Criminal Defense in Chelsea, Michigan
By Daniel T. Geherin
If you’re facing a criminal charge in Michigan, the stakes are high, and bringing a solid defense is key to protecting your rights and obtaining a favorable resolution. Criminal charges range from DUIs to charges related to violent crimes, sex crimes, gun crimes, and beyond, and convictions come with serious legal and social consequences. If this is the challenging situation you find yourself in, you shouldn’t put off reaching out for the professional legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Chelsea.
Common Criminal Charges
While there are an immense variety of criminal charges in Michigan, some are more common than others.
One of the most common gun charges is illegal possession, which relates to being in possession of a gun illegally. The rules for gun possession in Michigan include the following:
● You must be at least 18 years old.
● You can’t have a felony conviction on your record – with the passage of time, this restriction can be overcome.
● You must have answered at least 70 percent of the required safety questionnaire correctly.
Anyone who is declared legally insane or who is committed in relation to mental illness is similarly barred from gun possession.
Additional gun charges include:
● Illegal weapons, which refer to firearms that are illegal for anyone to possess
● Prohibited premises, which refer to those places where you can’t carry a gun
● Felony firearm possession, which refers to carrying a concealed weapon without a license to do so
● Use of a firearm in the commission of a crime
● Felon in possession of a firearm
● Brandishing a firearm without malice
● Discharging a gun unlawfully
Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated
OWI charges refer to Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and they are as common as they are serious. The charge relates to getting behind the wheel when above the legal limit of .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You should know, however, that – if the police determine that the alcohol in your system impaired your ability to drive to an unsafe degree – your BAC does not have to reach the legal limit for you to face charges.
Aggravating factors that increase the level of the charge and the fines and penalties faced in relation to OWI include all the following:
● Having a minor in the car with you
● Causing someone else to be injured
● Having a prior conviction
● Having a very high BAC reading
A DUI lawyer in Chelsea can help you build a solid defense strategy that protects your legal rights and supports your best interests.
Sex crimes are especially serious offenses that the Michigan Penal Code defines as sexual misconduct involving either penetration or sexual contact. Common charges include:
● Sexual assault or sexual assault and battery
● Public indecency
● Child pornography
● Child molestation
Retail Fraud and Theft
Retail fraud is the term used for shoplifting, and like theft, it involves taking something that belongs to someone else without their consent. The charge increases in seriousness in direct relation to the value of the property taken.
Violent crimes include actual violence or the perceived threat of violence, and common examples include:
● Aggravated battery
● Domestic violence
Bringing a strong defense in the face of a violent criminal charge is critical, and a Chelsea defense lawyer can often help.
Your Legal Rights
If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to maintain a keen focus on your legal rights. There are several that tend to feature prominently in these cases.
Your Right to Remain Silent
If you are charged with a crime, arrested for a crime, or detained in relation to a crime, you have the right to remain silent. In many cases, the officer arresting or interrogating you is required to inform you of this right. Failure to do so can seriously damage the state's case. The rest, however, is up to you. It’s not enough to say you are invoking your right to remain silent – you must follow through by not speaking.
Your Right to an Attorney
Your right to an attorney must also be addressed by the officer who arrests or questions you. Invoking this right by seeking the legal representation of a trusted criminal defense attorney from the outset can play an important role in the advantageous outcome of your case.
Your Right Not to Be Subjected to Illegal Search and Seizure
Another important right you’re afforded by the criminal justice system is the right not to be subjected to illegal practices, such as illegal search and seizure. Before criminal charges can be levied against you, the authorities must have probable cause for doing so. This involves having probable cause for believing that you were engaged in a crime. The police also need probable cause to search your person, your vehicle, or your home, and any evidence they collect outside the boundaries of probable cause cannot be used against you in court proceedings.
Your Defense Strategy
Your case will be unique to the charge and the circumstances involved, but defense strategies tend to fall into basic categorizations.
You Were Identified Mistakenly
Even eyewitnesses who are sure of what they saw in relation to the crimes they witnessed can be wrong when it comes to identifying perpetrators. In fact, it’s more common than you may realize. Calling a witness’s testimony into question can be highly effective.
You Were Falsely Accused
Just because someone accuses you of doing something isn’t proof that you did it. People bring false accusations for a wide range of reasons that can include vindictiveness, attention seeking, embarrassment, and more. It's not enough to accuse someone of a crime; evidence that proves the accusation beyond a reasonable doubt is required.
The State Lacks the Evidence to Convict You
The prosecution can’t convict you on a hunch or suspicion. They must have enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and if they don’t have it, it’s a powerful defense.
The Police Violated Your Constitutional Rights
As mentioned, you have important legal rights, and if the authorities cross the line in relation to these rights, it can dramatically limit the evidence the prosecution has against you or can lead to your case being dropped altogether.
You Have an Alibi
If you can establish that you were somewhere else when a criminal act occurred, it can result in an acquittal or even a dismissal of your case.
Call a Chelsea, Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Results matter. When you’re facing criminal charges in Ann Arbor or Washtenaw County, turn to Geherin Law Group. It’s no accident that Daniel T. Geherin has 240+ 5-star reviews on avvo.com. We’re available 24/7 and we will put our 25+ years of criminal justice experience to work in protecting your interests. Contact us or call anytime at (734) 263-2780. Dan and his team of lawyers and paralegals will fight aggressively and always treat you personally.