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Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyers

Michigan Defense Law is a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan criminal defense firm that has been successfully defending good people accused of a wide range of crimes for over 20 years. Whether you have been accused of a misdemeanor or felony our experience and skill will help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Our Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyers have obtained excellent results in cases ranging from traffic crimes such as Operating While Intoxicated and Leaving the Scene of an Accident to crimes involving drugs such as Possession of Controlled Substances or Delivery/Manufacture to assaultive crimes such as Domestic Violence, Felonious Assault, Strangulation and Criminal Sexual Conduct.

In all of these our approach starts by getting to know our client and to fully understand their situation. Small details can often be crucial in the outcome. In many cases, clients come to us before they have been charged and we are able to prevent charges from ever being issued through our proactive approach to influencing the prosecutor. If charges are brought, we then start the process of defending our client and preparing for the first phase of the case which is the arraignment. That’s when a bond is set, and it is initially determined what will happen to a Defendant while the case is pending. Will they have to post a high amount of cash to remain free? Will there be drug testing, etc.? Impressing judges by appearing with an experienced Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney can make a huge difference in the client’s bond and bond conditions.

Following arraignment, we aggressively work the case each step of the way from pretrial to plea bargaining or trial, if called for. The legal system really is a jungle. There is danger lurking. People unfamiliar with the system often believe a prosecutor or judge will be understanding and fair once they understand the story. The truth is our criminal justice system is an adversarial system. The prosecutor and the Judge are not your friends and are not there to help. They are legally prohibited from giving you legal advice. Only your criminal defense attorney is your sworn advocate whose sole job it is to assist you in getting the best possible outcome. We take that role very seriously and take great pleasure in helping our clients in every case.

If you have been arrested, accused of a crime or contacted by the police you should contact our office immediately for a free, no hassle/no obligation consultation about your situation with an experienced Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney. Below and within our website you will find helpful information about the legal process and the types of cases we love to handle.

What Happens at Arraignment?

The legal process for all misdemeanors and felonies begins with an arraignment. If you are arrested by the police, they can legally hold you up to 72 hours without charging you. If they cannot determine charges by then they will release you. If you are charged you will have an arraignment. The arraignment will take place in front of a judge or magistrate. You are allowed to be represented by an attorney at the arraignment and it is in your best interests to do so. For one reason, most criminal attorneys will handle your case on a flat fee basis. Generally, that fee won’t be any different whether they attend the arraignment with you or not. So, it provides more value to you to retain an experienced Michigan criminal attorney before arraignment.

At the arraignment the Court will make you aware of the charges against you and set a bond and bond conditions for your release pending trial. You almost never want to plead guilty at arraignment because there is no chance for a plea bargain. In order to determine bond, the Court looks at information available to determine if you pose a risk to the public and if you are a flight risk. People who are charged with crimes such as drunk driving and domestic violence are considered a risk to the public as are those charged with other assaultive crimes or weapons charges. In addition, people who have a history of missing court or live out of state may be considered a risk not to appear. These types of problems can result in a high cash bond to be released or strict bond conditions like a tether or frequent drug/alcohol testing. Almost everyone is prohibited from leaving the State of Michigan without Court permission. This can create a serious problem for those who need to travel for work or pre planned vacation.

It is very beneficial to be represented at arraignment because an experienced criminal attorney can often obtain less restrictive terms and conditions because we know how to present our clients in the best possible light that assures the Court our client can be trusted while on bond. Generally, Courts appreciate having criminal lawyers present at arraignment and take it as a sign that the Defendant is taking the case seriously and intends to appear and defend themselves. In addition, having an experienced criminal lawyer with you tells the Court that you will likely be receiving good advice about how to conduct yourself during the case. If you are facing an arraignment for OWI, domestic violence or any other serious charge you should contact our office immediately to discuss your case.

Drunk Driving, Drugged Driving and Superdrunk

Charges of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI), Operating with a High BAC (Superdrunk) and Operating Under the Influence of Controlled Substances require thorough planning and defense to make sure you get the best possible result. The police are required to follow various regulations in the arrest and processing of people charged with drunk driving. Complex constitutional issues are involved with stopping a vehicle, searching a vehicle, arresting a driver and administering field sobriety and blood or breath tests. Only a drunk driving defense attorney trained on spotting these issues and litigating them can get the best outcome in your drunk driving case. The penalties are severe and costly, and it is not the best strategy to simply show up to Court and ask for mercy.

Even in situations where there is no viable defense to the charge good plea bargains can often be negotiated that will save money, your driver’s license and/or keep you out of jail. Every judge handling a drunk driving case in Oakland County, Macomb County or Wayne County is the king or queen of their courtroom. They punish as they see fit and judges within the same courthouse may have wildly different views on appropriate sentences. Some judges give jail time on first offenses. We know the judges, the prosecutors and their policies. We are experienced drunk driving attorneys. We know how to work within the system to get the best outcomes. Our experience is given to you in fighting your drunk driving case which allows you to have a much more accurate ability to know what to expect. Call today to discuss your case.

Drivers License Restoration

We have helped many people restore their driving privileges through the drivers license restoration process. This process is for people whose license has been revoked due to two or more drunk driving convictions. It is a detailed and difficult process. You should retain an attorney with specific knowledge of drivers license restoration and the processes followed by the Drivers License Appeal Division where this matter will be handled. The fact that you may need a drivers license has nothing whatsoever to do with winning these hearings. A person applying in the drivers license restoration process must be able to demonstrate that they are totally sober and likely to remain sober forever. This is the law. We can show you how to win these hearings. They are not hopeless even if this is your first attempt. Proper preparation and guidance is the key to winning at the drivers license restoration process.

We also assist clients with interlock violation cases such as positive alcohol tests, rolling retest violations and tamper/circumvent violations. These are tricky situations that require skill and planning to prevail. The consequences are often severe. Many violations result in your license being revoked again and a one year period before you can reapply. Don’t delay if you have a violation. Our attorneys can help. Call today for more information.

Airport Crimes at DTW

Hundreds of thousands of people travel through Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) every year. Many people end up arrested at the airport for Security Checkpoint Violations, Dangerous Weapon possession, Disorderly Conduct and violating numerous other state and federal rules and regulations. These crimes can affect your ability to travel freely, your security status and potentially lead to jail time. We understand that the majority of these crimes involve honest mistakes or lapses of judgment. We have successfully defended many people charged with Security Checkpoint Violations, Dangerous Weapon possession or other Airport Crimes. With many of our clients who were traveling through Michigan we have handled the entire case without them having to come back to Michigan for Court. Don’t let a Security Checkpoint Violation or other airport trouble slow you down. Call us today if you have been in trouble at the airport and have a case pending in the 34th District Court in Romulus with either the Airport Police, the Romulus police department or the State of Michigan.

Domestic Violence

First offense Domestic Violence is often called DV. It is basically an assault or battery upon someone with whom you have or had a domestic relationship. This includes family, boyfriends and girlfriends. Although many people call the police merely seeking help to calm a situation most police departments will simply arrest a person accused of touching or threatening another. Often, they arrest the first person accused without doing a thorough investigation of the facts. These cases do not go away simply because the Complaining Witness (called the victim by prosecutors) decides they don’t want to press charges. Once a complaint is made the “victim” becomes a witness and the prosecutor decides whether or not to proceed with a case. Often, they will not drop charges once a case starts. Convictions in these matters carry a stigma that is unpleasant, mandatory anger management up to 52 sessions, can affect future employment and are often used against the accused in divorce and custody matters. Second and subsequent charges of Domestic Violence often result in significant jail time.

These cases are unique and an experienced domestic violence attorney can make a big difference in the outcome. Judges err on the side of caution because they fear going easy on a Defendant and having that person severely harm or kill someone with negative publicity blowing back on them. Fortunately, domestic violence cases often have good options for defense. Our experienced Michigan domestic violence attorneys are familiar with all of the ways to fight domestic violence charges and minimize the consequences both in a criminal case or divorce. Don’t let a domestic violence charge sink you. Call us today to discuss your case.

Drug Crimes

There are a multitude of drug crimes Michigan Defense Law is experienced at handling. Whether in Wayne County, Oakland County or Macomb County, Possession of Controlled substance is usually a felony. The maximum sentences can range from 2 to 10 years for simple possession depending on the type of drugs involved. Even prescription medications such as Xanax and Adderall can result in a felony charge if you are in possession without a valid prescription. Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines are commonly used and possessed but result in serious charges. In addition, clients often are dealing with substance abuse issues when caught in possession. We have experience defending these cases in ways such as challenging the search and discovery of the drugs, the lab results or the actual possession. In addition, we are skilled in finding diversion programs and negotiating plea bargains to avoid felony records for many of our drug possession cases.

At the same time, we try to help the client find resources to deal with their addictions so that they can be successful if placed on probation. Many drug possession cases are charged as Delivery/Manufacture when the quantity is high, or the client is set up by a friend and portrayed as a drug dealer. These charges carry even more serious consequences with some drug delivery charges having sentencing guidelines calling for prison. Drugs are taken very seriously by the courts. It is very helpful for anyone charged or facing charges involving drugs to contact an experienced drug possession criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. In some cases, we can help client avoid charges altogether if we get involved soon enough. Call today to discuss your case.

Probation Violations

Many people end up on probation after going to court on their case. During probation the Court orders a Defendant to do, or not do, certain things. Common terms of probation are to not use drugs or alcohol and submit to random testing or to attend anger management or not drive without a valid license. If a Defendant fails to successfully follow any part of a probation order the court will file a Violation of Probation notice against them and they will have to report to the Judge and show cause why they are not in contempt of the Court’s order for violating the terms of their probation. Ninety percent correct on a test in school may be an A on a report card but ninety percent success with probation is an E and you could go to jail.

What many people placed on probation fail to understand is that if you are found guilty of violating your probation the Judge will sentence you again and can impose any sentence they think is appropriate including the maximum jail sentence. Typically, those charged with a second or third violation of probation are in even more danger. You only have one chance to defend and represent yourself in a violation of probation, so it is very important that you obtain good advice and planning from a criminal attorney experienced in handling violations of probation. Even if you are totally guilty with no defense it is still very important to plan the presentation of your case to convince the Judge that a maximum sentence is not appropriate. Call us today to discuss your violation of probation case.

Other Crimes and Issues

There are literally hundreds of different charges our clients have faced. Each one has unique elements, but they generally follow a similar procedure with the same prosecutors and judges we are used to dealing with. There are some unique qualities to different crimes. For example, Criminal Sexual Conduct cases are especially possible to fight before charges are filed so anyone fearful of being charged with CSC should contact us immediately. Many times, we can present evidence to the prosecutor before the case is filed that convinces the prosecutor they will have a hard time obtaining a conviction and results in no charges being filed. However, once these charges are filed the cases become much harder to get rid of for various reasons. Do not just sit around hoping nothing happens. If you are facing a Criminal Sexual Conduct charge take aggressive action early to defend yourself. The same rule is smartly applied to any serious charges. There is no harm in putting forth an early defense and often the charges brought forth can be lowered or eliminated by some good criminal defense work early. Call us today to discuss your situation.

Our Team
Attorney photo
Paul J. Tafelski

Paul Tafelski has been practicing law in Michigan since 1995. He has a passion for helping good people out of difficult situations.

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David Goukassian

Mr. Goukassian is a resident of West Bloomfield, Michigan. He earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice at Wayne State University.

Client Reviews
My son was charged with two serious felonies for home invasion. Paul worked long and hard on the case and was able to negotiate a deal so that all of the charges were dismissed after my son completed probation. He is now in college without a criminal record. Mr. T.
I was arrested for drunk driving and possession of a controlled substance (Vicodin). Paul worked hard on the case and kept the felony off my record and got the drunk driving case reduced so that I kept my driver’s license and my job. He really cared about helping me. J.T.
When I recently had an issue at the airport, I decided to call Paul on the weekend. He called me back on a Sunday! He dealt with my issue without me having to fly back to Michigan and got it dismissed. Until you go through the court system especially for the first time, you don’t have a sense for how harrowing it can be. E.W.
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