DETROIT, MI CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER
Being charged with a criminal offense, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, should always be taken seriously. Criminal charges can have a lasting impact on your future, affecting your educational and employment opportunities and potentially limiting your freedom. Michigan has several classifications related to criminal charges. Whatever the specifics of your situation, know that you have options and rights to a fair disposition of your case. This is why it’s important to seek the skills of an experienced Detroit criminal defense attorney.
Unfortunately, those who have been accused of a crime are often immediately stigmatized as criminals, often facing unfair treatment. The Law Offices of David I. Lee, P.C., sees clients as human beings first and not merely as people accused of a crime. This means that they fight to ensure that all the rights of their clients are protected and work to secure the greatest possible outcome.
David Lee maintains a manageable caseload to ensure that each client has as much access to him as possible throughout their case. With decades of experience handling a variety of notable cases, we understand what it takes to battle through tough litigation and to treat each client with dignity and respect, regardless of the accusation.
What Constitutes a Criminal Offense in Michigan
Michigan law delineates law violations into 3 categories, each differentiated by the maximum length of jail time the violation carries.
- Infraction: Any violation of a local ordinance or state statute is considered an infraction if it does not include any jail time. Infractions will most often carry fines and may come with additional penalties, such as the suspension of a license.
- Misdemeanor: Any offense that carries jail time of no more than one year is considered a misdemeanor. While fines and other penalties may also be included, all misdemeanors require a minimum of 93 days of jail time, which can range up to one year.
- Felony: Any offense that exceeds one year of jail time is considered a felony. Felonies often include fines and other penalties as well, and they typically carry at least two years of jail time.
All violations that carry jail time are considered criminal charges, regardless of whether they are misdemeanors or felonies. For this reason, it is essential to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend your case against criminal convictions.
What Crimes Are Considered Criminal Offenses in Michigan?
Several types of offenses carry criminal charges in Detroit, MI. These most commonly include, but are not limited to:
- Theft: Removing or taking anyone’s property without their consent is considered theft. This can include taking personal belongings, stealing property, such as a vehicle, or stealing goods, such as shoplifting. A crime is considered robbery if the theft involves the use of violence, whether by threat, intimidation, or force. A theft is considered burglary when there is also an unlawful trespass with the intent to commit a theft or other crime.
- Drug Offenses: Michigan criminalizes the possession, distribution, and sale of all illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, or any prescription drugs that have been illegally obtained or distributed.
- DUI/DWI: It is a violation of Michigan law to operate a vehicle if you are still under the effects of either alcohol or drug consumption. Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) carries severe penalties if convicted and can include having your license suspended.
- Sexual Crimes: Any crime that involves non-consensual acts against another that are sexual in nature is considered a sex crime. This can most commonly include sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, and sexual exploitation, such as child pornography or human trafficking.
Why You Need a Detroit Criminal Defense Lawyer
All charges, whether they are misdemeanors or felonies, should be taken seriously. Although it is legal to represent yourself in court, it is strongly recommended that you obtain the services of an experienced attorney you can trust for more serious cases. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is vital, as they can help you in several ways:
- Experience: The right criminal defense lawyer has already represented countless others who have been in the same situation and have battled the same charges you may be facing. This means they already know the appropriate defenses for your situation and are highly familiar with all related and applicable laws relevant to defending your case. When facing serious charges, such as drug, theft, or sexual crimes, seek out a knowledgeable and skilled attorney.
- Advocacy: Your criminal defense attorney can fight for the most optimal outcome in your case. Having a trusted advocate who can represent your side of the story and fight to make sure your rights are protected provides the greatest opportunity to ensure your verdict reaches the fairest possible result. David Lee will listen attentively to you throughout your case and pursue all available avenues under the circumstances to obtain the ideal results.
- Protection: Criminal charges most often carry severe penalties if convicted. In addition to high fines and potentially significant jail time, having a criminal charge on your record will follow you and could negatively affect your reputation and employment opportunities. It could even impact your personal well-being. An experienced criminal defense attorney can protect you and your rights and greatly increase the chance that you avoid unnecessary and unfair convictions or penalties.
What Do I Do if I Am Arrested?
Being arrested can be frightening. It’s easy to make mistakes while being arrested, which could lead to future complications. Here are some steps you can take to prevent issues down the line:
- Remain Silent: It is perfectly legal not to answer any questions asked by law enforcement while being arrested. This silence can also extend to your social media presence. It’s not a good idea to share details about your arrest online because social media posts can be used in court as evidence against you.
- Cooperate: Do not attempt to avoid getting arrested or prevent law enforcement from finishing the process because it can make your charges worse later on. You can, however, ask the officers arresting you what your specific charges are and why you’re being arrested in the first place. This can be useful information for your attorney.
- Work With an Attorney: You are allowed to have an attorney present while police are questioning you. Consulting with an attorney before, during, and after your arrest and any further questioning can be one of the most helpful things for your case.
What Happens After My Arrest?
While an arrest might seem rushed, the steps after the arrest occurs can take several years to finalize. Here is a rough outline of what those next steps might look like:
- Incarceration: If the offense a person is arrested for is serious enough, they can be incarcerated. If the crime is minor, they might just receive a citation.
- Bail Hearing: In a bail hearing, a judge sets bail for the defendant. Less serious crimes and misdemeanors often have a set amount assigned for bail. If bail is paid, the defendant does not have to spend time in jail until their case goes to trial. If the defendant refuses bail, a trial is typically held within 90 days of this denial.
- Arraignment: Arraignment is the first trial held regarding the arrest. It is decided in the arraignment whether a defendant is using their own attorney or not. The defendant can also be asked how they plead to the charges levied against them.
- Preliminary Hearing: These hearings are only held for felony charges and must prove to the judge that there is enough evidence for the case to move forward. The prosecution usually has their witnesses testify and be cross-examined by the defense.
- Trial: In the main trial, both sides are given the opportunity to present evidence by arguing for their case to a jury. Once the prosecution and the defense have spoken, the jury works together to determine whether the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Sentencing: If a defendant is found guilty, they are given a criminal sentence. Sometimes, this is done in the main trial, but in other cases, it is done in a second hearing.
Every criminal case is different. Protect your rights by working with a criminal defense attorney who has experience standing up for falsely accused victims.
Do I Have to Take a Roadside Drug Test?
In some cases, preliminary breath tests (PBTs) are used to prove whether or not a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These tests are often used as evidence against a defendant if they are arrested for a DUI. However, there are some penalties that come with refusing these tests.
Refusing a PBT does not impact your driving record in any way. If you refuse to take the test, you can get a civil infraction, which is considered a misdemeanor and associated with a small fine.
If an officer is still suspicious, they might require you to take a more advanced DataMaster Transportable (DMT) Breathalyzer Test at the police station. Refusing this test has more serious penalties. A DMT refusal results in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license, six points on your driving record, and usually a second misdemeanor.
If you are charged with a DUI or DWI, timing can be a crucial element in your case. Contact a Detroit criminal defense law firm as soon as possible to discuss your options and review your rights.
Detroit Criminal Defense FAQs
Q: Can You Replace Your Existing Detroit Criminal Defense Attorney?
A: If you find that your attorney isn’t keeping you updated on the specifics of your case, you might lose trust in them to defend your interests properly. You are allowed to replace your existing criminal defense attorney in Detroit, but you need to resolve any unpaid fees between your current attorney before finding a new one. Once you find another attorney, you can send the old attorney a written notice ending the working relationship.
Q: Should You Retain a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Detroit Even if You Know You Are Innocent?
A: Even if you know your innocence, you still have to prove this fact to a jury. An attorney can help you convince others of your innocence. They can explain the specifics of your charges and rights and can orchestrate a thorough investigation of your unique situation. They can also assist in gathering evidence and instruct you on how to answer questions in the courtroom.
Q: What Crimes Have No Statute of Limitations in Michigan?
A: If a crime has no statute of limitations, it means that it can still be tried decades after the event happened. In Detroit, this typically applies to serious felonies like rape, terrorism, and murder. Other felonies like sex crimes, kidnapping, and extortion have a ten-year statute of limitations. Most other crimes have a six-year statute of limitations, including arson and burglary.
Q: How Long Do Prosecutors Have to File Charges in Michigan?
A: The length of time prosecutors have to file charges largely depends on the crime they are accusing the defendant of committing. Different crimes have different time limits for prosecution, otherwise known as a statute of limitations. In Detroit, most criminal acts, like minor felonies and misdemeanors, have a six-year statute of limitations, while more serious acts might extend to ten years or not have a statute of limitations at all.
Contact the Law Offices of David I. Lee, P.C.
The team at the Law Offices of David I. Lee, P.C., is committed to helping those in the Detroit area with legal matters related to criminal charges. Our comprehensive knowledge, and decades of experience, have prepared us to lead through even the most serious of offenses. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, if you are facing criminal charges in Detroit, contact us right away to find out how we can work alongside you in your case.