Welcome back and thanks for joining The Kronzek Firm again for this discussion about what to expect after you get arrested in Michigan. As we mentioned in the previous article, being arrested is a scary process, especially if it’s your first time and you have no idea what to expect. So we’re trying to make the process a little less awful for you by explaining exactly what will happen if you’re arrested.
As we explained last time, after you’ve been through the booking process you’ll get a chance to call your attorney, and this is where we come in. But there is likely going to be a short wait between your call to us, and the arrival of a lawyer who can meet with you. So what do you do while you’re waiting? Listen closely, because this is important…
Don’t say anything to anyone!
This is super important! Don’t say ANYTHING to ANYONE! That includes your cell mate, who may seem like an ordinary guy just making conversation, but may in fact be a “snitch”, maybe paid by the cops to pass on information they can use against you in building their case. Same goes for phone calls made at the jail. You may be talking to someone you love and trust, but conversations made on jail phones are often recorded, or listened in on. So remember: nothing to you to anyone while you’re in jail is safe, unless you’re talking to your attorney. In jail, rule #1 is to shut up and lawyer up.
What happens at your first court hearing?
Within 48 hours of being arrested, you will be taken to the court house for your first hearing. Sometimes these first hearings are done by video with the defendant being at the lockup and the judge or magistrate being in a courtroom. This first hearing is called an arraignment, and it’s where the magistrate or judge reads the charges against you, and asks you if you understand them. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you will also be asked if you plead ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’, or ‘no contest’. If you hired a good attorney, and didn’t play the legal equivalent of Russian roulette with a court-appointed attorney, they may be with you during your arraignment hearing, and will help you make the right decisions, and enter the correct plea that’s best in your case.
We strongly advise you not to enter a plea without first discussing your case with an attorney. If you have not retained an attorney by the time of your arraignment hearing, you simply tell the judge that you “stand mute”. The judge will understand and then tell you that a plea of “not guilty” is being entered for you. That’s all good and proper procedure. Do not try to discuss your case with the judge (or anybody else) at this time. Just be polite and respectful to the judge. If you are charged with a felony, the magistrate or judge will not ask you how you plead. Also at the arraignment, the judge will set your next court date, and your bond. If you post your bond, you get to go home. If you don’t post any required bond, you stay in jail until your next court date.
Do you have to admit you’re guilty in court?
Even if you are guilty of doing what the charges accuse you of, you’re not required to enter a guilty plea. In fact, in most cases your attorney will advise you to plead not guilty, because pleading guilty right at the start reduces your options later on in the case.
There might be evaluations you have to undergo before moving forward:
In some cases, defendants (that’s you) will have to undergo competency and/or criminal responsibility evaluations before the case can proceed. These decisions are made by the judge, but can be requested by either the defendants defense attorney, or the prosecutor. This could include substance abuse evaluations, or even mental health evaluations. Your attorney will keep you updated about what is expected of you, and what will happen next.
Will you go to trial?
That depends. Although trials are often big news, and many people expect that a trial is the inevitable conclusion in a criminal case, most cases do not go to trial. Some people forego their Constitutional right to a trial. Some people plead guilty, and some people work out plea agreements with the prosecution. Every case is different and only your experienced criminal defense attorney will know what is the best option in your case. Discuss all your options with your lawyer, and have them break down all of the choices you have, and what all of the possible outcomes are in each case, so you can make an informed decision.
Make sure you hire the best possible lawyer to represent you!
At The Kronzek Firm, our experienced and sought-after criminal defense attorneys have spent decades successfully defending people in the lower peninsula Michigan. Our lawyers fight criminal cases in Clinton County, Shiawassee County, Livingston and Kent counties, Oakland and Isabella County, Lansing, and Lapeer County. There are no counties in the lower peninsula of Michigan where our aggressive criminal defense attorneys have not fought cases. We offer a free initial consultation for those wanting to hire a criminal defense lawyer, and give every one of our clients the respect and dignity they deserve. We work hard, devote ourselves to your case, and have access to enormous resources on your behalf.
Call us now at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and let’s begin this fight together.