Commutation or Clemency

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Representing Clients in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Throughout Michigan Charged with Drug Crimes

Whether you have been charged with a drug offense at the state or federal level, it may be possible to have your sentence commuted depending on the circumstances. Commutation is simply the process of making the sentence an individual has received when convicted of a drug crime less severe. At Grabel & Associates, our Michigan drug crimes attorneys are very knowledgeable and experienced in the commutations process, which can be complex although it is not typically as involved as the parole process.

Commutations also referred to as "clemency" by some attorneys although the two are not quite the same, starts with a petition to an individual in a chief executive capacity, typically the President of the United States or the governor of the state, depending on whether the state or federal government has sentenced you. For example, if you are a federal prisoner, the President may grant a commutation, whereby your sentence is reduced, although this is very rare. It is important that you consult with a skilled Michigan criminal defense lawyer to ensure the best chance of having your sentence commuted.

Commutations Process

While it is not required that you have an attorney in order to file a commutation petition, it is advisable. In order to request that your sentence is commuted, you must file a petition, which is signed by friends and family members, supporting the request that you be released from prison early. Even if you raise substantial support for your case, it cannot be guaranteed that your request will be granted.

In the state of Michigan, if a commutation is granted by the governor, the prisoner is usually granted parole immediately; in other words, the sentence is reduced to the length of time that individual has already served. In order to request a commutation, the prisoner must fill out an application for commutation, and submit the application to the parole board. After review by the board, recommendations regarding whether your sentence should or should not be commuted are made to the governor's office. In some situations, the parole board may deny your application, which means your commutation request will not be granted. In other cases, the parole board may choose to grant the prisoner a public hearing at which anyone who chooses to do so, including the alleged victim, may attend and voice his or her opinion regarding the sentence commutation.

If you are granted a public hearing, the parole board makes a final recommendation to the governor's office, which then makes the determination regarding whether you will be granted a commutation. If granted, your sentence is reduced to time served, and you may be released, although you will be on parole.

In some instances, your sentence may be reduced, although you may not be release from prison immediately. For instance, if you have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and your commutation petition is approved, your sentence may be reduced to 5 years. If you have been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, your sentence may be reduced to life with the possibility of parole.

Contact a Competent and Aggressive Michigan Commutations Attorney

As mentioned before, it is not a requirement that you have an attorney to represent you or assist you with filing a petition for commutation; however, it is absolutely to your advantage to have an experienced lawyer on your side. A Michigan criminal defense lawyer will work to determine if you are a candidate for commutation; your attorney will also help you navigate the process, provide support and guidance, and work to defend your rights.

At Grabel & Associates, we are dedicated to securing the best possible outcome for each of our clients. If you desire to have your sentence commuted, we can examine your case to determine if it is a possibility, and provide legal guidance throughout the process. We are available 24/7, so call us immediately at 1-800-342-7896.


With drug crime defense attorneys statewide, Grabel & Associates defends people throughout Michigan charged with possession, intent to distribute, manufacturing, cultivation and illegal prescription drugs.