Is there any way I could qualify for a reduced sentence in Michigan?

One basis for early release from prison is through compassionate release. This is when a judge reduces a prisoner’s sentence due to extraordinary  reasons, such as a terminal illness or a significant change in circumstances. Boot Camp is a second means by which a state prisoner can be paroled upon completion of the Boot Camp program.

What is the Clean Slate law? How many times can I use it?

The Clean Slate Michigan law, allows for automatic expungement of certain convictions from the public record. A person can expunge up to three felonies and unlimited misdemeanors. Certain crimes are not expungable such as certain assault or weapons offenses and felonies that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

What is the purpose of a sentencing hearing in Michigan?

During a sentencing hearing, the judge considers several factors, including the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, rehabilitative efforts and the Defendant’s statements. If there is a victim, the judge will consider their statements from victims or their families about how the crime has affected them.  Once the Judge hears from all parties, they fashion a sentence that addresses punishment, rehabilitation, deterrence and restitution.

Can a judge consider a defendant's prior criminal record when determining their sentence?

Yes, a judge considers a defendant’s prior criminal record during a sentencing hearing. However, the Judge also considers factors such as the Defendant’s family situation, health, work record, and any other relevant factor. Based on these factors, the Judge imposes a sentence that involves a balance of punishment and rehabilitation.

Does the victim have input on the sentence that a defendant receives?

Yes, a victim has the right to have input on a sentence a defendant receives in Michigan. Victims of crimes have certain rights in Michigan, including the right to be involved in the case and the right to file a victim impact statement. A victim impact statement used during a sentencing hearing is a written or oral statement from the victim or their family about how the crime has affected them.

Are there mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes in Michigan?

Yes, there are mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes in Michigan. The state’s Truth in Sentencing law eliminates disciplinary credits and good time and requires offenders to serve the entire minimum sentence in prison prior to being considered for parole. A minimum mandatory sentence is the minimum sentence you must serve, regardless of the circumstances, for the crime you have committed.

What is the difference between a jail sentence and a prison sentence in Michigan?

In Michigan, jail is a local facility that houses individuals who are awaiting trial or serving a sentence of less than one year. Jails are operated by county sheriffs and are used to hold people who have been arrested for misdemeanors or low-level felonies

Prison, on the other hand, is a state-run facility that houses individuals who have been convicted of felonies and sentenced to more than one year in prison. The Michigan Department of Corrections operates the state’s prisons, which are designed to hold individuals who have been convicted of felonies.

Can a defendant request a specific type of sentencing in Michigan, such as community service or restitution?

Yes, a defendant can request a specific type of sentencing, such as alcohol or drug rehabilitation, probation instead of jail or prison. The judge has the final say in determining the sentence and will consider the defendant’s statements and recommendations for rehabilitative programs.

Can a defendant be sentenced to both jail time and probation in Michigan?

Yes, a defendant can be sentenced to both probation and jail time in Michigan. If jail is ordered, it will be served prior to the start of probation.  When a court sentences a defendant to probation, the court will set the length of the probation, the terms of probation, and the rehabilitation goals.

Can a defendant receive a sentence of life without parole in Michigan?

Yes, a defendant can receive a sentence of life without parole in Michigan. Certain homicide and non-homicide crimes are generally punishable under Michigan law by mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Can a defendant receive credit for time served in Michigan?

Yes, Defendant’s receive credit for any time served in jail Michigan. Michigan’s jail credit statute provides that whenever any person is convicted of a crime within the state and has served time in jail prior to the sentencing hearing, the sentencing Judge shall grant credit for all time served in jail prior to the sentencing.

What are the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines?

The Michigan sentencing guidelines are a set of rules that help judges determine the appropriate minimum sentence for a person who has been convicted of a felony. The guidelines consider the severity of the offense, the offender’s prior record, and other factors that may affect the sentence. The guidelines are advisory, which means the judge can depart from them if there is reason to do so.

What does it mean to have Community Corrections as part of a sentence?

Community corrections are treatment programs and services that are used instead of Jail. Probationers report to probation officers, community service workers, alcohol and drug testing facilities, counselors and other treatment providers,  Success on community corrections may reduce or eliminate future jail time. Temporary housing in treatment facilities, electronic monitoring also offer means of early release for jail. All of these services fall under Community Corrections.

What is a Substance Use Evaluation?

A substance use evaluation is used to determine whether a person has a use disorder with alcohol and/or drugs. It is assessment is done by a Substance Abuse Counselor, and it  involves screening tests and interviews regarding ones substance use history and level. The goal is to determine if the person has a substance use disorder, and design an individualized treatment plan.  This plan is given to the sentencing judge.

Is there a chance to earn an early discharge from probation?

The Michigan early discharge from probation option allows some probationers to end their probation period halfway through the original term ordered at sentencing.  The program aims to reward good behavior, reduce the caseload of probation officers, and save costs for the state.

To qualify for the program, a probationer must meet certain minimum requirements.

What is the Right of Allocution? How is it used at a sentencing hearing?

The right of allocution is the right of a defendant to make a statement to the court before being sentenced. The purpose of allocution is to allow the defendant to explain why the sentence should be lenient, accept responsibility, humanize themselves, and present mitigating factors and personal circumstances. The right of allocution is waivable, but the court cannot deny it or impose sentence without letting the defendant read their entire statement during a sentencing hearing. Allocution is a statement made after the defendant has been found guilty or has pleaded guilty, and before the sentence is imposed.

What is the typical minimum sentence for attempted murder in Michigan?

The maximum sentence for attempted murder in Michigan is life in prison. However, there is no minimum sentence, so it is possible to be sentenced to probation or even jail time.  First-degree attempted murder is often punished with a life sentence, though the convicted person does have the possibility for parole.