If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence offense, you could be at risk of a conviction. If you’re found guilty, you face severe punishments, such as incarceration and/or fines. Fortunately, in Michigan, you may be eligible to enter into a plea bargain under MCL 769.4a, which could result in a dismissal of the charge.
What Is MCL 769.4a?
Michigan law allows certain individuals charged with a first-offense domestic violence crime to enter into a deferral program. The statute that permits this is MCL 769.4a, which is commonly referred to as the Spousal Abuse Act (SAA).
According to the SAA, if you admit guilt to or are found guilty of a domestic violence offense, you may request to be placed on the deferral program. The court will confer not only with you but also the prosecutor and alleged victim to determine whether or not to grant your request.
What Happens If the Court Approves the Deferral Program?
If the prosecutor, victim, and judge agree that you can be placed on the deferral program, the judge will hold off on entering the judgment of guilt. Instead, you will be placed on probation.
Various probation conditions may be imposed on you, including, but not limited to:
- Anger management
- Drug and alcohol testing (if either was involved in the offense)
If you successfully complete probation, fulfill all terms, and comply with any other court-ordered conditions, under MCL 769.4a, your domestic violence charge will be dismissed and will not be entered on your criminal record.
However, the court may revoke probation, enter an adjudication of guilt, and sentence you if you do any of the following:
- Commit an assaultive offense during probation
- Violate any of the probation conditions
- Contact a person the court has ordered you not to communicate with
Who’s Eligible Under MCL 769.4a?
Unfortunately, not every person charged with domestic violence can be placed on the deferral program. It is only available for those who have not been previously convicted of such an offense. Additionally, if you have had judgment deferred for a prior domestic violence offense, you will not be eligible again. This program can only be used once.
Contact Tanis Schultz to Learn More
If you’re charged with a domestic violence offense in Grand Rapids, various legal options are available to you to minimize the impacts of a conviction on your life. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have over 45 years of combined experience. They can provide solid legal advice on an effective way to proceed with your case. We know that every situation is unique, which is why we tailor our approach to fit your circumstances and needs.
Schedule a free and confidential consultation with our team today by calling (616) 608-7149 or filling out an online contact form.