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Michigan Repeat Offender Laws

If you have a history of committing felonies and are convicted again, that record could result in more prison time in Michigan. This makes it more likely that you will receive increasingly harsh sentences under Michigan repeat offender laws.

The Davis Law Group defends the rights of those facing criminal charges in the Detroit area. You deserve to know your legal rights and the impact that Michigan laws have on your future. A criminal defense attorney with the Davis Law Group can help.

For a free consultation, call (313) 818-3238.

Habitual Offenders Face Higher Sentences

People in Michigan prisons serve some of the longest average sentences in the country. One of the reasons is the state’s repeat offender laws. Under Michigan’s habitual offender law, if you were convicted of one or more felonies (or attempts to commit felonies) in the past, you could be sentenced as a “habitual offender” in the future.

How Long Could You Serve?

Habitual offenders can have their sentences increased by 25% to 100%, based on the number of prior felony convictions. If you’re convicted of a felony or an attempted felony, and you commit another felony, you’re subject to enhanced sentencing:

  • A 25% increase on the maximum sentence for a second felony conviction
  • A 50% increase on the maximum sentence for a third felony conviction
  • Double the maximum sentence for a fourth felony conviction

Prosecutors can ask that you be sentenced as a habitual offender. The judge may or may not agree to do so.

Given the consequences of a record of felony convictions, you deserve an attorney who can effectively defend you from being labeled a habitual offender. Your attorney could also argue your record should not play a role in your sentencing if you are convicted.

Prior Felony Convictions Impact Your Sentence

A major flaw in the law is the number of felonies you’re convicted of may be greater than the number of criminal incidents you were involved in and how much a risk you pose to the community. Due to a 2008 Ohio State Supreme Court ruling, if one incident results in multiple felony convictions, your sentence is based on the number of prior convictions, not incidents.

About 97% of all criminal cases in the US are resolved through plea bargains. Generally, as part of these agreements, the defendant will plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for dropping other charges or a given sentence. One way prosecutors try to increase their leverage during negotiations is to increase the number of charges. Pleading guilty to a felony results in a conviction, making you a habitual offender in the future.

Your Maximum Sentence May Depend on the County

According to Safe & Just Michigan, from 2012 to 2017 in Michigan, there were 297,602 felony convictions sentenced; 58.5% (174,038) were eligible for habitual offender status enhancements, according to Safe & Just Michigan. The habitual status enhancement was used in nearly a third of eligible cases or 51,790 times.

How often enhancements are used is up to prosecutors and judges, so they vary widely depending on the county. Keweenaw county didn’t apply the habitual status, while Oakland County applied the status to almost 72% (11,381) of eligible convictions. Wayne County applied the enhancements 9.9 percent of the time.

Habitual Offender: Range of Convictions

Under Michigan law, if you’re convicted or plead guilty to one felony, your maximum sentence could increase substantially if you’re convicted again.

  • Class A: Punishable by up to life or any number of years in prison. They cover first and second-degree murder, kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to rob or steal.
  • Class B: Punishable by up to 20 years in prison. They include second-degree arson, second-degree child abuse (second or subsequent offense), and the production of child pornography.
  • Class C: Punishable by up to 15 years in prison. These crimes include manslaughter, human trafficking that causes injury to another person, and robbery.
  • Class D: Punishable by up to 10 years in prison. They cover larceny and embezzlement when the property is valued at $20,000 or more and human trafficking.
  • Class E: Punishable by up to five years in prison. These crimes include carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, shoplifting, and home invasion in the third degree.
  • Class F: Punishable by up to four years in prison. They cover manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver less than five kilograms of marijuana and preparation and submission of unauthorized loan and credit applications.
  • Class G: Punishable by up to two years in prison. These crimes involve writing a bad check for greater than $500, lobbyists giving gifts, and domestic assault (second or subsequent conviction).
  • Class H: Punishable by time in jail or alternatives such as probation, treatment, or electronic monitoring. They include using a stolen state ID card to commit a felony and identity theft.

Experienced Criminal Defense to Protect Your Future

Attorney Maurice Davis has a thorough knowledge of state law. He is a former prosecutor who now represents defendants fighting for their freedom and their future.

The Davis Law Group PLLC helps individuals facing criminal charges throughout the State of Michigan.

You may be able to avoid the harshest penalties from Michigan repeat offender laws. We can help. Call us at (313) 818-3238 today or use this online form for your free, no-obligation consultation.

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