If you have been arrested and charged by the police, it can be a bewildering experience if it has never happened to you before. People are often scared and worried and that is nothing to be ashamed about. It can also be hard to think straight in those early stages but once your mind is a little clearer, you can begin considering what your plan of action should be and how you can find a good attorney to represent you.
When you are first arrested, you may be in shock, you may be angry, and you will certainly be confused. There are some things to always remember when the police arrest you.
- Stay calm. This may seem difficult to do at the time but resisting arrest or getting into a physical altercation with the police will damage your situation more than help it.
- Allow the police to take any property you may have on you. This is a normal part of the arrest and detention procedure. If you have anything illegal or incriminating on your person, such as a weapon or any drugs, advise the officer prior to the search. You may still face additional charges but your cooperation will be noted.
- Do not answer any questions regarding the matter until you have a lawyer present. Always remember you have a right to remain silent and do not surrender that right without legal advice.
- A public defender is still a competent criminal defense attorney and can give you more than adequate advice in these early stages.
- Once the police have processed you, you may be released on bond or you may have to appear in court for arraignment where your charges will be explained to you and you will be notified of the maximum sentence you are facing. The Judge will set a bond if relevant and tell you when your next court date will be. If you have been charged with a felony, you will have to attend a pre-examination conference within two weeks. If you are facing a misdemeanor charge, there will be a pre-trial schedule.
- You are not entitled to a public defender representing you at arraignment so if you want an attorney representing you, you will need to hire one.
This initial part of your case can be more important than you think. How you act – and what you say – can end up being part of the prosecution’s case.
Finding Good Representation
Once the dust from your arrest has settled, your thoughts will turn to finding a lawyer who will defend you to the best of their abilities. You want an attorney who has in depth knowledge of Michigan criminal laws and, in the case of any federal charges, federal laws as well. You also want an attorney whose experience goes beyond theory and who has courtroom experience of criminal cases. But how do you choose a lawyer who will have the experience you need and who you will feel comfortable with?
- Recommendation. In the event that any friends and family have used a criminal defense lawyer in the past, they may be able to refer you to one.
- Internet. Searching online has advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage is that there are so many. The main advantage is that you can see what law firms provide criminal defense services and get some idea of their experience. Avoid sites that claim to rate lawyers as these tend to be unreliable.
- Response times. When you contact a lawyer, how quickly did they or their legal team respond? How quickly did they offer you an appointment or to arrange a visit? While law firms tend to be extremely busy, the speed of their response can be a good indicator that they will be responsive throughout your case.
- Ask questions. When you do meet with a lawyer, don’t be afraid to ask them relevant questions. How long have they been practicing? How much courtroom experience do they have in criminal cases? What has their success rate been?
- Stay local. Always hire an attorney from your area. While an out of town lawyer may have an impressive resume, they will not know the local court system. Judges can have varying personalities and a good lawyer will know each of these and how they may respond to different strategies and tactics.
- Fees. Make sure any fees your attorney will charge are clear and transparent.
Facing criminal charges can be frightening and confusing. But it is essential that you proceed carefully in the initial stages of the arrest process and remain as calm as possible. Do not surrender your right to remain silent. Refusing at this stage to answer any questions will in no way harm your defense later.
Michigan Premier Law, P.C. has extensive experience of providing criminal defense services. We will respond quickly to any inquiry and arrange a meeting as soon as possible. Our senior partner, George Drosis, is a highly respected attorney who has years of experience representing clients in criminal cases. To schedule a free case evaluation, call our law firm at (248)-480-9012.