Can Juveniles be Put on the Sex Offender Registry?

Can Juveniles be Put on the Sex Offender Registry? As a Michigan defense lawyer, many of those we defend who are facing criminal sexual conduct (CSC) charges are juveniles, meaning a person under age 17 as defined in the Juvenile Code, MCL 712A.1. Just like adults, juveniles can be prosecuted for criminal sexual conduct and other sex crimes.

In a juvenile prosecution, unless the case is a "waiver" or "designation" case, the court process is slightly different, and juveniles are not "convicted" or "sentenced," but instead are adjudicated "responsible," and subjected to a juvenile "disposition." However, the actual Michigan CSC laws themselves and the specific actions a person would have to commit to be guilty of CSC are identical in both adult and juvenile cases.

RELATED: Can Juveniles be charged as adults for Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan?

Under Michigan law, CSC charges fall into four basic categories: Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree, Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree, Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree, and Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree. There are also other Michigan Sex Crimes. But can a juvenile be put on the Sex Offender Registry in Michigan?

This is one of the common CSC frequently asked questions. The short answer is "yes, under certain circumstances." Under the Michigan criminal laws, a juvenile is someone under age 17 at the time of the commission of the alleged Criminal Sexual Conduct.

RELATED: How can I be charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct when my accuser keeps changing their story?

Sex Offender Registration for Juveniles

First, under new changes in the Michigan CSC laws, including the Sex Offenders Registration Act (or SORA), no person under age 14 at the time of the commission of the alleged CSC offense will ever be placed on SORA. This remains true no matter what degree of Criminal Sexual Conduct the juvenile is adjudicated responsible for, unless the law changes again at some future time. However, be sure to take note of the fact that the Michigan law is that those who are "14 years of age or older at the time of the offense" may be subject to registration under SORA. This mens that a 14 year old could have to register as a sex offender in Michigan depending on which type of criminal sexual conduct they are adjudicated responsible for.

For those who were at least 14 years old up to 16 years old at the time of the commission of the alleged Criminal Sexual Conduct, sex offender registration is only required if the CSC crime they are adjudicated responsible for is considered a "Tier 3 offense" under SORA, which are the most serious offenses. These Tier 3 offenses include:

RELATED: Click here for our Sex Crimes Main Page
Under new changes to the Michigan CSC laws, even where the juvenile is 14 or older and has been adjudicated responsible for a Tier 3 offense under SORA, the registration is for LIFETIME, but it is only on the non-public Sex Offender Registry unless the juvenile is convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct as an adult in the Circuit Court. Juveniles placed on SORA may be able to petition to have the length of registration reduced to 25 years, and may avoid registration completely if their case meets the requirements of Michigan's "Romeo and Juliet" law.
RELATED: Will my CSC charges be dropped if the victim doesn't show up in court?
If your child is facing Michigan juvenile Criminal Sexual Conduct charges and was 14 or older at the time of the alleged offense, they could end up having to register as a sex offender under SORA for the rest of their life. There are, however, several strategies that an aggressive Michigan attorney can use to keep your child off the sex offender registry. These include:
  • First and foremost, going to trial and getting a verdict of NOT GUILTY of Criminal Sexual Conduct
  • Pleading down to a lesser CSC or non-CSC charge that is not a Tier 3 offense under SORA
  • Pleading down to a lesser offense to which the Juvenile Diversion Act applies
  • Having the case placed on the Consent Calendar
  • ...and many more...

Know someone who's charged with criminal sexual conduct in Michigan? They're going to require two fundamental things for their defense:

First, a CSC Defense Attorney with the heart to battle their case all the way. Second, a CSC Defense Attorney with the determination to analyze every minute detail, follow every lead, and win against the odds. AttorneyBrian J. Prain is that person.

Among the many awards and commendations he has received, Brian J. Prain has been named one of the Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Detroit by, one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Michigan by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and one of the Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers.

If you know a juvenile in danger of having to register as a sex offender, call Prain Law, PLLC right now to discuss your case at (248) 731-4543.


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Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.