Incarceration Alternatives for Drug Convictions
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Incarceration Alternatives for Drug Convictions in Michigan
In Michigan, courts are extremely hard on drug offenses. Many offenses can lead to jail or prison time. However, there may be another option. Not every individual who is convicted of a drug crime is eligible for alternative punishment If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact Tanis Schultz today for a free confidential consultation to discuss whether you may be eligible for an incarceration alternative to your charges. There are alternative options to spending time incarcerated, which often leads to the rehabilitation of drug offenders.
Individuals charged with a drug offense such as a use or possession charge may be eligible for a rehabilitation program instead of incarceration. This may involve a self-admitted inpatient program or outpatient program or even drug court. Throughout Michigan, many counties have “Specialty Courts” that handle specific types of cases related to alcohol or drugs. These courts take a rehabilitation approach to those who have been charged with non-violent drug offenses. They realize that drugs are addictive and that individuals who are involved with them often need assistance in many areas, not just sobriety. Drug courts help individuals with housing, jobs, and of course, sobriety as well. Drug Courts do not focus solely on the punishment of the individual but on rehabilitation and helping that individual get out of a bad situation or even hard times that may have brought them to drugs. Your attorney would need to advocate for drug court as an alternative sentence. If accepted into drug court, you would likely be under intense court supervision and be required to participate in drug treatment/rehabilitation. Additionally, you could be subject to curfews, random drug testing, and other “probation” like conditions. Drug court can help keep people out of jail while also helping them get back on track.
HYTA and 7411 (Deferred Sentencing)
MCL 333.7411, commonly known as 7411 (“74-11”), is a law that allows for the deferral of a sentence regarding drug crimes. 7411 deals with controlled substance crimes specifically, it cannot be used for other offenses (such as domestic violence or theft crimes). 7411 can be used for individuals facing their first drug charge. However, it is a one-time opportunity. An individual cannot receive 7411 twice in their life. In order to receive 7411, the defendant must plead or be found guilty of the drug crime to qualify. Your attorney must request that the court grant 7411. At Tanis Schultz, we draft a petition explaining to the Judge why you deserve 7411. Additionally, we will try to get the prosecutor on board to advocate for 7411 to be granted by the Judge as well. If approved for 7411, a defendant’s conviction would not be placed on their public criminal record at the time of the plea, a term of probation is generally put in place, and so long as the term of probation is successfully completed, the charge will never be placed on the defendant’s criminal record. It would essentially be “sealed”.
MCL 762.11, commonly known as HYTA (Holmes Youthful Trainee Act), is another option for alternative sentencing. HYTA is for individuals between the ages of 17 and 24. MCL 762.11 states in part, “if an individual pleads guilty to a criminal offense, committed on or after the individual's seventeenth birthday but before his or her twenty-fourth birthday, the court of record having jurisdiction of the criminal offense may, without entering a judgment of conviction and with the consent of that individual, consider and assign that individual to the status of youthful trainee.” This means that if accepted as a Youthful Trainee under HYTA, the charge or charges, would be deferred, held in abeyance, and if the defendant successfully completes program, the charges would not be entered onto the defendant’s’ criminal record. If the offense charged was committed on or after the defendant’s twenty-first birthday, the prosecutor must agree to HYTA. Your attorney must advocate for you, to the prosecutor, to receive HYTA approval. If you are under the age of twenty-one when the offense was committed, the prosecutor does not need to consent to HYTA, however, your attorney must still advocate for the Judge to grant HYTA, it is not automatic.
If you do not qualify for drug court, 7411, or HYTA, you may still be able to obtain a delayed sentence and avoid jail time. Delayed sentencing may be an option for those who had not committed certain crimes – such as distribution or manufacturing. If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a drug offense, the judge could, at the advocating of your attorney, grant you a delayed sentence for up to one year if you are able to prove that you are not likely to repeat your mistake. You will be required to pay supervision fees, submit to drug testing, be prohibited to consume alcohol/drugs (besides lawful prescriptions), and any other sanction the Judge deems necessary and just. With delayed sentencing, your criminal conviction would be entered onto your record at the time of your plea. If you are able to show the Judge, at the end of your probation term, that you were able to seek rehabilitation and make positive changes in your life, the Judge may forgo sentencing you to any jailtime. However, if you violate probation or obtain new charges while on a delayed sentence, the Judge, at any point, could terminate the delay and sentence you to jail or prison.
Most individuals are familiar with probation. Probation is an alternative to jailtime for some offenses. Depending on whether you were charged with a misdemeanor of felony, you may be placed on probation for up to two years or up to five years. The Judge, instead of sending you to jail, would place conditions on you, and if you follow those conditions, the judge would let you stay out of jail and not impose any potential jail time you could be facing for the conviction. Some of these conditions that a judge may impose are random drug/alcohol testing, meeting with a probation officer, fines/costs, remaining in the state, and work crew/volunteer hours. However, probation would allow for an individual to avoid jail and keep their job/livelihood.
Hire an Experienced Grand Rapids Criminal Lawyer Today
There are many different options for jail alternatives. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact our Michigan defense attorneys today to discuss your options.
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