The court system can be overwhelming and intimidating, and a criminal conviction can have an everlasting impact on your life. As a result, if you or your company has been accused of a crime in federal or state court it is crucial that you contact us as early in the process as possible. We will aggressively defend your legal and constitutional rights, including but not limited to your Fourth Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure, and your right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Our most senior attorneys have decades of experience navigating through complex criminal law matters. Our vast trial experience enables us to resolve cases short of trial upon the most favorable terms possible, where appropriate.
We are able to provide counsel for various Criminal law concerns, which include:
Minor in Possession
Drunk Driving and Traffic Violations
Driver’s License Restoration
White Collar Crimes
Bribery, Extortion & Blackmail
Criminal Law Process
Appeals from the District Court are heard in the Circuit Court. Appeals from a Circuit Court or Probate Court order are heard in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Appeals from Court of Appeals decisions are heard in the Michigan Supreme Court. Appeals are not usually successful; however, when they are successful, you may be entitled to a new trial or even to be set free.
This is the first court appearance for any misdemeanor or felony. You will be informed of the charges against you, the maximum penalty if convicted, your constitutional rights to a jury or bench trial, appointed attorney, presumption of innocence and much more. In most cases, depending on the nature of the charges, you will either stand mute or enter a plea of not guilty. Depending on whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, a pretrial or preliminary examination will be scheduled. Bond will also be set at this stage.
When you are placed under arrest, you are entitled to certain constitutional rights, which protect you against abusive governmental authority. Among your many rights are both the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and the Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. When you are arrested you should be given an opportunity to contact a lawyer to represent your rights.
When determining bond, the Judge or Magistrate will consider numerous factors which include the nature of the crime, your ties to the community, whether you work, whether you have ever failed to show up before in a criminal matter, and the danger to the community if you are released. In addition, the judge will determine any conditions for release as well as the amount of the bond required to be released from custody.
After you have been tried convicted and set free you may be able to have your conviction expunged from your record. In Michigan the grounds for an expungement are narrow; however, by talking to a knowledgeable attorney you will better understand your options.
Sometimes the best option is to resolve your case without going to trial. A plea bargain is a negotiation between the accused and his attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other, in which the accused agrees to plead “guilty” or “no contest” to some crimes, in return for a reduction of the severity of the charges, dismissal of some of the charges, the prosecutor’s willingness to recommend a particular sentence, or some other benefit to the accused. If going to trial is the best option Sherbow is ready to zealously defend your rights at trial; however, if you decide that a plea is the best option for you and your family Sherbow Attorneys will aggressively negotiate on your behalf.
When police are notified of an alleged crime they begin an investigation to determine whether or not a crime actually occurred. During their investigation Law enforcement officials or local law enforcement may interview the alleged victim, witnesses, and suspects; collect physical evidence, photograph the crime scene, and conduct line-ups. During their investigation a Judge may issue a search warrant that allows investigators to search for evidence at a specific location. If you believe you may be under investigation contact a knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney today.
What happens next depends on the type of crime charged. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, a pretrial conference will be scheduled. If you are charged with a felony, a preliminary examination will be scheduled.
Pretrial Conference: All misdemeanor cases are scheduled for a meeting between an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and you or your attorney to determine whether the case will go to trial or be resolved with a plea.
Preliminary Examination: The preliminary hearing or probable cause hearing, if not waived, is held within 14 days after the arraignment. This is the stage at which your attorney can require the government to provide a preview of the evidence that they intend to use against you. The prosecutor will attempt to present evidence to the judge that shows there is probable cause to believe that you committed the alleged crimes. During this hearing your attorney may seek to cross-examine the government’s witnesses to determine the weaknesses of their case. After the hearing, the judge may find probable cause for all the charges, only some of the charges or dismiss the charges entirely.
Prior to trial many events can occur. There may be pre-trial hearings on constitutional issues involving police misconduct in regards to confessions, searches, identifications and various other rights the government may have violated against you. The issues are presented to the Court through written motions. The judge is required to determine if and how evidence will be admitted and whether there is a legal reason why the case should go to trial.
If, after their investigation, the officers have sufficient information to believe someone has committed a crime a request for an arrest warrant may be made; however, if the crime is committed in the police officers presence an officer may arrest the person on the spot. If the officers have probable cause (enough particularized facts to lead a common-sense person of reasonable caution to believe that there is a fair probability of criminal activity) to believe a crime has been committed, the officer may submit a charging/warrant to the Prosecuting Attorney. At this stage, the Prosecutor determines whether a person should be charged with a crime and, if so, what the crime should be. If the Prosecutor determines to arrest the suspect, the prosecutor will present the warrant to the magistrate/judge for his or her signature and return it the officers to arrest the suspect.
Sentencing in Michigan varies with the crime. Most often, sentences are at the judge’s discretion. The judge will consider the information in the pre-sentence report, additional evidence offered by the parties, comments by the crime victim, and other additional information relevant to the judge’s sentencing decision. For felonies, the Circuit Court judge will consult sentencing guidelines. Also the punishment may vary depending on the severity of the crime, your intentions when you committed the crime, and your past criminal record. Contacting a knowledgeable Michigan Criminal Defense lawyer can help explain the consequences in more detail.
The trial is the part of the process you are likely the most familiar with. At the trial the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime(s) charged. You are not required to prove your innocence or even to present any evidence. After a trial by a jury or a bench trial (a trial where the judge acts the jury) a verdict is reached. In Michigan, a jury must be unanimous in order to find the accused guilty. A knowledgeable Michigan criminal defense attorney will be about to make the right tactical moves, and more importantly, understand how to present your case and persuade a jury.
At the end of your trial, if you are found not guilty, you will be free to go and the criminal process will end at that point. If you are found guilty, you will be either sentenced immediately or at a later time. The court may require a pre-sentence investigation and report where the court’s probation department prepares a report for the judge summarizing the crime and your personal and criminal backgrounds. Generally, the victim is contacted for a recommendation of sentence, and the probation officer concludes the report with a recommended sentence.