When an individual is being sentenced for a crime they committed in Michigan, they will face a number of different penalties, one of which may include jail time. Now, depending on the crime, an individual’s criminal history, the judge, and the effort put forth by their criminal defense lawyer, an individual may be given an alternative to having to serve time behind bars. Some alternatives to prison include:


  1. Probation

Probation is a common alternative a judge will sometimes offer to an offender in exchange for them not having to serve the jail sentence their crime carries with it. Probation can be offered to individuals who have been charged with misdemeanors and felonies unless the crime identifies as one of the following:

  • Murder
  • Treason
  • Armed robbery
  • Criminal sexual conduct in the first or third-degree
  • Certain controlled-substance offenses
  • Felonies that involve the use of a firearm

[Source: Michigan Department of Corrections].


If an individual has been sentenced for a felony crime, they could receive a maximum of five years of probation or two years if the crime is a misdemeanor. In some cases, if an individual has been charged with a certain type of drug offense, they may be sentenced to a lifetime of probation. However, it is important to understand that a judge will take into account the type of crime an individual has been sentenced for when determining how much time they should serve on probation.

Generally, when an individual is sentenced to probation, they must comply with the terms the judge outlines for them otherwise they risk having to serve their jail sentence. Typically, the terms will include restrictions regarding traveling, having to check in and comply with a probation officer’s orders, submit to drug tests, complete certain types of programs, etc.


  1. Having to Pay Fines and/or Restitution

Another alternative a judge may use to jail time is requiring an individual to pay fines and/or restitution. Restitution is money paid to the victim of a crime who suffered a financial loss.


  1. Complete Community Service

Community service is yet another alternative to a jail sentence. A judge will set the number of hours an individual must perform to meet their community service requirement and set a deadline for which these hours must be completed.


Generally, when a judge offers an offender an alternative to jail, they may sentence an offender to probation, require them to pay fines and restitution, and complete community service.


Hiring a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer After Being Charged with a Criminal Offense


If an individual has been charged with a criminal offense in Michigan, they can retain a criminal defense lawyer who can help them understand their charges and represent them throughout the duration of their case. When an individual decides to hire a criminal lawyer in Michigan, it means they have someone looking out for their best interest who is also fighting for a fair outcome.

Therefore, anyone who has been charged with a crime in Michigan should contact the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. to retain a MI defense attorney who can help them navigate the legal system and potentially avoid jail time if their crime carries it as a penalty.


The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. can be reached at:


1223 Turner Street, #333

Lansing, MI 48906

Phone: 517-487-6603

Website: www.stushafer.com

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