Tuesday, September 15, 2020

What types of diversion programs exist for criminal charges in Michigan?

Michigan criminal offenses

Consent Calendar:  For juvenile offenders (currently under age 17), certain offenses qualify for a diversion in which the minor is neither fingerprinted nor officially “adjudicated,” and instead he/she is offered a chance to prove the charge should not proceed.  If the minor complies, there is no formal finding of responsibility and no adjudication/conviction. 

H.Y.T.A.:  An age-based diversion program (officially known as the “Holmes Youthful Trainee Act”) for adults 17-23 who plead guilty to certain offenses (currently, traffic and motor vehicle code offenses such as drunk driving do not qualify) and have their cases shielded from public view and ultimately dismissed upon successful completion of probation. 

MCL 333.7411:  A drug possession diversion program for first-offender possession cases. 

MCL 769.4a:  A diversion program for domestic violence cases (alternatively known as the “Spousal Abuse Act”), which notably requires the consent of the prosecutor. 

Prosecutor Diversion/Delayed Sentence Programs:  Many city/township and state prosecutor’s offices have their own built-in programs in which they will consider a charge “Under Advisement” or will delay sentencing upon successful compliance with conditions of bond or probation. 

Interested in finding out more? Read about diversion programs for Michigan criminal offenses on our website!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about eliminating “cash bonds/bail” in Michigan.  Some progressive states, like California, have been working towards that stance in recent years.  Essentially, this movement stands for the idea that people should either be released on their promise to comply with court orders (with or without protective conditions) or be held in jail (on the most serious offenses).    

Traditionally, judges and magistrates require some cash payment (called a “bond or a bail”) to help insure the person’s compliance with court orders (i.e., returning to court dates; not having contact with a protected person; not drinking alcohol or using controlled substances, etc.).  Proponents of eliminating cash bonds believe the system is both unnecessary and culturally biased, disproportionate, and unfair.    

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Knowing Your Rights Regarding Lawful and Unlawful Arrest

Over the years, Dan has fielded questions like this:

“Is R/O a felony, or misdemeanor offense?”

“Will I go to jail or prison for R/O?”

“Can I resist an unlawful arrest?”

“How can I prove my innocence (or show that police acted improperly) if it’s my word vs. theirs?”

R/O is a felony by definition, carrying with it up to two years in prison for a “traditional” violation, and many more years if the officer is injured or killed.  Also, this time can be imposed consecutively to any other sentence, meaning those two years can “stack up” on another sentence.  So, if a person is convicted of, say, a felony OWI and R/O, he might serve consecutive sentences for each offense.  And, prosecutors are often particularly tough on R/O cases, wanting to “protect” the officers with whom they work every day.  Judges are no different.  However, sometimes prosecutors charge R/O as an “Attempt,” meaning it becomes a 1-year maximum misdemeanor offense.  Still, consecutive sentences can apply, and still judges/prosecutors treat the attempt charge aggressively. 

Michigan law does allow a person to lawfully resist an unlawful arrest.  Also, the prosecution must show that the officer was within his/her lawful duty at the time of the encounter, and that the defendant knew or should have known that it was police.  This can be a common defense when undercover officers make an arrest.  Lastly, the prosecutor must show that the arrestee did something affirmative---resisted, obstructed etc.—more than just words or questioning.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2020


With the recent death of a civilian at the hands of police in Minnesota, the country is reverberating.   Protests—both violent and peaceful—have erupted in major cities everywhere, including here in Michigan.  People want to make sure that all police brutality ends, and that a simple encounter with police does not end in tragedy. 

Police want to make sure that people don’t resist their commands and thus turn a routine investigation into a forceful confrontation.
When a police encounter turns into an arrest, even the slightest resistance from the civilian can result in an additional serious charge commonly referred to “Resist/Obstruct,” or “R/O.”  This charge, pursuant to MCL 750.81, is actually headlined as follows:

750.81d Assaulting, battering, resisting, obstructing, opposing person performing duty; felony; penalty; other violations; consecutive terms; definitions.

As you can see, the Michigan legislature decided to lump all sorts of actions---assault, battery, obstruction, together under this law.  So, a person who mildly resists an arrest (say by questioning the officer) might be charged exactly the same way as a person who forcefully resists (say by pushing or punching the officer).  In both instances, the person faces very grave consequences if convicted of this offense.  

If headlines have you wondering about your rights, visit our website for more information.

What types of diversion programs exist for criminal charges in Michigan?

Consent Calendar :  For juvenile offenders (currently under age 17), certain offenses qualify for a diversion in which the minor is neither ...