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Whether or not your Michigan DUI case resulted in a plea agreement or a guilty verdict after a trial, you will face a sentencing phase. As discussed earlier, depending on your preparation of the case it is possible to get sentenced immediately following a plea or guilty verdict if you have conducted a substance abuse assessment that is accepted by the trial court and have completed any other requirements of the trial court to feel comfortable going forward.
A Victim May Be Involved in Your Michigan DUI
If the crime involved a victim in any way such as an injury, property damage or financial damage the court can set the matter for a pre-sentence investigation to determine restitution or the amount of money you need to pay to the victim or victims in your case. When you actually make it to a sentencing hearing, you need to be fully prepared for a multitude of possibilities. The trial court will always give you and your attorney an opportunity to speak at sentencing and this needs to be prepared. You do not need to script anything for the judge necessarily but it will depend on your personality and your comfort speaking in public and what you have to say.
Many times the attorney, who is a skilled advocate and speaker, will state everything for you and there may not but much to add. If that is the case, it is perfectly acceptable in many situations to simply state that you have nothing to add. However, your attorney needs to know the individual trial judge as some will want to hear from you and will not find it acceptable to stand mute and say nothing. Some judges will question defendants harshly at sentencing and you need to be fully prepared to answer questions about your actions, your drinking, and your substance abuse assessment if there were statements to minimize your involvement or your drinking that night.
Sentencing Memorandum Can Fully Inform the Trial Judge
Your attorney can also prepare a sentencing memorandum in writing and provide it to the court before the hearing. This is not required but may be necessary if the case involves special circumstance such as the defendant living out of the state, in the military or other personal situations. It is imperative that your attorney have ALL of your background information such as schooling, family, work history, accomplishments and drinking history. This will allow them to better advocate for you at sentencing. While many first offenders do not get jail time, there are other consequences that can be advocated for such as no probation. We have been successful on low BAC cases, where the client has done everything voluntarily and well before sentencing, convincing the trial judge that court oversight and supervision is not necessary. They paid the fines and costs that day since they were prepared financially as well and they were done with the court system.