Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower Michigan.

Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower michigan.

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What to expect from the criminal justice process in Michigan

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Although so-called repeat offenders are common enough in the criminal justice process, the fact is that each year there are many criminal defendants who are facing the process for the first time. Misdemeanor arrests for drunk driving or drug possession are common, but so are arrests for felony-level domestic violence or even white-collar crimes such as fraud, for example. Whatever type of charge you might be facing, it can help to know what to expect from the criminal justice process in Michigan.

Criminal justice basics

For starters, there are many different steps in the process before you might actually go to a bench or jury trial. First, the prosecution must show that there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the case in the first place. This can be a much more drawn-out process for felony-level cases, where the potential severity of the sentence is harsher. However, if there is enough evidence to proceed, there are many similarities between misdemeanor and felony cases in terms of procedure from there.

As both the prosecution and defense develop the case for a potential trial, there will be pre-trial conferences, the production of discovery requests and, in all likelihood, discussions about potential plea agreements. There may even be the possibility for defendants to pursue motions to dismiss the case, which could be based on any number of grounds, but some of which could be based on alleged constitutional violations.

If you do go to trial, it begins with opening statements – in a jury trial, a jury must be selected first, of course. After opening statements, the heart of the trial begins: the presentation of evidence. This is usually through witness statements and the presentation of physical evidence. Then, after closing statements, the jury will deliberate – or, if it is bench trial, the judge will make a decision. Ultimately, most trials will end with a verdict of guilty or not guilty.