The Juvenile Division of the Bay County Circuit Court has exclusive jurisdiction in cases involving youths under the age of 17 years old. It offers a number of programs for youth who are at risk due to abuse, neglect, or delinquency.
In Michigan there is a separate court system for persons under the age of 17, who are known as minors or juveniles. The juvenile court system was established with the belief that children could be successfully rehabilitated through intensive counseling, education and guidance, rather than punishing them in the adult criminal justice system.
The Bay County Juvenile Courts Mission is to enhance public safety, ensure youth are held appropriately accountable to both crime victims and communities, and empower youth to live productive, law-abiding lives.
The Court hears cases in which juveniles are accused of acts that would be crimes if adults committed them. The current maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction is age 17. These cases may include, but are not limited to:
Felonies, e.g. arson, robbery, aggravated assault, Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), unlawfully driving away an automobile, drug charges, resist and obstruct police, assault with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering
Misdemeanors, e.g. vandalism, petty theft, trespassing, domestic violence, assault and battery, malicious destruction, retail fraud, use of electronic device to commit a crime
Civil Infractions, e.g. careless driving, disobeying a traffic control device
Status Offenses, e.g. School Truancy, curfew violations, underage alcohol offenses
The Bay County Prosecutor’s office reviews police reports to decide whether a petition (i.e. criminal charge) is warranted against the juvenile for the incident in question. Once a petition (i.e. charge) is filed, formal or informal Court proceedings will take place.
Informal vs Formal Proceedings
After a petition is filed, the court determines how the case is processed. The Court may proceed either informally (via Consent or Diversion) or formally (via formal court docket).
Informal Proceedings (Consent Calendar / Diversion Cases): A case may be handled informally as either Consent Calendar or Diversion if the Court decides that protective and supportive action will best serve the juvenile and the public. In either case, a plan may be adopted that can include court costs, counseling, community service, and restitution to the victim. Not all cases are eligible for an informal proceeding. These files are confidential from the public.
Consent Calendar: A Consent Calendar is typically utilized for first-time offenders and less serious crimes. Juveniles are ordered to participate in a correction plan or consent agreement. This agreement will involve complying with specific terms over a set period of time and being monitored and supervised by the court during this period. A consent agreement can include conditions such as community service, counseling, and costs to be paid over the course of 30-90 days. Upon successful completion of the agreement, the juvenile will be discharged from the court with no public record of the offense. If conditions are not completed, the case can be escalated to a formal proceeding as indicated below (see Formal Proceedings Section).
Diversion: The use of Diversion prevents the creation or accumulation of charges to a criminal history for a juvenile. It also provides an opportunity for the Court to observe the juvenile's behavior over a period of time in such a way as to determine that the conditions and actions that led to the juvenile's petition are unlikely to be repeated.
A juvenile must pay a Diversion Assessment fee of $100.00 and may be ordered to complete an educational program, attend counseling, and pay restitution and/or additional court costs. Upon successful completion of the agreement, the juvenile will be discharged as to this petition. If the juvenile does not complete the conditions, the case can be escalated to a formal proceeding as indicated below (see Formal Proceedings Section).
The following are general steps in the formal proceeding process.
Preliminary Hearing: A formal preliminary hearing is where the juvenile is advised of the charges against them, their rights, including but not limited to their right to an attorney.
Pretrial Conference: A pretrial conference happens before going to trial. The prosecutor and defense attorney meet to decide if the case should go to trial or be resolved through a plea bargain. It is scheduled by the court if the petition is authorized and no plea was entered at the preliminary hearing.
Adjudication (Finding of Responsibility): Adjudication is a formal decision by the court and it occurs when the juvenile is found guilty either through a plea given at the advice of their appointed counsel or at a trial.
Disposition (Sentencing): A Court Officer, either an Intensive Probation Officer or Tracking Officer, will investigate the juvenile and the case and submit to the court a report with recommendations on the appropriate oversight and programming needed for the youth. At the disposition hearing, the Judge or Referee may order probation, services or programming that aligns appropriately with the offenses of the youth.
Probation: The purpose of juvenile probation is to protect the community and assist juveniles to grow into socially responsible adults. Youth on probation are supervised by a Probation Officer in the community, in the schools, and in their homes.
Juvenile Probation Officers are required to:
Supervise youth for 3-12 months
Weekly face-to-face contact
Provide appropriate incentives and consequences
Random Drug Testing (when court-ordered)
Recommend program placement:
Monitor school attendance and curfew
Assist in setting up individual and family counseling sessions
Parent/Legal Guardian(s) are required to:
Know your child's whereabouts and associations
Enforce rules of probation
Notify probation officer of any police contact
Notify probation of expulsion from school
Notify probation of any law violations or rules of probation
Provide transportation to all court-ordered hearings/programs
Attend and participate in parenting classes associated with your child's court order
Prior to discharge from Probation, all fines and costs must be paid in full.
Set-Aside a Juvenile Criminal Record
The "Set-Aside A Juvenile Criminal Record" is the process of expunging a juvenile record. This must be filed by someone of 18 years or older.
To qualify, the person filing the petition:
Must not have any adult felony convictions.
Must be 18 years of age or older.
Must have no pending criminal charges at the time of Petition.
Cannot possess a record that contains more than three juvenile adjudications, with not more than one of those being a felony. For example,
For more information on setting aside your juvenile criminal record, please follow the links below or contact the Juvenile Court at (989) 895-4206, Option #4.
Application to Set Aside Adjudication(s) - JC66
Order on Application to Set Aside Adjudication(s) - JC105
(insert MCL 712A.18e)
Personal Protection Orders (PPO) for Minors
Personal protection orders (PPOs) may be used to stop abuse, violence, and stalking by anyone 10 years of age or older.
The Family Division of the 18th Circuit Court has the jurisdiction to conduct minor PPO proceedings involving people 10 years of age to the age of 18. A PPO may not be issued if the person filing the PPO and the person they are filing it against have a parent-child relationship and the child is an unemancipated minor. In such cases, a delinquency or child protective proceeding may be instituted.
Violations of PPOs result in contempt proceedings. If a person that had a PPO filed against them is under 17 years old at the time of the violation of a PPO, the court may impose a juvenile disposition for the violation. If a person that had a PPO filed against them is 17 years old or older, the court must impose criminal sanctions for criminal contempt violations of a PPO or civil contempt sanctions for civil contempt violations of a PPO.
Contact the Bay County 18th Judicial Circuit Court – Family/Juvenile Division for PPO forms.
The Bay County Juvenile Home (BCJH) is operated under the Office of the Bay County Executive. The facility is licensed by the State of Michigan as a Child Caring Institution. It is located at 520 W Hampton Rd. in Essexville, MI. The BCJH is a 29 bed co-ed, secure facility for youth between the ages of 10-17. The function of juvenile detention is to provide temporary care for youth requiring secure custody pending court and disposition or pending transfer to another jurisdiction or agency. Youth are admitted only by court order; voluntary placements cannot be accepted.
Understanding how your child is impacted by their time in the Juvenile Court System can be overwhelming and stressful. Below are community resources to help you get started.
RYSE - Runaway Youth Support and Engagement
Bay County Prosecutor’s Office - Victims Rights
Bay Arenac Behavioral Health
Good Samaritan Rescue Mission -- Youth Services
Mid Michigan Community Action