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Michigan Pretrial Detention Lawyer

Pretrial detention in Michigan is an important phase in the criminal justice process. It involves a series of legal steps and decisions that can significantly impact your life if you’re facing criminal charges. Below, George Law clarifies what pretrial detention entails, the laws governing it, and how it affects your rights and options.

About Pretrial Detention

Pretrial Detention Hearing Lawyer in MichiganPretrial detention in Michigan refers to the period when you’re held in custody between your arrest and your trial. This process is governed by a set of laws and court rules designed to balance public safety with your rights as an accused individual.

When you’re accused of a crime in Michigan, the initial step in the pretrial process is the consideration of your entitlement to bail, according to MCL Section 765.6 and Michigan Court Rule 6.106. Under Michigan law, bail should not be excessive and requires courts to make an assessment based on several important factors. This includes evaluating the seriousness of the offense you’re charged with. More severe crimes often result in higher bail amounts. The court also weighs in on the need to protect the public. If there’s a concern that your release might pose a danger to others, this significantly influences the decision. The court also considers your history of substance abuse, mental health status, employment and financial situation, and community ties. Lastly, the probability of your appearance at trial is a major factor. If the court suspects you might not show up for your court dates, they might lean towards a stricter stance regarding your release.

Cases Where Pretrial Release is Not Granted

In extreme cases, such as those involving charges of murder, treason, or violent felonies, especially if these are committed while you are already on probation, parole, or awaiting trial for another violent felony, the court has the discretion to deny bail. This approach is taken to safeguard public safety and ensure that individuals who pose a significant risk are not released prematurely.

Appealing or Modifying Pretrial Detention Decisions

Michigan law provides ways for appealing or modifying pretrial detention decisions. Both you and the prosecuting party have the right to challenge the court’s ruling if you believe it to be unjust or based on an incomplete understanding of the situation. Additionally, as new information emerges or circumstances change, the court’s decision can be revisited and adjusted.

Rights and Protections During Pretrial Detention

Even while detained, you retain certain fundamental rights. These include the right to legal representation, the right to be informed of the charges against you, and the right to a speedy trial. Michigan’s legal system is structured to uphold these rights throughout the pretrial process.

Impact of Pretrial Detention on Life

Pretrial detention can have significant impacts beyond the legal implications. It can affect your job, family relationships, and mental health. These consequences are important to consider and should be discussed with your attorney, who can advocate on your behalf for conditions that mitigate these impacts.

Types of Pretrial Release in Michigan

In Michigan, when you’re charged with a crime, there are several forms of pretrial release that you might be eligible for, each with its own legal stipulations.

First, personal recognizance is an option where you don’t pay bail but make a written promise to appear in court, stay within the state unless permitted to leave, and not commit any crimes while released. However, if the court feels you might not appear as required or pose a danger to the public, they may not grant this release. According to Michigan law, if you’ve been incarcerated for over 28 days for a misdemeanor or over 180 days for a felony, you must be released on personal recognizance unless there’s clear evidence suggesting you’re likely to not appear for court proceedings or be a danger to others.

Conditional release is another avenue, used when personal recognizance is deemed insufficient for ensuring your appearance in court or public safety. The court can impose conditions like reporting to a court agency, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, participating in treatment programs, and restrictions on where you can live, work, and travel. Importantly, these conditions are meant to ensure both your court appearance and public safety.

Money bail can be required when neither personal recognizance nor conditional release are adequate for assuring your court appearance or public safety.

An interim bond is also an option before arraignment, particularly in misdemeanor or ordinance violation cases. This bond can be set by law enforcement or the court, with specific conditions based on the nature of the crime, according to MCL Sections 780.581 and 780.582.

Preparing for Trial

Whether you’re released or remain in detention, preparing for trial is an important step. This preparation involves working with your attorney to gather evidence, formulate a defense strategy, and fully understand the charges and potential outcomes. This phase is important for ensuring that you are well-represented and prepared for the trial.

Reforms in Michigan for Pretrial Release

You should be aware that Michigan is facing serious concerns about the use of county jails, particularly for pretrial detention. The state’s jail population has nearly tripled recently, raising questions about the effectiveness and fairness of pretrial practices. Jails are important for public safety, but they can also increase future criminal behavior, making it important to use them properly.

Michigan’s Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration has recognized these issues and made several recommendations in 2022. First, they suggested reforming traffic violations and minor misdemeanors to reduce jail admissions. They recommend more discretion for officers to use appearance tickets instead of arrests and advocated for behavioral health diversion programs to address mental health and substance abuse issues outside the criminal justice system.

Regarding the first 24 hours after arrest, the Task Force recommended that you be arraigned within 24 to 48 hours and, in some cases, released on personal recognizance. They also proposed strengthening the presumption of release on personal recognizance and setting higher thresholds for imposing financial conditions on pretrial release. A key recommendation is for a detention hearing within 48 hours of arraignment if you’re still detained.

The Task Force also emphasized the need for speedy trials, suggesting defendants be tried within 18 months of arrest. 

In 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2021-5, creating the Michigan Jail Reform Advisory Council. This step is a continuation of efforts to reform Michigan’s justice system, making it more fair, effective, and transparent.

The Task Force was a key reason for this reform. The Task Force’s recommendations were largely passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed into law by Governor Whitmer in 2021. The newly formed Michigan Jail Reform Advisory Council aims to oversee and ensure the effective implementation of these jail reforms throughout Michigan.

Role of a Michigan Pretrial Detention Lawyer

A criminal defense lawyer plays an important role in your case. They work to ensure your rights are protected and advocate for the best possible conditions during this phase. Your lawyer will argue for your release on bail or under reasonable conditions, stressing factors like your ties to the community and lack of danger to others. They also prepare for your defense by gathering evidence and planning strategy. Your lawyer is your voice in court, speaking on your behalf and making sure the legal system treats you fairly. In short, they guide you through this stressful time, working towards the best outcome while keeping you informed and involved in your defense.

Pretrial Detention Frequently Asked Questions

What is pretrial detention in Michigan?

Pretrial detention is when you’re held in jail before your trial starts, after being charged with a crime.

How long can I be held in pretrial detention?

The length varies depending on your case, but you have the right to a speedy trial.

Can I get out of pretrial detention?

Yes, often through bail or meeting certain conditions set by the court.

What factors affect my chances of getting bail?

Factors include the crime’s severity, your past record, and risk to public safety.

Do I have rights while in pretrial detention?

Yes, you have rights like legal representation and being informed of charges.

What does a pretrial detention lawyer do for me?

They protect your rights, argue for your release, and prepare for your defense.

How can I challenge pretrial detention decisions?

You can appeal the court’s decision with your lawyer’s help.

What’s the difference between bail and personal recognizance?

Bail often involves paying money, while personal recognizance is a promise to appear in court.

What happens if I can’t afford bail?

Discuss alternatives like a reduced bail amount or other release conditions with your lawyer.

Michigan Pretrial Detention Lawyers

It’s important to recognize that pretrial detention is not an indication of guilt, and you have the right to a fair trial. Working closely with your lawyer, staying informed about your rights and options, and actively participating in your defense are key to effectively managing this challenging period. If you’re facing criminal charges in Michigan and need guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can reach out to the experienced criminal defense lawyers at George Law by calling (248) 247-7459 or contacting us online for a consultation.

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