What to do if you were charged with a misdemeanor in Michigan but live somewhere else?

What do you do if you were charged with a crime in Michigan, but live somewhere else?

This is a common problem in cities like Ann Arbor, Lansing, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, or other Michigan cities that have college populations and/or host large events like concerts and festivals.  So what do you do? First you need to get a lawyer.  This will be the most important decision you will make because without an attorney that practices in that court, you may have larger issues.

After you get an attorney, they will ask you questions like how old you are and were at the time of the incident, your criminal history even juvenile record, what happened during the incident, what you are trying to accomplish, among other things.  Once the attorney has the information they need, then they can come up with a plan.

Do you have to return to Michigan for court?

Maybe.  This is very case specific.  Some cases that can be reduced to civil infractions may be handled by your attorney in court without you having to appear.  Some misdemeanors may require you to return; however, there are instances where your attorney can represent you without you being present.  In some instances you can do a plea by mail, but this can be tricky because if the plea is handled incorrectly it can result in a conviction or other unwanted consequences.  Felony cases you will have to appear in person, because those are the most serious crimes.  You may also have some serious travel restrictions with felonies.

How many times to I have to appear in court if I have to return from out of town?

This will depend on the charge, if you have a deal, whether you decide to go to trial, among other factors.  If you live out-of-town and have to appear, it is not unusual to appear for a pre-trial conference only, and instead request a sentencing in abstentia, which means that you are sentenced without being present.  Again, these are very case specific situations

The point is that you might be able to have your attorney handle the case without you appearing, but that is not always possible.  Sometimes you may have to appear once and then the attorney can handle the rest of the case.  Sometimes you are even able to serve probation from another city or state.  This will come down to the offense type, court, judge, conduct during the incident, among other things.

If you were charged with a crime in Michigan, but live somewhere else, call me for a free consultation.  I will go through your situation to help you understand your options.  I am available at (734) 887-6079.