I’m Here To Answer Your Questions About Michigan Criminal Law
I am attorney Ryan Maesen. Since 2007, I have been defending the accused in Grand Rapids, West Michigan and statewide. I try to educate my clients about the law and the legal process to help them alleviate stress and participate in their own defense strategies.
I answer some common questions, and I am available 24 hours a day if you need legal representation for any criminal matter. In a free consultation, I can address your specific situation and concerns.
Do I need an attorney if this is my first criminal charge?
Often, the prosecutor’s offices will attempt to influence the legal path of an individual who has been arrested for the first time, by explaining that they can take a plea deal to “make their charges go away.”
Unfortunately, when you speak with a prosecutor alone, or allow a public defender to handle your case or a loved one’s case, they will not share with you how pleading guilty to a crime will impact each aspect of your life.
That includes omitting the fact that you will have the equivalent of a conviction on your record going forward. That may include a first-time DUI charge that will remain on your record for a minimum of five years before it is eligible for expungement. Felony convictions, if eligible for expungement, will remain on your record for a minimum of seven years.
Do not leave your future to chance, no matter how insignificant you think the charges may be. The reality is, there is no such thing as a minor criminal charge. Whether it is one charge or multiple charges, they will all impact your next steps in life for years to come.
Can I hire a criminal defense attorney on behalf of someone who has already been arrested?
The short answer is, yes. And you should. Whether you are a spouse, parent, concerned family member or close friend, I will review the legal circumstances of the person in question, including the charges and evidence the prosecutor plans to use against him or her, so you understand the totality of their arrest – and more importantly, how I can help.
The sooner my staff and I can become involved in your loved one’s case, the more confidently we can explore a favorable outcome. That means establishing an attorney-client relationship immediately after an arrest.
If I cannot negotiate an optimum result outside the courtroom, I will aggressively fight for my client’s freedom and future during a trial. The important factor to understand is that you have options, and I will fully explore them from the beginning of your partnership.
Will I lose my driver’s license if I am convicted of a DUI (OWI) in Michigan?
If you are convicted of driving under the influence (operating while intoxicated), you may face consequences that include the loss of your driver’s license. The exact consequences will depend on a variety of factors, including your blood alcohol level, any prior DUI/OWI convictions, and the circumstances surrounding your arrest.
In Michigan, a first-time DUI/OWI conviction can result in a license suspension of up to six months. For a second DUI conviction within seven years, the license suspension can be up to one year. For a third DUI conviction within 10 years, the license revocation can be up to five years. Additionally, if your blood alcohol level was particularly high, you may face an extended license suspension. On a first offense, you must serve 30 days of hard suspension (no driving at all) before you can regain restricted driving privileges for the remainder of the suspension.
Can I be sentenced to jail for a DUI in Michigan?
Yes, you can get jail time for a DUI/OWI conviction, even on a first offense. A jail sentence may depend on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the charges you face, prior offenses, and who is prosecuting the case.
In Michigan, a first-time DUI conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to 93 days. For a second DUI conviction within seven years, the jail sentence can be up to one year. For a third DUI conviction within 10 years, the jail sentence can be up to five years. Additionally, if your blood alcohol level was particularly high or if there were aggravating circumstances, such as an accident or a high rate of speed, you may face a longer jail sentence.
Do I get a break as a first-time offender?
Sometimes. Michigan has a limited number of statutes that allow first offenders to keep things off their record. Your lawyer will be able to tell if you are eligible.
What is ‘criminal sexual conduct’?
Criminal sexual conduct, or CSC, is an umbrella term for sex crimes involving sexual penetration or sexual touching without consent, including rape, sexual assault, statutory rape and offenses involving children. There are four degrees of criminal sexual conduct, with first-degree CSC punishable by up to life in prison. The charges depend on many factors, including the age or vulnerability of the alleged victim, the nature of the accusations, and any prior convictions.
What if the police are lying about me?
Unfortunately, law enforcement officers can and often do lie, particularly to get you to confess. Your best bet is to not talk to them at all if you don’t have a lawyer present. There is no penalty for asking for an attorney to be present during questioning. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.
What if I wasn’t read my rights?
It’s not a “get out of jail free card.” But if police didn’t advise you of your constitutional rights when you were placed under arrest, it may be possible to suppress your confession and any evidence obtained from it.
Can I get a job if I am convicted?
It depends. If you are convicted of a felony, getting a professional license may be impossible. Many companies won’t hire felons, and even misdemeanors on your record will be a barrier to some jobs. This is why the goal is to avoid a conviction if at all possible. That being said, having a criminal record should not dissuade anyone from pursuing a productive life. There are still many doors open, and you would be surprised at how many productive and respected people in your community have some criminal past.
You Can Reach Out 24 Hours A Day
If you need legal representation for criminal charges in Grand Rapids or West Michigan, call me today at 616-818-0011 or contact me online. I provide a free consultation to answer you specific questions, and I am available day or night to come to the aid of real people who are facing the aftermath of an arrest and criminal charges.