If you are charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Livonia, Michigan, you need the help of an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney. I can provide you with nearly 20 years of experience and a willingness to fight and take cases to trial.
Sex Offender Failing to Register is a class F felony that carries up to 4 years in prison (48 months). If you are arrested and charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, your first court appearance will be an arraignment in the 16th District Court in Livonia, Michigan. Learn more about an arraignment now. At the arraignment, your case will be scheduled for a probable cause conference and a preliminary examination. Bond will also be addressed at the arraignment. The probable cause conference must be scheduled within 7 to 14 days of the arraignment with the preliminary examination scheduled within 5 to 7 days after the probable cause conference.
Following the preliminary examination, further proceedings are held in the Wayne County Circuit Court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. If there is virtually any evidence supporting the prosecutor's case, it is extremely likely that the matter will be bound over in the district court. Nonetheless, I almost always challenge cases at the preliminary examination because it is the best opportunity that the defense is presented for challenging the evidence and developing the facts that will support defenses in the circuit court. DO NOT WAIVE THE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION WITHOUT MAKING AN INFORMED DECISION.
The charge of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender is detailed in the Michigan compiled laws, MCL 28.729(1)(a). The provisions of MCL 28.729 state:
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2), (3), and (4), an individual required to be registered under this act who willfully violates this act is guilty of a felony punishable as follows:
(a) If the individual has no prior convictions for a violation of this act, by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
(b) If the individual has 1 prior conviction for a violation of this act, by imprisonment for not more than 7 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
(c) If the individual has 2 or more prior convictions for violations of this act, by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.
(2) An individual who fails to comply with section 5a, other than payment of the fee required under section 5a(6), is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
(3) An individual who willfully fails to sign a registration and notice as provided in section 7(4) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.
(4) An individual who willfully refuses or fails to pay the registration fee prescribed in section 5a(6) or section 7(1) within 90 days of the date the individual reports under section 4a or 5a is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
(5) The court shall revoke the probation of an individual placed on probation who willfully violates this act.
(6) The court shall revoke the youthful trainee status of an individual assigned to youthful trainee status who willfully violates this act.
(7) The parole board shall rescind the parole of an individual released on parole who willfully violates this act.
(8) An individual's failure to register as required by this act or a violation of section 5 may be prosecuted in the judicial district of any of the following:
(a) The individual's last registered address or residence.
(b) The individual's actual address or residence.
(c) Where the individual was arrested for the violation.
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender under Michigan sentencing guidelines is scored under crimes against public order (Pub Ord). Under the guidelines, a person who is convicted of Sex Offender Failing to Register with no prior record and no aggravating factors looks to the low end of the guidelines which call for up to 3 months. With no prior criminal record but horrible facts, the defendant can face 17* months. With a terrible criminal record and terrible facts, the accused can be looking at 30 months under the guidelines.
There is currently no standard jury instruction for Sex Offender Failing to Register, but a proposed jury instruction is in the works. Under the proposed jury instruction, the elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecuting attorney are as follows:
[PROPOSED] M Crim JI 20.39 Sex Offender Registration Violation - Failure to Register
(1) The Defendant is charged with failing to register as a sex offender. To prove this charge, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(2) First, that the defendant has been convicted of [cite statute], which required [him/her] to register as a sex offender.
(3) Second, that the defendant [resided / was employed /attended school] in the [county / city / village / township] of [name political entity] when [he / she] was required to register.
(4) Third, that the defendant failed to register as a sex offender with the [Michigan State Police / County Sheriff's Department / Local Police Agency] in the [county / city] where [he / she] [resided / worked / went to school].
(5) Fourth, that the defendant's failure to register was wilful. "Wilful" means that the defendant freely chose not to register, and was not stopped from registering by circumstances [he / she] did not control. It is not necessary for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant had a bad purpose or the purpose to do something wrong when [he / she] failed to register.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to focus on the jury instructions while preparing a defense to the offense of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. While there are a number of defenses to Sex Offender Failing to Register that we can explore during a consultation, the elements contained in M Crim JI none provide a roadmap for defending the case. This is true in almost every single case, and really great defense attorneys focus early on these jury instructions.
As a cautionary note, you might be completely innocent but still face criminal charges. Even worse, you might be denied bail, forced to spend months in jail before you are vindicated. I have seen many cases where a truly innocent client is baffled, angry and scared, completely unable to understand why police and prosecutors are gunning to get a conviction. So long as probable cause is established at the preliminary examination, then the matter will be bound over for trial in the 3rd Circuit Court for the County of Wayne and further proceedings will be held in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. This is why it is so important that you contact an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney to help you defend against criminal charges in the 16th District Court.
*represents an aberration under the guidelines that might result in county jail time or violate the 2/3rd maximum minimum rules under the guidelines, which is something that must be discussed with your attorney.