Sentencing Guidelines No Longer Mandatory in Michigan

Sentencing guidelines are applicable to felony cases in Michigan and, in the past, have given the judge the range for which he or she may sentence a Defendant. Guidelines are determined by considering two sets of factors – a defendant’s prior record and characteristics of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced. In the past, a Michigan sentencing court would be required to follow the sentencing guidelines unless there were substantial and compelling reasons to depart from the guidelines.
On July 29, 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court made a landmark decision in People v. Lockridge. The Supreme Court decided in this case that the mandatory minimum in Michigan’s sentencing guideline scheme is unconstitutional because it violates a defendant’s constitutional right to notice, due process, and a jury trial as to the sentencing factors which a judge considers. Because of this decision, the guidelines will be advisory and if a sentencing judge sentences a defendant outside of the guidelines, he or she does not have to provide substantial and compelling reasons for why they are doing so.
What does this mean for individuals who have already been sentenced? If someone was sentenced on or before July 29, 2015, and the factors calculated based on the offense characteristics were calculated using facts beyond those found by the jury or admitted by the defendant, he or she may be eligible for a resentencing.
If you or a loved one were sentenced on or before July 29, 2015 and believe there is a basis for resentencing, please contact our office.


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