Like any other state, misdemeanor offenses in Michigan are crimes that are considered to be less serious than felonies but more serious than simple civil infractions or tickets. Additionally, these are distinguished from felonies in that it is rare that they result in an actual prison sentence, and instead typically have jail time of under one year. On top of this, they are much easier to remove from a criminal record than felonies.
Working with an attorney specializing in misdemeanor cases can be beneficial for multiple aspects of a case. An experienced misdemeanor lawyer can help an individual with:
- Avoiding jail time
- Expunging an existing criminal record
- Getting charges dismissed
- Challenging an arrest’s validity
- Ensuring legal rights are held up in court
- Getting criminal charges reduced to a civil infraction
- Minimizing penalties resulting from a conviction
- Convincing a judge of alternative sentencing options
According to Section 750.81, the State of Michigan classifies misdemeanor offenses based on three main categories, with differing penalties. They are as follows:
- Misdemeanors that carry with them up to 93 days in jail
- Misdemeanors that carry up to a one year jail term
- Misdemeanors that carry up to a two year prison sentence, referred to as “high court misdemeanors”
Michigan’s Most Common Misdemeanor Offenses
There are a plethora of different criminal offenses that are classified as misdemeanors in Michigan. What distinguishes them from felonies is the less grievous nature of the offense. For example, this means there are less serious injuries, the value of the property stolen or in question is lower, the quantity of drugs possessed at the time of the arrest is lower than the threshold required for a felony, etc. The most misdemeanor common offenses handled by our team of expert criminal defense attorneys are listed below.
- Impared driving offenses
- Public intoxication or alcohol related offenses
- First time OWI
- Repeat or second offense OWI
- Assault and battery
- Petty larceny
- Retail fraud in the second or third degree
- Illegal possession of marijuana
- Shoplifting or theft under $1000
- Domestic violence
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)
Juvenile Misdemeanor Offenses
Under Michigan law, juveniles are treated differently than adults when it comes to charges and punishments for misdemeanor offenses. If someone under 18 is convicted of a misdemeanor that includes a jail sentence, they will serve their sentence in a juvenile detention facility instead of a jail as an adult would. The most common examples of juvenile misdemeanors include:
- Underage consumption of alcohol
- Minor in possession (MIP)
- Possession of illicit drugs
- Illegal or unauthorized possession of prescription drugs
- Shoplifting and theft
- Possession of tobacco and/or vaping paraphernalia
- Crimes that occur in school
- Violation of probation
- Destruction of property and vandalism
Something to be aware of is that alternative sentencing options exist for juveniles that are not available to adults. This includes things such as juvenile diversion, counseling, rehab, electronic monitoring, youth offender programs and more. Because cases involving juveniles are unique in Michigan’s justice system, it is strongly recommended that those facing juvenile misdemeanor charges reach out to a juvenile defense attorney for the best legal counsel in this area.
Attorney for Misdemeanors
While less serious than a felony charge, a misdemeanor conviction has the possibility to cause significant disruption and hardship to an individual’s life. Oftentimes, otherwise good productive members of society find themselves in the unfortunate position of facing charges resulting from a mistake, not a pattern of criminal behavior. Considering this, it is vital that those who are facing these charges reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney specializing in misdemeanors in order to prevent a life altering conviction to be put on their record.
The attorneys at George Law have years of experience successfully defending clients from misdemeanor criminal offenses. Our expert criminal defense lawyers will look at your case and formulate the best strategy for a successful legal outcome. If you are facing misdemeanor charges and are in need of legal counsel, please contact our office today to speak with a member of our legal team.
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