Traverse City Criminal Defense
Patrick S. Fragel – Former Prosecutor
Traverse City Criminal Defense
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5 Key Actions In Your Traverse City Criminal Case
People are charged with many types of crimes – drunk driving, OWI, assault, CSC, home invasion, larceny, fraud and murder. For each Traverse City criminal defense, there are five basic steps a good defense attorney will take. There are many other complex procedures that go into defending a Traverse City criminal defense, but these five steps will bring out your best defenses.
Review the Bond
MCR 6.106 defines the process for setting bond in a criminal case. The purpose setting a bond or “pre-trial release” is to protect society and ensure the Defendant appears for Court hearings. Once bond is set, the Attorney can ask the Court to change the bond conditions. If your bond conditions are interfering with your employment, your health, or are unduly expensive, the Court may modify the conditions. Provided the person is not a flight risk, or endangering others, the bond conditions can be modified in virtually every criminal case.
Discovery of Evidence
MCR 6.201 describes what evidence must be disclosed in Traverse City criminal cases. The Prosecuting Attorney is required to provide you a copy of all evidence gathered in your criminal case. Police reports, pictures, witness statements, breath test results, medical records, Crime lab reports – all evidence must be disclosed at the start of the case. This includes evidence that might exonerate you, or tend to show you are not guilty. For example, if you are charged with Operating While Intoxicated, and the police have a video showing someone else was driving, it must be turned over to you.
Immediately after reviewing the evidence, you need to decide the strongest defense in your criminal case. If there are incriminating statements, was the Defendant read his Miranda Warnings? If the Defendant confessed, was the statement made voluntarily or coerced? If the Defendant was not at the scene, can you locate a credible alibi witness? If there was a search of property, did the Police have a valid search warrant? Every crime has its specific defenses that a seasoned attorney will be familiar with.
The Defenses you identify are filed with the Court as Pre-trial motions. For example if you claim the confession was coerced, you are entitled to a Walker Hearing. During a Walker hearing you try to prove your statements were coerced, or against you will. If the Court agrees, your confession will be excluded from evidence, thus weakening the Prosecutor’s case. In a Traverse City criminal case , Defendants must provide the Prosecutor timely Notice of an Alibi Defense MCL 768.20. A late filed alibi defense, can be denied by the Court.
During the pre-trial conference for your Traverse City criminal case, you along with the Defense Attorney and the Prosecutor decide whether to set the case for trial, enter a plea-bargain, or dismiss the charges. If you have studied the evidence, and sharpened your defenses, then you are ready for a successful pre-trial conference.
Distinguished Rating for Legal and Ethical Standards from Martindale-Hubbell
Former Prosecutor – 20 Years Experience
Grand Traverse County Courthouse