Criminal convictions can haunt you for the rest of your life. In particular, a felony conviction stays on your permanent criminal record, and if you are later convicted of another felony, the prior conviction can result in a much harsher sentence. In addition, a criminal record can adversely affect your ability to get a new job, obtain higher education, obtain certain professional licenses, carry firearms, or rent an apartment. At the Neumann Law Group, we understand the seriousness of this situation and work hard to protect the rights of defendants against the prosecution in a wide range of cases. Our Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers serve people who are facing charges throughout the West Side of Michigan.Legal Guidance for Fighting Misdemeanor or Felony Charges
Crimes may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. In Michigan, misdemeanors are categorized by their degree of seriousness. Felonies are typically much more serious and may be punished by more than a year in prison. There are eight categories of felonies, with Class A felonies being the most grave. If you are convicted of a Class A felony, such as murder or criminal sexual conduct, you may be sentenced to prison for any number of years, including a life sentence. With a Class B felony conviction, you may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Examples of Class B felonies include second-degree arson and the production of child pornography.
Some of the most commonly prosecuted offenses in Michigan involve controlled substances. Drug crime convictions may result in varying prison sentences, depending on the schedule to which the controlled substance at issue belongs. Schedule 1 drugs, for example, include peyote, marijuana, and ecstasy. Schedule 2 drugs include harder drugs with a higher potential for abuse, such as cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamine. There are also Schedule 3, 4, and 5 drugs with varying risks of abuse.
Often, a useful defense in a drug crime case is to focus on constitutional or procedural errors by the police. Under the Fourth Amendment, you have a right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. If the police did not have a reasonable suspicion to stop you or probable cause to search you, your attorney can argue that any evidence from the unlawful stop or search should be suppressed. This may destroy the prosecution's case, since the prosecution must prove all elements of the relevant drug charges, including the possession of a prohibited controlled substance, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Constitutional and procedural errors can also be a strong basis for defending an operating while intoxicated (OWI, also known as a DUI) charge. This is another frequently prosecuted crime in Michigan. You are considered to be intoxicated as an adult while operating a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content is .08% or greater. Michigan follows a zero tolerance policy for those under age 21. Moreover, the state has an implied consent law, which means that if you have a driver's license issued here, you have implicitly consented to chemical testing, although not a preliminary breath test administered roadside.
For a first OWI, you may be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail, receive between $100 and $500 in fines, and have your license suspended. If you are charged with a second offense within seven years, however, you may be sentenced to up to one year in jail, be fined between $200 and $1,000 in fines, and have your license suspended for a minimum of one year. This shows why it is important to fight the first charge, since once that is on your record, you may incur more substantial penalties for later offenses.Consult a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit
If you are accused of a crime in Michigan, you should consult with one of our Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City criminal defense attorneys. Neumann Law Group has substantial experience representing people accused of crimes, including negotiating with the prosecution for plea deals and taking cases to trial as necessary. Neumann Law Group can represent defendants in Flint, Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, Saginaw, Midland, Muskegon, Holland, Ann Arbor, Warren, Dearborn, Petoskey, and throughout both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. We also are available to serve those who need an injury attorney to assert their rights after an accident. Contact us toll-free at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free consultation.