How to Reduce Your Chances of Serving Jail Time
Our law firm is one of the few in Michigan that devotes its entire practice to criminal defense law. We know the system and we know what you are up against. We know that you don’t want to serve time, or, if you have to, that you serve as little time as possible and we want that for you, too.
By hiring an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer you can decrease your chances of serving any time in jail. Our attorneys work hard to get charges dropped, or can negotiate plea bargains to have charges reduced. Reduced charges means the penalties you face will also be lighter. With attorneys throughout the state, we have the experience you need to get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and learn more about how we can help you.
Will I go to jail or prison?
A number of factors play into whether or not someone convicted of a crime will serve jail or prison time. In most criminal cases in Michigan, a judge determines the sentence and has considerable room for discretion. Sentences can be rendered immediately after a verdict has been entered or can be scheduled later for a sentencing hearing.
What are my chances of going to jail for a first time offense?
Michigan prisons are overcrowded and the state has implemented new programs and improved existing services to try to reduce the number of people incarcerated. Since 2008, Michigan has been cutting its prison population by reducing the number of parole revocations, improving its rehabilitation/reentry planning and supervision, and by paroling more inmates who serve more than 100% of their minimum sentence. In 2010, Michigan’s prison population declined by 6.7%. (Pew Center on the States. Prison Population 2010)
For first-time offenders, especially for misdemeanor convictions, this is good news. Even if you are sentenced to serve time, we may be able to get probation terms for which you serve little or no time behind bars.
What are Michigan’s sentencing guidelines?
Michigan has published sentencing guidelines to help judges determine appropriate sentences. The guidelines detail any special instructions judges are supposed to apply when determining punishments based on the type and classification of the crime for which someone has been convicted. The guidelines also list maximum sentences permitted under the law.
Judges consider these guidelines, but have considerable room for discretion when it comes to deciding a sentence. That’s why it is so important that you hire an attorney that has a proven track record of winning for his or her clients. You can find a copy of the exact guidelines judges rely on for sentencing on Michigan’s court website: Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.
What things does a judge consider when determining a sentence?
Things a judge will usually consider when deciding a sentence, include:
- Pre-Sentencing Report;
- Sentencing guidelines recommended by the law;
- If you have a past criminal record;
- If the crime was malicious, intentional, or if there were any extenuating circumstances;
- Recommendations or conditions from the prosecutor as part of a plea bargain agreement;
- How well you presented yourself (an angry, hostile defendant may be sentenced more harshly than one who seems sincerely sorry for his or her behavior).
What is a Pre-Sentence Report?
A Pre-Sentence report contains recommendations based on a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) conducted by a probation officer. Judges tend to rely most heavily on the Pre-Sentence Report when determining a defendant’s punishment. This report is required by law before a judge can sentence a defendant for any felony charge(s).
The PSI report may include:
- Information about prior convictions or criminal history;
- If there are any aggravating or mitigating circumstances the court should or needs to consider;
- Statements from the victim(s);
- Psychological evaluations and/or mental health history;
- Employment history;
- Family history, and
- Community involvement.
The probation officer(s) conducting the interviews and preparing the report allow for the defendant and his/her attorney to be interviewed or to submit information for consideration.
Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience in dealing with every step of the criminal justice system including pre-sentencing reports and can help you present strong information in your favor to help you receive the lightest sentence possible.
Can I appeal an unfair sentence?
If the sentence you were given is unfair, you may be able to appeal the sentence to have it reduced. Judges are supposed to sentence people fairly the punishment should fit the crime.
Sentences may be appealed if:
- It was not meted out in accordance with the laws in Michigan that set maximum penalties for various crimes;
- If a judge considered factors he was not permitted to consider (i.e., prior history which can increase penalties); or
- If you had a plea bargain agreement in which the prosecutor said he/she would recommend a lighter sentence, but then pushed for a harder one, you may be able to appeal.
There are other circumstances under which you may be able to appeal a verdict or a sentence. It is best that you contact our attorneys to discuss your particular case so we can better advise you on the best legal strategy.
Excessive or Wrongful Sentence Appeals Attorneys in Michigan
Our attorneys are experienced criminal defense trial lawyers and experienced appellate lawyers. We know how to examine the records to see if there is cause to appeal a sentence based on illegal or unfair practices. If you believe your sentence was too harsh, you can count on the Michigan criminal attorneys at Grabel & Associates to help.
Our lawyers understand the sentencing guidelines judges are supposed adhere to, and if your sentence was excessive, we offer comprehensive post-conviction legal services to help you get a better outcome.
Contact our appeals lawyers today, or call 1-800-342-7896 for a free initial consultation.
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