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Understanding the Implications of a Deferred Sentence in Michigan

A deferred sentence is one form of sentencing in Michigan. The term ‘Deferred Sentence’ can be confusing. It refers to a sentence that is delayed until a later date. It allows someone charged with a crime in Michigan to avoid a criminal conviction on their public record.

If you are facing criminal charges in Michigan, it’s crucial to comprehend what this term means within the context of your crimes and the state’s legal system. This article aims to clarify the concept, implications, and specific regulations surrounding a deferred sentence in Michigan.

A criminal defense lawyer at the Bruce Law Firm can help structure a plea deal before trial, including a deferred sentence. Please have one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers assist you with your case.

automatic partial expungement

What is a Deferred Sentence?

A deferred sentence refers to a judicial arrangement where the court postpones the sentencing of a defendant following a guilty plea or verdict. This deferral period can last several months to a few years, during which the defendant has the opportunity to fulfill specific court-ordered tasks.

If the defendant successfully complies with these and other conditions, the court may dismiss the charges during the deferment period, resulting in no formal conviction on the defendant’s record. However, failure to meet the conditions can lead to the immediate imposition of a sentence.

It’s important to note that the rules and consequences of deferred sentences can differ depending on the jurisdiction.

How is a Deferred Sentence applied in Michigan?

In Michigan, there are two main types of deferred sentences. One is known as the Holmes Youthful Trainee Acy (HYTA). The other is known as Section 7411.

In these and other cases, a criminal defendant would plead guilty to a misdemeanor or felony charge. The Judge would hold the conviction in abatement while a determination of eligibility is made. If deemed eligible, the defendant would receive a deferred sentence.

If the defendant successfully meets these requirements, the misdemeanor or felony conviction will be dismissed, leaving the criminal record clean. However, failing to adhere to the terms during the deferral period can result in the original charges and criminal case being reinstated and a sentence imposed.

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Qualifying for Deferred Sentences After a Guilty Plea

In Michigan law, two commonly used deferred sentences can be offered to certain defendants in criminal cases. HYTA (Holmes Youthful Training Act) and .7411 (Section 7411 of the Michigan Public Health Code) are two types.

These deferred sentences allow the defendant to avoid a criminal conviction, provided they successfully complete probation. This usually involves the defendant completing counseling, fines, court costs, other fees, and a possible period of incarceration.

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Deferred sentencing Under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) is a legal provision for young offenders aged 17-24. HYTA permits non-violent offenders to avoid a criminal record if they meet specific conditions during the deferment period.

It should be understood that being granted HYTA status does not mean a person found guilty and eligible for HYTA does not serve either jail or prison time. Although rare, it is possible to serve some time while under HYTA status.

Offenders must attend counseling, perform community service, and avoid legal trouble. The judge decides eligibility based on factors such as the severity of the offense and criminal history. HYTA is a critical opportunity for young people to avoid a criminal record and build a positive future.

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Deferred Sentencing Under Section .7411

Section 7411 of the Public Health Code applies to first-time drug offenders in Michigan. The accused in court can defer their sentence for up to two years, during which they participate in a court-ordered program. Successful program completion can lead to the dismissal of charges without any criminal record.

A prior conviction for a drug-related charge would make one not eligible to receive a deferred sentence. This includes an imitation controlled substance possession conviction.

A previously deferred sentence under Section 7411 would also not allow for a deferred sentence, as a second deferred sentence is not allowed.

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A Deferred Sentence is Still Going to Impact Your Life

A deferred sentence can lead to charges being dismissed, but it requires meeting specific court-set requirements, such as counseling or community service.

Failure to meet these requirements can reinstate charges and impact employment, loans, or housing. While it offers a way to avoid a conviction, a deferred sentence can still be stressful and require significant lifestyle changes.

Expungement and the Impact of a Deferred Sentence in Michigan

In Michigan, a deferred sentence can affect expungement, which is the legal process through which an individual can have their criminal convictions set aside. There are two main types of expungement: automatic partial and full.

Automatic Partial Expungement

Automatic partial expungement applies to certain offenses and is automatically granted after years. The underlying statute of offense determines the number of years.

This expungement is not automatic if you receive a deferred sentence under HYTA or Section 7411. It will not apply, as these cases are not considered convictions unless you fail to meet the deferral terms.

Full Expungement

Full expungement is a manual process involving applying to the court to expunge the crime from your record. Obtaining a full expungement can be easier if you’ve had a deferred sentence in Michigan under HYTA or Section 7411 and have successfully completed the terms.

This is because the successful completion of a deferred sentence often results in the dismissal of charges, potentially making you eligible for full expungement sooner than if you had a conviction on your record.

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What is a Delayed Sentence, and how does it differ from a deferred sentence?

A delayed sentence is when a judge postpones sentencing during a probationary period after the defendant pleads guilty to the charges. The defendant has time to present evidence of rehabilitation or make amends.

If the court’s requirements are met, the sentence can be reduced; the complete sentence may be imposed. Unlike a delayed sentence, a deferred sentence can result in no formal conviction.

What is a Suspended Sentence, and how does it differ from a deferred sentence?

A suspended sentence is when a judge delays enforcing a sentence and places the convicted person on probation. The Judge may dismiss the suspended sentence if the person completes probation successfully.

A deferred sentence is when sentencing is postponed until the defendant meets specific requirements. If they meet these requirements, the charges may be dismissed entirely.

The critical difference is that a suspended sentence can still be enforced if the defendant fails to meet probation terms. In contrast, a deferred sentence may result in a complete dismissal of charges without a formal conviction.

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A Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Assist You With a Deferred Sentencing

At The Bruce Law Firm, we understand the intricacies of deferred sentencing and are committed to providing our clients with comprehensive and effective legal representation.

Our experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyers will guide you through the deferment process, clearly explaining your obligations and the potential outcomes.

We’ll work tirelessly to advocate for your rights, striving to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Our team will assist in navigating court-ordered programs and ensure you meet all necessary conditions of your deferral agreement.

We understand the challenges you face and are dedicated to supporting you every step of the way, minimizing the stress and uncertainty of the process. Our ultimate aim is to assist you in fulfilling the requirements for completing your deferred sentence and moving towards a future free of a formal conviction.