Frequently Asked Questions
If I get arrested, when should I call Cripps & Silver Law?
If you are arrested, then your first step is to invoke your rights to have an attorney represent you and you should immediately contact Cripps & Silver Law to protect your rights. The attorneys at Cripps & Silver Law are always available to assist you at any point in your case.
This is a short chronological listing of the criminal justice process for a felony charge in Michigan:
- Warrant is issued for an arrest.
- The defendant is arraigned on the warrant and a bond is set if the defendant qualifies. (A parole hold or type of charge may disqualify a person from being let out on a bond).
- A Pre-Exam in some counties may be set at this point depending upon the charges, otherwise the case will go to a Preliminary Examination at the district court.
- A Pre-Exam is an opportunity for a negotiated settlement or to just set a preliminary examination date and discuss discovery issues.
- A Preliminary Examination is a court hearing in which it is the prosecution's burden to show the court that they possess probable cause to continue to charge the defendant with the crime. If probable cause is not shown, then the case is dismissed.
- Arraignment on the Information in the Circuit Court.
- Pretrial dates to set trial and discuss issues such as discovery or whether a plea will offered and whether or not the offer will be accepted.
How long will it take to speak to an attorney?
The staff and attorneys at Cripps & Silver Law are available to speak to you 24-hours a day on our hotline at (313) 963-0210.
What if I need to bond out of jail? Who do I call?
If you need to post a bond, then you will need to understand what type of bond you are required to post and what conditions have been set by the court. A cash bond will require that you post the entire amount as set by the court, while a 10% bond only requires that you post 10% of the amount set by the court. You also may have a bond that requires some money to be posted and a condition such as having a tether attached before being released.
If I violated my parole or probation, can Cripps & Silver help?
Cripps & Silver has helped many clients who have violated probation or parole. If you have violated probation or parole, then it is important to call our office right away.
When a person pleads guilty or is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, he/she may be placed on probation immediately or after release from jail. A person may be placed on probation for a maximum of 2 years for a misdemeanor and 5 years for a felony. Probation is considered a privilege and therefore a violation can create an array of issues. The following are some sanctions that may be imposed for someone found guilty of probation violation:
- The person may be allowed to continue probation without punishment for the violation;
- There may be costs for the probation violation;
- The court may modify the conditions of probation or extend the period of probation;
- The court may revoke the probation and sentence the defendant to jail for remaining time not served;
- The court may revoke a special status such as MCL 333.7411 or HYTA.
A probation of violation will require a court hearing in front of the judge assigned to your case.
Parole is also seen as a privilege in Michigan and not all prisoners will be given parole. The prisoners that the Parole Board recognizes as safe to be in society will be given parole. The Michigan Department of Corrections states, "not every technical violation of the conditions of parole results in a return to prison." Alternative programs are often used to bring about the success of the offender to keep them active in the community.
Many different actions can result in violating parole. It is important to remember that each person will have different conditions for their parole. Here is a list of the most common violations:
- Not completing the conditions court assigned. This usually includes community service, meeting with your parole officer, and completing necessary paperwork on time.
- Failing a drug or alcohol test
- Breaking the law or being accused of committing another crime
- Missing court
- Leaving the state of Michigan without permission from your parole officer
- Moving (across town or to another state) because you must get permission from your parole officer
If you are found guilty, then the penalties are to be based on your violation and the seriousness of the violation. You may be required to undergo a psychological evaluation to know what is going on emotionally and physically with the convicted person. You may also be given a referral to a program used to curb alcohol abuse and possession of illegal substances. You may also have an extension of parole and a requirement to pay fines and restitution. The most severe penalty for a violation of parole is that you may be sent back to prison for an amount of time up to the remainder of your sentence.
With parole conditions being easy to violate, it is important to follow the conditions stated by the Michigan court and the designated parole officer. If you or someone you know does violate parole, it is highly suggested that you contact Cripps and Silver Law as soon as possible to assist you.
If we go to trial, how long can I expect the trial to last?
There are many factors that affect the length of a trial: the type and number of charges, the number of defendants charged, the number of witnesses that will be presented by both sides, which judge will be sitting for the trial, and whether you choose to have a jury or bench trial. The attorneys at Cripps and Silver Law have a tremendous amount of trial experience and can assess the amount of time a trial will take by looking at the factors above as well as the case itself.
What are my rights if questioned by the police?
If you are questioned by the police, then you possess many rights. First and foremost, it is important to understand the situation. If you are not under arrest or in custody, then you are not obligated to stay and speak to the police or go to speak to the police at their request. If you are under arrest and being questioned, then you have all of your Miranda rights that are established to protect you. The Miranda rights include the right to remain silent (because anything you say can be used against you) and the right to an attorney (one will be provided if you are unable to afford one). It is important at this stage to invoke your rights and call Cripps & Silver Law to fully protect you.
What if I refuse to take a breathalyzer test?
Refusing a Breathalyzer test will result in a one year suspension of your driver's license. The suspension may be appealable to the Secretary of State.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in the state of Michigan?
The difference between a misdemeanor and felony offense is the severity of the charge as well as the severity of the penalty. A misdemeanor offense can result in a jail sentence of up to one year in jail while a felony offense can result in a sentence that can go from one year to life. Both felonies and misdemeanors can also have consequences beyond the criminal charges, such as family law issues or suspension of driving privileges. It is important to contact Cripps & Silver Law as soon as possible to fully understand the impact of the charges.
Should I make a statement to the police or should I call Cripps & Silver first?
You should never speak to the police without an attorney. Cripps & Silver Law has helped many clients with police contact and will discuss whether or not contact with the police is truly in your best interest.
What are my rights when the police forfeit my property?
Property is mostly seized under Michigan's Controlled Substance Act, which broadly defines what property may be seized. The statute states: "Any thing of value that is furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for a controlled substance...that is traceable to an exchange for a controlled substance...or that is used or intended to be used to facilitate any violation of this article." The law gives officials wide latitude to determine what property to seize.
In addition to a warrant, there are circumstances where officials can seize property. The law allows the police to seize property: "(a) Incident to a lawful arrest...(c)There is probable cause to believe that the property is directly or indirectly dangerous to health or safety. (d) There is probable cause to believe that the property was used or is intended to be used in violation of this article or section 17766a.
Above all else, when challenging a forfeiture, time is critical. After receiving a forfeiture notice, the person challenging the forfeiture only has 20 days to file a written claim in the property and post the required bond. The bond has to be 10% of the value of the claimed property, but not less than $250 or more than $5,000. For example, if the property is only worth $1000, then a bond of $250 must still be posted. Both the written claim and the bond have to be posted with the "local unit of government or the state". In Wayne County, generally, both have to be filed with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. Once the claim and bond have been posted, the Prosecutor must "promptly" bring the forfeiture proceedings before the trial court.
Cripps & Silver Law can help you through the confusion of the forfeiture provisions. It is most important to remember: If no claim is filed or bond given within the 20-day period the property is forfeited and the prosecutor will dispose of the property.