A major concern for many of my clients is whether they will have to go to jail if convicted of a DWI, theft, drug, or prostitution charge. One way to avoid jail or prison is request a downward dispositional departure at sentencing. A downward dispositional departure is a request to the judge to stay the execution of jail time in a felony case and, instead, impose a stay of execution, a stay of imposition, or a stay of adjudication. Each of these options will allow the defendant to avoid serving the executed prison time.
How do you get a downward departure? The court mainly looks to see if the defendant is amenable to probation. Basically, will probation likely be a better outcome than sending the defendant to prison. There are a variety of factors that the court looks at, but some include the defendant’s age, social and family history, chemical use and addiction, previous history of treatment and probation, and the defendant’s compliance with conditions of release. If the defendant shows a good chance of rehabilitation and following the rules, it is more likely that the judge will grant a downward departure. This information is often compiled in a presentence investigation (PSI) or offered by the criminal defense attorney at sentencing.
If a downward departure is granted, some sanctions can still be imposed. These sanctions could include up to a year of custody, STS, or home monitoring, probation, and getting a chemical dependency evaluation and following the recommendations for treatment.
If you have a Minnesota criminal charge call St. Paul Criminal Defense Lawyer Eric Rice at 651-998-9660 for a free consultation to see if you can request a downward departure in your matter.