The state of Michigan reported 657,166 crimes in 2019. These crimes ranged anywhere from crimes against people, crimes against property, crimes against society, and crimes against all others.
However, the state of Michigan also cleared 226,261 of these crimes. This means only 37% of them actually led to charges filed.
There are several reasons why a reported crime may not lead to charges. It could be because of lack of evidence, faulty evidence, or a victim deciding to drop the case.
It also has to do with hiring the right Michigan criminal defense lawyer. Read on to learn more about what they do, and why they’re so important to your case.
What Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Do?
In short, criminal defense lawyers represent those who have been charged with a crime. These lawyers often specialize in different areas of crime, including drug possession, assault, firearms, and traffic offenses.
Defense lawyers play an important role in the criminal justice system by ensuring that everyone — even the accused — gets fair representation in court.
Public defenders are criminal defense attorneys appointed by the court. Often, these lawyers are not paid as much as private lawyers — and they have to handle higher caseloads.
As a result, the right to “free representation” doesn’t always result in “choice of representation” or even “high-quality representation.”
Moreover, representing yourself in court without an attorney at all can be even more detrimental to your case. This is why it’s worth trusting a seasoned expert who’s already familiar with the court system in your area.
Here are a few responsibilities of a criminal defense attorney.
After being hired or assigned to your case, the first thing a criminal defense attorney will do is interview you about the specifics.
Be prepared to answer thorough questions, as this will help the lawyer determine any strengths in the defense or weaknesses in the prosecution.
Moreover, come prepared with your own list of questions, too. This will help you better understand your lawyer’s experience and qualifications.
You may think of detectives or police when you hear the word “investigation,” but defense attorneys do it, too. In fact, an investigation is what builds the backbone of a strong defense strategy.
Some ways a defense attorney might investigate your case include:
- Analyzing the evidence to determine whether it was collected legally and accurately
- Questioning police about the procedures they used to file charges
- Interviewing witnesses to collect information
- Interviewing expert witnesses to understand what kind of testimony they will provide or evidence they will present
A defense attorney has the legal right to review the prosecution’s case before it goes before a jury. This way, they have a fair chance to identify any holes in the opposing argument and refute them with independent reviews or experts.
Communicating With Clients
Another important role of the criminal defense attorney is to communicate with their clients. Attorney-client privilege means that these communications remain confidential.
Not only will your attorney keep you updated with developments in the case, but they should also explain it in a way that makes the consequences easy to understand. This is critical, as court proceedings can easily become tricky to follow.
When it’s time for jury selection, your defense attorney can intervene if they believe a potential juror is biased or unfit to serve on the jury.
Moreover, your defense attorney can also request a change of venue if your case has received significant media attention. Jurors who’ve heard about your case in the news may’ve already made up their minds about the verdict.
This not only ensures a fair trial, but it also buys you time to sharpen your legal defense strategy even further.
By negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution, your defense attorney can help fight for a more favorable outcome. For example, pleading guilty may grant you reduced charges or a shorter sentence, depending on the nature of the case.
Participating in Trials
Now comes one of the most important aspects of a criminal defense attorney’s job: the trial.
Ultimately, your attorney’s job is to convince the jurors that the prosecution has not met the burden of proof. They can do this by questioning the evidence, the legality of your arrest, and the motives of the witnesses who testified against you.
If acquittal is out of the picture, don’t give up just yet. Just like your attorney can help negotiate a plea deal, they can also help negotiate sentencing alternatives.
This could look like house arrest, probation, credit for time served, or a combination. Of course, all of this depends on your state’s penal codes.
Maybe a witness committed perjury. Maybe you suspect evidence tampering.
In some — but not all — instances, a criminal defense attorney can also help appeal your case if they agree justice was not served.
However, remember that trial court and appellate court are two different practice areas. While your attorney may be able to advise you on the best course of action, they may not be able to handle your case once it moves into appellate court.
Trust the Right Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case
Criminal charges can carry harsh consequences. Luckily, the right Michigan criminal defense lawyer already knows what’s at stake based on the nature of your charges.
Don’t rely on yourself or a public defender to get you the justice you deserve.
At Dailey Law Firm, we specialize in offenses ranging from assault, drugs, and firearms to fraud, traffic, and larceny.
We don’t defend criminals; we defend people who are simply accused of a crime. And everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Contact us today for a free consultation.