Increasingly, I am having clients CALLING ME, about their recent drug possession arrests, and ASKING ME about "7411". I don't have to tell them. It's out there.
So, what is "7411", and why is that a good, or a bad option?
"7411", refers to probation for drug arrests, under MCLA 333.7411, under which a plea or finding of guilt is deferred, subject to probationary terms and for a prescribed period of time, as outlined by the judge. "Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions, the court SHALL discharge the individual and dismiss the proceedings. Discharge and dismissal under this section SHALL be without adjudication of guilt and, except as otherwise provided by law, is not a conviction for purposes of this section or for purposes of disqualifications or disabilities imposed by law.."
I have added emphasis to the word, "SHALL", because it makes mandatory the dismissal of the charges, and the effect is to NOT be an adjudication of guilt, which can be quite helpful down the road. Obviously, the failure to comply with the probationary terms, results in imposition of sentence.
There are exceptions, to this apparent generosity. Law enforcement and the courts still have access to the nonpublic record, even if universities, e.g., and MOST potential employers do not. If you yourself are contemplating a career in law enforcement, or if child protective services has a reason to look at your record, they will see this nonpublic information.
So, how could “7411” ever be a bad option?
Under the terms of the statute, it can only be used once in a lifetime. Everyone is genuine in saying, “this will never happen to me again, I promise!” However, by the same token, none of us can predict the future. Therefore, it is always best, if at all possible, to seek probation elsewhere, such as “HYTA” (for “Holmes Youthful Trainee Act”), and MCLA §771.1, also referred to as “771”.
HYTA is open to young people, between 17-24 years of age, as long as the charged crime does not involve a felony, major controlled substance offense, and most offenses under the Sex Offenders Registration Act. Interestingly, it is also not available for traffic offenses, presumably to induce younger people to drive more safely.
“771” seems to offer the greatest “safe harbor”. As long as “…the court determines that the defendant is not likely again to engage in an offensive or criminal course of conduct and that the public good does not require that the defendant suffer the penalty imposed by law, the court may place the defendant on probation under the charge and supervision of a probation officer.” The statute is geared toward giving “…the defendant an opportunity to prove to the court his or her eligibility for probation or other leniency compatible with the ends of justice and the defendant's rehabilitation (e.g., such as participation in a drug treatment court, etc)…” The court retains jurisdiction to impose sentence at any time during the one year maximum time of probation, under this statute. There are certain mandatory probation fees, that will be imposed, based on the defendant’s projected monthly income.