Being charged with a crime is serious, and has harsh consequences for those convicted. It is these consequences that make facing criminal charges so scary. As criminal defense lawyers in Grand Rapids, we understand that not everyone charged with a crime is guilty. We also believe that one mistake should not cost someone their freedom. If you have been charged with a crime, contact one of our attorneys today to learn of your legal options.
A misdemeanor in Michigan is considered a crime that carries a potential sentence anywhere between 90 days and one year in jail. The most common misdemeanor charges in Grand Rapids include first offense DUIs, retail theft, and domestic violence cases.
Individuals that do not have a criminal history yet find themselves facing a misdemeanor charge will likely not receive any jail time. It is only when a person has prior convictions that a judge will likely not be as lenient and jail time becomes a real possibility. Even when jail time is not likely, there are other consequences of being convicted of a misdemeanor, such as missed employment opportunities, loss of academic opportunities, and even problems finding housing.
Any offense that carries a minimum penalty of two years or more in prison is considered a felony in Michigan. Common types of felonies in Grand Rapids include assault with a weapon, subsequent drunk driving offenses, home invasion, burglary, and firearm and fraud offenses.
Along with the jail time a felony offense carries, there are other consequences as well. Individuals cannot vote while they are still in jail for a felony conviction, although they can continue to vote upon their release from prison. In many instances, however, convicted felons relinquish their right to possess a firearm, serve on a jury, own a Michigan liquor license, or join the military.
In many instances, a criminal case is settled before it ever goes to trial. This is because the prosecution often offers a plea bargain deal. This deal involves the defendant pleading not guilty or no-contest in exchange for a lesser sentence.
Plea deals are not always in the defendant’s best interests, although in some cases they are. A Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney can advise defendants of their rights when they are offered a plea bargain, and whether the plea bargain is a fair deal. If not, a lawyer will also take the court to trial and argue the case in front of a judge to give individuals charged their best chance of retaining their freedom.
Being charged with a crime is certainly frightening, but it is important to remember that you are not alone, and a criminal charge does not automatically mean you will be convicted. At Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our criminal defense lawyer in Grand Rapids can inform you of your legal options and create a strong defense to get your charges reduced, or dropped entirely. Call us today or contact us online to speak to one of our attorneys.