Domestic Violence Deferral 769.4a - What Is It, Really?

As a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney, I answer questions daily about howthe Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral MCL 769.4a works, and for whomit works. Domestic Violence is a very common crime charged throughout the courts of Michigan; Wayne, Washtenaw, Macomb, Oakland and many others, who routinely handle domestic violence cases, and who frequently see the Domestic Violence Deferral used. What is Domestic Violence? An assault or battery committed against someone you are related to, someone you live with, someone you have a child with, someone you are dating, or someone with whom you have had a previous relationship. The Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral MCL 769.4a (or "pleading under the statute") allows a person who has no criminal history of assaultive behavior but is charged with Domestic Violence or Aggravated Domestic Violencea chance to keep their record clean and is meant to be rehabilitative. In order to get a 769 protection, you, (the judge will generally take prosecutions recommendation) and the prosecutor (in consultation with the victim) must all agree.

RELATED: Click here for many more of our popular articles on MCL 769.4a...

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers:

Q: DO I HAVE TO PLEAD GUILTY AND GIVE UP MY RIGHT TO TRIAL, IN ORDER TO QUALIFY FOR A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFERRAL? A: Absolutely not! The first sentence of the Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral Law, specifically states that you are eligible for Deferral if you, "plead guilty to, or are found guilty of" a first offense . Bottom Line: MCL 769.4a does not expressly require a plea of guilty, and you certainly do not lose eligibility, under the statute, by exercising your right to Trial.

Q: CAN I GET A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFERRAL IF THE VICTIM DOES NOT AGREE? A: There is no language in the Law that speaks specifically to the Victim being in agreement with a Deferral. The Prosecutor must 'consult' with the victim when 769.4a is being considered, but there is NOTHING in the law stating they must agree for you to receive the Deferral. As a practical matter, many times the Prosecutor will refuse to agree to the Deferral if the victim is opposed to it. However, assuming you are eligible by law, the case may require some extra work between attorneys (*), but there is nothing in the law prohibiting the Prosecutor from overriding the victim's opposition if he feels it is simply a reaction based on feelings of hatred or other unreasonable influences. (*) It is not uncommon for Prosecution to 'change their mind' - when you have a good attorney!

Q: DO I AUTOMATICALLY AVOID JAIL TIME IF OFFERED MCL 769.4a? A: Not necessarily! Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral Statute specifically allows for up to the maximum 93 days in jail, even if you are getting the MCL 769.4a Deferral. Avoiding any possibility of jail at the time of plea, requires a proper sentencing agreement, or "Cobbs" evaluation.

Q: WHAT KIND OF SENTENCING WILL I GET UNDER THE DEFERRAL? A: For a more comprehensive understanding of Domestic Violence Deferral Sentencing follow the link: Michigan Domestic Violence Sentencing. The Short Answer: sentencing often includes a 12 month probation period, counseling and/or anger management, alcohol and/or drug treatment (if they were involved in the incident), and an order for either no contact, or no assaultive contact with the victim. If you violate any of the terms of your probation, the court will enter your judgment of guilt and sentence you for the crime of Domestic Violence. YOU ONLY GET MICHIGAN'S 769 PROTECTION ONCE... SO DON'T LOSE YOUR CHANCE FOR A CLEAN (PUBLIC) RECORD! For a free consultation call PRAIN LAW, PLLC. Our knowledge is extensive and concentrated in Michigan Criminal Law. We know the Judges! We know the Courts! We know the System! Call us at (248) 731-4543 and get your questions answered! Or fill out the form and we'll be happy to respond, asap.


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Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.