What will a top Michigan criminal attorney do to help me?

If you face felony or misdemeanor accusations, you will need the help of a top criminal defense attorney if you hope to avoid a conviction or harsh sentence.

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You have several important rights if you face criminal allegations.

If you face felony or misdemeanor allegations, you have several rights that must be protected. If your lawyer doesn’t know or care about your rights, you will not likely get a just outcome in your case. If your attorney doesn’t advise you of your rights, who will? Not all lawyers are the same. You need to know what you are looking for in an attorney.

Right to Counsel:

The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to have counsel before providing any statements or submitting to questioning. You have the right to an attorney at all proceedings in the trial court and on appeal if you are convicted at trial. You NEED a lawyer BEFORE you make any statements to the police. The court must appoint an attorney if you cannot afford a lawyer. You do not have the right to a great lawyer. Although many court-appointed attorneys are skilled and conscientious, they are often overworked and pressured to resolve cases quickly. If you can hire a top lawyer, you can find someone who is a good fit for you, highly experienced, and passionate about providing you with the best defense possible.

Right to Remain Silent

You are not required to talk to the police when questioned about a crime. Do NOT give a statement. NEVER talk to the police without the assistance of an attorney. Anything you say may be tape-recorded or videotaped with or without your knowledge. The police can even lie to you about recording your statement, and they can lie to you to trick you into talking. (Do NOT discuss facts of an alleged crime with anyone, including family members. There is no privilege to protect your statements to these persons). Only talk to your lawyer. You do not have a right to a lawyer if the police want to question you on a pre-charge basis, i.e., before they charge you. If the police want to speak with you, invoke your right to remain silent. If you can afford to hire a paid attorney, you should immediately do so if you know you are being investigated or accused.

Right to Equal Protection Under the Law

This right to Equal Protection Under the Law gives all persons, regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, or gender, the same protections and rights. In other words, no person or class of persons shall be denied the protections enjoyed by other persons or classes in like circumstances.

Right to be Free From Unreasonable Searches or Seizures

Do NOT allow any search of your body, home, garage, business, computer, car, boat, or other dwelling or conveyance or property unless an officer presents proper credentials and a search warrant. This doesn’t mean that you should be anything but respectful, however. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. ONLY if the police have a valid search warrant is it appropriate to permit the search. Ask to read the papers before granting permission if there is a warrant. Then, ask the officers if you may watch as they search and ask to speak with your lawyer before the search. You never know whether your spouse, children, or perhaps a friend or acquaintance (or even a stranger) may have placed or left contraband or other evidence of a crime in or on your property.

NEVER give consent to a search without a warrant. If asked whether searching will be okay, say “No.” If the police proceed to search despite your refusal, be polite and cooperate, or you risk arrest for other criminal charges. You cannot resist the police even if they are acting illegally. If evidence were obtained unlawfully, a good criminal defense lawyer could move to suppress the evidence at the appropriate time. Many criminal defense lawyers are afraid to fight the government. If you hire a retained Michigan criminal attorney, you must find one who is not afraid to win!

“What are my rights to a speedy and public trial?”

The Sixth Amendment guarantees a “speedy trial” without unreasonable delays. The right to a speedy trial does not mean that you receive an immediate trial. Still, factors are analyzed to determine whether the delay is reasonable and whether an unreasonable delay causes any prejudice. Your bench or jury trial must be open to the public (except in specific juvenile settings and cases where an alleged victim is determined to need special protection). All delays attributable to the defendant, requested by the defense attorney, or stipulated to the defense do not count in any delay calculation.

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The Rights of Someone Accused of a Felony or Misdemeanor in Michigan

Anyone facing criminal charges has several basic constitutional and statutory rights. It is best to consult with an experienced defense lawyer to know which rights are applicable and the steps if your rights have been violated. Here are some examples:

Right to Due Process of Law

The right to Due Process of law means that the government must give you the opportunity for a fair trial and procedures. The government cannot take certain rights, privileges, or property from you except under exceptional circumstances. Law enforcement and the court often deprive defendants of their rights. Indeed, in the view of many criminal defense attorneys, a client’s right to due process is often violated. A great criminal lawyer will do what is necessary to protect the client even if the court or the prosecutor intends to violate the right to a fair trial.

Right to Subpoena Witnesses

If you go to a preliminary hearing or trial, you have the right to compulsory process or subpoena witnesses regardless of whether the witness agrees to cooperate. If you serve the witness with a subpoena, they must attend hearings and give testimony (thus the right to confront your accusers). The right to confront witnesses also means that your attorney will have the right to cross-examine any witness the prosecution calls.

Right to a Trial by Jury

You are entitled to a jury trial unless you and the government agree to a trial before the judge. A trial before a judge, instead of a jury, is often called a bench trial. If you demand a trial, a jury of six (misdemeanor jury) or twelve (felony jury) qualified persons must be impaneled to hear your case. Never waive the right to a jury unless a qualified, highly experienced attorney who knows the judge recommends doing so.

Right to a Unanimous Verdict

All jurors must unanimously find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, or you are not guilty. In felony cases, twelve people must agree that you are guilty of the crime charged or some lesser-included offense; otherwise, you cannot be found guilty. (If the jury reaches an impasse, the jury may be hung or split. Under these circumstances, the government can take your case to trial again). Similarly, the jury must also be unanimous for a verdict of not guilty (acquittal).

Right to be Free from Subsequent Trials (Double Jeopardy)

The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment states that no person can be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense. If the jury unanimously agrees you are not guilty, you cannot be tried again for that crime. In Michigan, you can be subsequently tried for another crime if the other offense is comprised of different elements.

Right to Appeal

You have an appeal of right if you are convicted at trial. If you enter into a plea bargain or plead guilty, you may or may not waive certain rights to appeal. Generally, you waive the right to appeal if you plead guilty or no contest in Michigan. If you plead guilty or no contest, you typically have only the right to apply for leave to appeal. Applying for leave to appeal means you must ask the higher court for permission to appeal.

“Is it really worth the money to a top defense attorney, or will any decent lawyer work?”

The quality, experience, and reputation of a criminal defense lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of a case. Experienced lawyers comprehensively understand the law and the legal system, which is crucial for navigating complex legal procedures and identifying effective strategies. Their trial skills, including questioning, public speaking, and argumentation, are often well-honed, influencing the trial’s or case’s outcome. Moreover, experienced lawyers usually possess superior negotiation skills, which are essential for securing favorable plea deals. They also have access to investigative resources and expert witnesses, crucial in building a solid defense. A lawyer’s reputation can affect the case, as those respected for their integrity and competence might find more receptiveness from judges, prosecutors, and juries. Familiarity with local court practices and personnel is another advantage of seasoned lawyers. Additionally, well-known, influential defense lawyers are often better at establishing a trusting relationship with their clients, understanding their needs, and managing the many components of a case efficiently.

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Are you satisfied that you are getting the best defense possible?

If you have questions about protecting your rights and getting the highest caliber defense possible, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. We will take the time to speak with you, answer your questions, and address your concerns. If you are concerned that you are not getting the best possible criminal defense representation, that is probably a sign you need to get a second perspective on your case. We can help you!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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