Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

When someone is arrested or charged with a criminal offense, having a good attorney can have a major influence in the outcome. A good criminal defense attorney has an in-depth knowledge of state laws and local court systems.

This knowledge is necessary to defend your rights, minimize penalties, and sometimes dismiss the case or expunge your criminal record.

As criminal lawyers with over 30 years of experience, we have extensive knowledge in every aspect of Michigan’s criminal process.

If you have legal issues involving police or courts in Michigan, call for a confidential consultation (248) 348-0496

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Video of attorney Mike Kelly sitting down and talking about criminal defense in the State of Michigan

Why Hire Us?

In order to put yourself in the best position when you face the judge, you want an attorney who has experience with your specific issue and who genuinely cares about your results.

At Kelly & Kelly we pride ourselves in our experience, dedication to clients, and track record of success. We’d like to illustrate each of these points below.

Award Winning Criminal Defense Attorney
With over 30 years of experience, we are proud of the reputation our law firm has built. This includes several awards, accolades, and exceptionally high reviews from clients.

  • 5 Star Rating on Avvo (over 100 reviews)
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
  • Avvo Client Choice Award
  • ICLE Partner
  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys Top 10 Under 40
  • SuperLawyers ‘Rising Stars’ award in 2019 and 2020.

In Michigan, properly defending yourself while being suspected or charged with an offense requires an in-depth knowledge of Michigan’s legal code and various local court systems.

With over 30 years of experience, our law firm has expertise in essentially every aspect of criminal law. This ranges from representing a client for drunk driving in the local district court to representing a person charged with a felony in the County Circuit Court.

Regardless of your issue, our lawyers are more than qualified to provide you with legal representation of the highest quality.

We Understand
Anyone can be charged with a criminal offense. When you think “criminal” you generally think of a bank robber, mugger, etc; however, this is often not the case. We find that many “criminals” are good people who are in bad situations. Moreover, some laws and penalties are highly questionable and let’s face it, law enforcement can sometimes be over-zealous in enforcing them.

Kelly & Kelly P.C. specializes in defending people who don’t belong in the criminal justice system. If you’re a good person who made a mistake or are falsely accused of a crime, we want to represent you and create a game plan to get you back on your feet.

Client Focused
We put together personalized plans for our clients to help navigate the system and address issues leading to their involvement in the criminal justice system. We call this “Proactive Criminal Defense.”

Proactive Criminal Defense involves making necessary changes and putting in the work to show the judge that our client genuinely cares about improving themselves.

Michigan Criminal Process

Police Investigation

The first step of a potential criminal case is the investigation by law enforcement. Basically, this is when someone is considered as a “suspect” or “person of interest.” In this step, it’s very important to understand you have constitutional rights. Most notably, you have 4th amendment rights that protect you against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement.

If you’re being investigated by law enforcement, it’s a good idea to consult with a criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are upheld.

Being Arrested and Charged

If law enforcement decides they have enough evidence that a crime was committed and that you committed the crime, they may make an arrest.

It’s important to note that being “arrested” is not the same as being “charged.” Police and other law enforcement officials make the arrest, it’s up to the prosecutor to decide whether or not the arrested suspect should be charged with an offense.

In Michigan the standard of proof for arresting someone and charging them with a criminal offense is “probable cause.” That means, the police and prosecutor only need sufficient grounds to believe a crime was committed and that you committed the crime.

Criminal Court Procedure

Here are the basic steps involved in a Michigan criminal court procedure. This process differs slightly for felonies/misdemeanors; however, this gives you a pretty good picture of what to expect.

1. Arraignment – The arraignment is the first time you’ll appear at court after your arrest. In the arraignment, the defendant is required to enter a plea. Plea options include: guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere (no contest).

2. Pretrial – At a pretrial hearing, certain factors are considered to determine whether or not a case can be resolved prior to trial. These factors may include: evidence exclusions, issues with search and seizure, miranda rights violations, etc.

3. Trial – The next step is the actual criminal trial where your case will be presented against the judge and/or prosecutor. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty of the offense they’re being charged with.

4. Verdict – After the prosecution and defense has presented their case, it’s up to a judge or jury to render their decision. The defendant may be found guilty, not guilty, or in some cases, the defendant may require a new trial (i.e. a mistrial).

5. Sentencing – After the verdict is rendered, there will be another court hearing to determine sentencing for the convicted offender. Generally, the judge will use a pre-sentencing report from a probation officer that details recommendations for sentencing. The prosecution and defense may also work together in providing sentencing recommendations to the judge.

6. Appeals – There are several legal grounds for appealing a conviction. These may include: legal errors, issues with the jury, issues with the judge, etc. Depending on the case, either the entire verdict may be appealed or the sentence to reduce penalties. In Michigan, Misdemeanor appeals are done through circuit courts, while felony appeals are done through the Court of Appeals

DUI Charges in Michigan

DUI’s are a unique area of law, particularly within the State of Michigan. This is because Michigan classifies these offenses under the Motor Vehicle Code in addition to the Criminal Code. In other words, DUI’s are basically an entirely separate classification of criminal offenses; and many Michigan courts do not hesitate in handing out harsh penalties.

If you were arrested for an OWI or another drunk driving offense, the moment you’re released from police custody, the clock starts ticking on the life-cycle of your case. Although you may have just had the “worst night of your life,” it’s important to contact an attorney right away as time may be limited.

This is especially important, if you were arrested in Oakland County as even a first-time DUI offense may result in incarceration.

Kelly & Kelly has extensive experience in the Oakland County Court System, and many other Court Systems within the State of Michigan. We will help ensure your legal rights are upheld, penalties are minimized/mitigated, and your future is protected.

Criminal Defense Practice Areas

Our law firm specializes in many individual aspects of Michigan criminal law. These practice areas include:

Michigan DUI & OWI Charges
Driver’s License Restoration & Appeals
Misdemeanor Charges
Felony Offenses
Juvenile Defense
Minor in Possession (MIP)
Education Law & School Offenses
Drug Charges
Retail Fraud (Theft)
Assault & Battery
Domestic Violence
Illegal Search & Seizures
Issues With Police & Arrests

Misdemeanor Offenses

Misdemeanors in Michigan involve crimes that are less serious than felonies, yet more serious than civil infractions or “tickets.” These offenses are distinguished from felonies since they generally involve: less serious injuries, less value of property stolen, or possession of drugs of a lesser quantity. Misdemeanors are also distinguished from felonies in that they rarely result in a prison sentence.

Michigan has three types of misdemeanors with varying penalties. These include:
1. Misdemeanors punishable by up to 93 days in jail
Examples include: Assault & Battery, Theft of property less than $200, etc.

2. Misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail
Examples include: Larceny of property valued at between $201-$900, Shoplifting or 2nd-degree retail fraud, etc.

3. Misdemeanors punishable by up to 2 years in prison (high court misdemeanors)
Examples include: vehicular negligent homicide, negligent homicide, etc.

Felony Offenses

Felonies in Michigan involve crimes that are punishable by two years or more. These offenses are considered more serious than misdemeanors and often result in a prison sentence.

When someone is convicted of a felony in Michigan, they also lose certain legal rights such as: The right to: vote, serve on a jury, own a liquor license, join the military, etc. These convictions will also impact future job opportunities as felonies are typically public record and easy for a potential employer to discover on a background check.

Examples of felony charges include:

  • Felonious Assault
  • Felony Theft
  • Embezzlement
  • Felony Drug Charges
  • Third Offense OWI’s
  • Felony Property Damage

There are many traps and pitfalls within our complex legal system that can land someone into huge trouble even for something such as simple possession of a controlled substance, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you’re being charged with a felony, don’t risk your future with inadequate legal defense.

Juveniles and Minors

Juveniles and minors are a special case in our criminal justice system, and representing their legal rights requires specialized knowledge and experience.

Our lawyers are experienced in every aspect of juvenile law including:

  • Status Offenses
  • Juvenile Records
  • Probation Issues
  • Delinquency Petition
  • Juvenile Diversion
  • Truancy
  • Incorrigibility
  • Juvenile Court
  • Youth Assistance
  • Theft Offenses

The personal attention we provide to every client, including minors and their families, help alleviate stressful situations.

Expunging Your Criminal Record

Michigan has a specific process for expunging a criminal record. This is also referred to as an “Application to Set Aside Conviction.”

Our attorneys specialize in the process and have handled many cases resulting in expungements for both adult and juvenile offenders.

Let’s face it, nobody’s perfect. At some point, everyone has made a mistake. Not everyone deserves a “black mark” on their record due to a mistake.

If you’re a good person that made a bad mistake and are dedicated to making changes, our law firm will fight on your behalf. We love helping clients who deserve a fresh start.

Speak With a Criminal Defense Attorney

Our criminal justice system was developed by the founders of our country to be fair and just. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect system. Simply put, people running the criminal justice system are human. Humans make mistakes, possess bias, and may take advantage of others. As a result, properly defending yourself while being suspected or charged with an offense requires an in-depth knowledge of laws and legal processes.

If you, or someone you know is being charged with an offense in Michigan, call our experienced Michigan criminal lawyers for a confidential consultation today.