Predatory Conduct Under the Guidelines

Before judges impose a sentence on a felony charge, they will want to know the defendant’s guidelines. The Michigan Sentencing Guidelines are intended to help a judge determine an appropriate sentence.

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Michigan Sentencing Guidelines – Predatory Conduct Variable

Prosecutors and judges tend to go out of their way at sentencing to increase the felony sentencing guidelines. The Michigan Sentencing Guidelines contain multiple variables that are scored and calculated to determine a recommended sentence for a circuit court judge to use at a sentencing hearing. The guidelines are advisory and not mandatory. Predatory conduct is an offense variable that significantly increases the sentencing guideline range.

One of the tools most frequently used by prosecutors is Michigan Compiled Law 777.40, which instructs that Offense Variable 10 should be scored when a defendant engages in predatory conduct toward a victim or exploits a vulnerable victim. Prosecutors frequently use a very liberal and loose definition of “predatory conduct” to justify scoring this guideline.

Seeking Lower Sentencing Guidelines

A great defense lawyer will be familiar with the latest case law and always be prepared to argue for a reduction in the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines and be prepared to counter any argument made by the prosecution to increase the guidelines. A “victim” for purposes of this offense variable is a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action. A person without an injury is not a victim. “Vulnerability” refers to “the readily apparent susceptibility of a victim to injury, physical restraint, persuasion, or temptation.” MCL 777.40(3)(c). Just because an alleged victim is injured does not make that person automatically vulnerable. There must be an apparent and particularized weakness or predilection to injury or victimization. Finally, “predatory conduct” is “pre-offense conduct directed at a victim for the primary purpose of victimization.” Run-of-the-mill planning is insufficient. To substantiate a claim of “predatory conduct,” there must be pre-offense conduct for the primary purpose of victimization of the vulnerable victim.

Prosecutors and courts are not used to being confronted by a defense lawyer who is not afraid to stand up for his client, is prepared with a credible factual and legal argument, and will fight for that client regardless of any pressure or attempt at intimidation. The lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are familiar with all aspects of criminal law, including the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines, and provide clients with the highest possible level of service, results, and dedication.

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If you are concerned about a felony or misdemeanor charge and are looking to hire a great criminal defense lawyer, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., and we will find a way to help you. Our lawyers are available to give you a free consultation regarding your case and how the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines can be used to turn the tables and give you the advantage at sentencing. We will want to know everything about your situation, answer your questions, and address your concerns during a consultation. If the government attempts to increase your sentencing guidelines using the “predatory conduct” variable or any other argument, we will do whatever it takes to minimize or eliminate jail time.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

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

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