Lansing Criminal Defense Attorneys
Have You Been Charged with a Crime in Lansing, Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor?
When an individual is charged with a crime, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, they must be arraigned. At the arraignment, a judge or magistrate reads the charges being brought against the accused in open court.
The accused is also provided with an opportunity to request the representation of a court-appointed lawyer if they are unable to afford legal representation. If the accused intends to hire a lawyer, they may do so at any time before or after the arraignment. Once the accused is arraigned, the criminal process begins. (Please see our criminal procedure page for a general overview of criminal procedure.)
If you have an arraignment scheduled, or have already been arraigned, contact a BLF lawyer for assertive representation throughout your case. The first step in the process is for us to meet with you for an initial consultation to gather information and to evaluate your case.
Due to the fact that every criminal case is unique, BLF lawyers will never attempt to fit your case into a “cookie cutter.” We take pride in working with our clients to ensure that they understand all of their options and the possible consequences of each decision they make within the judicial process.
How does the Michigan Criminal Justice System work?
In Michigan, there are two types of criminal offenses: misdemeanors and felonies.
Misdemeanor crimes are those crimes for which the maximum penalty is less than one year in jail.
Felonies are those crimes for which the maximum penalty is more than one year in prison.
In general, there are two kinds of misdemeanors:
- Misdemeanors that carry up to 93 days in jail
- Misdemeanors that carry up to one year in jail
In addition to time in jail, misdemeanors can carry other penalties, including:
- Required participation in substance abuse prevention services;
- Substance abuse rehabilitation or treatment programs; and
- Community service.
*It should be noted that the following examples include maximum penalties for a first offense only. Penalties may be more severe for subsequent offenses. BLF’s experienced lawyers specialize in criminal defense and can provide the quality legal assistance you need. Please call and schedule a consultation today.
What are common Misdemeanors carrying up to 93-day jail sentence?
- Assault and Battery
- Disturbing the Peace (Disorderly Conduct)
- Domestic Violence/Assault
- Driving While License Suspended (DWLS)
- Embezzlement (property/money valued less than $200)
- Minor In Possession of Liquor (MIP)
- Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
- Reckless Driving
- Usage of Marihuana
What are common Misdemeanors carrying up to a one-year jail sentence?
- Domestic Violence/Assault – 2nd Offense;
- Larceny (property valued at $200 or more, but less than $1,000)
- Operating While Intoxicated – 2nd Offense;
- Possession of Marihuana
- Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm
What are High Court Misdemeanors?
It is a common misconception that High Court Misdemeanors are a lesser version of a felony offense–this is not true. High Court Misdemeanors carry a lesser maximum sentence than most felonies; however they are still classified as a felony for the purposes of a person’s criminal record. If you are charged with a High Court Misdemeanor, it is important to meet with a BLF lawyer to discuss the potential consequences a conviction could have on your life and your criminal record.
What are the most common High Court Misdemeanors?
- Negligent Homicide by Vehicle
- Resisting and Obstructing Arrest (R&O)
- Possession of Analogues (“Designer Drugs”)
What is a probation violation?
Probation is a privilege, not a right. A probation violation is a separate offense from the underlying original crime. A violation occurs when you fail to meet one or more of the required terms of your probation. When you are charged with a probation violation, you are arraigned by a judge.
You have the right to request a hearing where the probation officer must show by a “preponderance of the evidence” that you violated at least one of the conditions of your probation. A “preponderance of evidence” is a lower threshold of proof than “beyond a reasonable doubt” andrequires the prosecutor to show that it is “more likely than not” that you are guilty of the probation violation.
In addition to the probation violation, the judge may charge you with the original crime that you received probation for. In other words, you could face serious consequences such as jail time, termination of your probation, or a more enhanced sentence.
If you have violated the terms of your probation, you need to speak with a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer at BLF who can talk with the prosecutor, or if necessary represent you at a probation violation hearing. BLF lawyers are successful in handing probation violation hearings on a regular basis.
How are Michigan Driver’s License appeals and restoration of a driver’s license handled?
Have you had your driver’s license suspended due to alcohol or driving offenses?
The granting, suspension and revocation of Michigan driver’s licenses are handled by the Michigan Secretary of State, separate and apart from the judicial process. Conviction of alcohol and driving offenses, as well as controlled-substance-related offenses, or other driving infractions, depending on the severity of the offense, can result in the temporary or permanent loss of driving privileges.
If you have been denied driving privileges or have had your driver’s license revoked for multiple driving-related convictions, you may be able to appeal the Secretary of State’s decision. Contact BLF to allow us to review your individual situation and to review what options may be available to you.
Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. A felony conviction may carry a punishment of more than one year of imprisonment. Having a felony conviction on your record can have consequences lasting far longer than your jail sentence. Felony convictions can affect your ability to get a job, the right to vote, the right to own or carry a firearm, the right to obtain certain professional licenses, and the right to travel across the United States border into Canada and Mexico
What are the most common Felonies?
- Armed Robbery
- CSC (Criminal Sexual Conduct – Various Degrees)
- Home Invasion
- Larceny (theft of items valuing $1,000 or more)
- Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance
- Possession/Dissemination of Child Pornography
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (a.k.a. Drugs) over a certain amount
- Uttering and Publishing
- Weapons Charges
The process of a criminal case can be daunting and very confusing. The following flow charts outline the general procedures and timeline for a standard criminal case. This is only meant to be a general guide. Each criminal case is unique. Your criminal case must be evaluated by a knowledgeable BLF lawyer to determine the process your case will go through.
Michigan Criminal Process Flowcharts