FAQ: Criminal Defense

By West Michigan Defense Team
Handcuffs and gavel on dark rustic table

Facing criminal charges can be confusing and intimidating. There are numerous procedures, laws, and terms that you may not be familiar with, and the uncertainty, the fear, and the potential consequences can be overwhelming. Rest assured, our team at West Michigan Defense Team is here to guide you every step of the way. Trust that you are not alone; our team is here to support you, fight for your rights, and help you understand your situation better. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense 

At the West Michigan Defense Team, we understand that facing criminal charges can be a daunting experience. You're bound to have questions, and we're here to answer them. Our attorneys have compiled a list of some frequently asked questions to help you navigate this difficult time. 

Do I have to speak to the police after I’m arrested? 

No, you don't have to speak to the police after being arrested. In fact, it's usually in your best interest not to. You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can be used against you in court.  

Should I accept a plea deal to make this go away? 

Whether you accept a plea deal is a highly personal decision and depends on many factors. It's important to understand that a plea deal is an admission of guilt and will result in a criminal conviction. This could have far-reaching consequences, affecting everything from your employment prospects to your right to vote. It can sometimes seem like a quick way to make the situation disappear, but the long-term effects can be significant. Before making any decision, you should consult with your lawyer. They can help you understand the consequences of accepting a plea deal and guide you in making the best decision based on your specific circumstances. 

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor? 

In Michigan, crimes are categorized as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are less severe and carry lighter penalties, while felonies are more serious crimes with harsher punishments. The distinction is significant, and it can affect sentencing, bail, and future rights. 

If I'm completely innocent, do I still need a lawyer? 

Yes, even if you're completely innocent, it's still advisable to engage a lawyer. False accusations can occur, and without proper legal representation, you may struggle to navigate the justice system and prove your innocence. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights, gather evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and present your case in the most effective manner. Remember, an accusation does not equate to guilt, and everyone is entitled to a fair trial. 

When are police allowed to search my person, vehicle, or home? 

Police are allowed to search your person, vehicle, or home under certain circumstances. These include if they have a valid search warrant issued by a judge; if you consent to the search; if they have probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime; or if the search is related to an arrest.  

The police didn’t read me my rights. Am I still under arrest? 

Yes, you can still be arrested even if the police did not read you your rights. The "Miranda rights" are designed to protect you from self-incrimination during a custodial interrogation. If these rights were not read to you, it doesn't invalidate an arrest, but it could potentially make any statements you made inadmissible in court. Always consult with an attorney to understand this issue. 

What happens if I’m charged with a crime in Michigan but live in another state? 

If you are charged with a crime in Michigan but live in another state, you are still subject to Michigan's jurisdiction and laws. You may be required to return to Michigan for court appearances, and if convicted, the consequences will apply as if you were a resident. However, it's crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney licensed in Michigan, as they will be knowledgeable about Michigan's specific laws and courtroom procedures. It is also possible that your home state could enforce the penalties, depending on the nature of the crime and interstate agreements. 

How long does a criminal case typically last? 

The duration of a criminal case can vary significantly depending on various factors such as the severity of the charges, the complexity of the case, and the court's schedule. Misdemeanor cases typically resolve more quickly, often within a few months. However, felony cases can take a year or more, particularly if the case goes to trial. Every case is unique and timing can be influenced by many factors. 

Can I clear a criminal charge from my record? 

In some instances, it is possible to clear a criminal charge from your record through a process called expungement. Expungement is a legal process that can eliminate an arrest or conviction from your record, making it invisible in most situations. In Michigan, eligibility for expungement is based on specific criteria and the nature of the crime. However, it's a complex process and not available for all offenses.  

Do I really need a criminal defense attorney? 

Absolutely. A criminal defense attorney is your best bet for navigating the complex legal landscape. At the West Michigan Defense Team, we're dedicated to protecting your rights and providing a tailored approach to your defense. 

West Michigan Defense Team Is Here to Help

If you're facing criminal charges in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, or anywhere in Western Michigan, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Remember, at West Michigan Defense Team, we're committed to fighting for you. Contact us today.