into detention pending your trial. If bond is required, both parents and the youth will be required to sign a bond form indicating understanding of the terms and what may happen if those terms are violated.

What happens at a Formal Court Proceeding?,

When you come to court you are presumed innocent of the charge unless you admit your guilt or the Court or jury finds you guilty. If you deny the charges you may request a trial before the attorney referee or a trial before the Judge either with or without a jury. At your Court trial you have the right to be represented by a lawyer, you have the right to remain silent, you and/or your lawyer have the right to ask questions of those who accused you; you have the right to bring in witnesses to help prove that you are innocent; and you have the right to testify yourself. All the parties will be introduced to the Court and the Petition will be read into the Court record. If you admit to the charges in the petition, or the Court or jury decides after the hearing that the allegations are true, the Court will take jurisdiction over you.

Courtroom Etiquette - What should I wear to court? ,

Parents and children appearing in court should dress to reflect their respect for the court. Tank tops, revealing blouses, shorts as well as other casual clothing are not appropriate for a court appearance. All persons must act in a quiet dignified manner while in the courtroom.

What do I do when my teenager is out of control?,

You may try some family approaches to prevent or end delinquency. You may also review the incorrigibility section of this web page to obtain additional information that may assist you.

Can I file a Personal Protection Order against my child?,


What happens when a Juvenile Petition / Complaint has been filed?,

The Juvenile Court has several options on how it can proceed when a petition or complaint is filed. The Court may:

1) Deny authorization of the petition

2) Refer the matter to voluntary counseling under the Juvenile Diversion Act. These cases are handled without official action of the Court. No official record is made

3) Direct the matter for further informal inquiry

4) Place the matter on the consent calendar

5) Place the matter on the formal calendar

What is the Probation Officer's involvement in the Court Hearing?,

The juvenile probation officers are responsible for gathering facts and information pertaining to the case as well as completing a report for the hearing.  To gather this information, an interview is held with the juvenile and the parents/guardians.  Following the interview, the probation officer gathers additional information from other sources such as schools, social service agencies, victims, psychiatrists, counselors, and psychologists with whom the juvenile and family have been or are presently involved with.  The juvenile and parents/guardians will be asked and/or ordered to sign authorizations to release information to the Court for the other parties involved with the case.  After this information is gathered, the probation officer completes a report for the Court and makes recommendations for disposition of the case.  You will receive a copy of this report on the day of the hearing and will  have an opportunity to make any corrections or comments about the report and the recommendations to the Judge/Referee at the time of the hearing.