The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan is a law firm that devotes all its energy and time to the practice of criminal defense. Attorney Shawn James Haff knows the judges, courts and the prosecutors in West Michigan. He knows what his clients are facing and up against. Because of this, if you want to avoid jail time in West Michigan, you should call Shawn now at 616-438-6719.

We never want our clients to go to jail. We never want our clients to face separation from their family and potentially losing their employment. If you want to avoid jail time in West Michigan, you need Attorney Shawn Haff or one of his fellow lawyers from The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan on your side! We will diligently work to see if we can get your charges dropped. If we can’t, we will see if we can win your case at trial. If that isn’t a good option, we will work on getting you the best plea deal possible.  A plea deal means a diversion program, which usually keeps a person out of jail or lesser charges that also reduce the chances of a person going to jail.

Will I go to jail or prison?

When you are being sentenced for a misdemeanor or felony charge in any West Michigan courtroom, the judge has a lot of discretion when deciding your sentence. There are a number of factors the judge will consider. A person may be sentenced right after they plea guilty to a crime, immediately after a guilty verdict is given or at a later date. All across Michigan, prisons are facing problems of overcrowding. After 2008, Michigan has been working on reducing its prison population by cutting back on revocations of parole, trying to improve the rehabilitation programs for people on parole and by trying to find ways to make reentry supervision more successful. Because of these reasons, since 2010, Michigan has had a prison decrease by seven percent!  (Pew Center on the States. Prison Population 2010)

What are the sentencing guidelines in Michigan?

The state of Michigan has sentencing guidelines that are published both in book form and online. These guidelines are very detailed. These guidelines have specific issues a judge is supposed to consider when it is time to sentence a convicted defendant. These guidelines are partially determined by the type of crime and how the crime is classified.  Maximum sentences are also listed in the guidelines.

While all judges will consider these guidelines, they have room to be flexible when they are sentencing someone. Because of this, it is extremely important to call Shawn now at 616-438-6719 and have him guide you down the path to being given a lighter sentence. If you want to find the exact guidelines, you can view them here:  Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.

What factors will a judge consider at sentencing?

A judge will consider the following factors:

  • Your prior misdemeanor convictions
  • Your prior felony convictions
  • Was the crime malicious
  • Was the crime intentional
  • Was there a plea agreement with the prosecutor
  • Pre-Sentencing Report;
  • Sentencing guidelines
  • How do you present yourself to the court? Are you acting remorseful? Are you hostile? Do you appear civilized?

What is a Pre-Sentence Report?

A probation officer may conduct a pre-sentence report for the judge. The probation officer will make recommendations after they are done gathering information about you and the case. Judges in all West Michigan courts put a lot of weight into these recommendations.  Michigan law requires a psi for any defendant that is going to be sentenced for a felony conviction.

The PSI report should have the following factors:

  • criminal history, which includes past misdemeanor and felony convictions.
  • how much incarceration a person has faced before
  • a statement from the victim
  • a statement giving the defendant’s version of the offense.
  • aggravating circumstances
  • mitigating factors
  • mental health history
  • family history
  • employment history

If you have any more questions avoiding jail, call Shawn today at 616-438-6719! Call him now! Of leave him an e-mail.