In Michigan, certain drug offenders may be eligible for a deferred sentence; in other words, an individual may be approved by the court to be placed on probation for a period of time prior to sentencing. If the individual complies with all of the conditions imposed upon him or her, the judge may determine to throw out a guilty plea, and the associated sentence. This means that a defendant who is unlikely to repeat the drug offense and who has satisfactorily completed probation may be able to avoid having his or her conviction recorded, therefore eliminating the negative impact a criminal record can have on an individual's life.
As highly skilled Michigan drug crime attorneys, the team at Grabel & Associates understands that as humans, we all make mistakes. A first-time offense for drug possession should not necessarily subject someone to a permanent black mark, and deferred sentences are not an option in every case, but may be an alternative to jail or prison time, steep fines, and a criminal record in some circumstances.
The most common deferred sentences for those who have been arrested for drug offenses in Michigan include the "7411" drug offense diversion law and HYTA, or Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. We will break these down and go into a more thorough explanation.
Michigan "7411" drug offense diversion or MCL 333.7411 is a law which was designed so that judges can use their own discretion in determining non-criminal sanctions for individuals who have committed a first-time drug offense which would be considered less serious than some other drug crimes.
7411 sentencing can be used only once in an individual's lifetime, and applies only to certain drug offenses such as those involving possession. If you were arrested for the manufacture, distribution, or delivery of illicit drugs or substances, this deferred sentencing option will not be available. A defendant may be eligible for this program if he or she has no prior convictions, and is found in possession of less than 25 grams of a schedule I or II controlled substance, or used an imitation controlled substance for a second time under MCL 333.7341. 7411 sentencing may apply under other conditions as well according to MCL 333.7403(2)(a)(v), MCL 333.7403(2)(b),(c), or (d), or MCL 333.7404.
The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act is designed for youths who are between the ages of 17 and 20, who have pleaded guilty to committing a crime and who will be placed on probation. This deferred sentence may also apply to individuals who have been charged in adult court, but are as young as 15; essentially, HYTA allows those who successfully complete probation according to the terms and orders set forth by the judge to avoid a conviction and criminal record. HYTA will not be granted to defendants accused of major offenses involving controlled substances, or for felony charges which would leave the defendant facing a potential lifetime prison sentence in Michigan.
Basically, a delayed sentence may be beneficial in helping a defendant who has pleaded guilty to a drug crime get a lighter sentence, although it does not keep the crime off of the defendant's public criminal record. Delaying sentencing does not apply to certain violent or serious offenses, including those involving major controlled substances. In order for a defendant to be granted a delayed sentence by the judge, he or she must prove that it is unlikely another crime will be committed, and that immediate sentencing would not be required for the public good. If a defendant is granted a delayed sentence, he or she will be placed on probation and must adhere to the terms, otherwise the judge can sentence the defendant to jail/prison time immediately if the terms are violated.
As seasoned Michigan drug crimes attorneys, we know that there are many sentencing options that most defendants are not aware of. If you have been arrested for a drug offense and want to learn more about deferred sentences, contact Grabel & Associates today at 1-800-342-7896. We are available 24/7, so call now.