The Michigan law of misdemeanor assault, assault and battery, and domestic violence sentencing is far less complicated than felony sentencing. This is a simple explanation of the sentencing process that you will experience if you are convicted of misdemeanor assault, assault and battery, or domestic violence in Michigan.
You will be sentenced by the Judge on your misdemeanor charges if you either: 1) plead guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor charge of assault, assault and battery, or domestic violence without going to trial; or 2) are found guilty by the Judge or Jury of a misdemeanor charge of assault, assault and battery, or domestic violence after your trial. At the moment when either of these two events occurs, you are now a “convicted misdemeanant.” Note that if you decide to enter a plea, your plea will normally be taken at a Pretrial Conference.
The next question is whether or not the Judge will sentence you immediately after your plea is taken, or at a later, specific Court date called a Sentencing Hearing. This choice depends largely on the preferences of your Judge. In some Courts, such as the 35th District Court in Plymouth, Michigan, you may elect to have “traditional” sentencing or “non-traditional” sentencing, where the Probation Department designs the terms and conditions of your sentence and you and your criminal defense attorney only appear before the Judge again if you disagree with the terms of the sentence. However, some Judges may decide to sentence you the moment after you are convicted.
If your Judge decides not to immediately sentence you, then it will generally be for one of a few specific reasons. He may prefer that you first report to the Court’s Probation Department to be interviewed, so that the Probation Officer may prepare a Presentence Investigation Report (commonly called a “PSI”) which makes recommendations as to what your sentence should be based on the facts of the crime as well as your rehabilitative needs. Additionally (especially in the case of a domestic violence conviction), the complaining witness may be actively participating in the case and may wish to offer their input under the Michigan Crime Victim Rights Act.
Whether you are sentenced immediately after your conviction or at a later-scheduled Sentencing Hearing for one reason or another, the process of actual sentencing is generally the same for all Michigan misdemeanor assault, assault and battery, and domestic violence cases.
The prosecutor, with or without input from the Probation Department, will generally argue that your sentence should be harsher than you would like (unless, of course, your criminal defense lawyer has negotiated a plea deal that includes an agreement as to what your recommended sentence should be, possibly even with the Judge’s pre-approval if possible). Your criminal defense lawyer will argue for the most lenient sentence possible. You will have a chance to speak on your own behalf, if you wish. Although your criminal defense attorney may be able to convince the Judge to offer you a payment plan, the general rule is that all costs, fines, and other assessments are due at the time you are sentenced.
In the event that you enter a plea or are found guilty after trial, the Michigan misdemeanor assault sentencing process is your last hope to achieve an end-result that will have a minimal impact on your finances, your freedom, and your future. Only you will suffer if your criminal defense lawyer is less than prepared. Luckily, there are many, many things that a Michigan criminal defense attorney who focuses on assault, assault and battery, and domestic violence cases will be able to do in preparation for this final, critical moment. Contact The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC in order to learn more about these special tactics.