Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorneys Fight for the Rights of Michigan Residents
Skilled legal team assists clients with drunk driving offenses, sex crimes, and the expungement of criminal records
Like the rest of the country, Michigan imposes strict penalties on individuals accused of breaking the law. If you or someone you love is arrested for driving while intoxicated, sexual assault, or any other type of misdemeanor or felony crime, consult with an experienced lawyer immediately. At Kohl, Harris, Nolan & McCarthy, P.C. in Metamora, our lawyers have 95 years of combined experience protecting the rights of people just like you. We understand you may be scared, confused, and overwhelmed by what is happening, but you can count on our legal team to provide the strongest possible defense under the circumstances of your case.
Recognizing the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony
In our criminal justice system, crimes are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Although misdemeanors are less serious offenses than felonies, both types of crimes carry life-changing penalties.
Depending on the type of offense, misdemeanors are punishable by between 90 days and one year in jail. For example, embezzlement of less than $200 is known as a 90-day misdemeanor because it is punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Felonies, on the other hand, are punishable by between two years and life in prison depending on the crime. In doling out punishment, which often includes costly fines, the court considers several factors including:
- Existence of prior criminal record
- Classification of the crime
- Nature of the offense (was there a victim, was there property damage, was an illicit drug involved, and so on)
- Minimum sentence
Whether the state charges you with a misdemeanor or felony, you should not face the criminal justice system alone. Our firm offers a free initial consultation so you can discuss your case with a skilled criminal defense attorney and understand your options for fighting the charges against you.
Defending against OWI charges
If police arrest you in Michigan for operating a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs (OWI) or operating a vehicle while visibly impaired (OWVI), our legal team may be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed. If convicted of a first-offense OWI, a misdemeanor, you could face fines up to $500, up to 90 days in jail, driver’s license suspension, and possible installation of an ignition interlock device, among other penalties. For a second drunk driving offense, also a misdemeanor, you could face fines up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, and having your driver’s license revoked. A third OWI offense, however, carries more serious penalties: as a Class E felony, it is punishable by up to five years in prison. With so much at stake, you need an experienced attorney who can present an effective defense by:
- Contesting the validity of the breathalyzer test
- Disputing the accuracy of field sobriety tests
- Challenging the legality of the initial traffic stop
- Proving that you were not driving the vehicle (you were parked or in the passenger seat)
- Proving that police failed to Mirandize you before your arrest
Since no two OWI cases are ever the same, your defense strategy must be targeted to your unique circumstances. Only after carefully assessing your case can our skilled lawyers devise a strong defense to protect your rights.
Fighting sexual offense charges
An accusation for a sex crime in Michigan can have devastating repercussions for your personal and professional life. In Michigan, a sexual offense is referred to as criminal sexual conduct, or CSC, and depending on which type of offense you are accused of committing, you could face life imprisonment.
Additionally, individuals convicted of first-, second-, or third-degree CSCs are required to register as sex offenders. As experienced criminal defense lawyers, we understand how serious these charges are. Having represented countless Michigan residents since 1993, our attorneys have the skill and knowledge to help protect your freedom and reputation.
Sealing and expunging records
If you have a criminal record in Michigan, you may be able to have your record sealed (unable to be seen without a court order) or expunged (destroyed). However, you must first wait five years after your conviction or your release from prison before you can have your record expunged. You can only have one felony or two misdemeanors set aside, and your record cannot be expunged if:
- Your conviction was for a sex crime or an attempted sex crime.
- The maximum punishment for the crime you were convicted for is life, even if you completed a reduced sentence.
- Your conviction was for a traffic-related offense.
- There are other convictions on your record.
Even if you have two minor offenses on your criminal record, you may still be eligible for sealing or expungement. Our lawyers can review your case to determine if your criminal record can be expunged. Then, we can gather and help you fill out the necessary documents to begin the process.
Contact a well-established criminal defense law firm in Michigan
Kohl, Harris, Nolan & McCarthy, P.C. works tirelessly to uphold the rights of Michigan residents facing criminal prosecution for misdemeanor and felony offenses. Please call 810-678-6626 or contact us online to set up a free initial consultation at our Metamora office.