Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Detroit, MI Of 2024 – Forbes

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A criminal defense lawyer is an attorney with legal knowledge and experience to defend people charged with a crime, including misdemeanors or felonies. They may represent clients accused of any crime or have specialization in certain criminal offenses like a DUI or sexual assault.

If you are charged with a criminal offense, having a criminal defense lawyer by your side is a good idea. They can help you navigate the legal system, keep track of the deadlines, gather evidence, negotiate with the prosecutors and prepare a strong case to get your charges dropped, prove your innocence or minimize your sentence.

Public Defender vs. Private Criminal Attorney

Both public defenders and private criminal attorneys defend people charged with criminal offenses. The difference lies in the fact that public defenders are employed by the state and are assigned to represent eligible defendants if they cannot afford to hire a private criminal attorney.

If the defendant is charged with a crime that can lead to imprisonment upon conviction and cannot hire a competent legal representation on their own without financial hardship, the court will appoint a public defender for them.

If the defendant is receiving personal public assistance, serving a sentence or receiving residential treatment in a mental health or substance abuse facility, they are considered eligible to obtain the services of a public defender. In other cases, the defendant will be subjected to further screening processes to determine their status as an indigent or partially indigent person.

Should You Represent Yourself In a Criminal Case?

The Constitution of Michigan recognizes the right of any party to represent themselves in court without the assistance of an attorney. The courts will allow a defendant to exercise their right to self-represent if the court is convinced that this decision is unequivocal and made intelligently and voluntarily.

Before permitting the defendant to waive the right to be represented by a lawyer, the court should:

  • Inform the defendant of the charges, maximum imprisonment, mandatory minimum prison sentence and risks involved in self-representation.
  • Offer the opportunity to consult with a private lawyer or a public defender before making the final decision.

While it can save some money, self-representation can ultimately prove to be much more expensive. When you choose to self-represent, the judge will treat you like an attorney and will not provide additional guidance every step of the way. Therefore, having a criminal defense lawyer by your side can make things easier for you. Since the stakes may involve imprisonment for years, you should talk to a few lawyers before making a final decision.

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