Why Hire a Lawyer Now if Courts are Closed During Michigan’s Corona Virus Shutdown?

On April 24, 2020 Governor Whitmer extended Michigan’s shut down order through May 15, 2020.  The Governor’s new Executive Order 2020-59 does contain a modest loosening of the restrictions many business and government offices remain closed. If you were recently charged with a crime in Michigan, but have not yet been to court, it is nevertheless recommended that that you hire an experienced criminal defense trial lawyer as soon as possible. In part this is because unlike some government agencies and even some kinds of courts, Michigan’s criminal courts are still operating during the shutdown, albeit on only a very limited basis.

Because of the danger posed by the virus, particularly at this time when many new infections are occurring, some misdemeanor and felony criminal cases are being rescheduled to later dates when the corona virus dangers have lessened.  But not all criminal cases and more importantly not all kinds of criminal hearing dates are being postponed.  So depending on many different circumstances and factors, criminal cases are still be heard by judges all around Michigan.

While it’s true that some new misdemeanor charges will not move forward in court until district courts re-open, it’s still in your best interest to hire an attorney immediately. If you’re facing a misdemeanor charge, it’s likely that you won’t be arraigned until courts re-open. However, if you’re facing felony charge, you will probably be arraigned before being released and your case will move forward normally.

There are several reasons you should hire an attorney now even though your case might not move forward as swiftly as normal during Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

  1. Evidence– Evidence can include the police report, witness statements, accident reports, dashcam video, body cam footage, warrants and affidavits, blood reports, medical evidence, maintenance logs, and DNA evidence. Some of this evidence is not kept forever by police departments because they have document retention policies that limit the time it’s kept on file. If you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney promptly, the attorney should immediately request to preserve all evidence.
  2. Proactive Measures– The best criminal defense attorneys will recommend you do things proactively to give you your best chance of a reduced charge. For example, in an alcohol or drug related charge, you would typically be advised to obtain a substance use evaluation. Anger management evaluations are usually recommended for assault crimes. The best criminal defense attorney will know the best counselors to refer to; counselors who are respected by the court.
  3. Building a Relationship and Initial Strategy– By hiring an attorney right away, you and your attorney can begin to build a relationship and lay out a specific strategy for your case. Your attorney should get to know you as a person so potential life consequences of the charge you’re facing can be understood and avoided. It’s an awful feeling going through a criminal charge feeling like a number. At the Barone Defense Firm, it is our mission to help you win back your life. Part of that includes presenting you as a whole person, not just a number. It takes time to get to know you; that time is valuable even though your case is moving slower during the Covid19 shutdown.
  4. Bond Conditions and Court Orders– The court may have already ordered you to do or not do certain things as a condition of releasing you. For example, you may be ordered not to live in your home if your accuser also lives there. Another example is that you may be ordered not to travel outside the state when you have essential travel that must be done. Or, maybe the court ordered you to submit to daily alcohol and drug testing that is overly burdensome. If you hire an attorney right away, your attorney can try to have these conditions revised to better fit your life.

For these reasons and more, it’s in your best interest to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can if you’re facing criminal charges during the corona virus pandemic. Call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm for a free consultation.

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