Diversion Programs Keep a Conviction Off Your Record. Schmierlaw Can Help

Diversion Programs can Keep a Conviction Off Your Record

There are diversion programs and deferred sentencing available for certain crimes and, for certain offenders. These Diversion Programs include MCL 769.4a for domestic violence, MCL 333.7411 for certain drug crimes, the Holmes Youth Training Act or HYTA for most offenses committed by persons between the ages of 17 and 26, and deferred sentencing under MCL 771.1. Schmierlaw has experience with helping individuals who have been criminally charged, to take advantage of any available diversion program and will aggressively fight for your right to take advantage of these alternatives. Having a full understanding of these programs and knowing whether you are eligible to participate should be an important factor when considering your case and how you will proceed. And getting it right the first time is essential, because you don't automatically get a redo later.

MCL 769.4a DV Domestic Violence Diversion

MCL 769.4a allows first-time domestic violence offenders after a plea of guilty, to be sentenced to probation and after successfully completing the terms of probation, have the charges dismissed. During probation, if alcohol or drugs were involved, you will be subjected to random alcohol or drug testing. In addition, some sort of anger management program is mandated. While under this diversion program the actual court conviction is shielded from public view. If you are a repeat offender, then Domestic Violence Diversion is not allowed under the law.

In addition, because the conviction will be set-aside and not considered a conviction, you will not suffer any of the collateral damage a conviction for domestic violence may have on you such as affecting your gun rights or being able to travel.

MCL 333.7411 Drug Crime Diversion

MCL 333.7411 allows the court to sentence first time drug offenders to a probationary term not to exceed 12 months and the terms of that probation are met, the charge against the defendant is dismissed. Generally, the defendant is required to attend some sort of drug counseling program and is required to submit to random drug testing. While your fingerprint and arrest cards will not be destroyed, they will be on the private record.

One significant benefit of 7411 is that the conviction does not get reported to the Secretary of State, so you don't face the one-year mandatory suspension that accompanies a dog crime conviction. Most drug convictions result in a one-year suspension which mandates a minimum 30 days hard suspension, after which you can appeal to the Circuit Court for a restricted license so you can at least drive to work.

Like Domestic Violence Diversion, you only get one bite at this apple and diversion is not available for drug trafficking crimes, manufacture and delivery or certain drug related crimes that are governed by local ordinance rather than State law like possession of drug paraphernalia.

Because diversion only applies to certain drug crimes, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to dismiss the original charge and recharge you with an offense where a diversion program would be available.

HYTA Holmes Youth Training Act

The Holmes Youth Training Act or HYTA is available for youthful offenders between the ages of 17 and up to 25 with the Prosecutor's OK. Under this diversion program, the court will sentence the offender to probation, but sometimes with some jail as well. Probation will generally include community service, not engaging in other criminal behavior, and no alcohol or drugs. Like other diversion programs, if the terms of probation are completed successfully, the original charge is dismissed. An added benefit of being sentenced under HYTA is that the conviction is not entered and then set-aside, but hidden from the very get go.

While other diversion programs are limited to one time, there is no restriction to the number of times you can be sentenced under HYTA, That means it is up to the Judge whether to sentence you under HYTA even though you already were sentenced for another crime under HYTA before. An experienced attorney may be able to convince a Judge to give you another chance and give you another opportunity to keep a conviction off your record.

MCL 771.1 Deferred Sentencing

Under MCL 771.1, a criminal defendant may be able to avoid a conviction or be recharged on a lesser offense through a process called deferred sentencing. With the prosecutor’s approval, the court will impose certain conditions when the defendant pleads guilty and if the defendant satisfactorily complies with the required conditions during the period of deferral, the charge may be dismissed or substantially reduced. While the Court cannot reduce the charge without the approval of the prosecutor under a deferred sentence, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to convince the Prosecutor to reduce the charge if the terms of the deferred sentence are completed successfully. For instance, a felony charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor if the defendant has complied with all the conditions imposed by the Court at the deferred sentencing.

The Court also has the authority to hold a defendant’s plea under advisement under MCR 6.302(C)(3)(d), (F). Some judges will take pleas under advisement, set conditions, and dismiss the charge if the client complies.

Other Diversion Programs

There are other programs that may be available in different District and Circuit Courts. For instance, most counties have various programs under Michigan's Community Correction Programs. Often these are alternatives to incarceration or jail. An experienced criminal defense attorney should be able to explain what diversion or community correction programs are available in the particular court where your case is being heard.

In addition, some District Courts offer drug court and drunk driving court which may allow repeat offenders to keep their driver's licenses, albeit a restricted license, but it allows you to drive to work saving money on UBER or waiting outside for a bus in the middle of winter.

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Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
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Tel: (248) 705-3742     FAX: (248) 540-0044    Email: jschmier@schmierlaw.com