Have you been arrested or charged with a crime in Wayne or Oakland County, Michigan? If so, it is important to have an idea of what you will face in the weeks and months ahead.
The criminal process essentially begins the moment you are arrested, although sometimes an arrest does not amount to charges and prosecution. If you are placed under arrest it is because the police have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime or that you were somehow involved in the commission of a crime.
After you are arrested you will be taken back to the police station and booked on criminal charges. During the booking process you will be photographed, fingerprinted, searched, and asked a few questions. It is important to remember that you can refrain from answering any questions until you have spoken with an attorney or your attorney is present. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the state will appoint a public defender to your case. However, there are benefits to hiring a private attorney. To learn why, please visit our blog, "Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney Versus a Public Defender."
After you have been booked, the district attorney prosecuting the case can either continue with the case or drop the charges. If the charges are dropped your case ends there. If the prosecutor files charges, you will be scheduled to appear at an arraignment, which usually occurs within 72 hours of your arrest. At the arraignment you will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will impose a sentence then and there. If you plead not guilty, the judge will schedule your next court appearance, as your case is now set for trial. During the arraignment the judge will also set bail, refuse to set bail, or release you on your recognizance.
If you and your attorney do not reach a plea agreement with the prosecuting attorney, your case will move to trial. A plea agreement is basically an arrangement made by the prosecutor and the defense attorney where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence or reduced penalties. During a trial, your case is heard before a judge and jury, and after reviewing evidence and testimony submitted by both the defense and the prosecution, the jury will determine whether you are guilty or not guilty of the charges. In some cases, you might be able to request a bench trial, which means your case is only heard before a judge.
Should the jury find you not guilty, your case is dismissed and you are free to go about living your life. If you are found guilty of the charges, the judge will then impose a sentence based on the crime. You might be able to appeal the conviction as well.
Contact an Experienced Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer
This is just a brief overview of the criminal process in Michigan. As you can image, the actual process is much more detailed and complex. If you are interested in learning more about the criminal process in Michigan, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Freedman & Freedman. With years of criminal defense experience under our belts, we have the knowledge, practice, and resources to provide you with sound advice and trusted guidance.
To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Freedman & Freedman today at 1 (877) 858-5297!