Has a warrant has been issued for your arrest? There may be no reason for you to ever see the inside of a jail cell. Hiring a well-qualified, effective, and experienced defense lawyer right away can give a defendant enough of an advantage to get a reasonable bond, avoid time spent in jail, and possibly get charges dismissed.
A criminal defense lawyer can also arrange to be present at the initial court hearing, called an arraignment, and obtain a reasonable or personal bond. A person charged with a felony or misdemeanor should never appear in court without a lawyer present to protect and defend them. An attorney can help a client by minimizing charges, helping the client avoid arrest, advance a defense strategy, and he can proactively collect favorable evidence
Arraignment May or May Not Follow an Arrest
Arrest Without a Warrant
A person arrested for a crime and held in jail must be brought before a judge or magistrate within a couple of days to be arraigned. The purpose of the arraignment is for the court to take a plea, usually a “not guilty” plea, and set a bond (also known as an amount of bail). The purpose of the bond is ensuring the defendant stays out of further trouble and comes back to court. A bond can be personal, which does not require the deposit of money. A bond can also require the deposit of money with the court or a payment to a bondsman. The defendant has a right to privately hired counsel. There is no right to a court-appointed lawyer at the arraignment. The lawyer’s job at the arraignment is to do everything possible to convince the court to order a bond that is affordable to the client. A high bond that results in the client’s incarceration will likely have a detrimental impact on the outcome of the charges.
Arrest With a Warrant
In some cases, a person is arrested and released pending an investigation. In these cases, it may take a prosecutor days, weeks, or months to authorize criminal charges. When charges are issued, an arrest warrant is entered into the Law Enforcement Information Network (called LEIN). After the warrant is entered into LEIN, the defendant can be arrested at any moment. To have the warrant removed from LEIN, the defendant will have to appear in court to be arraigned and the magistrate will set an amount of money that is required to post bond. The presence of an experienced and adept defense attorney can help reduce the amount of money required to post bond. In fact, the capability of the defense attorney can be the difference between the defendant remaining free on bond or being stuck awaiting trial in a county jail.
A retained defense lawyer may be able to negotiate a “self-surrender” with the police so that the client can avoid being formally arrested and detained. By voluntarily surrendering, the defendant can avoid a surprise arrest at work, home or at some other inconvenient time or place. In these cases, the lawyer would bring the client to court and seek a reasonable bond or bail. If this request is granted and the defendant is released on bond, he will then likely have to voluntarily report to the police station for fingerprinting and photographing.
Bond Hearing in Michigan
A person accused of a crime in Michigan is presumed to be innocent unless he or she is proved guilty. While a case is pending, the defendant is entitled to reasonable bond pursuant to the Michigan Court Rules and the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Preparing for court and successfully arguing for a personal or low bond is complex. Any lawyer arguing for bond must be highly knowledgeable regarding the applicable laws.
At a bond hearing, the judge or magistrate is required to consider several factors when determining how much money will be required to post bail. Some of the factors include:
- The seriousness of the offense charged.
- The need to protect the public from the defendant.
- The defendant’s substance abuse and addiction history.
- The defendant’s mental condition, including any reputation for dangerousness.
- The weight of the evidence against the defendant.
- The defendant’s previous criminal history or prior contacts with law enforcement.
- The likelihood of the defendant to return to court and not flee the court’s jurisdiction.
- The defendant’s connections to the community, such as family, employment and the ownership of real estate.
- Whether there are friends or family willing to give assurances that the defendant is not a danger and will show up for court.
Any bond will have a variety of conditions and orders. Bond conditions frequently include orders not to leave the state of Michigan, not to use drugs or alcohol, not have contact with any alleged victims, to participate in drug and alcohol testing, and to not possess firearms.
What if you go to court yourself and then hire a lawyer if it doesn’t go well?
It is not uncommon for people to come to court to be arraigned on an arrest warrant without a lawyer. These individuals simply have no awareness of the possible perils that may await them and they figure there will be time later to find an attorney. If the accused gets arraigned and a high bond is set, he or she may not be able to get out of jail. This is a serious problem because that bond cannot be changed unless there is a finding that the arraigning magistrate or judge “abused his discretion.” It is difficult to get a judge to change a bond after the fact, because they do not want to make a ruling that a colleague did something improper or imprudent. The best hope for a defendant to be released on a minimal bond is to have a lawyer at the arraignment.
Criminal Defense Lawyers with Expertise at Arraignment
The defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience successfully achieving low and personal bonds for clients when they are arraigned on felony and misdemeanor charges. We recognize that the client’s release from custody can make all the difference in the success or failure of the defense. When there is no room for errors or the false promises offered by a lawyer who is the lowest bidder, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. to help you. Call us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.