There are options that may be available to someone who is charged for the first time with certain misdemeanor and felony offenses in Michigan. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know all of the available options and how to maximize his or her chances of obtaining an extraordinary result. A person charged with a first offense for certain offenses, if they are under 21-years-old (at the time of the offense) or under other special circumstances, may qualify for a special disposition whereby the offense can be dismissed upon meeting certain requirements or the offense may NEVER even go on their criminal record. Although these options may be available, it is infrequently certain that the judge will grant this type of extraordinary relief. This is where a great criminal defense lawyer can be invaluable and can make the difference between a conviction and a clean record.
Drug Crimes including Marijuana, Cocaine, Prescription Medication, and Others
MCL 333.7411 (also known as “7411”): This provision allows for a first-time offender involving use or possession of marijuana, cocaine, Vicodin, Xanax, Oxycontin or controlled substance to have the proceedings deferred without entering a judgment of guilt. This provision is available for both misdemeanor drug crimes and felony drug offenses. After successfully completing probation, the court shall discharge the individual and dismiss the case. If granted treatment under 7411, the status may be lost if there is a violation of probation.
Dismissal Under a Delayed Sentence
Although many judges are reluctant to grant a delayed sentence, and some outright pretend they do not have the authority, a dismissal after a period of time following disposition on a misdemeanor or felony case is possible under MCL 771.1. This provision can be a very important tool for Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyers while they fight to achieve amazing results for their clients. In cases other than murder, criminal sexual conduct, and major drug offenses, if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, if the court determines that the defendant is not likely to engage in an offensive or criminal course of conduct and the public good does not require that the defendant suffer the penalty imposed by law, the court may place the defendant on probation for not more than 1 year to give the defendant an opportunity to prove his eligibility for probation or other leniency compatible with the ends of justice. This section also does not apply to juveniles. If granted a delayed sentence, the status may be lost if there is a violation of probation.
Youthful Offenders – Holmes Youthful Training Act (HYTA)
MCL 762.11: This statute is applicable to those charged with crimes that were committed between the ages of 17 and 21, and sometimes up to 24 years old. If a defendant is granted HYTA, no conviction is ever entered on their record. Essentially, this means that the case is taken under advisement and then dismissed when probation is completed successfully. Many people, including less inexperienced criminal lawyers, do not know that probation under HYTA may include incarceration in jail or prison. Youthful trainee status is not available for certain offenses, including but not limited to offenses involving life in prison or major controlled substance offenses. If granted treatment under HYTA, the status may be lost if there is a violation of probation. For those between the ages of 21 and 24, HYTA can only be granted if the defense lawyer can convince the prosecutor to agree to that disposition.
Dismissal of Domestic Violence Cases
Under the Domestic Violence Statute, MCL 769.4a, when an individual who has not been convicted previously of an assaultive crime pleads guilty to, or is found guilty of domestic violence, the court, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the accused and of the prosecuting attorney may defer further proceedings and place the accused on probation. As you may expect, many complainants in domestic violence cases are reluctant to agree to a disposition that does not result in a conviction. An aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney is often the key to convincing the prosecutor to persuade the court and complainant to agree to this type of resolution. If granted treatment under 769.4a, the status may be lost if there is a violation of probation.
Why an Experienced Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
All of the provisions above are NOT guaranteed, even if a defendant meets all of the requisite criteria. Many judges are reluctant to grant any status that results in the defendant having a conviction. A conservative or strict judge may decide that it is better that the defendant be convicted and later attempt to obtain an expungement after five years if they remain out of trouble. Unfortunately, expungement are not guaranteed either. A defense lawyer has to do everything humanly possible to fight to convince the sentencing judge that the client is worthy of special consideration.
Another complicating factor can be a recalcitrant or overly zealous prosecutor. Prosecutors are pre-programmed to give defendant’s a hard time in court. In many cases, there develops a personal animosity with a defendant or a sympathy for a “victim” and the prosecutor objects to special consideration. This is particularly problematic in some courts were judges are predisposed to follow the prosecutor’s recommendations. A great criminal attorney will know what to do to either convince the prosecutor not to object or, in the alternative, convince the judge to grant a special sentencing provision over the objection of the prosecution.
All of the above sentencing options are available in Circuit Courts and District Courts throughout Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Livingston County, Washtenaw County and in many other jurisdictions throughout Michigan. If you or a loved one is a first time offender or may be qualified for any of the above provisions, please call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation and case evaluation at (248) 263-6800 or fill out a Request for Assistance Form and a highly experienced criminal defense attorney will promptly contact you.