Michigan Criminal Lawyer

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When faced with charges of a criminal offense, no matter how minor, an individual will certainly benefit from consulting a competent criminal lawyer. A qualified Michigan criminal attorney will provide legal representation in court and help the accused understand the nature of the charges. An experienced lawyer, who is well-versed in the criminal laws applicable in the state, will advise the defendant on the available defenses and options of pleas that can help reduce the sentence if the case were to go to trial. Michigan criminal lawyer attorneys are familiar with court customs and procedures. When you have been accused of a crime, it is important to have the professional help you need when fighting for your innocence.

A 'crime' has been defined by the state as an act or behavior that is deserving of punishment. Criminal laws vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; however, all jurisdictions divide crimes into two categories, felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are more serious and include rape, arson, kidnapping, torture, murders, aggravated assault, grand theft, bribery, conspiracy, fraud and espionage. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses like petty theft, disorderly conduct, vandalism, trespassing and jaywalking.

Punishments for both felonies and misdemeanors can vary, depending on the severity of the crime involved, the jurisdiction in which the crime is being prosecuted, and the judge who handles sentencing. Nevertheless, there are guidelines for sentencing, and the classifications of felonies and misdemeanors, in some states, provide minimum sentences for particular crimes. In general, a felony will be punished by no less than one year in a federal or state prison, but a convicted felon can also face life imprisonment, either with or without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty. Misdemeanants who are first-time offenders are not usually sentenced to incarceration of any length, but recidivist misdemeanants may be sentenced to time in a jail. Usually the punishment for a misdemeanor offense is a fine.

Convicted criminals may also be sentenced to probation or parole, to house arrest, to community service, or to compulsory treatment or education programs.

If you are faced with a felony or misdemeanor charge, you may be eligible for an appointed counsel through a public defender's office. This usually is decided by the judge presiding over the case and will depend on several factors which will be based on an assessment of the defendant's resources.

Unless the defendant files for a guilty plea or is found guilty of some or all the charges in a conviction, the court requires that some of the lawyer fees be paid. However, in case of dismissal of the charges or an acquittal the defendant is not usually liable to pay any fees. The cost of a criminal defense lawyer may vary with the jurisdiction as well as the type of charges filed. Additionally, the extent of investigation as well as the need to hire experts to act as witnesses during the case will determine the costs that may be incurred by a defendant who retains a private attorney.

For serious offenses, such as felony charges, a skilled criminal attorney can help negotiate a plea bargain for charges lesser than those filed. A criminal defense attorney will also help identify the significant pretrial troubles and suggest ways to improve the defense to ensure a fair trial.

Depending on the circumstances of the case the defendant may choose to opt for a jury trial or a bench trial. The defense attorney will guide you on the best approach to ensure a fair trial. It might be better to opt for a bench trial, for instance, if the case involves highly technical legal matters that jurors will not be able to adequately understand for judgment or if they are likely to be biased against the defendant.

Contact the Michigan Bar Association today in order to begin the process of finding a qualified criminal attorney who can help you achieve the best results possible in your criminal case. The American Bar Association (ABA) website features a lawyer locator, which can help you search for a criminal lawyer or attorney in Michigan. Access is always free.