While interviewing Criminal Defense Attorneys one stated he or she could “guarantee” a result if I hired him or her. Should I hire such a lawyer?
No one can guarantee a future event especially in a criminal defense case. In fact guaranteeing results is against the Michigan State Bar ethical rules. The outcome of a criminal case is a future event like any other. An experienced criminal trial attorney can usually give opinions as to the possible outcome, but these are no more than professional opinions. Be careful not to mistake a criminal defense attorney’s opinion for a guarantee. If the criminal defense attorney is truly giving you a guarantee contingent upon hiring the lawyer, ask the attorney to give you the guarantee in writing. As you will see, the lawyer will refuse to provide you anything in writing regarding guarantees, promises or relationships with judges or prosecutors they claim will be beneficial to your case. A lawyer who is willing to give a guarantee is dishonest and is so desperate for work he or she is willing to lie to you for the purpose of manipulating you in to hiring him or her. Find a different lawyer.
How does someone get bailed out? Do I get the bail money returned when the case is over?
Bail is financial assurance that a defendant will return to court after being released from custody. There are three ways to post bail. First, “cash” bail may be posted with the court or law enforcement agency to cover the entire amount of the bail. At the end of the case, if bail is exonerated, the person posting the bond will receive a check for the entire amount posted. If the bond is posted in the defendant’s name, the court will take out of the balance any costs, fees, fines and restitution due. Never put the bail in the defendant’s name when it can be avoided.
Second, a “bond” through a bail company, bondsman or surety may be posted. A defendant pays about 10% of the entire amount to a bail company, which puts up the entire bail amount through a bond. When the case is concluded, the 10% is not returned to the defendant because this is the fee he paid to the bail company to post bail on his behalf (like an insurance premium).
Third, the court may set a 10% bond. Under these circumstances, 10% of the amount of the bond may be posted and the defendant, or whoever pays the bond, will have to promise to pay the other 90% if the defendant fails to appear in court or violates a bond condition. When the case is concluded, the court will keep 10% of the amount posted as a fee.
“The person that called the police does not want to prosecute, does that mean that no charges will be filed and that I will be released from custody?”
Put simply…no. There are many reasons why the alleged victim or reporting party may have a change of heart. It may be that the report of crime (violence, theft, or other violation) may have been false or inaccurate. It may also be that the person is scared to proceed with a prosecution or may be afraid to lose a source of financial support. The police and the prosecutor’s office are aware of all the reasons, and do not just “drop charges” especially in domestic violence cases or other matters. In almost all of these cases, the prosecution assumes the worst and refused to dismiss the charges.
“Does your criminal law firm need the entire legal fee immediately?”
In most cases a payment plan can be worked out with our law firm. Our criminal defense firm accepts credit cards, cash and checks and has written retainer agreements. Usually a substantial portion of the fee must be paid up front and the balance can be worked out under a schedule for payments.
“My divorce attorney says he can handle my case. Do I need an attorney who practices exclusively criminal cases?”
If you had a heart problem, would you want to be treated by a general practice doctor or a heart specialist? The same principle applies to lawyers. If a criminal lawyer is getting divorced, he or she hires a divorce lawyer. If a real estate attorney gets charged with a DUI, he or she hires a Michigan criminal defense lawyer. The fact is that law is complex and a general practice lawyer who is practicing multiple areas of the law just cannot be an expert at all of them. If you need a divorce, hire a lawyer that exclusively handles divorce. If you are charged with a crime or accused of committing a criminal offense, you should seek out a lawyer that exclusively practices criminal defense. Many people do not realize that the Michigan Court Rules that govern civil cases are entirely different than the rules governing criminal matters. Failure to know the intricacies of even on of the many rules can result in an error that affects the rest of your life.
“What if I feel that the police violated my constitutional rights?”
A criminal defense attorney seeks to exclude evidence obtained as a result of police misconduct. At times, police misconduct occurs in searches that take place during ordinary traffic stops or in a suspect’s home. Additionally, if law enforcement is too aggressive in trying to obtain an incriminating statement from a suspect, it may violate the suspect’s Miranda rights. Litigation in the criminal court allows a defense lawyer to protect his client’s rights by submitting motions to the judge seeking to exclude the recovered evidence or received statements from trial. Often a successful motion to suppress evidence cripples the prosecutor’s case, causing the case to either be dismissed or substantially reduced in plea negotiations.
“If the defendant is not a U.S. citizen, how will the immigration status be affected by an arrest?”
Criminal convictions may cause direct and grave consequences to someone’s immigration status, often leading to deportation proceedings. The INS guidelines are often very complex and our criminal defense attorneys frequently confer with immigration law specialists to properly advise clients. Before going to court, our criminal lawyers discuss with clients their immigration status. Often our criminal law attorneys seek charges that are not considered by the INS as moral turpitude offenses (which are subject to deportation), and to convert any possible custody time to community service work. In Michigan, law enforcement is responsible for running the jails and regularly verifies immigration status upon receiving an inmate. As a result, as soon as an inmate is in custody (even if charges are later dismissed), an “immigration hold” may be placed subjecting him or her to deportation proceedings. The inmate may be deported from the United States after the INS picks the inmate up from the sheriff or police department’s custody. The saddest part is that the inmate may be innocent of all charges and still be deported because his/her immigration status is questioned.
“State v. Federal Court: What is the difference in criminal defense issues?”
Federal court cases are typically investigated by federal agencies, including the FBI, DEA, Customs, Treasury, and other federal agencies. Sometimes state and local agencies also file charges in federal court if the offenses involve major quantity of drugs, weapons or other contraband. The federal government has more resources to prosecute cases, including special units to prosecute drugs, fraud, and violent crimes. While the state and local government also has special units, they have fewer prosecutors with larger caseloads. Also, local law enforcement does not have nearly as many resources to complete investigations with as much thoroughness as federal law enforcement. For the most part, it is definitely in a criminal defendant’s interest to be prosecuted in state, rather than federal court. The State of Michigan sentencing guidelines usually require a shorter sentence than the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Regularly, states courts have far more alternative sentencing options than federal courts.
“How can I clear up an arrest warrant?”
Clearing up an arrest or bench warrant can be done one way: appearing in front of the court that issued the warrant. As long as the warrant is in the system, the person can be arrested for it in any state, in any contact with the police or government agency, and even coming into the United States at the airport or at an international boarder crossing. Immediate action to clear up the warrant is the best way to approach this legal problem. Voluntarily coming into the court with a well known, retained lawyer may result in the person being released on a low or personal bond. If the person is actually arrested on the warrant, bond may be very high or even denied.
“Why should I hire LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.?”
At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., our legal team is comprised of aggressive, passionate and fearless defense attorneys. We are well versed in all criminal law and defense matters, and very experienced working within the Michigan criminal justice system. Our criminal defense attorneys have decades of courtroom experience and we are fully prepared to undertake your case. When we work with our clients, we do everything possible to make sure that they receive the attention, resources, and dedicated legal counsel that they deserve. We will find a way to help you and, most importantly, we are not afraid to win! The approach we take is unique and the results we achieve are extraordinary.
“What types of cases does your law firm handle?”
The Criminal Defense Attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully handled all misdemeanor and felony cases involving: DUI-OWI (Drunk Driving), Sex Crimes, White Collar Crimes, Drug Crimes, Violent Crimes, Domestic Violence/Assault, Federal Crimes, Juvenile Crimes, Theft Crimes, Weapons Charges, Driving Charges, Fraud, Conspiracy, Internet Crimes, Probation Violation (VOP), Driver License Restoration, Expungement, Appeals (Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court), Arrest Warrant Arraignment, Shoplifting, Ordinance Violations, Traffic Tickets, Child Abuse, Personal Protection Orders (PPO), Burglary, Robbery, and many more.