A misdemeanor in Michigan is a violation of penal law which is not a felony, or a violation of a state agency, that is punishable by imprisonment, probation, and/or a fine. A misdemeanor can be charged under Federal law, State law, or by a local ordinance. The penalty is determined by the particular federal statute, Michigan Compiled Law, or local ordinance in question.
Federal misdemeanor penalties are determined by the Federal Statute in question, and are addressed in Federal Court by Federal Prosecutors.
For State law misdemeanor violations in Michigan, most carry a maximum punishment of either 90 days, 93 days, 6 months, or 1 year depending upon the particular offense involved. The Michigan Compiled Laws contain the potential maximum penalties for all State law criminal offenses. There are also offenses in Michigan called high Court misdemeanors which carry a maximum punishment of up to 2 years in prison (unless the maximum sentenced is enhanced under an applicable Habitual Offender statute which increases the maximum possible punishment). State law misdemeanor violations that accompany a felony charge (for example, a DUI charged at the same time as a Fleeing and Eluding Police felony), are usually ultimately resolved at Circuit Court along with the felony charge (if the matter is bound over). A Defendant also has a right to a preliminary examination for any high court misdemeanors for which he or she is charged. State law misdemeanor violations are usually prosecuted by the County prosecutor’s office for the jurisdiction in which the offense allegedly occurred.
Local ordinance misdemeanor violations carry up to 93 days in jail in most instances. However, city attorneys are allowed to prosecute super drunk cases in which the possible penalty is up to 6 months in jail. Local ordinances can also include non criminal civil infractions, such as traffic tickets. Local ordinance cases, criminal or not, are always resolved at the District Court or Municipal Court with jurisdiction over the matter. If the Defendant allegedly committed a felony offense and violated a local ordinance at the same time, the local ordinance violation will still remain at the District Court, even if the felony charge is bound over to Circuit Court. Local ordinances are always handled by the city, township, or village who works for the particular jurisdiction in question.
Misdemeanor criminal charges can have a severe impact upon anyone convicted. Depending upon the circumstances a misdemeanor can lead to jail (or prison for high Court misdemeanors), probationary conditions (such as reporting, drug and alcohol testing, community service, counseling, classes, etc.), licensing sanctions, fines, costs, and restitution. Any misdemeanor or felony conviction can impact an individual’s family, career, educational pursuits, ability to take certain drugs (including prescribed medical marijuana), and ability to freely travel. There are certain District Court Judges who will use their judicial power to harshly punish an individual for even a misdemeanor conviction, often imposing jail and/or strict bond and probationary conditions for even a person with no other police contacts. Your legal representation can sometimes make a large difference the the ultimate result of the case. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, such as the lawyers at Hilf & Hilf, PLC to work on your behalf in order to achieve the best possible result given the circumstances of your case.