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Michigan Criminal Lawyers

Key Takeaways:

  • If you are facing criminal charges, you will want to have a criminal lawyer by your side throughout the process.
  • A lawyer is the only one who will be on your side through the case, as police and prosecution are only looking to show that you are guilty.
  • Experienced Michigan criminal defense attorneys can help collect evidence and create a defense in your criminal case.
  • The prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty for a conviction to occur, so the burden of proof is on them.
  • The legal system in the State of Michigan is far too complicated for the average person to navigate on their own, which is why conviction rates are much higher for people who represent themselves.

If you’re facing a criminal charge, your future is on the line. There are four things you NEED, above all others:

1. To stay out of jail

2. To keep your record as clean as possible

3. To avoid as many legal penalties and negative consequences as possible

4. A lawyer you can trust to represent you

These goals sound good as talking points, but when it’s your life, they aren’t just talking points. They’re your reality. As experienced Michigan criminal lawyers, our team spends all day, every day, handling criminal cases. We don’t just fight; we always follow an intelligent defense strategy. This means formulating a solid defense plan rather than just making a lot of noise.

Our Criminal Defense Practice Areas

My team and I are full-time Michigan criminal lawyers. We don’t do divorce cases or get involved in lawsuits. Although we represent people for a wide range of criminal offenses, here are some of the more common charges we handle, listed alphabetically:

  • Accosting and soliciting
  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault and battery
  • Auto-theft (unlawful driving away of an automobile)
  • Computer crimes
  • Criminal sexual conduct/sexual assault
  • Disorderly person
  • Domestic violence
  • Driving while license suspended/revoked/denied
  • Drug crimes/drug charges
  • DUI
  • Embezzlement
  • False pretense offenses
  • Financial transaction device crimes
  • Firearms/weapons charges
  • Home invasion
  • Indecent exposure offenses (including aggravated indecent exposure)
  • Larceny charges
  • Malicious destruction of property
  • Offering to engage
  • Retail fraud
  • Stalking
  • White collar crime

How Criminal Cases Proceed in Michigan

female police officer approaching vehicle at sunset

Knowing how a criminal case proceeds in Michigan can help you prepare for what may happen. Here are the steps in a Michigan criminal case:

  • Police are notified of or observe a crime and investigate: The first step is when police investigate a reported or suspected criminal offense that occurred. This involves gathering evidence from the crime scene and interviewing witnesses, victims, and suspects.
  • Police are granted a warrant: If the police do not have probable cause to make an arrest on the spot, they will need a warrant to proceed. A warrant can only be granted by a judge or magistrate, and it will need to be supported by probable cause in its own right. In some cases, the police may first need to get a search warrant signed by a judge to obtain evidence that justifies an arrest warrant.
  • Suspect is arrested: With a warrant, or, if a crime has been observed by them, the police can make an arrest. During this process, police are legally required to read the suspect his or her Miranda rights. The suspect is then taken into custody to be processed, and either be released on in interim bond, or wait for arraignment.
  • Suspect is arraigned: When a suspect is arraigned, he or she is brought before the court and told the exact criminal charges they face. Conditions of release, such as bail or bond, and any kind of breath or urine testing, are also set at arraignment.
  • Pretrial conference: After arraignment, the defendant (formerly the suspect) will participate in a pretrial conference in which the prosecutor and the defendant’s Michigan criminal defense lawyer will see if they can come to a plea bargain agreement. If a plea bargain is negotiated, the defendant will then formally agree to it in court, on the record.
  • Trial: If the case cannot be resolve through plea negotiations, then there will be a trial. There, it is up to the prosecutor to demonstrate that the defendant committed the crime(s) they are charged with beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court. They do this by presenting witness testimony and other evidence. Note that the defendant does not have to prove that he or she is innocent. The defense lawyer’s job is to show how the prosecutor failed to meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden of proof.
  • The verdict: The jury (or just the judge, if there is what’s called a “bench trial,” meaning a trial before a judge without a jury) will issue a verdict at the conclusion of the proceedings. If the defendant is found not guilty, then he or she is acquitted and is free to go. If the defendant is found guilty, then he or she will subsequently be sentenced by the judge.

How Do Michigan Criminal Law Attorneys Help Prepare a Defense for a Criminal Case?

An experienced defense lawyer is the biggest asset you can have on your side in a criminal case. Your lawyer will help you prepare a strategic defense. Take a look at a few of the ways an attorney can help:

  • Gather evidence: The first step a criminal lawyer will take is to examine. the basis of the charge(s) you are facing. He or she will investigate everything and collect any evidence that could be used to defend against the charge(s). This can include official reports, witness statements, and physical evidence. Remember that police look for evidence to implicate you, while defense attorneys look for evidence to defend you.
  • Investigate the conduct of involved police: Every person has basic fundamental rights, and if the police violate them, then that can negatively impact the prosecution. Your defense lawyer will investigate police actions, including how you were arrested and how they collected evidence. If there are any problems, the attorney may file a motion asking the court to suppress or dismiss unlawfully obtained evidence.
  • Protect your rights: Criminal law is complicated, to put it mildly, and the average person is simply not aware of his or her constitutional rights, and the interplay between all of them and the law. A good lawyer will be able to protect your rights and keep the government from violating them.
  • Create a defense strategy: Your lawyer will work with you to develop an intelligent defense strategy for your case. You could have an alibi, or you could have been acting in self-defense. Maybe the charges are based on an unreliable witness or questionable evidence. Whatever the details of your specific case, a defense lawyer will look for a way to cast reasonable doubt the charge(s) made against you.
  • Legal representation: Even if you understand the details of your defense, having lawyer representing you through all stages of the court process is essential. Your attorney knows the ins and outs of courtroom decorum and will object to improper actions taken by the prosecution.
  • Legal advice: Many criminal cases result in a plea bargain offer that you can choose rather than taking it to trial. Making this decision alone can be incredibly difficult, but a defense attorney can properly examine your case and help you make the right decision.
  • Avoid as many legal penalties and negative consequences as possible: Even if the case against you is solid, the bottom line is that you hire a lawyer to make things better, and avoid getting hammered with penalties. Experienced criminal lawyers like us know what to do to avoid and/or. minimize many of the negative consequences you face. This could include all sorts of things, like getting you into counseling, or gathering character evidence from your employer, family or friends.
  • Communication with the outside: A criminal case and what’s involved is hard to explain to your friends and family. A defense attorney can help with the communication between you and your loved ones as you go through the criminal justice system.

What Should I Look for When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney in Michigan?

Facing any kind of criminal charge is stressful. You already know that. Now, you have to look for a criminal lawyer. You need someone you can trust. Your lawyer has to fight like a bear to produce the best outcome possible.

It can seem the more you look around, the more you get confused. Every lawyer has a message and a sales pitch.

Here are three key qualities that you need in a criminal lawyer:


You have to know that your lawyer is experienced in the kind of case you have. He or she must know the court where your case is being heard. My team and I ONLY take cases that fit within the realm of our prior experience. We stick to local courts where we appear regularly. This is why our firm limits our criminal and DUI practice to cases pending in the district and circuit courts of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and the surrounding counties.


Your criminal lawyer has to be a fighter and stand up for your rights. He or she must be charismatic, persuasive and strong enough to protect you and your interests. That means actually making things better. You have to like and trust the lawyer you are going to hire because he or she is your spokesperson when dealing with the prosecutor and the judge. My team and I will always be completely honest with you and will never just tell you what you want to hear.


Price should NEVER be a secret, and it isn’t with our practice. We are the only law firm to list its prices online. We believe in that kind of transparency in all our dealings. We charge enough to properly handle every case we take. We don’t cut corners, but we don’t do unnecessary work, either. Instead, we do what’s needed to fight for our clients and protect their futures.

Questions to Ask When You Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Michigan

How long have you been practicing criminal law?

Given how critical experience is when finding a criminal defense attorney, it is important to find out exactly how long he or she has been practicing criminal law and/or defense law. Your chances are much better if you hire a criminal lawyer with years of experience rather than a new public defender. Of course, it is important to evaluate the experience and practice of any lawyer you consider. If you are facing criminal charges, it’s far better to have a lawyer who exclusively practices criminal law than a lawyer who dabbles in multiple practices like personal injury or family law.

Where did you go to school?

A lawyer’s education can speak volumes about his or her knowledge of criminal law. Lawyers from recognized and respectable institutions bring more to the table, and offer legal services that provide you with the confidence of knowing your in good hands. You may also want to ask if he or she is part of any professional or bar associations. Experienced lawyers tend to get involved in their local legal circles and practice area groups.

Have you had similar cases to mine?

The details of every case are unique, but there is plenty of crossover, too. Having a criminal defense attorney who has dealt with cases similar to yours can be an advantage. Of course, you need to make sure that this is not a simple yes or no question. Don’t be afraid to ask for details about the results of any cases similar to yours.

What is your success rate?

A lawyer with a track record of success is not going to want to break that trend. When a successful lawyer takes your case, he or she will do everything in their power to win for your sake and for their own law practice.

Do your cases often go to trial?

Not all criminal cases need to go to trial. Many can (and should be) be settled before a trial is necessary. Trials can be risky endeavors, and some lawyer, like us, are able to negotiate exceptionally good plea bargains, or even get charges dropped entirely. Be sure to ask any lawyer you are considering how often his or her cases go to trial.

Do you know the courthouse for my case?

While there is no legal precedent for having a home-field advantage, it can be a huge benefit to have a lawyer who has built a rapport with the judge who will preside over your case. Plus, a lawyer who is more familiar with the prosecutor will have a much better idea of how to defend you. This is why our firm limits its criminal and DUI practice to the Greater-Detroit area of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and the surrounding counties.

How to Get Charges Dropped or Dismissed Before the Court Date in Michigan

One of the best outcomes for your case is to get the charges dropped or dismissed before it even gets underway. The first step towards this is getting a defense attorney on your side. He or she will look for all legal reasons to get your charges dropped right from the start. Grounds for dropping charges or dismissing a case can include the following.

  • Violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights
  • Police failure to follow legal arrest procedures
  • Lack of evidence
  • Problems gathering, analyzing and/or maintaining the evidence
  • Mistakes in charging documents
  • Illegal searches

Drunk Driving and DUI Charges

police arresting a man in a dress shirt and tie

Drunk driving and DUI/OWI charges are criminal matter and can be serious, especially if you need to drive to get to work. Still, not all DUI charges are legally sound. Take a closer look at how to move forward when facing these kinds of charges.

Is a DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor in Michigan?

In most cases, a DUI is a misdemeanor in Michigan, but that is not always the case. If you are charged with a third DUI after already having been previously convicted twice of drunk driving in the past, then the charge becomes a felony. Additionally, if your DUI involved a serious injury or death, that can be considered a felony, too.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Michigan?

The penalties for a DUI depend on how many DUI convictions you have had in the past. If charged with a third offense felony, you face the following potential penalties:

  • Maximum five-year prison sentence
  • Maximum $5,000 in fines
  • Six points on your license
  • Revocation of your license for up to five years
  • Maximum 180 days of community service
  • Vehicle forfeiture for up to three years

In misdemeanor cases, you potentially face jail time and a certain driver’s license sanction, meaning either a suspension or revocation, among other possible penalties. Of course, your lawyer’s job is to keep you out of jail and protect your ability to drive.

How Do You Beat a DUI in Michigan?

To fight back against a DUI charge, there are a few strategies to try:

  • Question the reliability of field tests to determine sobriety.
  • Expose false or inaccurate breath and/or blood test results.
  • Demonstrate how police did not follow procedure when administering any field sobriety or chemical tests.
  • Argue that the police violated your rights at some point.
  • Convince the judge that the traffic stop was not warranted in the first place.
  • Show that the breathalyzer machine malfunctioned.

How to Expunge a DUI in Michigan

DUI convictions go on your public record, and that can have serious consequences for insurance, employment, and more. Getting your conviction expunged will ease this burden, but the process is complicated. To qualify, you will have to meet certain criteria that includes:

  • Only a first time (1st offense) DUI conviction can be expunged
  • Minimum five years after sentence before applying
  • No convictions or arrests in those five years

Some DUI convictions cannot be expunged, including the following:

  • Any DUI convictions after your first
  • A DUI with a minor in the car
  • Any DUI that caused serious injury or death
  • A DUI while driving a commercial vehicle with a CDL license

Driver’s License Restoration

When your driver’s license is revoked, it is gone forever until you take action and win it back. This is done through the Michigan Secretary of State, by its Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight (OHAO). Fortunately, driver’s license restoration in Michigan may be possible for you.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get My License Back in Michigan?

You do not technically need a lawyer to get your license back, but it is very difficult to succeed without one. Driver’s license restoration lawyers like us know how to effectively navigate the complicated process and create a strong case for restoration.

How Do I Get My Driver’s License Restored in Michigan When I Live Out of State?

The driver’s license restoration process is entirely virtual, including the license appeal hearing. That means you can go through the restoration process without even having to travel to Michigan and from the comfort of your home. We regularly handle out-of-state license restoration for clients, so we are familiar with the process. Our clients live all over the state and, indeed, the country.

When you work with our team, we guarantee your driver’s license will be restored!

Criminal Charges

Criminal charges can drastically impact your life, but you can minimize that damage with a proper defense.

How Can Criminal Convictions Affect My Life?

Criminal convictions can make numerous aspects of life harder than you might expect. You may face any of the following obstacles:

  • Difficulty finding work
  • Difficulty traveling
  • Inability to receive certain licenses and certifications
  • Limited rights
  • Limitations on child custody
  • Threat to immigration status
  • Difficulty being accepted into college
  • Difficulty renting property
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Damage to reputation

Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Being Investigated by the Police?

Legally speaking, you do not need a lawyer if you are being investigated by the police. Practically speaking, however, you absolutely need a lawyer if that is happening. Remember, the police only look for evidence to prove that you are guilty. You will need a lawyer from an experienced law office to look for evidence to cast doubt on your guilt.

I’m Innocent. Should I Cooperate with the Police?

No. Never cooperate with police unless you have an attorney present. Police are more interested in getting convictions than anything else, so you will need a legal advocate to represent your interests and protect your rights. The police aren’t there to get you out of trouble.

How Can I Expunge My Criminal Record in Michigan?

Expunging your criminal record means removing convictions from the public record. The process for doing so generally takes several months and requires a few steps:

  • Submit an expungement application.
  • Allow up to two months for your criminal history report to be processed.
  • Wait for the Michigan Attorney General’s response (up to three months).
  • Attend your expungement hearing.

Whether or not your convictions are actually expunged depends on a lot of factors, including how your expungement hearing goes. Having an experienced criminal lawyer prepare your case will maximize your chances of a positive outcome.

Why Work With Jeffrey Randa and Associates

With Jeffrey Randa and Associates, you can expect open, honest communication and a custom defense crafted by highly experienced criminal lawyers. The greatest reward we get is when a prior client calls us and thanks us for not treating them like another file, and for the guidance and help we provided. The success we achieve can only come from being a firm that looks beyond the case at hand and at the person, as a whole. We truly want our clients to get the right help they need to not repeat the same behavior.

Our clients consistently highlight our dedication to their personal successes.


“A few years ago I attempted to get my driving privileges reinstated and the interlock device removed from my car. I hired another attorney and we failed miserably. The Randa office shoots it to you straight and walks you through everything you need to do before they’ll even consider taking you on as a client and eventually requesting a hearing. They are in it to win and that’s exactly what they did for me. They had a mess to clean up and they did that and got my freedom back for me. Jack Mott and Ann were amazing to work with. I felt confident and prepared for my hearing. I highly recommend The Jeffrey Randa team for any license needs.” — Ceree M.

“I had a wonderful experience working with this law firm, Jeffrey Randa and Associates. Stephanie listened intensively during my consultation. She was prompt and provided easy to understand next steps!” — Jonathan P.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Represent Myself in a Michigan Criminal Case?

No, you should never represent yourself in a criminal case. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • You do not understand Michigan law as well as a lawyer (and that’s okay; that’s why we’re here).
  • You may incriminate yourself without realizing it.
  • You do not have experience in a courtroom.
  • The prosecutor has a lot more experience than you.
  • Judges can have a bias against you – they like dealing with lawyers.
  • No one else in the process will be on your side.
  • Statistically, you have a higher chance of getting convicted.
  • A lawyer can produce a better outcome all the way around.

What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor in Michigan?

The central difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is potential jail time. A misdemeanor charge conviction can only result in a sentence of incarceration in the local county jail for a year or less. A felony, on the other hand, could have you sentenced to more than a year of incarceration in the state prison system.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Michigan?

A DUI will stay on your record for the rest of your life in Michigan unless you have it expunged. Note that only one DUI can ever be expunged from your record. Any subsequent DUI convictions are going to be there forever.

Make the Call For Your Future

If you are facing criminal charges or expect to be charged with a crime in the greater Detroit area, meaning anywhere in Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, or the any of the immediate surrounding counties, you need reliable representation. Beyond all the legal issues, you need a criminal lawyer who will really be there for you. In our law firm, we work as a team.

When you’re our client and have questions, all you have to do is call our law office. Whoever answers the phone should be able to answer your questions right then and there. If not, then they’ll get answers for you right away.

In driver’s license restoration cases, we can help people from Ann Arbor, Troy, Bloomfield Hills, Grand Rapids, Lansing, to Shelby Township, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Port Huron, and beyond. Note that our license restoration services are not only state-wide but also nationwide.

Anyone needing legal services should be a savvy consumer and look around and speak with different law offices. There is simply no downside to exploring your options.

All of our consultations are free, confidential, and, best of all, done over the phone right when you call. My team and I are very friendly people who will gladly answer your questions and explain things. We’ll even be happy to compare notes with something any other lawyer has told you.

We can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST), at either 248-986-9700 or 586-465-1980, so do not hesitate to call for a free consultation.