what kind of trouble can u get into for check fraud?

my recently recived a check in the mail for someones bill for 0. so he took the check, changed the name for whom the check was for and took it to a gas station and spent it. the check was already signed and everthing. he just changed the name. he got arrested for one day for it and has to go to court. the charges are felony for a ultering and publishing. a misdeminor for larceny. with up to 14 years jail for the felony. a fine and or jail for the other. this is his first time being in trouble. he has a clean background. him and his wife work, own a house and have a child. this is in michigan. he is willing to pay any fines. what are the chances of jail time? other people told us that they have known people who used cashed other peoples checks for thousands of dollars and only got a fine. so is he safe too?
honestly the county he is in the jail there is small and hardly ever has room. i would rather see the drunk drivers and murderers and rapist go in jail

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