Things to Know if Charged with a Felony in Detroit
Whether you live near Highland Park, New Center, Cass Park or elswhere in Detroit, being charged with a felony is a serious allegation. If you are convicted of a felony, you could face more than a year in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. That is why it is important that you educate yourself about Detroit felony law if you have been charged with such a crime.
This article will help you understand information you should know if you are charged with committing a felony in Detroit. It will also help explain the basics of hiring a Detroit criminal attorney. Detroit criminal lawyers will not only help you understand your rights under the law, but they can also help establish a defense strategy to help you win your case..
What Is a Detroit Felony?
Not every crime is considered a felony. In fact, many crimes are what are known as misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are lesser crimes that usually entail punishments of less than a year in jail. An example of a misdemeanor is shoplifting a candy bar.
Felonies, on the other hand, are much more serious. The following are examples of crimes that are felonies under Detroit felony law:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Theft of very valuable items
As you can see, a felony can be a crime against a person or a crime against property.
Detroit Felony Process
The Detroit felony process begins at the time of your arrest. Once you are arrested, you will be taken to the police station for booking. At this time, you have several rights reserved for you.
One of these rights is the right to remain silent. This means you do not have to answer police or investigator questions without your attorney present. This right exists to help prevent you from incriminating yourself. You will also have the right to an attorney. Upon arriving at the police station, you may be allowed to contact your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, you will have an opportunity to hire one, or if you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed to represent you.
Within a few days of the arrest, you will make your first appearance in court. This is called the arraignment. At the arraignment, your felony charges will be read aloud, and you will get the opportunity to enter your plea.
If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be sentenced by the court. However, if you choose to plead not guilty or remain mute, a trial date will be set.
Prior to your trial, your attorney may try to enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution, depending on the facts of your case. A plea agreement is when you plead guilty to lesser charges in order to get a lighter sentence. If you reach a plea agreement, you can bypass the entire trial process. Otherwise, you will have to go to trial.
At trial, the prosecution must try to prove its case against you. You and your attorney will likely use a defense and introduce facts and witnesses to support this defense. At the end of the trial, the jury will make a decision regarding your guilt.
Hiring a Detroit Criminal Lawyer
You will want to hire a Detroit criminal lawyer to represent you in your felony case. Either you or someone you trust should take the necessary steps to investigate a criminal defense attorney for you. To find an attorney, ask friends and family members for referrals. Another option is to use a site like Attorneys.com. With Attorneys.com, you can fill out a brief, online questionnaire. The site will then connect you with at least one criminal lawyer in the Detroit area.
You then need to speak with the attorneys you are interested in hiring. This is called the consultation, and it is your chance to gauge whether or not a lawyer a good fit for you.
During your consultation, you should ask the attorney a number of questions related to his experience, his thoughts on your case and his services. The following are some questions you should consider asking your prospective lawyer:
- How long have you been practicing law in the Detroit area?
- Have you ever handled felony cases like mine before?
- What do you think of my case? What are my options?
- How do you charge for your services? When do you expect payment?
Once you have had a chance to question each attorney, you should be able to make an informed decision. When making this decision, consider not just the attorney's experience, but also how comfortable you feel working with and speaking to him. After all, you two may be working together for a while.