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Have you been arrested? AVOID JAIL! Contact the Barrix Law Firm when you have been arrested to protect your freedom and your rights. Call 1-877-4-BARRIX (1-877-422-7749). Phones Answered 24 hours a day 7 days a week!
At the Barrix Law Firm we understand that often times people accused of a crime are guilty of a lessor crime or even nothing at all. We have the experience you need when you are charged with any criminal offense. We have handled cases ranging from open murder to drunk driving. We practice in the State and Federal Courts throughout Michigan.
We recognize that sometimes you may be calling for a loved one who has made a mistake. We will take the measures necessary to protect their rights, and make sure to proivide the best defense possible.
The Barrix Law Firm employs the use of private detectives, polygraph examiners, and forensic specialist to help fight your case. We recognize that the state will have all of these resources at their disposal and you should to.
What to do if a Police Officer stops you.
What to do if you are arrested:
What to do if a Police Officer wants to search you, your car, or your home.
In order for an officer to arrest you he must have either:
Once under Arrest you will then be processed at the Police Station or the County Jail. The jail may set an interim bond or require you wait to until a Judge or Magistrate is available to arraign you and set bond.
At the Arraingment the Court will impose a bond. A bond can take several forms. Personal Recognizance, 10% Bond, Cash and or SuretyBond.
Personal Recognizance is when the Court allows you to appear based upon your promise to appear. This bond usually has a value attached, so that if you fail to appear you would then owe the Court that amount of money for your failure to appear. It is clearly the most desirable bond since it does not require any money to be released. This is a very typical bond in simple misdemeanor cases without a prior record.
10% Bond is when the the Court sets your bond at a specific value and you are then required to post yourself, or through another 10% of the value of that bond. An Example $5,000.00, 10% bond would require the Defendant to have $500.00 posted with the Court before he/she could be released. This also a very typical bond in misdemeanor cases.
Cash or Surety Bond is when the Court sets a bond for a specific dollar amount and requires either the whole amount to be posted prior to the defendant being released.
A Surety is what is known as a Bail Bondsman. A bail bondsman will require that the defendant or someone for him pay the bonding company approximately 10% of the total bond value. The bondsman will keep that amount as his fee and then he will guarantee the appearance of the Defendant or pay the bond amount on the Defendants failure to appear. A Bondsman will usually require collateral such as a house or automobile depending on the size of the bond. Since you lose the money paid to the bondsman it is the least desirable bond to have. Cash or surety bonds are generally set in cases inolving Felonies or clients who fail to appear.
Factors Determining Bond:
Types of Charges
In Michigan charges are basically divided into three categories Felony, High Misdemenaors and Misdemeanor charges.
Misdemeanor charges are handled in the District Court. Misdemeanor charges are crimes that are limited to a maximum of upto one year in the County Jail. You cannot go to prison on a misdemeanor charge in Michigan. They are typically the less serious offenses.
High Misdemeanor Charges are offenses that have a maximum of two years incarceration. These high court misdemeanors are handled the same as felonies (see felony cases below). They are also treated the same as felonies for habitual felony offender purposes. howver, if convicted of a high misdemeanor you can still answer that you have not been convicted of a felony on employment applications etc.
Felony Charges are offenses punishable by more than one year of incarceration. Felony offenders can face from 1 year to life in prison. Felonies can result in prison, probation, parole, fines costs and restitution or any combination of one or more. Some two year offenses are considered felonies and not high misdemeanors.
Below is an overview of the State Process of a Misdemeanor Criminal Case in Michigan:
In Michigan the first Court appearance and critical stage is the arraignment. The arraignment is a critical stage of the criminal process. At this stage the Judge or Magistrate will advise you of the charges against you, the section of the criminal code your alleged to have violated, the maximum penalty, and if the there are any additional charges or enhancements (habitual offender charges for prior offenses).
At the Arraignment the Magistrate or Judge will also ask you how you wish to plead in a misdemeanor case. You may plead Guilty, Not Guilty or Stand Mute (this is the same as a not guilty plea). We would suggest that you plead not guilty at the arraignment regardless of whether you think your guilty. You should always talk to a lawyer prior to entering a guilty plea. Just because you may think you did something wrong doesn't mean the law says you did or the government can prove their case.
At the arraignment you may be asked if you wish to have a trial by judge or by jury. Again we would suggest that you always request a jury trial. You can always waive a jury trial later but a judge may not let you have a jury trial if you waived it at your arraignment.
Finally, the arraignment is the opportunity for the judge to set a bond. Bond is dicussed in detail above. The Court will then advise you of your next Court Appearance date. They will also ask if you intend to hire a lawyer or need a Court appointed lawyer. In misdemeanor cases you are not entitled to a free lawyer.
If you can't afford a lawyer you should ask to have one appointed. However, if you can afford one or the judge does not intend to send you to jail you may be denied a Court appointed lawyer.
The second critical stage of the misdemeanor process is the pre-trial conference. This is an opportunity for your lawyer to meet with city attorney or the county prosecutor to discuss the strengths of your defense and to determine if the case can be dismissed, plead to a lessor offense, or if the case will proceed to trial. If the case cannot be resolved at this stage the Court will either schedule a final pre-trial conference, jury selection, trial or all three.
Final Pre-trial, Jury Selection
This is the last stage before trial. If the Court schedules a final pre-trial, this pre-trial may be the same as the first pre-trial, or the Court may also be present to discuss the issues of the case This is to try and reach resolution of you case. If there is no resolution of your case then the Court will have a jury selection.
Jury selection is your opportunity to decide which people will decide your case. In misdemeanor cases 6 jurors are chosen as well as 1-2 alternates may be chosen. Jury selction is a very complicated process and we suggest that at this stage you should have a lawyer present. There are specific rules that allow the parties to question jurors to make sure the jury panel can be fair. It also allows the parties to remove jurors for specific reason and even for no reason at all.
After a jury is selected the next stage is Trial. This may happen weeks after jury selection or immediately depending upon the policies of the District Court your case is in. At Trial the Government prosecutor must prove each and every element of the governments case against you beyond a reasoanble doubt.
The government and the Defendant are given an opportunity to give an opening statement to discuss what they believe will be proven.
The Government must call witnesses and produce other evidence of your guilt. You then have the opportunity to cross examine the govenments witnesses. This gives you the opportunity to point out inconsistencies in their testimony, biases, and other issues that would tend to discredit the government's case against you.
After the Government has called its witnesses you then will have the opportunity to ask the Court to dismiss the case or call your own witnesses. You may call witnesses or do nothing at all. You may testify yourself or remain silent and the prosecutor may not comment on your silence.
After you have finished with your witnesses the Government may call rebuttal witness to dipute your witness.
After Closing arguments the judge will then instruct the jury. Thejury will decide your guilt or innocence.
Trial is a very serious process and complicated procedures. Lawyers spend many years in school and practice mastering trial rules and procedure. There is also very complicated rules covering discovery and jury instruction.
The Jury will then decide guilty or not guilty . If you are found not guilty then your bond would be returned and the case closed. If you are found Guilty the case proceeds to sentencing.
If you are found guilty in a misdemeanor case a judge will sentence you. He may sentence you to jail for upto either 93 days or 1 year. If you have been charged by a City Government then the maximum sentence will be 93 days. If you have been charged by the State of Michigan then the maximum sentence could be upto 1 year depending on the charge.
Just because the maximum sentence invovles jail does not mean you will go to jail. A judge may give you jail, probation, fines & costs or any combination of the three. Remember only a judge can sentence you. if anyone tells you what your sentence will be that is their best guess. The judge may order a presentence report before sentencing to learn more about you or the case.
In Misdemeanor cases probation can be for upto 2 years. It usually comes in two forms reporting and non-reporting. Reporting Probation requires meeting usually one time per month with your probation officer. Non-reporting probation does not require any reporting but your record is run at the end of probation and if there is any violation of law you could be cited for a probation violation.
On reporting probation if you violate the terms of your probation you can be cited for a probation violation. A probation violation can result in the Court imposing the maximum sentence of jail from the original offense. The Court could also extend probation upto the two years dicussed before.
A probation violation only needs to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a probable cause standard. It is a very low burden for the probation officer and the standard rules of evidence do not apply.
Standard terms and conditions of probations include but are not limited to the following:
Below is an overview for felony criminal cases in the State Courts for Michigan.
In Felony cases the arraignment is the stage where you are advised of the charges as in misdemeanor cases. The difference is that you won't be asked to enter a plea. The Court will schedule a preliminary examination for your case. Bond is also set or reviewed at this arraignment.
In Michigan a defendant is entitled to have a Preliminary Examination within 14 days of arraingment. At the Preliminary Exam the Government must put forth sufficent evidence to show that a crime was probably committed and that the defendant probably committed that crime. This is the Defendant's first opportunity to see what the evidence may be against him at trial. If the Government meets this very low burden the case is then bound over for trial in the Circuit Court and scheduled for Circuit Court Arraignment.
The Defendant may waive his preliminary exam or waive the 14 day requirement. Often the prosecutor will make an offer to settle the case "plea bargain" at the preliminary exam if the Defendant will waive the preliminary exam. This stage is very complicated and a lawyer is strongly advised before making any decisions at this stage.
Circuit Court Arraignment
This is the the same as the District Court Arraingment except it is held in the Circuit Court after bindover from the District Court. This arraignment is often waived in the District Court.
Circuit Court Jury Selection and Trial
Circuit Court Jury selection is the same as District Court. The most significant difference is that in Circuit Court you'll have twelve jurors and potentially more options for removing jurors. Typically, felony trials immediately follow jury selection. Prior to Jury selection there may be significant discovery and motions filed by both the prosecution and the defense.
Jury Deliberations in Circuit Court are handled the same in District Court as in Circuit Court.
In Circuit Court the sentencing is based on an indepth presentence investigation report. The Court will take that information, combined with the sentencing guidelines to dertermine a defendant's sentence. A judge must stay within the sentencing guidelines unless he states his reasons on the record for not following the guidelines.
The Sentencing guidelines score values to a person based on the facts of the current offense (OV) and that person prior record (PRV).
PROBATION AND PAROLE
Probation in the Circuit Court can be for upto five years. In all other respects it is similiar to District Court probation. Parole is basically probation after a person has served some time in the state prison system.
Types of cases
Michigan has thousands of different criminal cases that a person can be charged with. We have the experience necessary to help you with any charge you face. Below is just an example of the types of cases in the State of Michigan that we have handled in the past.
The Barrix Law Firm strongly urges you to have a lawyer whenever you are charged with any crime.
The Barrix Law Firm has successfully represented the wrongly accused in all areas of Criminal Defense. We have successfully represented individuals from open murder charges to drunk driving.
If you have been arrested for any criminal case contact the Barrix Law Firm for the aggresssive, experienced lawyer that you need to avoid jail! 1-877-4-BARRIX (1-877-422-7749).
We offer easy flat, affordable fees, payment plans and accept all major credit cards.
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