Delayed Sentencing: Pleading Guilty to Preserve a Clean Record

Delayed sentencing hope

Why would anyone want to plead guilty to a four-year felony drug charge if they knew it wasn’t the crime they had committed?

This is what happened to David A. Dabrowski, 65, of Bangor Township, Michigan. In 2015 police raided David and Sandra Dabrowski’s home after having been tipped off by an anonymous person that they were illegally selling marijuana from their home.

It turns out that the Dabrowskis have a legal right to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana. They each have five patients. Sandra herself is a medical marijuana patient. David was able to show his identification to police when they raided his home.

The problem was only that the Dabrowskis were growing and selling more than their legal limit – though David told police he was selling to other medical marijuana patients with licenses that were not his own.

After two years, on Tuesday, David Dabrowski accepted a plea deal worked out by his attorneys with the prosecution according the MLive. He would plead guilty to one count of delivering or manufacturing marijuana in exchange for prosecution recommending that Dabrowski receive a delayed sentence.

All charges against Sandra Dabrowski were dropped. In exchange for pleading guilty, David will be effectively on probation for a year. If he stays out of trouble during that time, he will be able to swap his plea and all charges will be taken off of his record.

Does that sound a little backward to you? Let me explain.

How Does Delayed Sentencing Work?

There are several kinds of delayed sentences. The first two below allow for a first-time offender to have charges deferred (wait until a later time) without having to plead guilty.

Both kinds of delayed sentence may only be used once in a person’s lifetime. In addition this is only on his or her first offense. In other words, if you commit that crime again, you will not have a chance to keep it off your record.

This statute is similar to the first two, in that it allows for the chance of dismissal for a first-time offense for a minor in possession of alcohol or having a .02% or higher blood alcohol content.

The statute used in the Dabrowski’s case was most likely MCLA 771.1. This statute can be used in felony or misdemeanor cases other than murder, criminal sexual conduct or major drug offenses. In this case, if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty as a result of a plea agreement, a delayed sentence can be sought.

The Court

The court has to agree that the defendant is not likely to engage in the same or other criminal acts and that his or her crime does not need to be punished for the public good. Usually the defendant is placed on probation for a year to prove, essentially, that the court is making the right recommendation.

The plea can then be changed to not guilty – as in Dabrowski’s case – and the charges will be dropped. Except for the year in which the defendant is under probation, it will be as if nothing happened.

Take Away

If you or a loved one are facing a first time felony or misdemeanor charge, there is hope that you can go on to live a normal life without that charge hanging around on your permanent record. Call our experienced criminal defense team today.

Let’s start fighting to preserve your clean record

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