The answer to this question depends on many factors, including the facts of your case, your prior criminal history and the discretion of the judge presiding over your case. While the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” is at the heart of our criminal justice system, it isn’t always on the heart of the Judge making the bond determination. When applied to those charged with sex crimes, Michigan jurisprudence does have limitations, especially when it comes to bond and pretrial release.
Once the prosecutor has made the decision to charge you with a sex crime, which in Michigan is called “criminal sexual conduct,” the first court hearing is called an arraignment. The Michigan Rules of Criminal Procedure have laid out the factors to be considered and followed at the time of your Arraignment, and generally focus on two main points. The first is the likelihood you will appear in court for all future hearings, and the second is the protection of the public. Any concerns on either of those factors will increase the financial amount of the bond, and the conditions imposed upon you.
What Happens at the Arraignment on a Charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct?
A felony charge begins with the court issuing a complaint and warrant. The complaint sets forth the specific crime that you are charged with and provides a simple outline of the facts the prosecutor believes establish that crime. The warrant is the document that requires your attendance in court for the arraignment.
At the Arraignment you are advised of the charges listed in the complaint as well as the maximum potential penalties associated with each count, or charge. In most situations the experienced Michigan sex crimes lawyers will indicate to the court that the accused “waives the formal reading and stands mute” which means the court will not read the complaint to you and a plea of not guilty will be entered on your behalf. After you are formally arraigned, the Judge will then determine if bond is going to be granted, and if so, the bond conditions imposed.
If I’m Charged with a Sex Crime, Can I be Denied Bond?
In some cases the answer is yes. The Michigan Rules of Criminal Procedure addressing pretrial release is 6.106. A section of that rule provides that pretrial release may be denied for certain crimes. In other words, the rule allows the judge, in limited circumstances, to deny bond, which means that you would remain in the custody of the county jail until the case is resolved. These charges include murder, a violent felony while still on parole or probation, armed robbery, and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree (CSC 1st).
In most cases involving CSC 1st degree the prosecutor will make a motion requesting no bond. A motion is the term lawyers use to refer to a legal argument seeking a particular outcome, and as part of the motion the prosecutor will detail the allegations in support of their complaint. The basis the prosecutor’s motion is the nature of the crime itself, and the prosecutor’s argument that the facts in support of their case sufficiently establish that the defendant’s guilt is “evident” or that the presumption of guilt is “great.” These terms are not defined in the rule, and the determination of same rests entirely with the judge. Success in avoiding “remand,” meaning going straight to jail with no bond requires that your lawyer “rebut the presumption of guilt” and this requires that you have a skillful, prepared and experienced sex crimes lawyer standing at your side during the arraignment.
To avoid remand your lawyer must successfully argue, by clear and convincing evidence, that there is a reason to doubt that the prosecutor will be able to establish your guild, and that you are not a risk to flee or a present danger to others. Your lawyer must successfully articulate that despite the serious charge that denying bond is unreasonable and provide sufficient grounds to support pretrial release.
I Think I Might be Charged with CSC, When Should I Hire a Lawyer to Represent Me?
The best answer is as soon as possible. The above discussion demonstrates why it is so important to have an experienced Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyer representing you not only at the arraignment, but as soon as you have contact with law enforcement for any reason. This is true even if you’re not charged with CSC 1st degree but is especially true for any potential sex crime.
If you have not retained counsel before you are forced to stand before the court on the charge of CSC at then you have limited your lawyer’s ability to successfully overcome the possibility of not receiving bond.
Reach out to one of the qualified and experienced Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm as soon as you are contacted by law enforcement. This way we can immediately begin defending and preparing your potential case.
Once it is authorized this means that an arrest warrant is now active, and you can be picked up at any time. At your home, your work, or after a random traffic stop for rolling a stop sign. We need to be prepared, and to prepare you, before any of this happens.
When you have counsel before the complaint and warrant are issued, we can often coordinate and be notified and schedule a time and date for the arraignment and turning ourselves in. We want to have work and family prepared, we want to have a reliable bondsman on stand-by, and we want to have all the necessary documents to argue our case for pretrial release.
Preparing for the Arraignment, and by relationship the Bond, is a significant step in the defense of your case. Not only will it help you avoid spending the next several months or more in custody, but it also allows you to continue in your life, work, and family, and possibly most importantly from my position is participating in your defense.
How Will My Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyer from the Barone Defense Firm Prepare for the Arraignment?
Preparation is the key to your freedom. Consequently, to avoid being remanded to the custody of the county jail, it is imperative that your experienced Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyer take the time to not only understand the charges you are facing, but also understand your side of the story, meaning the facts surrounding the charges. At the Barone Defense Firm, we will also take the time to interview you to gain thorough understanding your life and in this way learn who you are as a person.
This should all be done before your bond hearing, which is the first major legal battle you will face. We must be prepared to address all the factors that the judge will be considering in determining your bond. We will take the time to have a full appreciation of your past record, no matter how old; and be ready to establish that there is no concern of a flight risk.
We will also learn about and be ready to address any substance abuse history and establish that you do not have a reputation of dangerousness. We will be prepared to present your work history, that you have support in the community by way of family, friends, and people in your community to help oversee you. We will discuss with the judge your position within your community and address any presumed or inherent risks.
To help increase our level of persuasiveness for many of our cases we will ask you to seek character letters from people that know you well. In these letters your authors can address many of these factors outlined above. Letters of support from employer, or family, or people in the community add a significant person touch that allow a judge to better know the person that stands before her or him. It also helps establish our credibility.
What Happens After I Post Bond?
If bond is granted, and the bond amount is posted either by you personally, or through a bondsman. After posting bond, you must comply with all the conditions of bond imposed by the Judge. There will be several standard or common conditions imposed. They will include a GPS tether that you must wear, you will be ordered to have no contact with any of the complaining witnesses or family, directly or third parties, physically or digitally with social platforms or emails. You may also be restricted in places you may go; you may not have contact with people under a certain age, and most importantly, must appear for all court appearances.
If you have been contacted by investigators, or if you have suspicions that allegations are being made, please contact one of the Michigan Sex Crime lawyers at our office for a free initial consultation. This is the first step toward protecting your rights and preparing to protect your life.