Michigan Judges Take Probation Violations Seriously
Like many states, Michigan has a variety of options for sentencing. However, the judge involved in a criminal case has to give a sentence where the law already specifies a pre-written sentencing parameter. In most cases, such sentencing usually involves a range of punishment, i.e. one to five years incarceration and so on. In the case of probation violations, a judge cannot sentence you to an amount of encarceration greater than what was possible at the original date of sentencing.
At the felony level, the judge is usually restricted by law to a stronger punishment involving a hefty fine and possibly jail time. In any Michigan case with a felony, the judge first has to receive a pre-sentence investigation report. While the judge is not required to follow the report to a “T” with regards to the sentence recommended, he does have to take it into consideration. In many cases, a Michigan judge will usually match the recommendation or exceed it to make a point, especially when a convicted party has a past history of getting into serious trouble.
For any kind of probation to happen, a judge needs to see certain criteria met. These include:
1. The likely conclusion the defendant will not make the same criminal mistake again or any other crime.
2. That a probation sentence is good for the public welfare as opposed to incarceration.
Where probation is provided by a judge, it can be for up to five years total (usually in the case of a felony while misdemeanors max out at two years). However, certain types of crimes are barred from a probation sentence; judges can’t put someone on probation who has committed drug felonies, murder, treason, a felony sex crime, or an armed robbery.
Probationers also need to keep in mind, while a Michigan issues a specific time period for a probation at sentencing, he or she can always change it again during the probation period. Much depends on how the defendant behaves during the period. Probationers need to remember that probation is, in essence, a second chance to avoid jail. A judge can take it away at any time and usually does when the probationer does something wrong during probation. If the probation is revoked due to probation violations, a judge will frequently send a person to jail for the duration of his sentence.
If a person is in the situation of facing a criminal case that will likely end up in a conviction, he needs a good attorney who understands the system and can potential convince a judge to go towards probation for a sentence. Much depends on how well the defendant’s attorney communicates with the court when it counts. Done right, a judge will strongly consider probation for a first-time offender. Done wrong and jail time can pretty much be guaranteed.