The following is not meant to cover all topics one deals with when charged with a criminal offense. It is not intended as legal advice. You should contact an attorney before taking or refraining from any action. This post references only Michigan Law.
Things to look for in an Allegan, Berrien, or Calhoun County, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney.
Your attorney will need to explain the maximum jail and fine for the crime or crimes you are charged with. If you are charged with a felony, he’ll need to explain the sentencing guidelines. In Michigan, the Court will look to the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines in determining your felony sentence. Those guidelines take your prior criminal record and offense facts (variables) to establish an appropriate sentencing range. While the guidelines are now advisory, your attorney should still discuss them with you. You’ll need to know if there is a mandatory sentence and specific collateral consequences.
You attorney should go over any potential defenses, what evidence will be used against you, and what evidence you may have to defend yourself. The attorney should explain your rights including the right to subpoena witnesses and testify on your own behalf.
In most Courts, if you plead guilty to a felony, immediately after the plea go to the probation department and schedule a presentence investigation interview. You will need to comply with all bond conditions, avoid any misconduct. I often tell clients to be a model citizen and not even get a speeding ticket. You’ll have to show up to the Presentence Investigation interview that you schedule. If you do not, the prosecutor (or judge if there is a Cobb's agreement) may take the plea offer back, even after you have pled guilty. If that happens you may be forced to proceed to sentencing without the benefit of the sentencing agreement. That means if you pled to a 20 month minimum sentence and you engage in misconduct, the Court can make your minimum sentence more than 20 months.
If the Judge or Prosecutor takes back their plea or sentencing agreement after you plea, you will be back at square one and facing the original charges with the potential original punishment. Additionally, the prosecution may also bring other charges that they neglected to bring originally, could supplement you as a habitual offender (if you have prior felony convictions) which increases the potential range that your minimum sentence will fall into, or may take other adverse action.
Similarly, if you plea to a misdemeanor and are not sentenced the day of the plea, you may need to go to the probation department to set up an interview.
If you had a sentencing agreement and the Court forces you to proceed to sentencing, you will not get the benefit of the agreement.
Whether you need a Battle Creek, St. Joseph, or Allegan Criminal Defense Attorney, you need Heckman Law.