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An Overview of the Judicial Process in Michigan

An overview of the judicial process in Michigan

When dealing with Criminal Defense it is important to try and ensure the best possible representation as some of the defendants may be indigent, or poverty stricken. Also, it is important to hire an attorney who is knowledgeable of the inner-workings of the Judicial System. When dealing with any type of Criminal case there are a series of steps which must be followed, although these steps can vary regarding the specifics of the case.

Following an Arrest

Once the initial arrest is made, information on the defendant regarding past offenses and other aspects of the individual's life is gathered. Once this information is obtained the judge then makes the decision as to whether or not the individual is to be released back in to the community before standing trial. Usually standards for release include whether or not the defendant is likely to flee and also whether or not the defendant is in any way a threat to themselves or those in the community. Also, defendants released back into the community may face certain restrictions – i.e. house arrest, drug testing, implemented curfews, or some sort of court officer meeting to ensure the defendants appearance at trial.

A Word about Criminal Defense Proceedings

When dealing with Criminal Proceedings it is important to understand that the Burden of Proof falls upon the state. This means that the individual is considered innocent, and it is now up to the state to collect sufficient evidence in order to obtain a legit conviction from the court. The accepted standard of proof is known as proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that the entirety of the evidence obtained by the State amounts to the point where the defendant can be seen as having committed the crime with no reasonable doubt.


One of the most important stages of the Judicial Process is one which many do not see take place. The stage of Discovery is where the Criminal Defense attorney gathers all of the information regarding your specific case. All of the evidence gathered should in essence help depict the innocence of the defendant. Areas researched include any area which could have a direct affect on your case. Some examples include police reports, any similar cases and their rulings, and any other piece of evidence the Defense deems useful.

Pretrial & Trial

Following the discovery stage, the case moves into the court. First the case moves to the pretrial stage. During this stage the Defense and the Prosecution meet within the court to discuss all the aspects of the trial before the trial actually begins. During this stage it is decided whether the trial is ready to go to court or whether a subsequent hearing must be scheduled to discuss some aspect before actual trial. These hearings may also occasionally end with the decision that trial is not necessary due to a variety of reasons, one of which being the defendant accepts a plea bargain which the Defense attorney has worked out with the Prosecution. Once pretrial stage has been completed if there are any motions, or constitutional violations, they are filed with the court and taken into consideration. An example of this would be if a defendant was coerced into giving a written statement without food or sleep after being interrogated for numerous hours. In this case a motion to suppress the written statement would be requested. If the motion is granted that written statement then becomes inadmissible in the trial.

If the case has any motions regarding physical evidence such as photographs, witnesses or any other piece of evidence to be presented in the case, it is reviewed during the Evidentiary Hearings. During these hearings evidence which is obtained and has had a motion filed against it is viewed by the court to see if it will be admissible into the actual trial. Once all of these stages have been successfully completed the actual trial is then ready to begin. At the completion of the trial a ruling will be made by the court as to whether or not the defendant is to be found guilty or innocent.

Interviews with Michigan Police

If you have not been arrested, but have been contacted by the police to come and partake in an interview, contact an attorney first. The reason for this is simply due to the fact that statements you may deem harmless can be used against you later down the road.
When dealing with criminal proceedings it is important for attorneys to utilize the following tactics:

  • Ensure police procedures did not impede upon constitutional rights
  • Interview witnesses if applicable
  • Be sure prosecution is following proper guidelines
  • Deal with any type of negotiations-i.e. plea bargains, jail sentences, etc.
  • Exhaust every opportunity for dismissal prior to trial

These are all tactics that when successfully practiced by Criminal Defense Attorneys could help ensure a successful outcome to the case.

Whether you need a Michigan DUI lawyer, assistance at a licence restoration hearing, help understanding your DUI Miranda rights, representation for a repeat DUI offense, or any other criminal defense matter, Attorney Joseph F. Awad stands ready to provide you the experience and integrity to handle your case and help you put this event behind you.

Your OWI/ Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being arrested for drunk driving (OWI) or any criminal offense can be very scary; but bouncing back better than ever starts with finding the right attorney - a lawyer who understands you and the charge you're facing. Having handled countless cases across Michigan has earned me the reputation, expertise, and understanding to navigate your case the right way. As as solo practitioner, your case is my top priority. It will remain my top priority as I work every angle to accomplish our mutual goals of keeping your record clean, avoiding jail, and maintaining your driving privileges. Work and family are top priorities; everything I do for you is an extension of the many responsibilities you have and the people who rely on you. Call today for the peace of mind of consulting a legal expert best suited to keeping your life moving in the right direction.