Like most states, Michigan classifies offenses as misdemeanors or felonies. Felonies are serious crimes punishable by more than one year in prison. Michigan law categorizes felonies into nine classes: Class M2 and Classes A to H. Besides first-degree murder, Class M2 and A felonies are the most serious felony crimes in Michigan.
Michigan uses nine felony classifications. Below are the maximum penalties set by class and examples of crimes within each classification. First-degree murder doesn't have a classification, because it carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole.
Class M2 applies only to the crime of second-degree murder and can be punished by life or any number of years in prison.
Class A felonies are punishable by up to life in prison or any number of years in prison. Examples include assault with a deadly weapon with intent to rob or steal, kidnapping, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Class B felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Examples include second-degree arson, second-degree child abuse (repeat offense), and the production of child sexually abusive material (child pornography).
Class D felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Examples include larceny (property valued at $20,000 or more), embezzlement (property valued at $20,000 or more), and breaking and entering.
Class F felonies are punishable by up to 4 years in prison. Examples include falsely reporting a felony crime, dropping dangerous objects on vehicles (resulting in injuries), and committing a crime when wearing body armor.
Class G felonies are punishable by up to 2 years in prison. Examples include ethnic intimidation, squatting (second offense), nonconsensual social media posts (cyberbullying), and harassing a police dog.
Class H felonies are crimes for which the defendant can be sentenced to time in jail or to alternatives such as probation, treatment, or electronic monitoring. Sentences for these crimes are variable and governed by the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines. Class H felonies include lottery violations, joyriding, and lewd surveillance.
Felony classifications are found in the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines. Judges use these guidelines to determine the most appropriate sentence for a particular crime based on:
A Michigan court also can impose fines as part of the sentence for any felony. The amount of the fine depends on the specific crime for which the defendant is being sentenced.
A defendant facing a second or subsequent felony conviction may fall under Michigan's habitual offender sentencing provisions. Depending on the offense and the defendant's criminal history, the law may impose a longer minimum sentence or maximum sentence.
Michigan law requires that criminal charges be filed within a certain amount of time after a crime is committed or believed to have been committed. These time limits are called criminal statutes of limitations. The length of time varies for crimes, ranging from 6 to 25 years. A few crimes, such as murder, have no time limit and can be filed at any time. If the prosecution charges someone after the time period has passed, the person charged can have the case dismissed. For more information on the criminal statute of limitations, see Criminal Statutes of Limitations in Michigan.
If you're facing felony charges in Michigan, contact a local criminal defense attorney. A felony conviction can mean not only time behind bars and steep fines but also a criminal record. Having a record of a felony conviction can make it difficult to get a job, housing, or loan. It can also subject you to harsher penalties if you're convicted of another offense in the future.
(Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.316, 750.317, 777.1 to 777.69 (2023).)