How to Properly Approach a Criminal Charge in Michigan (2023)

It goes without saying that the best outcome when faced with a criminal charge is to walk away from it completely. Everyone hopes that everything can go away. This can and will happen, but only if the attorney employs an intelligent defense strategy. Before that can happen, however, the entire situation and every piece of evidence it contains must be carefully examined. That all sounds great, but what else does it really mean? In this article we will examine that.

How to Properly Approach a Criminal Charge in Michigan (1)We live in the information age. Police body camera video has been widespread since early 2023 and continues to grow. Soon it will be largely universal, and that's a good thing. No matter what happens, every story has 2 sides. Even routine and polite interaction between citizens and the police can be perceived differently by both sides. Video evidence is neutral. Sure, video is far from perfect, but it can certainly be an advantage in a criminal case. Sometimes that can simply mean giving a person the clarity to know that the case against them is strong.

That cannot be dismissed out of hand. It would be impossible to count the number of times my team and I heard one thing from a client and then saw something else on video. In DUI cases, for example, people often say things like the officer "said I dodged." Sometimes people disagree and genuinely believe they are drivingwarWell. Later, when they look at the police dash cam video, they will see that you are drivingit was notokay, and at least I don't feel so bad about the traffic stop. Of course, that's not as good as finding a way to quash the criminal charges, but dispelling the doubt is a good thing.

How the language is used is important. In life, groups of people can be viewed as "fewer" simply by referring to them (and then thinking of them) using a derogatory term. Here is a real life example of how NOT to do this. When I first started practicing law, I watched older and more experienced lawyers do things. I often saw court-appointed attorneys standing in a row with their clientscriminal case, which refers to him or her as "the accused". That immediately struck me as wrong and depersonalizing.

When I first heard that, I decided never to refer to a client as "the defendant" but by his or her name. My team and I always called our customers by name, such as and sooder and so.

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Personally, I would never refer to my client as “the accused”. This term "the accused" is not only anonymous, but makes the person sound almost guilty. It certainly makes him sound less important than and so, or a and so. A lawyer cannot use this term with the intention of dehumanizing the client, but at least tends to depersonalize him. I firmly believe that it is extremely important to humanize every person we represent who faces criminal charges.

That's why my team and I will always refer to our customers as "Mr. Smith" or "Mrs. Jones". Everyone is a living, breathing person, someone who has a family, a life, a job and a place in this world, a place that we as defenders must protect.

The way we use language directly shapes the way we perceive and interact with the world. This is particularly important for persons against whom criminal proceedings are pending. Prosecutors handle many cases. The simple truth is that there aren't many innocent people who get arrested for things like thisExhibitionismus,wrongdoing, ÖDUIwho are completely innocent. Sure, many people deserve a break, but that's not the point here.

What I mean is that prosecutors can take it for grantedthe mostof the files they have on any given day are from people who have NOT been falsely accused of a crime. In other words, they largely assume that the person named on each file is guilty. Again, that doesn't mean the person doesn't deserve a break. However, the reality is that prosecutors' day-to-day experience does not allow them to deal with many cases where the person is completely innocent.

A defense attorney can never get into the habit of such thoughts. It is a trap. It is ABSOLUTELY necessary that a lawyertake over the defenseany criminal charge, ASSUMED that there is a flaw in the evidence and that it is your job to continue investigating until you find it. While facts are facts and one's perspective won't change them, the "most people are guilty" type of mentality will negatively impact how the attorney examines the evidence. The lawyer's job iscarefulExamine the evidence, not just to see if anything catches your eye.

Even when, as in most cases, there is no catastrophic problem with the evidence being large enough for the courts to throw out the entire case, a trifle or a few trifles can often be used to gain a better understanding. Result. Normally these little things don't show up with a quick check. Therefore, the attorney must carefully and thoroughly examine the evidence intended to support a criminal complaint.That ishow things are discovered

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Like everything in life, good work is the key to good results.

Of course, in terms of fighting, a lawyer can “fight” just about anything related to a criminal charge. However, this tactic is a shortcut to deception. There are some (though fortunately not many) lawyers who are adept at putting on what some call a "dog and pony show." They set up a score by going to court and challenging everything under the sun.

Judges and prosecutors, of course, know who they are.

While these characters are very successful at making money, members of the legal community can't help but feel a little sorry for anyone who ends up hiring one of them to defend a criminal complaint. They can be great at making a lot of noise (and money doing it) but fail to get successful results.

No doubt judges and prosecutors respect a lawyer who stands up andfightsfor your customer. Neither of you will be deterred by an honest and good faith challenge to the evidence. However, that is very different from simply finding things to challenge in court and wasting everyone's time just to add to the bill.

The task of the lawyer is therefore to challenge the evidenceintelligent. Of course, he must not be so cowardly as to simply question the obvious. On the other hand, the attorney should not initiate a long-term challenge that will waste the client's money AND the judge's patience. Instead, the defender must always proceed with a plan, understanding both the benefits of winning a fight and the cost of losing.

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This plan must be well thought out. What to question and when can only be known after a really careful examination of the evidence. Even the most common criminal (such asaggravated indecent exposure) the case is complex, particularly in terms of evidence. That being said, there are several areas in criminal matters that are often the most fertile ground for a successful challenge.

For example definitely witha DUIor traffic violation, the reason for the traffic obstruction is decisive. Did the police have a valid reason (reasonable suspicion) to stop someone? This is very different than showing up and finding someone passed out behind the wheel after towing their vehicle into a ditch.

In other cases, e.g. B. related to drugs, embezzlement orindecent exposure fees, there are always concerns about privacy expectations, particularly around searches and seizures. In addition, we also need to address other important potential issues such as: B. whether a person was properly informed of their rights before saying anything incriminating and how the evidence was obtained (and in many cases analysed).

What all of this really means is that a person should hirea lawyerthat he or she will fight for him or her, but is not just some boastful "fighter" who just makes a lot of noise and charges a fortune for it. In the end it is the results that count. As I often emphasize, success in a crime orDUI caseit is best measured by what is NOT happening to you.

In any case, the best result is achieved by following a smart defense strategy that includes a plan to counter things that can be successfully challenged.

No attorney can do more and my team and I will never do less.

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If you're facing a criminal charge or a DUI charge, be a smart consumer and do your research. Pay attention to how different attorneys explain DUI and criminal procedures and how they break down their different approaches.

This blog is a great place to start. It is fully searchable and updated weekly with new and original content. As of this writing, there are more than 210 articles in thepenalty section, and more than 590 articles in theSection DUI. It is the biggest and best source of criminal and DUI information out there.

But don't take my word for it - see for yourself.

When you've read enough, start calling. You can learn a lot by talking to a living person. All of our consultations are free, confidential and conducted over the phone as soon as you call. My team and I are very friendly people who are happy to answer your questions and explain things. We're even happy to compare notes to anything another attorney has told you.

We are available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST), at 248-986-9700 or 586-465-1980.


What are the 7 steps to the criminal process? ›

MENU Steps in the Federal Criminal Process
  • Investigation.
  • Charging.
  • Initial Hearing / Arraignment.
  • Discovery.
  • Plea Bargaining.
  • Preliminary Hearing.
  • Pre-Trial Motions.
  • Trial.

What are the 5 steps in the criminal process? ›

The chart summarizes the most common events in the criminal and juvenile justice systems including entry into the criminal justice system, prosecution and pretrial services, adjudication, sentencing and sanctions, and corrections.

Why do prosecutors sometimes choose not to prosecute criminal cases? ›

A prosecutor may drop a criminal charge if it is determined that the evidence against the accused isn't strong enough. Or, perhaps new evidence is found which undercuts the prosecution's case against the defendant.

What is Rule 1101 in Michigan court? ›

At preliminary examinations in criminal cases, hearsay is admissible to prove, with regard to property, the ownership, authority to use, value, possession and entry.

What are the 3 basic components of a criminal offense? ›

In general, every crime involves three elements: first, the act or conduct (actus reus); second, the individual's mental state at the time of the act (mens rea); and third, the causation between the act and the effect (typically either proximate causation or but-for causation).

What 5 elements must be present to meet all of the elements of a criminal offense? ›

The elements of a crime are criminal act, criminal intent, concurrence, causation, harm, and attendant circumstances.

What are the 4 elements of a crime? ›

Under U.S. law, four main elements of a crime exist:
  • Mental State (Mens Rea) Mens rea is Latin for “guilty mind.” The legal theory of mens rea refers to criminal intent. ...
  • Conduct (Actus Reus) ...
  • Concurrence. ...
  • Causation.

What is the procedure for criminal case? ›

Mandatory Examination of accused by the Court • Evidence by Accused, if any, in defense. Commission of a cognizable offence Refusal of Police to register complaint/FIR Filing of a private criminal complaint against the offender before competent Cognizance of the commission of the offence and inquiry by the court.

Do judges favor the prosecutors? ›

Most judges favor prosecutors. No secret about that. A visit to any courthouse in America during a criminal trial will reveal this fact.

What is a weak case? ›

A prosecutor's case is likely weak if it does not have enough evidence to show that you violated a criminal law. Evidence that may help prove a case includes: DNA evidence linking you to a crime, video footage showing you committed a crime, and. physical evidence like a murder weapon or a gun in a robbery case.

How long does a prosecutor have to file charges in Michigan? ›

For instance, a prosecutor might have 10 years to file most felony charges but only one year to file misdemeanor charges. Violent crimes generally have longer statutes of limitations, and some crimes (like murder) have no statute of limitations—meaning a criminal case can be filed at any time.

What is Rule 123 of the Rules of court? ›

(a) An appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter.

What is Rule 111 of the Rules of court? ›

Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure ("1985 Rules" for brevity), as amended in 1988, allowed the filing of a separate civil action independently of the criminal action provided the offended party reserved the right to file such civil action.

What is Rule 115 of the Rules of court? ›

—In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be entitled to the following rights: (a) To be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt. (b) To be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

What must prosecution prove? ›

In a criminal case, the prosecution bears the burden of proving that the defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. This means that the prosecution must convince the jury that there is no other reasonable explanation that can come from the evidence presented at trial.

What elements of a crime must be proven in order to convict the accused? ›

In order to convict the defendant, these elements of a crime must then be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. Most crimes require that three essential elements be present: a criminal act (actus reus), criminal intent (mens rea), and a concurrence of the previous two elements.

What are the 4 types of offenses? ›

Crimes are generally graded into four categories: felonies, misdemeanors, felony-misdemeanors, and infractions.

What personality traits do criminals have? ›

Personality traits found to discriminate offenders from nonoffenders included higher impulsivity, lower anxiety, greater hostility and negativism, and external locus of control.

What are the elements of duress? ›

The defense of duress typically has these elements:
  • There is an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to the actor.
  • The actor has a well-grounded fear that someone will carry out the threat.
  • The actor has no reasonable opportunity for escape, except by committing the unlawful act.

What are fruits of crime? ›

Fruits of the crime means any profit which, were it not for the commission of the felony, would not have been realized.

What is guilt by omission? ›

Guilt By Omission: When Prosecutors Withhold Evidence Of Innocence Prosecutors are obliged to turn over evidence that could exonerate a defendant. But if that evidence never makes it to trial, for whatever reason, quite often nobody will ever know.

What two elements must a prosecutor prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial? ›

Standards of Proof for 'Beyond a Reasonable Doubt' in Criminal Law
  • A preponderance of the evidence. ...
  • Clear and convincing evidence. ...
  • Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest standard in the American legal system.

What are the 7 principles of criminal law? ›

The principles of legality, guilty responsibility, proportionality, the inadmissibility of repeated responsibility for the same crime, humanism, equality of citizens before the law, personal responsibility, the inevitability of punishment, the expediency of applying criminal law measures, and moderation of criminal law ...

Can you fight your own case in court? ›

Provision for Fighting One's Own Case as per Advocate's Act. Section 32 of the Advocate's Act clearly mentions, the court may allow any person to appear before it even if he is not an advocate. Therefore, one gets the statutory right to defend one's own case through Advocate Act in India.

What is the first step when a criminal case is being processed? ›

The first step in a criminal case is generally the arraignment which is the first court date. For felony matters, you may have two arraignments–one before your preliminary hearing and one after its completion if you are held to answer on the charge.

What are the 3 stages of criminal case? ›

Commencement of Trial
  • Sessions Trial.
  • Warrant Trial.
  • Summons Trial.
  • Summary Trial.
  • Stages of Evidence of Prosecution.
Mar 15, 2021

What are the five pillars of crime? ›


What is meant by the corpus delicti of a crime? ›

Corpus delicti is a common law Latin phrase that translates to “body of the crime.” The phrase generally refers to the principle that no one should be convicted of a crime without sufficient evidence that the crime actually occurred.

Does exculpatory evidence mean? ›

In criminal law, exculpatory evidence is evidence, such as a statement, tending to excuse, justify, or absolve the alleged fault or guilt of a defendant. In other words, the evidence is favorable to the defendant.

What impresses a judge? ›

Be Respectful of The Judge At All Times When Speaking – And When Listening. “Your Honor.” If you want to impress the judge, make those two words part of your courtroom vocabulary. Your thoughtfulness is a sign of respect for the position the judge holds.

How do you get a judge to rule in your favor? ›

How to Persuade a Judge
  1. Your arguments must make logical sense. ...
  2. Know your audience.
  3. Know your case.
  4. Know your adversary's case.
  5. Never overstate your case. ...
  6. If possible lead with the strongest argument.
  7. Select the most easily defensible position that favors your case.
  8. Don't' try to defend the indefensible.
Nov 1, 2008

Who is the most powerful person in a courtroom? ›

1Prosecutors are the most powerful officials in the American criminal justice system. They control the direction and outcome of all criminal cases, particularly through their charging and plea-bargaining decisions.

What is the weakest evidence in court? ›

Testimonial evidence—the fancy auditor term for verbal evidence—is the weakest type of evidence.

What is the weakest defense in a criminal case? ›

Alibi, in the absence of any convincing evidence that it is physically impossible on the part of the accused to be in the crime scene, is always considered by the Supreme Court as the weakest defense.

What is insufficient evidence in a criminal case? ›

Insufficient evidence is the evidence which fails to meet the burden of proof and is inadequate to prove a fact.

How long can a felony charge be pending in Michigan? ›

The Statute of Limitations for Specific Crimes

In Michigan, the statute of limitations for most misdemeanors is six years, and 10 years for most felonies.

Can the prosecutor drop charges in court? ›

Advertisement. The decision to drop a charge is exclusively within the power of the Public Prosecutor. This is set out in Article 35 of the Constitution. The Public Prosecutor has the power to start and stop all prosecutions — this is known as prosecutorial discretion.

How long can you be under investigation before being charged? ›

In the majority of cases, the police can detain someone without charge for 24 hours, but this can be extended to 36 or 96 hours if they're suspected of a serious crime. Once a police investigation has been completed, including interviews, the police have to decide whether to charge the suspect.

What is a Rule 29 motion? ›

Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal. (a) Before Submission to the Jury. After the government closes its evidence or after the close of all the evidence, the court on the defendant's motion must enter a judgment of acquittal of any offense for which the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction.

What is the golden rule of court reporting? ›

In documents submitted to the court, Johnson admitted breaking “the golden rule” of court reporting, which is not to report anything said in the absence of the jury.

What is Rule 74 of the Rules of court? ›

Rule 74, Section 1 of the Rules of Court allows the extrajudicial settlement of estate by agreement among the heirs.

What is prejudicial question? ›

Prejudicial question is understood in law to be that which must precede the criminal action, that which requires a decision before a final judgment is rendered in the principal action with which said question is closely connected.

What are the 6 requirements for a complaint or information to be sufficient? ›

— A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense ...

What is Rule 45 of the Rules of court? ›

It is fundamental that a petition for review on certiorari filed with this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court shall, as a general rule, raise only questions of law and that this Court is not duty-bound to analyze again and weigh the evidence introduced in and considered by the tribunals below.

What are the 5 rights of the accused? ›

“10 Basic Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Proceedings”
  • Presumption of Innocence. ...
  • Freedom from Self-Incrimination. ...
  • Right to a Hearing and Effective Remedy. ...
  • Swiftness of Justice. ...
  • Access to Counsel and Other Assistance. ...
  • Equal Fighting Chances. ...
  • Transparency. ...
  • Proportionality of means.

What is Rule 108 of the Rules of court? ›

Rule 108 of the Rules of Court provides the procedure for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry. The proceedings may either be summary or adversary. If the correction is clerical, then the procedure to be adopted is summary.

What is Rule 120 Criminal Procedure? ›

Section 6, Rule 120 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides than an accused who failed to appear at the promulgation of the judgment of conviction shall lose the remedies available against the said judgment. promulgation of judgment. '

What are the 7 elements of a crime quizlet? ›

  • Legality (must be a law) ...
  • Actus reus (Human conduct) ...
  • Causation (human conduct must cause harm) ...
  • Harm (to some other/thing) ...
  • Concurrence (State of Mind and Human Conduct) ...
  • Mens Rea (State of Mind; "guilty mind") ...
  • Punishment.

What are the 7 steps in a jury trial? ›

Criminal Trial Phases
  • Choosing a Jury.
  • Opening Statements.
  • Witness Testimony and Cross-Examination.
  • Closing Arguments.
  • Jury Instruction.
  • Jury Deliberation and Announcement of Verdict.

What are the 10 stages of a criminal trial? ›

10 Major Steps in The Federal Criminal Process
  • Investigation. ...
  • Charging. ...
  • Initial Appearance / Arraignment. ...
  • Preliminary Hearing. ...
  • Discovery. ...
  • Plea Bargaining. ...
  • Pre-Trial Motions. ...
  • Sentencing.
Oct 26, 2020

Which side has the burden of proof in a criminal case? ›


What is the general rule of crime? ›

Every crime must be considered in two parts-the physical act of the crime (actus reus) and the mental intent to do the crime (mens rea). To establish actus reus, a lawyer must prove that the accused party was responsible for a deed prohibited by criminal law.

What are the 6 cardinal of investigation? ›

In the performance of his duties, the investigator must seek to establish the six (6) cardinal points of investigation, namely: what specific offense has been committed; how the offense was committed; who committed it; where the offense was committed; when it was committed; and why it was committed.

What are the 5 types of crime analysis? ›

The five basic steps in the crime analysis process include the collection, categorization, analysis, dissemination, and evaluation of information. The reports and forms for use in each step of information-gathering and analysis are explained and illustrated.

What is the most important step in the jury trial? ›

Jury selection is the most important aspect of any jury trial, yet it is also the more frequently misunderstood aspect, for which the least amount of time is dedicated towards. There are no “rules” for jury selection, and very little, if any, guidelines offered by the judge.

What is the first step of criminal cases? ›

Mandatory Examination of accused by the Court • Evidence by Accused, if any, in defense. Commission of a cognizable offence Refusal of Police to register complaint/FIR Filing of a private criminal complaint against the offender before competent Cognizance of the commission of the offence and inquiry by the court.

What do you say at the end of a trial? ›

Judge: (After verdict is read) Thank you, Jury, for your service today. Court is adjourned. Any attorney may object to a question asked of a witness on the stand or the admission of an exhibit if s/he feels that it does not follow a rule of evidence.

What are the 4 main goals of criminal sentencing? ›

Four major goals are usually attributed to the sentencing process: retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence, and incapacitation. Retribution refers to just deserts: people who break the law deserve to be punished.

How long do criminal trials last? ›

A trial can last up to several weeks, but most straightforward cases will conclude within a few days. In a typical trial, lawyers on both sides will present their argument with supportive evidence and question witnesses.

Can you drop charges against someone before court? ›

Although you may have been arrested or investigated by the police for a criminal offence it does not necessarily follow that you will be charged. In fact, with an experienced criminal defence solicitor on your side, the charges may be dropped before the court date.


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