Michiganders who have knowledge of the criminal justice system know that felony offenses are treated more seriously than misdemeanors. Yet, not all felonies are created equal. A murder charge, for example, can carry much more significant penalties, and a prosecutor may pursue a conviction more aggressively than a charge for felony assault. Though this may seem intuitive, there are some criminal offenses out there that are difficult to gauge. We hope this post will help clarify one particular offense: human trafficking.
Under Michigan law, human trafficking has a broad definition. This offense may include forced labor or services, debt bondage, trafficking a minor or acquiring a financial benefit via fraud, force or coercion. And, the penalties for violating this law can be staggering. Upon conviction, an individual may face anywhere between 10 years to life in prison. Additionally, the court may order a convicted individual to pay up to $50,000 in fines. Yet, the penalties do not end there.
A human trafficking conviction can exacerbate other matters. For example, prosecutors may be able to use a human trafficking conviction to acquire a racketeering conviction, which could tack on another 20 years to an already heft sentence. Any property that was used in the commission of the crime can also be seized, perhaps leaving a convicted individual and his or her family in a difficult financial situation.
As can be seen, some felonies are wide-reaching, and so are their penalties. Crimes, like human trafficking, are aggressively prosecutors, and there is often very little that will stop them from seeking the harshest penalties. Nonetheless, a competent, experienced and dedicated Michigan attorney can do his or her best to fight back against such allegations, and ensure that the accused individual’s legal rights are fully protected. Therefore, those accused of a felony should fully explore his or her legal options.
Source: Michigan.gov, “Human Trafficking Laws,” accessed on Aug. 14, 20115