It Is Possible to Avoid Jail for a Probation Violation
If your lawyer is telling you that you have to go to jail because of a VOP, you need a new lawyer. Don’t get sold out!
You deserve a lawyer who will aggressively and effectively fight for you!
You do not have to go to jail for violation of probation. The criminal defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. represent clients on violations of probation (VOP) in misdemeanor and felony cases throughout Michigan. We appear on probation violations frequently in Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Livingston County, Washtenaw County, and Southeastern Michigan in general.
What is the worst thing that can happen?
In any violation of probation, the defendant faces the maximum possible sentence on the original charge. For example, a violation of a 93-day misdemeanor can result in a sentence of up to 93 days in jail (with credit for time served). If the original charge was a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, the violator could receive a prison sentence with a minimum of no greater than 2/3 of the maximum and up to a maximum of four years in prison (otherwise known as a term of years).
Any sentence to prison in Michigan, that is not a sentence to life in prison, must be a “term of years.” A “term of years” means that there is a minimum to the sentence and a maximum to the sentence. For example, a term of years would be one-to-four years in prison. A one-to-four year sentence results in parole eligibility after the defendant serves one year, an amount of time in prison that is equivalent to the bottom number in the term of years. If the defendant is not granted parole, he or she cannot be kept in prison longer than the four-year maximum. As mentioned above, the rule in Michigan is that the minimum time cannot exceed 2/3 of the maximum time. Sticking with the example of a felony with a four-year (48 month) maximum, the highest possible minimum on the sentence would be 2/3 of four years or 32 months, e.g., 32 months to 48 months.
Are there limits on what the judge can do? Yes!
A judge fashioning a sentence on a felony violation of probation must consider the Michigan Sentence Guidelines. The sentencing guidelines for the VOP are whatever the sentencing guidelines were for the original offense at the time of the original sentencing. A sentencing judge can exceed the sentencing guidelines if doing so is “reasonable.” At the same time, a persuasive criminal defense lawyer can convince a judge to sentence a client below the sentencing guidelines if it is “reasonable” to do so for a violation of probation. If a judge guaranteed jail or prison, if there is a violation, don’t believe it. Judges frequently boast about “fire and brimstone” style sentences if the defendant violates probation; however, a great lawyer may have the ability to convince the judge that an alternative sentence makes more sense.
Are there alternatives to jail?
Yes! All of this being said, a jail or prison is not necessary if there is a conviction for violation of probation. When the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. represent clients on VOP’s, we have a strategy that has been developed over the course of many years to avoid incarceration if possible and minimize other potential consequences. We work with experts in a variety of fields who cooperate with us in developing mitigating evidence a lawyer can use to persuade a judge to find an alternative to jail or prison. We also carefully examine every aspect of our client’s case, their lives, and their other personal circumstances to develop the most persuasive argument possible for a lenient sentence, a delayed sentence, and in many cases, a DISMISSAL of the violation of probation.
Another strategy, that is only possible with a retained lawyer, is to negotiate and coordinate with the probation officer or probation supervisor to provide helpful information, to negotiate a favorable recommendation, to discuss a reduction in the probation violation allegations, or to seek a dismissal of the violation before the probation violation hearing.
An experienced Violation of Probation Defense Attorney can help you.
Over several decades of providing top quality criminal defense, we have taken time to carefully study the judges and probation officers throughout Michigan to learn what factors are consistently most persuasive with each individual jurist and what factors the judges find most damaging. We can fully customize the defense for each particular client to maximize his chances of success based on the individual proclivities of the assigned judge. In some cases, we can try to get the violation dismissed, and in others, we can fight for an acquittal at a violation of probation hearing. If there is no reasonable alternative to a conviction, we can work with the judge, probation, and the prosecutor to fashion a sentence that is as lenient as possible.
Call Us Today to Avoid Jail or Prison for Violation of Probation
We are always happy to consult with anyone who is facing a violation of probation anywhere in Michigan. If there is a way to help someone, and there almost always is, we will find it.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.