Facing any type of Michigan criminal arrest charges can be intimidating and confusing. This is especially true for those who are innocent of those charges. When faced with arrest charges, individuals should ask themselves three questions as they consider whether or not to work with a criminal defense lawyer. Let's take a look at these questions:
Was my Michigan Criminal Arrest & Charges Legal?
Many people are under the false assumption that police can arrest and charge a person whenever they want to. This is NOT true. While the police do have the authority to arrest individuals, they must do so under a strict set of rules. One of the most important—and defendable—issues concerning arrest is probable cause. A law enforcement official must have probable cause before he or she can arrest you. This legal requirement can be complicated to understand because probably cause can go travel backward in time, so to speak.
For instance, if you were arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer must show probable cause for pulling you over in the first place. He or she cannot simply wait for a driver to pass by, flip on the police lights, and then “hope” they have a DUI driver. No. There must have been some “cause” for them to have pulled you over in the first place. If they cannot prove that they had that legal foundation, then everything that follows the pull over may be thrown out of court.
What EXACTLY Am I Being Charged With in My Michigan Criminal Arrest?
It is not uncommon for additional charges to be added to a person's Michigan criminal arrest as time goes by. Using a DUI arrest as our example, drivers have been known to be charged later on with offenses such as reckless driving, failure to yield, driving on a suspended license and so forth. While drivers have a right to know what charges they are facing, they often have no idea what these charges are or how they came about. Walking into a court without knowing exactly what you are being charged for and why can spell disaster for you.
Working with an experienced criminal attorney can prove to be beneficial as these professionals will know what charges are being levied against you. They can also contest charges (at times), asking that they be proved in court or dismissed.
Should I Work A Criminal Defense Attorney?
This is one of the most important questions you have to answer. It is true you can represent yourself in court, but that is often the worse decision. There are many points of law that most people do not know of or understand. These points of law, and court procedures, can be used for your defense or used against you (if you go it alone). It is always in the best interest of the person charged with a crime to consult with and work with a qualified criminal defense lawyer.
If you are charged with a crime, do yourself a favor and at least speak with a licensed attorney. He or she may be able to explain your options in such a way that you will understand what you are facing if convicted of that crime or crimes for your Michigan criminal arrest.