Earlier this month, a Saginaw man was sentenced to one year in jail after he pleaded no contest to one charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to one local news source, the man was originally charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct – which carries with it a potential life sentence – but accepted a plea bargain where he will only be found guilty of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Evidently, the man entered his plea in exchange for an agreement by the prosecutor to drop several other counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct as well as the more serious charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to the article, the offer for the lesser charges was made after the alleged victim of the offense started to become “uncooperative” with authorities. It is unclear exactly what that means, but suffice it to say that the prosecution felt that they may have a difficult time proving the alleged offenses.
As a result of his plea, the man will serve the remaining 11 months he has left on his sentence. He was awarded time-credit for the days he was incarcerated pending the resolution of the case. After his period of incarceration, he will be subject to a term of five years reporting probation. In addition, he will have to register his address, place of employment, and almost all other personal information with the sex offender database.
Plea Bargains in Michigan Criminal Court The man discussed above chose to accept a plea offer rather than face what could be a much more serious sentence. While the ultimate decision was his and his alone, the offer was likely the result of significant negotiations by the man’s criminal defense attorney.
Prosecutors are generally reluctant to make favorable deals with defendants when they feel as though they have a strong case. However, when a prosecutor senses a weakness in their case, such as a witness potentially not coming to court, they become much more willing to engage in reasonable discussions.
A witness’ failure to appear is just one potential weakness in the prosecution’s case against a defendant. It is the job of an experienced criminal defense attorney to expose the weaknesses to the prosecutor in the hopes of getting his client the best possible outcome.
Of course, plea bargains are not appropriate in all cases, and they should generally only be considered when the evidence against a defendant is strong or there is some other reason that makes the acceptance of responsibility a favorable option.
Have You Been Charged with a Michigan Sex Offense? If you have recently been arrested and charged with a Michigan sex offense, you may be subject to a lengthy term of imprisonment, substantial fines, and other significant curtailments on your liberty. Make sure that you take the charges against you seriously and consult with a dedicated Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Steven Schwartz is a former prosecutor turned defense attorney who knows how prosecutors think. He has helped hundreds of clients get out from under serious charges with as little effect on their future as possible. Call (248) 266-8720 today to set up a free consultation with Attorney Steven Schwartz.