Michigan Criminal Sentence Appeals


Sentences are supposed to be administered in such a way as to reflect the severity of the crime and should take into account certain circumstances of the offense and the history of the offender. If you have been sentenced beyond what the law permits, or otherwise excessively penalized for your conviction, contact our sentence appeals lawyers today, or call 1-800-342-7896 immediately to discuss your option to appeal your sentence. Once you are sentenced, you have a short statute of limitations in which to file an appeal or post-conviction motion.

Pre-Sentencing Investigation and Reports

A sentence is a judgment that assigns a specific punishment to the defendant when they are convicted of a crime. Sentences may be decided immediately after a verdict has been entered, or determined later at a sentencing hearing.

The prosecutor does not have the authority to decide on a sentence, but can promise to recommend the judge issue a harder or lighter sentence if the defendant accepts a plea bargain. However, judges tend to rely most heavily on the pre-sentence report prepared by the probation department. This report is required by law before a judge can pass a sentence on convicted felons.

A pre-sentence investigation (PSI) is conducted by a probation officer employed by the Michigan Department of Corrections. A pre-sentence report is then compiled and sent to the judge. The sentencing report can include information about prior convictions or criminal history and if there are any aggravating or mitigating circumstances the court should or needs to consider. A PSI may also include statements from the victim(s), psychological evaluations and/or mental health history, employment history, family history, and community involvement.

Michigan Criminal Sentencing Guidelines

Michigan has published sentencing guidelines to aid judges in determining appropriate sentences. These guidelines list maximum sentences permitted under the law as well as special instructions for judges to apply when determining punishments based on the type and classification of the crime for which someone has been convicted.

Despite these guidelines, unfair sentences can still be imposed because guidelines are just that—tools to help a judge apply the right degree of “justice” in a particular case. In other words, guidelines exist to allow for maximum, and in some cases, minimum punishments, but judges have significant freedom to diverge from those guidelines to make sure punishments fit the crime and the crime’s circumstances for individual cases.

Appealing Excessive Sentences in Michigan

Sentences are punitive in nature, meaning their intent is to punish the convicted defendant in some way. Punishments include jail or prison time, fines, restitution, community service, parole, or any combination of these things.

If you have received a sentence that was excessively harsh you may be able to appeal the sentence to have it reduced. You may also be able to appeal your sentence if it was not meted out in accordance with the laws in Michigan that set maximum penalties for various crimes. There are also other factors that may be considered when asking for a reduced sentence. For example, under certain circumstances a judge may not be permitted to factor in prior history (which can increase penalties), or, if you had a plea bargain agreement in which the prosecutor said he/she would recommend a lighter sentence, but then pushed for a heavier one, you may be able to appeal.

Michigan Excessive or Wrongful Sentence Appeals Attorneys

Aggressive East Lansing Criminal Defense Team Serving all of Michigan including Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Kalamazoo

Our legal team has more than 100 years of experience in defense law. We are trial lawyers and experienced appellate lawyers. We know how to examine a case’s record to see if there is cause to appeal a sentence based on illegal or unfair practices.

Although there are written guidelines judges are required to apply when determining a sentence, there is still room for considerable judicial discretion.

If you received an unfair sentence, you can count on the criminal defense attorneys of Grabel & Associates to help. Our lawyers understand the sentencing guidelines judges are supposed adhere to, and if your sentence was excessive, we may be able to help with our comprehensive post-conviction legal services.

Contact our appeals lawyers today, or call 1-800-342-7896 for a free initial consultation.

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