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How are felonies sentenced in Michigan?

Residents in Michigan may benefit from learning more about the state’s guidelines for felony sentencing. The most recent changes to the guidelines during 2014 have made it a felony offense to engage in certain activities with ammunitions. These guidelines are intended for felony offenses with indeterminate sentences. The guidelines are not applicable to offenses that carry a mandatory determinate penalty or life-sentence. Previous convictions are also considered when a judge issues sentencing to a defendant, and habitual offenders may receive sentencing that’s 25 to 100 percent longer than normal.

The guidelines categorize felonies into six groups: crimes against public trust, crimes against public safety, crimes against public order, crimes involving controlled substances, crimes against property and crimes against people. The state distinguishes four classes of crime: substantive offenses, attempted offenses, offenses with variable maximums and habitual offense sentencing. People facing a variable sentence maximum may have multiple charges for one crime — charges of crimes against property and crimes against people for one arson offense, for example.

According to the state’s guidelines, Class A offenses and second degree murder carry a life-sentence term of imprisonment. Class B, C and D felony offenses carry sentences of up to 20, 15 and 10 years, respectively. Class E offenses have a maximum sentence of five years, while Class F offenses carry up to four years. Glass G felony offenses have a two-year sentence maximum, and Class H offenses may lead to detainment in jail or other intermediate action.

Individuals facing felony charges in Michigan may benefit from finding a criminal defense lawyer. Legal counsel may be able to protect the defendant’s rights to due process and evaluate if the case can be dismissed based on misconduct or a critical error. Lawyers might be able to help the defendant obtain lesser charges by weakening the prosecution’s case or by negotiating a plea bargain.

Source: Michigan Courts, “State of Michigan sentencing guidelines manual“, September 19, 2014

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