Michigan Felony Assault Sentencing Hearing

undefinedMichigan Felony Assault Sentencing - A Straightforward Explanation of What You Will Experience at Your Sentencing Hearing.

There is more to the process of Felony Sentencing than most people realize. What follows is a simplified explanation of what you will experience at a Michigan Felony Assault Sentencing, in the event you are convicted of a Felony Assault charge.

You will be sentenced by the Judge assigned to your case if:

1) you plead guilty or no contest to a Michigan Felony Assault charge without going to trial;

2) you are found guilty of a Michigan Felony Assault charge by the Judge or Jury after your trial.

At the moment either of these two events occur, you are now a "convicted felon", and will be required to visit an officer from the Probation Department (part of the Michigan Department of Corrections) on a predetermined date for a presentence investigation interview. If you are not released on bond after your conviction, and remain detained in jail immediately after your conviction, you will be visited in jail by the Probation Officer.

The purpose of this interview is to gather information about you as a person, your lifestyle, criminal history, and the facts of this crime. The Probation Officer prepare a written summary of the information gathered, called a Presentence Investigation Report (PSI). This report will contain a recommendation to the Judge as to what your sentence should be (i.e. 2 yrs in state prison, followed by 3 yrs of probation, etc.).

As part of the PSI, the Probation Officer will apply all of the information (s)he has gathered about your present, your past, and your crime, to the Michigan Felony Assault Sentencing Guidelines.

In some cases, it is possible to ask the Judge, in open court, what her likely sentence would be if you plead guilty or no contest to the Felony Assault charge (or to a reduced charge if offered by the Prosecutor). This statement, by the Judge, is referred to as a "Cobbs Evaluation". If the Prosecutor agrees to it, it becomes a "Cobbs Agreement".

At your Michigan Felony Assault Sentencing, if the Judge changes his or her mind, based on new information in the PSI report, then you have the right to withdraw your plea and go to trial. Cobbs deals are an effective way to give you some sense of certainty, in an otherwise extremely uncertain situation.

Michigan Felony Assault employs "indeterminate sentencing", which means that when your specific case information is plugged into the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines, the result will be a range of months (i.e. 6 to 12, or 24 to 46) for which Michigan law says you should be sentenced. Any sentence 12 months or less is a jail sentence. Any sentence longer than 12 months is a prison sentence. If you have a previous felony conviction, and are charged as a Habitual Offender, it is likely that you are looking at the high-end of the sentencing parameters. The Judge could also decide to sentence you to more or less than the "Guidelines" if (s)he finds substantial and compelling reason to do so. However, every Michigan felony charge has a "statutory maximum" that cannot be surpassed.

After your interview with the Probation Officer, and before your Michigan Felony Assault Sentencing Hearing, your criminal defense attorney should be doing a couple of things:

1) advise you to begin gathering character letters of support from those who know you, (co-workers, pastors/priests, relatives, teachers/professors, etc.)

2) meet to review the Presentence Investigaton Report with you

3) score your Michigan Felony Assault Guidelines and be prepared to take the first opportunity available to argue to the Judge if (s)he finds that the Probation Department has improperly scored your Guidelines and thereby subjected you to being sentenced longer than the law would allo.

4) preparing a Sentencing Memorandum detailing why you should be granted leniency

At your Michigan Felony Assault Sentencing Hearing, the Probation Officer will be sitting next to the Prosecuting Attorney, and both are permitted to make their comments to the Judge, generally asking for the harshest sentence possible. It is up to your attorney to understand that your future is hanging in the balance and to be prepared to defend it. You and your attorney will have the opportunity to correct any mistakes in the Presentence Investigation Report, argue the Guidelines, and make last comments. You will have the opportunity to speak on your own behalf and apologize ("allocute") if you wish.

The Michigan Felony Assault Sentencing Process is complex and must be done right. Only you suffer if your criminal defense attorney isn't on top of everything! There is no greater moment in your Michigan Felony Assault case than now, to have you wondering if you have hired the right Michigan Felony Assault Defense Attorney. Call our office at (248) 731-4543 for the best free consultation you'll ever get!

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