Felony and Misdemeanor Cases – Avoiding Jail Time in Oakland County, Michigan

Many lawyers tell clients charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Oakland County, that it is difficult to avoid jail time. The truth is that a resourceful, tenacious lawyer who is experienced in defending criminal cases in Oakland County knows that there are various programs that, when requested, can keep the client out of jail or prison or, at least, drastically reduce the amount of time he or she will have to serve.

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Programs to avoid jail time in Oakland County include:

Adult Treatment Court – Designed for substance abusing non-violent adult felony offenders in an effort to rehabilitate and then successfully reintegrate them into the community.

Alternative Incarceration Centers (AIC) – Community-based, 24 hour-a-day supervised sentencing alternative for use by Circuit Court Judges in felony cases. Individuals sentenced (for a non-violent felony offense) to an AIC must adhere to strict supervision and behavior standards, participate in various therapeutic interventions (e.g., substance abuse and/or mental health counseling), as well as financially contribute to their care once employed.

Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) – Substance abuse treatment in a variety of settings, lasting up to 30 days (for misdemeanants whose criminal conduct is directly related to drug/alcohol using or addiction). Designed to effectively treat the offender with serious drug/alcohol problems.

Life Employment & Skills Program (LESP) – This program is designed for in-custody felony offenders who have a history of past criminal conduct and substance abusing behavior and can result in a 25% reduction in the jail sentence upon completion.

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Electronic Monitoring – Electronic monitoring allows for close supervision of a defendant while in the community and can be ordered to avoid jail time in Oakland County. Schedules are set for defendants who are allowed to work, attend school, counseling and other appointments required by the court. There is a fee for electronic monitoring. Restricted areas can be established in cases where victims are involved. Types of electronic monitoring include:

  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring
  • Breathalyzer Monitor
  • Ignition Interlock
  • Tether

Prior Authorization Central Evaluation (PACE) – Provides the first step to substance abuse treatment for Medicaid, low-income and under insured individuals.

Prison SAI (Special Alternative Incarceration) – Offenders eligible for the Prisoner Boot Camp must be sentenced to a minimum prison term of three (3) years or less, or two-year minimum or less for Breaking and Entering (ODH) or Home Invasion. Ninety (90) days at the program includes strenuous physical exercise and work as well as educational and vocational counseling. Inmates are released to aftercare upon completion of the Boot Camp.

Probation SAI (Special Alternative Incarceration) – The program includes ninety (90) days at the Boot Camp in Chelsea with strenuous physical exercise and work, including community projects. Additionally, the Boot Camp incorporates educational and vocational counseling and an aftercare program.

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Sheriff’s Work Release – A GPS tether based program designed to allow offenders to live at home and maintain employment.

Step Forward – Utilizes the day reporting center concept and is designed to accommodate offenders and their work shifts while ensuring public safety through intensive supervision services.

Urban Drug Court – For nonviolent crimes committed in Pontiac, MI. Frequent, random drug and alcohol tests; attendance and participation in Drug Court every other week; support groups such as AA, NA, or Smart Recovery; appearing and participating in counseling sessions; completing any assignments; abstinence from drugs and alcohol; and more.

WWAM (Weekend & Weekday Alternative for Misdemeanants) – A supervised Community Service Program

Zero Tolerance Program (ZTP) – Designed to assist judges in enforcing abstinence from controlled substances by incorporating the use of random urine screens. The number of days sentenced to Zero Tolerance are in lieu of jail time and should be ordered accordingly.

Will the judge or prosecutor look for an alternative to jail? What about my lawyer?

Judges and prosecutors generally do not look for alternatives to jail when they believe that the defendant must be punished.  As for defense lawyers, many just focus on reducing jail time and do not put considerable effort into finding alternatives that may be acceptable to the court.  Many programs that are available and can reduce or eliminate jail time or reduce terms of probation have requirements that must be met before the sentencing hearing.  If an attorney does not have great expertise in all sentencing options and their specifications, he will be helpless and ineffective at sentencing.  Great lawyers are proactive and even while they are fighting every aspect of a case for their clients, think about and prepare for achieving an extraordinary result at sentencing, in the event there is a plea or conviction. Great golfers do not head out to the course with one club; they have a bag of clubs that appropriate for different situations.  Well respected attorneys, likewise, have a bag of different approaches and tools at their disposal, so they are ready for any challenge that is presented.

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Facing Sentencing in Oakland County and Want to Avoid Jail

The team of defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have vast experience in handling felony and misdemeanor cases in Oakland County, Michigan and a well-known track record of success. When it comes to helping a client avoid an impending jail or prison sentence, our defense lawyers will do whatever is necessary to help their client’s get in the best position possible to convince a judge that they deserve a chance at proving that incarceration is not necessary. We are well known and respected for our passionate, tenacious and creative representation of clients at sentencing and we can frequently help a client avoid incarceration when it seems inevitable. Call us today for a free consultation at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and an experienced Oakland County Defense Lawyer will promptly contact you.


We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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