The Michigan statutory sentencing guidelines apply to felony offenses listed in MCL 777.11 to 777.19 that were committed on or after January 1, 1999. MCL 769.34(2). These guidelines use a formula of Prior Record Variables (PRV) and Offense Variables (OV) to calculate a minimum sentence, with the maximum sentence set by the statutory language. A complete copy of the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines are available online.
The language contained in the statute defining the felony offense itself governs application of the sentencing guidelines. MCL 777.6. The statutory sentencing guidelines in effect on the date the offense was committed govern the calculation of an offender’s minimum sentence. MCL 769.34(2). When an offender is convicted of multiple offenses, a sentencing information report (SIR) is completed for the sentencing offense that has the highest crime class. In instances where the sentences imposed will be served consecutively, an SIR is completed for every crime that will be served consecutively.
In 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court rendered the previously-mandatory sentencing guidelines advisory. People v Lockridge, ___ Mich ___, ___ (2015). Applying United States Supreme Court precedent, the Court held that Michigan’s mandatory sentencing guidelines violate the Sixth Amendment. To remedy this constitutional violation, the Lockridge Court severed MCL 769.34(2) to the extent that it makes the calculated guidelines minimum sentence range mandatory; additionally, the Court struck down the requirement of MCL 769.34(3) that the court articulate a substantial and compelling reason to depart from the guidelines range. A sentencing court may now exercise its discretion to depart from the guidelines range without articulating substantial and compelling reasons for doing so, and a departure sentence will be reviewed on appeal for reasonableness. However, sentencing courts are still required to determine the applicable guidelines range and take it into account when imposing a sentence. Accordingly, the guidelines scoring content of Michigan Sentencing Guideline manual remains applicable, with the caveat that the calculated guidelines range is advisory rather than binding.