Being faced with a criminal charge is stressful; being faced with a criminal charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence is more so. Better understanding Michigan’s minimum sentencing requirements helps those charged better understand what they’re up against and the importance of having an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney in their corner.
In 1998, the State of Michigan enacted sentencing guidelines that include minimum sentencing recommendations for felony charges. These guidelines are intended to provide judges with a system of assigning scores to criminal defendants based on both the seriousness of the offenses in question and on any prior criminal records they may have.
The idea is to make state-wide sentencing more uniform. It’s important to note that the judge has considerable discretion in the matter – within the parameters set by the state – and that sentencing maximums are set by statute. These minimum sentencing requirements prompt some prosecutors to selectively overcharge in a gambit to obtain the level of sentence they’re going for.
When someone is charged with a felony in Michigan, there is a sentencing cap for the exact charge in question that neither the prosecution nor the defense has any means of addressing or modifying. Minimum sentencing requirements, on the other hand, set forth a range of months that define the low end of the sentence and that judges must work within.
To better explain the process, let’s consider a felony charge that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. The minimum sentencing portion of this sentence is between 51 and 80 months, and this is where the judge’s discretion is triggered. The least possible amount of time the defendant will have to spend in prison prior to being eligible for parole for this charge is 51 months – if the judge goes with the lowest end of the minimum requirement.
In Michigan, criminal charges break down into classes like the following
The seasoned criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Bradley J. Friedman – with offices in Farmington Hills, St. Clair Shores, and Redford – recognize the gravity of criminal charges and dedicate their imposing practice to zealously advocating for their valued clients’ best possible case outcomes. Bradley Friedman’s background as a prosecutor informs his commitment to fiercely defending the legal rights of the accused. To learn more about how we can help you, please don’t wait to reach out and contact us today.