Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but in 2004, Romeo and Juliet gained a whole new meaning to some being accused of a sex offense in Michigan. Referred to as the Romeo and Juliet Law, this law protects the rights of those teens convicted of having consensual sex with someone else under the age of 16. Until the Romeo and Juliet Law, every resident who committed this crime in Michigan was lumped in with all other convicted sex offenders on the Michigan Sex Offender List but as of 2004 and later in 2011 when the rules were once again amended, the laws changed.
Until 2004, those who made a mistake when they were underage and were convicted of statutory rape were generally obligated to file as a sex offender for the rest of their lives in addition to having their names and crimes listed with other sex offenders guilty of more serious crimes including those which do not include consent. According to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act, Section 28.728c, some offenders may now be able to petition the court to allow them to discontinue registering as a sex offender with the state provided that the following apply:
- The victim was 13 or older but less than 16 at the time of the offense
- That the petitioner was 18 or younger not more than 4 years older than the victim
Recognizing that not all cases are the same and not all those who are convicted should be considered criminals, those who qualify would still be required to petition the court and the court still has the final say in regard to whether or not the petition will be granted.
The judge in these cases is required to consider a number of factors when it comes to the case including:
(a) The age and maturity at the time of the offense
(b) The victims age and maturity at the time of the offense
(c) The nature of the offense
(d) How serious the offense is
(e) Any prior juvenile or criminal history
(f) The likelihood that the individual will commit other offenses in the future
(g) Any impact statement submitted by the victim under the William Van Regenmorter crime victim’s rights act
(h) Any other relevant information deemed so by the court
To read more about this legislation, you can visit it here on the Michigan Legislature Website.
Provided that the proper number of years have passed since the date of his or her conviction for the listed offense or from his or her release from any period of confinement for that offense, whichever occurred last, that the convicted has not been convicted of any felony or listed offense since then and that the judge deems it so, the court can grant the rights of the petitioner.
Harris Law is a Northern Michigan Attorney. Located in Gaylord Michigan, Miranda Bailey-Quick handles all legal matters including criminal law and laws regarding sex offenses, family law and probate law. If you have questions about the Romeo and Juliet Law or other laws which may impact your life or are looking for legal representation, we invite you to contact us today. For a free consultation contact Harris Law at 231.347.4444.