Michigan Sentencing Guidelines Information
Drug Charges Attorney Representing Those in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Throughout Michigan Accused of Drug Crimes
What are Michigan state sentencing guidelines? Essentially, these guidelines are a basis on which a judge can determine the sentence that should be handed down to an individual convicted on a drug offense, although the judges do not have to adhere strictly to the guidelines. These guidelines are not mandatory, however most judges do follow them in order to avoid a sentence, which is too harsh, and therefore possibly overturned by an appellate court.
At Grabel & Associates, we understand that when an individual is under investigation for or charged with a drug crime, he or she desires to have somewhat of an idea what that individual may be facing in terms of sentencing if convicted. As experienced and aggressive Michigan drug crime attorneys, we are glad to provide you with information regarding Michigan state sentencing guidelines, and vigorous legal support and representation to protect your legal rights and freedom.
Purpose of Michigan State Sentencing Guidelines
Sentencing guidelines in the state of Michigan are designed to eliminate discrimination in sentencing, ensure that similar sentences are given to offenders who have committed similar crimes, and to provide a way for forecasting the number of offenders who will enter Michigan's prisons each year.
Michigan Drug Crime Sentencing
While penalties are still extremely harsh in Michigan for drug offenders, sentencing is not as harsh as it once was. The maximum sentence of life in prison will only be given to individuals convicted of the most serious drug charges.
Judges review the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines in order to determine a sentence deemed appropriate according to the drug crime the defendant is accused of committing. Various factors may influence the judge's decision, including whether the individual has a previous drug conviction, the type of illegal drug or substance involved, and whether the charges include possession, or possession with intent to distribute/deliver.
- HYTA and 7411 - Deferred Sentences
A defendant may have his or her drug crime sentence deferred only under two special circumstances, 7411 and HYTA (Holmes Youthful Trainee Act). What is a deferred sentence? Simply stated, the defendant may avoid a conviction for a drug charge so that his or her public criminal record will not include a black mark for a drug crime conviction. This is possible only if the defendant complies with all terms of the judge's orders over a specified time period.
7411 - This deferred sentence applies directly to drug crimes, unlike HYTA, and is considered only for individuals who have never been convicted of a drug offense in the past. A 7411 can only be used one time in your life, and applies to the following drug crimes for an individual who is found guilty, or pleads guilty:
- Possession of less than 25 grams of Cocaine or less than 25 grams of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug such as illegal OxyContin or Heroin
- Possession of any amount of Ecstasy
- Possession of any amount of Methamphetamine
- Possession of any amount of non-narcotic Schedule I or Schedule II drugs such as GHB
- Possession of any amount of Schedule III, Schedule IV, or Schedule V drugs, for example illegal Anabolic Steroids or Vicodin
- Possession of an Analogue Drug
- Possession of any amount of Marijuana
- Use of any drug
- A second charge of use or possession of an Imitation Controlled Substance. This is the one instance under 7411 where a person with one prior drug crime is not excluded from another 7411 sentence. This applies only to prior possession or use, and not to the possession with intent, delivery, manufacture or advertising of Imitation Controlled Substances.
HYTA (Holmes Youthful Trainee Act) is a deferred sentence scheme which only applies to defendants who are age 17 through 20 and who have committed any offense, not only drug crimes. This deferred sentencing scheme also applies to individuals as young as 15 years of age if that individual has been charged as an adult. However, HYTA does not apply in all situations involving drugs. For example, someone charged with what is considered a major controlled substance offense will be sentenced as normal, and not eligible for a deferred sentence.
If conditions are met, a defendant is required to plead guilty to the drug crime he or she is accused of. Upon being granted HYTA status, the individual is usually ordered by the judge to serve probation time or up to three years in prison. When all orders are followed for a prescribed time period, the defendant will avoid having the crime entered into his or her public criminal record, as there will be no conviction.
Michigan State Sentencing Guidelines are Not Always Clear
Michigan state sentencing guidelines essentially make it possible for the judge to glance at a chart and determine a range that the defendant's sentence should fall within. Each time a crime is committed, points are assigned; the more points the defendant has accumulated, the more severe the sentence.
At Grabel & Associates, we understand that sentencing guidelines are complex and confusing. Our team of skilled Michigan drug crime attorneys is experienced and knowledgeable; we will review your situation and work to determine what your sentence will likely be in accordance with the guidelines and other factors that may affect sentencing in your particular circumstances.
We are available 24/7 to assist clients, so do not hesitate. Contact us today at 1-800-342-7896 for unparalleled legal guidance and representation.