State Criminal Charges

Grand Rapids criminal attorneyBeing charged with a felony in state criminal court is a life altering event. My goal as a Grand Rapids criminal attorney is to represent you vigorously and to keep you well informed so that you may make informed decisions. If you have already been charged with a felony crime you have most likely been arraigned on that charge.

An arraignment is when you are told the criminal charge against you, its maximum possible penalty, and the amount of bond that will be required to be posted. Within 14 days of being arraigned you are entitled to a Preliminary Examination.

At a Preliminary Examination the State Prosecutor must prove two things; (1) that a crime has probably been committed; and (2) that you have probably committed that crime.

At a Preliminary Examination you have four options: 1) To run the Preliminary Examination and hear the evidence against you; 2) To plead guilty to all charges; 3) To try to negotiate a deal with the State Prosecutor; and 4) Waive the preliminary examination for future negotiations with the Prosecutor assigned to your Circuit Court Judge.

A Preliminary Examination takes place in District Court. This is oftentimes referred to a court of lower jurisdiction. A District Court judge has the authority to hear a preliminary examination, place bond on your case, and enter a guilty plea to a felony charge; but, a District Court Judge does not have the authority to sentence on a felony charge that you have plead guilty to.

After a preliminary examination the case is moved to Circuit Court. In Circuit Court there is also an arraignment on the charge; however, oftentimes Circuit Court arraignment is waived because the bond has previously been posted.

Some important dates to keep in mind if you have been charged with a felony crime in Kent County is that any offer regarding a possible plea negotiation must be accepted by the client within 42 days after the Preliminary Examination. If a negotiated plea is not accepted and pled to within 42 days, the offer expires. Also any motions regarding your case must be filed within 21 days after the Preliminary examination. Lastly, all requests for discovery must be filed within 28 days of the preliminary examination.

These dates are important and it is important that your Grand Rapids criminal attorney not allow your rights to be waived by failing to keep the Circuit Court Administrative Rule by failing to act within the allotted date. In Kent County these dates are routinely enforced.

In order to make an informed decision and preserve your right, it is important that motions regarding search and seizure, discovery of evidence, and notice of certain defenses be filed in Circuit Court. Furthermore, in order to prepare for trial it is oftentimes necessary that an investigator thoroughly investigate your potential witness statements and any other evidence that the State may attempt to use against you. The decision to accept a negotiated plea or proceed to trial is YOUR decision and your right. As a Grand Rapids criminal attorney I will keep you informed, thoroughly investigate your case and represent you vigorously.

After you have pled guilty to a felony or been found guilty of a felony Sentencing typically takes place six to eight weeks. Before sentencing can take place a presentence investigation will take place. A Presentence Investigation Report will be drafted based upon your interview with a probation officer. It is important that you understand the importance of this investigation and your rights during this investigation. The Presentence Report will help your sentencing Judge understand who you are and will recommend a sentence based upon your sentencing guidelines.

Sentencing guidelines are statutory in the state of Michigan. Before you can make any decision how to proceed in your case, it is imperative that you and your Grand Rapids criminal attorney sit down and calculate what your estimated sentencing guidelines will be. Sentencing guidelines are determined based upon your prior criminal record and the offense to which you are charged. Should there be an error by the probation officer in calculating your sentencing guidelines, it is imperative that an objection be filed. An objection regarding any other content of your presentence report should be filed as well in order to preserve your rights.

Again, being charged with a felony offense is a life altering event. Therefore you deserve the best representation possible. My goal in representing you is to ensure that you are represented vigorously, kept informed and able to make informed decisions.

As a Grand Rapids criminal attorney I have represented people charged with felony criminal offenses for over ten years. I have won; have received verdicts of not guilty by reason in insanity and have had criminal charges dismissed. I welcome you to come in and talk to me about your case at a free initial consultation. I understand the stress you are experiencing and empathize with your position