Misdemeanor Lawyer Grand Rapids, MI
A person facing a misdemeanor will need the kind of help that a misdemeanor lawyer Grand Rapids, MI can provide.
Under the Michigan Penal Code, crimes fall into one of two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors and felonies are distinguishable by the severity of the punishment. Felonies can be punished by imprisonment in the state prison. Only crimes that are punishable by more than one year are eligible for imprisonment in state prison.
Misdemeanors are not punishable by imprisonment in state prison and include all crimes that do not amount to felonies. In terms of punishment, misdemeanors are less severe. Like felonies, there are misdemeanors of varying severity. Misdemeanors commonly include crimes that are punishable by 90 days, 93 days, or 1 year in jail. Some common misdemeanor crimes include—Domestic Violence, Operating While Intoxicated, Retail Fraud, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, and Use or Possession of Marijuana.
Misdemeanor cases are handled in district court. Unlike felonies, which start out in district court but end up in circuit court, misdemeanors stay under the jurisdiction of the district court judges. In and around Grand Rapids, MI there are a few district courts where you may find a misdemeanor lawyer. There is the 61st District Court, which handles misdemeanors that occur in the Grand Rapids city limits, there are also district courts that handle misdemeanors outside city limits but within Kent County, such as the 63rd District Court, the 59th District Courts in Walker and Grandville, and the 62-A and 62-B District Courts in Wyoming and Kentwood, respectively.
In a misdemeanor case, there are several hearings and court appearances an individual facing a misdemeanor must attend. There is at least one pre-trial, where the attorney will meet with the prosecuting attorney and discuss possible resolutions to the case. A person facing a misdemeanor has a right to a trial by jury. Like in a felony case, the jury decides whether guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in a felony case 12 juror decide the fate of a case. In a misdemeanor, there are only 6 jurors making the decisions. Should a person be convicted, either by a jury or with a plea, that individual will have a sentencing where a judge will decide the punishment.
Just because a misdemeanor is less severely punished than a felony does not mean that a person accused of a misdemeanor shouldn’t get a lawyer. A misdemeanor is still a crime. It’s still punishable by jail, in some cases one could be facing a year of incarceration. There are still many other potential consequences, including fines, court costs, and probation. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, it will appear on your record and could impact future jobs or opportunities. If you’re not careful, and continue to engage in criminal activity, you could be charged with a felony next time. Although you might not think a misdemeanor is not serious, you might want to reconsider retaining a misdemeanor lawyer Grand Rapids, MI respects. An attorney can help minimize those consequences, or even avoid them all together.
The attorneys at Blanchard Law have experience representing clients in all types of misdemeanor cases. No matter what type of misdemeanor you’re facing, contact the misdemeanor lawyer Grand Rapids, MI trusts and respects.
Is hiring a misdemeanor lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI really necessary?
Our misdemeanor lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI protects the rights of individuals who have been charged with crimes, including misdemeanors which can result in serious penalties upon conviction. Though misdemeanor crimes are not as serious as criminal crimes that can result in capital punishment or life sentences, they can still negatively impact a person’s life and future. There are many types of crimes that fall within the category of a misdemeanor, and some have more ramifications than others if the accused is found guilty. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, it may benefit you to contact our misdemeanor lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI to discuss your case and learn how we might be able to help you.
What are common examples of misdemeanor crimes?
Many crimes that are on “the books” are considered misdemeanors. Here is a short list of some of the most common examples of misdemeanors and for which our misdemeanor lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI can represent you at trial and in hearings:
- Breach of the peace
- Disorderly conduct
- Failure to appear in court at the scheduled time (this includes the appointed time to show up for jury duty)
- Public intoxication
- Public safety crimes
- Petty theft
What are the classifications of misdemeanors?
In the State of Michigan, there are three categories into which a misdemeanor may fall. Below is an overview of these classifications. (For further clarification, talk to our misdemeanor lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI.)
- Ninety-three day misdemeanor of local ordinance violations. This is the least serious of all misdemeanor crimes as charged in Grand Rapids, MI and for which you may not need to hire a lawyer. However, a conviction may result in a sentence of 93 days in the county jail and a fine of up to $500. Our misdemeanor lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI may be able to get your charge reduced or dismissed.
- Ninety-three day misdemeanor of state law violations. These are also punishable by a sentence of 93 days in the county jail and a fine of up to $500. Fines assessed do not include court costs and so the amount you may be liable for could exceed $500. Our misdemeanor lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI can determine if your charge is from the state or the local authorities.
- One year misdemeanor for state law violations. If you are charged with this type of misdemeanor and are convicted, you could be incarcerated in the county jail for up to one year. You may also be required to pay a fine of up to $1,000 plus court costs. A common example of when a person is charged with this type of misdemeanor is a second offense of operating a motor vehicle without a license. If a misdemeanor lawyer from our Grand Rapids, MI firm represents you, he or she will make every effort to get your charge dropped. If this is not possible, then a reduction of your charge may be possible.
To discuss your case with our misdemeanor lawyer, contact our office in Grand Rapids, MI to schedule a complimentary consultation.
A Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights
It is your constitutional right to a lawyer if you have been charged with a crime. You also have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning, and before you have been charged. If you are unable to afford a lawyer, the state can provide you with one. However, a public attorney tends to have too many cases and very little time. Regardless, it will be entirely up to you to exercise these rights. In order to exercise this right, you must clearly and definitively ask for a lawyer. You can ask for a lawyer even if you haven’t hired one yet.
A good misdemeanor lawyer Grand Rapids, MI can protect your rights and ensure your Fourth Amendment Rights have not been violated. These rights regard search and seizure laws, which can be disregarded by police. Even if your misdemeanor charges are not serious, it doesn’t mean you should disregard your rights.
A Lawyer Might Help You to Avoid Serious Penalties
It is possible for a misdemeanor to go to trial. By having a lawyer on your side, potential problems with your case can be identified. Should the police have made any errors during the investigation, if there were rights violations, or other mistakes, a lawyer may identify these and bring them to light.
Furthermore, a misdemeanor lawyer Grand Rapids, MI can assist in negotiations with the prosecutor and ensure you get the best possible plea deal. A good lawyer should know the local prosecutor and help you to make a sound decision regarding any offer on the table, and also ensure you are not taken advantage of at any time.
Finally, if you’re convicted or you plead guilty to your misdemeanor, a lawyer may be able to help you avoid getting a record. It may also be possible to expunge your record, but this can be difficult and is generally done on a case by case basis. Having a Grand Rapids, MI misdemeanor lawyer is advisable.
Your Chances of Doing Time in Jail Could Be Reduced
If you were charged with a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to jail or prison. This largely depends on the type and location of the charge. If there is a possibility of being sentenced to incarceration, you should consult a Grand Rapids, MI misdemeanor lawyer.
Although you can technically represent yourself in court, it may not be advisable unless you have extensive knowledge in criminal law. Realistically, if you are seeking to have the best possible outcome for your charges, you should retain a misdemeanor lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI right now. Call Blanchard Law to speak with an attorney about your case.