THE MICHIGAN CRIMINAL PROCESS
The Michigan criminal process begins with the arrest, generally. In order to properly arrest, the police must have probable cause that a crime was committed. Probable cause is reasonable belief that you (the defendant) committed a crime.
Warrants are not required in order to arrest individuals, yet they are required prior to a ?search,? sometimes. The following exceptions apply requiring no warrant or the establishment of probable cause to allow for a warrantless search:
1. Incident to (or after) a valid arrest; however, you may be patted down for weapons.
2. Exigent Circumstances?emergency situation; i.e. destruction of evidence of crime, police in hot pursuit, or threat of death or harm to an individual.
3. Plain View or Smell?no search occurs but criminal activity is discovered; i.e. seeing alcohol in motor vehicle from window, smelling burnt, fresh or other marihuana in vehicle
4. Consent to Search person, property, or residence?there is no requirement stating you must allow an officer to search if he or she does not have a valid warrant to do so.
IMPORTANT NOTE: after your arrest, yet prior to any interrogation, you must be advised of your rights. This includes the right to remain silent and to have legal counsel. These rights must be expressly stated and made by you (the defendant).
After you are arrested and taken to the local jail you will proceed through the booking process ,which will include, but may not be limited to:
? Providing your name, address, phone number, etc.
? Cataloguing of your personal property
The Jail will hold you for up-to 72-hours for that particular charge or citation. Within that period you may post bond, if it has been set; be released and cited with a citation; or be presented to a magistrate or judge.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You may be held in-custody longer depending on your current criminal status. Being able to post bond does or may not allow for you to be released from custody if you have outstanding warrants or other holds from other jurisdictions. A full consultation and review of the facts regarding your case by an attorney is in order to properly and effectively provide advise and explanation of any given case.
It is essential to obtain a criminal defense attorney immediately following any citation, release from custody, or pending criminal matter. Criminal convictions and charges can have life changes consequences. Know the law, maintain your rights, and lawyer-up with Josh Jones. He handles all felony and misdemeanor criminal matters and specializes in marihuana (medical or non-medical) matters.
COMMON CRIMINAL LAW TERMS
Arraignment ? It is the first hearing within a criminal case and will occur at District Court. A second arraignment will occur in all felonies matters, yet it will occur at the Circuit Court. The main two focuses of the arraignment are the amount of bond and the type of plea to be entered. A plea consists of one of the following:
? Guilty?an admission of guilt and statement of facts pertaining to the crime being admitted too.
? Not Guilty?a denial of the crime and the charges stated.
? No Contest?neither admitting guilt nor disputing the facts and charges.
? Standing Mute?no admission of the correctness of the charges; i.e. asserting you are standing mute and understand the charges pending against you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Never plead guilty at an arraignment, and instead assert a not guilty or stand mute plea. You have that right and the right to obtain counsel, so lawyer-up. ALWAYS consult an attorney prior to pleading guilty or no-contest to any and all crimes. You may not know the consequences of such a plea.
Plea Agreement ? The formal agreement between the parties, which identifies the charges sought to be plead to and possible sentencing agreement. These will vary from case to case.
Trial ? The formal hearing determining guilt. Here there will be testimony and the presentation of evidence presented to the Jury (or a Judge if a Jury Trial is waived).
Sentencing ? This will occur after a plea or trial (when the verdict is guilty). Here the Judge will determine the appropriate sentence or punishment to render, which will be based upon a number or factors including statutory rule, a probation recommendation, or other facts or evidence presented during such a hearing.
Verdict ? The rendering of judgment by the Jury (or Judge), which will either be innocent or guilty.
Appeal – In the State of Michigan, a Defendant generally has 42 days from the judgment to file an appeal. There are two kinds of appeals: by right or by leave. The Judge will state such on the record at the time of plea or trial.
Please, do not rely on this information when or if attempting to represent yourself in a criminal court. This is not meant to replace counsel, and you should always lawyer-up when you are facing any criminal charges here in the State of Michigan. Josh Jones maintains a full-service Criminal Defense law firm, and specializes in Marijuana law, so call him today if you are involved in the Michigan Criminal Process.