Diversion Programs Keep a Conviction Off Your Record
Schmierlaw has Experience with Diversion Programs for Criminal Offenders
There are many examples of diversion programs and deferred sentencing available for certain crimes and, for certain offenders. These Diversion Programs include MCL 769.4a for domestic violence, MCL 333.7411 for certain drug crimes, the Holmes Youth Training Act or HYTA for most offenses committed by persons between the ages of 17 and 26, and deferred sentencing under MCL 771.1. Schmierlaw has experience with helping individuals who have been criminally charged, to take advantage of any available diversion program and will aggressively fight for your right to take advantage of these alternatives. Having a full understanding of these programs and knowing whether you are eligible to participate should be an important factor when considering your case and how you will proceed. And getting it right the first time is essential, because you don't automatically get a redo later.
MCL 769.4a allows first-time domestic violence offenders, after a plea of guilty, to be sentenced to probation and after successfully completing the terms of probation, have the charges dismissed. During probation, if alcohol or drugs were involved, you will be subjected to random alcohol or drug testing. In addition, some sort of anger management program is mandated. While under this diversion program the actual court conviction is shielded from public view, arrest and fingerprint records which may be maintained by the Michigan State Police or the police agency where you were arrested, will not be destroyed but still hidden from public view or a potential employer.
In addition, because the conviction will be set-aside and not considered a conviction, you will not suffer any of the collateral damage a conviction for domestic violence may have such as affecting your gun rights or being able to travel.
MCL 333.7411 allows the court to sentence first time drug offenders to a probationary term not to exceed 12 months and the terms of that probation are met, the charge against the defendant is dismissed. Generally, the defendant is required to attend some sort of drug counseling program and is required to submit to random drug testing. Like MCL 769.4a, fingerprint and arrest records will not be destroyed but will be on the private record.
One significant benefit of 7411 is that the conviction does not get reported to the Secretary of State, so you don't face the one-year mandatory suspension that accompanies a dog crime conviction. Most drug convictions result in a one-year suspension which mandates a minimum 30 days hard suspension, after which you can appeal to the Circuit Court for a restricted license so you can at least drive to work.
The Holmes Youth Training Act or HYTA is available for youthful offenders between the ages of 17 and up to 25 with the Prosecutor's OK. Under this diversion program, the court will sentence the offender to probation, but sometimes with some jail as well. Probation will generally include community service, not engaging in other criminal behavior, and no alcohol or drugs. Like other diversion programs, if the terms of probation are completed successfully, the original charge is dismissed. An added benefit of being sentenced under HYTA is that the conviction is not entered and then set-aside, but hidden from the very get go.
There seems to be some confusion in regard to how many times a Defendant can be sentenced under HYTA. While the other diversion programs and setting aside a conviction is limited to one, there is no restriction with HYTA, This means it is up to the Judge whether to sentence you under HYTA even though you already were sentenced for another crime under HYTA before. An experienced attorney may be able to convince a Judge to give you another chance and give you another opportunity to keep a conviction off your record.
Under MCL 771.1, a criminal defendant may be able to avoid a conviction or be recharged on a lesser offense.through a process called deferred sentencing. With the prosecutor’s approval, the court will impose certain conditions when the defendant pleads guilty and if the defendant satisfactorily complies with the required conditions during the period of deferral, the charge may be dismissed or substantially reduced. While the Court cannot reduce the charge without the approval of the prosecutor under a deferred sentence, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to convince the Prosecutor to reduce the charge if the terms of the deferred sentence are completed successfully. For instance, a felony charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor if the defendant has complied with all the conditions imposed by the Court at the original sentencing.
The Court also has the authority to hold a defendant’s plea under advisement under MCR 6.302(C)(3)(d), (F). Some judges will take pleas under advisement, set conditions, and dismiss the charge if the client complies.
There are other programs that may be available in different District and Circuit Courts. For instance, most counties have various programs under Michigan's Community Correction Programs. Often these are alternatives to incarceration or jail. An experienced criminal defense attorney should be able to explain what diversion or community correction programs are available in the particular court where your case is being heard. In addition, some District Courts offer drug court and drunk driving court which may allow repeat offenders to keep their driver's licenses, albeit a restricted license, but it allows you to drive to work saving money on UBER or waiting outside for a bus in the middle of winter.
Whether it is representation in a legal matter or just some legal advice, Schmierlaw can help. We specialize in Criminal and Drunk Driving Defense and can help you with any sort of legal issue which may arise including Felonies or Misdemeanors, Drunk Driving, Traffic Tickets, Juvenile Offenses, or any other legal concern which you may have.
Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
2222 Attard Street, Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Tel: (248) 705-3742 FAX: (248) 540-0044 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org