If you are accused of a crime in Troy, speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer to understand the legal options that are available to you.
What Is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
A criminal defense lawyer is a lawyer who works to defend individuals, organizations, and entities who have been accused of committing a crime. Generally, these attorneys are experienced in handling a wide variety of cases, both misdemeanor and felony, as well as a wide variety of crimes, including:
- Domestic violence crimes, including spousal abuse or child abuse
- Sex crimes, such as rape, pornography, or sexual assault on a child
- Assault or aggravated assault
- Drug crimes
- DUI/ OWI
- Grand theft
- Hit and run
- Homicide/ murder
In addition to the above-listed crimes, criminal defense lawyers also help their clients to appeal a verdict or sentence, and represent them when they have been accused of violating the terms of their probation or parole.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help You?
While television often focuses on litigation, criminal defense lawyers do far more for their clients than representing them in court, though that is certainly a service they provide. Here are some other services your criminal defense lawyer will provide for you:
- Ensure that your rights are protected during arrest, interrogation, and the investigation.
- Convince prosecutors to drop the charges against you by bringing to light new evidence that shows that you are innocent.
- Encourage the court to dismiss the case if there is insufficient evidence or an improper procedure took place during the investigation.
- Research the facts of the case and conduct an independent investigation.
- Represent you during plea negotiations and work for a lighter sentence if necessary.
- Inform you of your eligibility for diversion programs.
- Analyze your case’s strengths and weaknesses and develop a sound defense strategy.
- Analyze the prosecution’s case against you and gather evidence on your behalf.
- Select expert witnesses who can help make your case.
- Help you understand the consequences of a guilty plea, as well as the consequences if you are found guilty in court.
- Assist in the steps involved in a jury trial, including jury selection, opening statements, and questioning witnesses.
- Assist you in the appeals process.
How Are Sentences Determined in Michigan?
Michigan’s felony sentence structure is described by the State Bar as indeterminate and set by all three branches of government:
- The maximum term that a person can serve in prison if convicted of a specific crime is set by the state legislature.
- The minimum term that a person can serve is set by the sentencing judge.
- The time that the defendant actually serves is set by the parole board, which is a part of the executive branch.
In 1994, the state established a sentencing commission, and in 1998 it introduced statutory sentencing guidelines to assist judges in developing appropriate minimum terms. These guidelines were put in place to provide protection to the public, to punish crimes against a person more severely than other offenses, establish provisions in sentences for those who are habitual offenders, and demand sentences that are appropriate both for the seriousness of the crime, as well as the offender’s prior criminal record. The guidelines also aim to reduce sentencing disparities except with regard to offense and offender characteristics so that those committing similar crimes would receive similar sentences.
In establishing the guidelines, the commission first had to identify and categorize more than 700 felony offenses. The categories for felonies are as follows:
- Crimes against a person
- Crimes against property
- Crimes involving controlled substances
- Crimes against public order
- Crimes against public safety
- Crimes against the public trust
The commission then ranked the offenses into nine levels of severity, with the highest level being murder. The other eight levels were labeled class A through class H, representing a descending order of severity, and established sentencing guidelines for each of those levels, based on actual sentencing practices from the bench, but with increased sentences for habitual offenders. The guidelines also consider certain circumstances that may also enhance the sentences, including:
- Whether a gun or other weapon was used when the crime was committed
- Whether a person was physically or psychologically injured
- The presence of aggravated physical abuse, such as torture
- Exploitation of a vulnerable victim
- The number of victims
- A continuing pattern of felonious acts within the past five years
- Whether the offender was the leader in a situation where there were multiple offenders
- The value of property taken or damaged
- Commercial trafficking of drugs
- The degree of intent to cause harm or negligence involved.
In 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court rendered the mandatory sentencing guidelines as advisory only, stating that mandating the sentencing was a violation of the Sixth Amendment. However, the court must still take the applicable guidelines into account when determining sentencing.
Troy Takes Crime Seriously
In 2017, Troy was rated the second safest city in Michigan among cities with a population of more than 75,000 people based on statistics provided by the FBI. The only similarly sized city with a lower crime rate was Farmington Hills. Although violent crimes such as homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults increased in 2016 when compared to the year before, a Troy Police Department sergeant stated that the crime rate remains stable. The large number of retail fraud cases in the city is the result of two major shopping centers, the sergeant noted, and the large number of fraud cases could be attributed to the several banks and credit institutions headquartered here.
Because Troy wants to maintain its status as a safe city, its authorities are going to prosecute crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Don’t try to fight criminal charges by yourself.
Your Next Step: Call Our Troy Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you are accused of committing a crime, you have a lot on the line. Your reputation could be damaged, as well as your family relationships. Your rights could be violated during the investigation and arrest. Your ability to work or to pursue certain careers could be jeopardized. Your finances could be imperiled and a conviction could cost you your freedom. The best time to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer is as soon as possible.
Contact us through our confidential email form or at (248) 451-2200 for a case evaluation and a consultation today.