Experienced Michigan Criminal Attorneys

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Facing a criminal charge can be one of the most frightening experiences of your life. You’ve been arrested and spent the night in jail, or you’ve received some ominous paperwork in the mail saying that you’ve been charged with a crime. You have that nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach. A million thoughts are racing through your head. Will I go to jail? Will I lose my job? Will I have a permanent criminal record? Your family, your job, and your future are at stake. Our Michigan criminal defense lawyers are here to represent you through this trying time and keep you out of jail.

Criminal Defense Is All Our Michigan Attorneys Do — and We Do It Well

At Grabel & Associates, we understand how you feel, know the Michigan criminal justice system and are here to help. Hiring our experienced law firm as soon as possible is the single best thing you can do for your defense. No situation is too desperate for our seasoned Michigan criminal lawyers to be able to make a difference.

That said, choosing the right criminal defense law firm can be daunting in itself. There are all kinds of them out there making all kinds of claims and promises about what they can do for you. Why choose Grabel & Associates over another Michigan law firm? Allow us to introduce ourselves.

Diverse Team of Michigan Criminal Attorneys with Over 100 Years of Combined Experience

Grabel & Associates was founded in 1999 by Scott Grabel, one of the most renowned criminal defense attorneys in Michigan. Scott’s vision was to create a firm that specializes in criminal law with a team that shares his passion for protecting the rights of defendants. For nearly 25 years, we’ve done exactly that, handling just about every kind of criminal case in just about every court in Michigan.

Our diverse team of attorneys is ready to help you anywhere in Michigan. Many have more than 20 years of experience. Some even have experience working as prosecutors. All are highly respected in the legal community. We know the ins and outs of the law and the criminal justice system, and we work together to ensure that you get the best result in your case.

What Our Experienced Criminal Attorneys Do in Michigan

We’re one of the few multiple-attorney firms in Michigan that handle only criminal cases. Specialization matters. If you’re looking for a law firm to write your will or do your divorce, you’ll have to look elsewhere. There’s a reason why the doctor who checks your eyes isn’t the same doctor who removes your appendix. Why wouldn’t you want a lawyer for your criminal case who specializes exclusively in criminal defense? Before you retain another Michigan law firm for your criminal case, ask them what other areas they practice in. Then call us.

Criminal cases come to us in many forms and at many stages. It’s never too late to call us. Whatever your case is about and whatever stage you’re at in the process, we can help.

Defending Against Sex Offenses in Michigan

What’s the most heinous crime someone can be accused of? Many people would say a sex crime (especially if the alleged victim is a child). We’ve had clients tell us that they’d rather be accused of murder than a sex crime. To be sure, a sex crime accusation—whether it’s sexual assault, criminal sexual conduct, possession of child pornography, or something else—can be humiliating. More importantly, though, an accusation can be extremely serious, with certain crimes being punishable in Michigan by up to life in prison. And in the believe-the-victim-at-all-costs world that we now live in, police and prosecutors are often all too eager to charge you solely based on the alleged victim’s accusation, even without any hard evidence against you. To defend against a sex crime allegation, you need to deploy an aggressive approach.

Sex crimes are a large part of our practice. Our Michigan criminal attorneys have handled many high-profile cases, and we’ve developed a tried-and-true strategy for defending our clients. Depending on the case, this might include:

  • Exposing the bias and other shortcomings of the police investigation
  • Uncovering inconsistencies and discrepancies in the alleged victim’s accusations
  • Analyzing the sexual assault nurse examiner’s report to determine if the physical evidence matches the alleged victim’s story
  • In child sex abuse cases, scrutinizing the forensic interview of the alleged victim for interview errors that can provoke false claims
  • In child pornography cases, ascertaining whether someone else downloaded the files
  • Advising the client on whether to submit to a polygraph examination to prove their innocence

By taking these and other measures, we’ve been able to secure no-charge decisions, dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and very favorable plea bargains for many of our clients.

Defending against sex crime accusations is not for the faint of heart. You need an aggressive, experienced team of criminal defense attorneys in Michigan on your side. Call us.

Michigan Drunk Driving Defense

In Michigan, drunk driving crimes are referred to as operating while intoxicated, or OWI. More colloquially, these crimes are often referred to as DUI (driving under the influence). For average, law-abiding citizens, if they’re going to be arrested and charged with a crime, it’s likely to be OWI.

Most people know the legal limit—0.08. That’s roughly equated to a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. But 0.08 is only part of the picture. Michigan OWI crimes are generally divided into three categories:

  • Operating while visibly impaired. To prove this crime, the prosecution must show that because of the consumption of alcohol, you “drove with less ability than would an ordinary careful driver.” Your ability to drive “must have been lessened to the point that it would have been noticed by another person.” Significantly, you can be charged and convicted of operating while visibly impaired even if you’re under 0.08.
  • Operating while intoxicated. To prove this charge, ordinarily, the prosecutor will purport to show, either with a breath or blood test, that you were “over the limit” of 0.08.
  • Operating with a High BAC. If your BAC was at 0.17 or higher, the charge is aggravated, with more severe penalties if you’re convicted.

Being arrested for a drunk driving offense can be extremely disruptive. You can temporarily lose your license and even serve jail time. And, importantly, drunk driving crimes are not expungable, so they never come off your record.

Notice, too, that all the above also applies to driving under the influence of certain controlled substances, even if prescribed. It often comes as a shock to clients that they can be charged with OWI even if they have not consumed any alcohol.

With stakes this high, you’ll want an aggressive team of Michigan criminal defense lawyers ready to defend against an OWI charge. If you retain us, we’ll explore every avenue of getting the case reduced or dismissed. Did the police have grounds to pull you over? Did the police conduct their investigation correctly? Was the breathalyzer working properly? Was the blood test properly performed? These are just some of the questions we’re likely to ask in your case.

Domestic Violence Defense in Michigan

Domestic violence is another one of the most common charges that we see in our practice. All it takes is a call to police and an allegation that your spouse or significant other hits you, and you’re likely to end up in court. To be sure, plenty of these calls are legitimate, and you simply did something out of character in a moment of frustration. Other times, though, a call to police and an accusation of domestic violence can be used as a vindictive ploy.

Whichever the case, our criminal defense attorneys in Michigan can help. If the allegation is true, and you made an uncharacteristic mistake, we can often help you receive a deferral, which ensures that a domestic violence conviction never goes on your record. If the allegation is false, we can help you prove it by introducing evidence of the accuser’s motive to fabricate the allegation or a thorough analysis of the physical evidence.

Michigan Drug Crimes

Although—like the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan shows—attitudes on drug use and criminalization are changing, many prosecutors still take a tough stance on drug crimes. Whether you’re charged with possession, delivery, or manufacture, prosecutors are often eager to throw the book at you to keep drugs out of “their county.” The variety of drugs involved can also play a significant role, with crimes involving, for example, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine being treated more harshly than other drugs.

Regardless of the specific drug crime you face, our Michigan criminal lawyers can help. To fight a drug charge, your attorney needs to leave no stone unturned. Did the police have sufficient cause to stop you? Did the police have sufficient cause to search where the drugs were found? Did you know that what you possessed was a controlled substance? These are just some of the questions we’ll be asking in your case. In the right case, a dismissal or deferral—leaving you without a criminal record—is often attainable.

Driver’s License Restoration throughout the State of Michigan

If you’ve been convicted of multiple drunk or drugged driving offenses, you’ve likely lost your driver’s license, and you’ll have to petition the Secretary of State to get it back. Many people in this position try to go it alone without a lawyer, often with disastrous results.

Simply put, the Secretary of State does not make it easy to regain your license. Instead, the Secretary of State has erected an obstacle course of rules and regulations that make the process difficult and uninviting. To make it through, you need a lawyer at the helm.

With Grabel & Associates, the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor. We have a 97% success rate for driver’s restoration cases and a written guarantee.

Michigan Criminal Law Appeals

Let’s say things didn’t go your way in the district or circuit court. Maybe you lost at trial or else you took a plea bargain that you now regret. Can you appeal? The answer, in most cases, is “Yes.”

If you’ve decided to appeal, first things first—act quickly. In most cases, there are tight deadlines for filing your appeal. Retain a criminal defense attorney in Michigan as soon as possible.

In most cases, the odds of winning an appeal will not be in your favor. To have any chance, you need to hire a team with a track record of success.

At Grabel & Associates, we’ve enjoyed unparalleled success in criminal appeals. Just in the past few years alone, we’ve won several significant appellate victories in Michigan’s circuit courts, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the Michigan Supreme Court.

We’ve done that by doing things that other firms don’t do. Most appellate attorneys restrict their review to “the record”—the transcripts of court hearings along with any documents that were filed with the court. But the key to a successful appeal, perhaps more often than not, lies outside the record—a witness who wasn’t called, a document that wasn’t introduced, etc. We look outside the record to get the full story, a story that we can then share with the appellate court.

We’re willing to bet that no other firm in Michigan has had as much success in criminal appeals than us. Call around. Ask. Then call us.

Probation and Parole for Michigan Clients

If you’re on probation or parole, that doesn’t mean your case is over. All too often, it seems that a probation officer or a parole agent is just waiting for you to stub your toe so you can go back to jail or prison. To keep your hard-earned freedom, you need the representation of a seasoned law firm. At Grabel & Associates, our Michigan attorneys helped scores of clients successfully defend against probation and parole violations.

We can also help clients attain parole in the first instance. Do you have a loved one who keeps getting “flopped” on parole? We offer a robust consulting service geared toward avoiding another flop and getting your loved one home on parole.

Finally, let’s say that you’ve been granted parole, but the prosecutor objects and tries to appeal that decision. We can help you oppose the prosecutor’s appeal and keep your parole. Our law firm has successfully opposed prosecutor parole appeals and secured our client’s freedom.

Criminal Record Expungement in Michigan

If you have a criminal record, you probably already know that it can make it difficult to find work, housing, and even travel out of the country. And then there’s the stigma of being branded a “criminal,” even decades after you committed your crime.

Fortunately, with the October 2020 passage of the Clean Slate Act, Michigan law has made it easier than ever to have a conviction expunged or removed from your record (it’s also sometimes called “setting aside” the conviction). And most judges are usually more than happy to grant expungement if the client has been rehabilitated. If you’re eligible, there is no reason not to file for an expungement.

Contact our criminal lawyers in Michigan to determine if you’re case is eligible for expungement under the new law.

Criminal Law Postconviction Motions and Writs

Let’s say that you were convicted at trial or by taking a plea and then you appealed and lost. You’re wondering, is this the end of my case? Not necessarily.

In Michigan, after an unsuccessful appeal, you can file a motion for relief from judgment, commonly referred to in Michigan as a “6.500 motion,” so named because the rules governing these motions are found at subchapter 6.500 of the Michigan Court Rules. This is your opportunity to raise any valid issues that weren’t raised on appeal. You can also try to present new evidence to the court in a 6.500 motion. The motion is filed in the circuit court you were convicted in. If you’re unsuccessful there, you can appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals and then the Michigan Supreme Court.

Warning: 6.500 motions are extraordinarily difficult to win. If you want to have any chance of winning, you need a team with a track record of success at getting convictions overturned.

Another route for continuing to fight your case is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which is filed in federal court. Importantly, not every case is eligible for habeas relief. You need to have an issue of federal law in your case, usually a federal constitutional issue. If your case is eligible for habeas, you’re essentially taking your case to federal court and arguing that the state courts have deprived you of your rights under federal law.

Another warning: just like 6.500 motions, habeas petitions are notoriously difficult to win.


Say you’re not eligible for expungement, or say you have a loved one in prison who has exhausted all their appeals and postconviction motions and writs. Is there any other way to try to get your case overturned?

If you’re not eligible for expungement, or if you’re serving a lengthy prison sentence, we can help you apply for executive clemency through a commutation or pardon application.

Criminal Pre-charge Cases

Let’s say that you haven’t been arrested or charged with a crime, but you know—or suspect—that you’re being investigated for one. Do you need to hire a criminal defense law firm? The answer is a resounding “Yes.”

We routinely advise clients who are under investigation for a variety of crimes, and we’re often successful in helping our clients avoid charges altogether.

How? We open lines of communication with the investigating police agency as well as the prosecutor. Our Michigan criminal defense attorneys uncover evidence of innocence that the police won’t follow up on. We advise the client on whether to talk with the police or take a private or police polygraph examination. In short, we build a wall between you and the police. To get to you, they need to go through us.

Why is that important? Often, clients can be their own worst enemy. They talk to the police when they shouldn’t. The police can be incredibly persuasive; it’s their job. Even if you’re completely innocent, they can cajole you into making incriminating statements to make it easier for them to close the case.

If you’re being investigated for a crime, don’t just sit on your hands and hope that it will go away. Most of the time, it won’t.

Title IX Investigations

If you’re a college student and a fellow student accuses you of sexual assault, the university will investigate the allegation and possibly take disciplinary action against you. The university is required to investigate the allegation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. But the law gives universities a large amount of discretion when it comes to how they conduct their investigations.

Unfortunately, universities tend to aggressively pursue even the most baseless allegations and impose draconian punishments, including expulsion, against accused students. Even where the allegation is false and the client is never charged with a crime, certain universities will routinely decide in favor of the accuser. “Due process,” too often, is not a part of the university administration’s vernacular. And the stakes in these cases are high. If you’re expelled, you may never be able to obtain a college degree and pursue the career you had always dreamed of.

Fortunately, in recent years, the pendulum has begun to swing the other way. A series of significant court decisions have leveled the playing field, providing some modicum of due process. Even so, the deck is still often stacked against the accused student.

Although a Title IX investigation is not a traditional court proceeding, you need a defense law firm by your side. Our law firm can force the university to adhere to recent court decisions requiring, for instance, cross-examination of the accuser. Our law firm can also help you mount a counter-investigation and provide the university with evidence of your innocence. And an attorney can create a favorable record in case the university decides against you and you need to initiate a civil lawsuit against the university. Again, your college degree and your career dreams are on the line. A Title IX investigation is nothing to play around with.

Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation, We Can Help

As the defendant in a criminal case, you feel as though your life has come to a screeching halt. The process can be scary and overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be. Our Michigan criminal attorneys are available 24/7 to help you.

Areas of Criminal Law Practice in Michigan

Our highly experienced attorneys have worked in thousands of combined cases in various practice areas. No matter what you have been accused of, our team is ready now to hear more about your case and advise you on the next steps you need to take. A few of our major practice areas are outlined below:

Get in touch with an experienced criminal lawyer right now and learn more about how state and federal law could impact your unique case. Our attorneys are ready to provide you with a free initial case consultation and begin to walk you through the next steps you need to take to protect your rights and freedom.

Do I really need an attorney for my criminal charges?

Yes, you absolutely need an attorney for your case. But we understand why you’re asking. Maybe you got pulled over for drunk driving and blew over the legal limit. Is it even worth hiring a criminal defense attorney? Or maybe you were caught red-handed shoplifting. Is there anything an attorney can even do for you? Or maybe you were arrested and confessed to police. Isn’t getting an attorney pointless?

While you might think your case is hopeless, a knowledgeable Michigan criminal defense lawyer will often think otherwise. Even if you believe you were caught dead to rights, an attorney may be able to get the case dismissed. For instance, even if you confessed to police, an attorney may be able to find legal grounds for getting the confession thrown out. Or in the drunk driving case where you blew over the legal limit, an attorney may be able to uncover one or more reasons why the test result is inadmissible.

And even if an attorney can’t get the case dismissed, he or she may be able to get the case drastically reduced. In some cases, an attorney will be able to work out a deal that leaves you with a clean record and no jail time.

Is it worth retaining a lawyer or should I go with a court-appointed attorney for my Michigan criminal case?

Yes, it is worth retaining an attorney for your Michigan criminal case. To be clear, most court-appointed attorneys are conscientious, hard-working advocates. But the indigent defense system in Michigan is broken. It’s consistently rated one of the worst in the country. Court-appointed attorneys are given too many clients and not enough resources to effectively handle each case. The result is that, in many instances, a court-appointed attorney simply will not have time to do the kind of legwork that results in dismissals and reductions.

With retained attorneys, though, you’ve literally paid for their time and attention. They will scrutinize the case from every angle, looking for any hook to get your case dismissed or reduced. They will consult with you to learn the real facts of your case, not just what’s in the police reports. They’ll keep you constantly updated on the status of your case. And, apples to apples, retained attorneys typically achieve better results for their clients than court-appointed attorneys.

Our Criminal Lawyers Defend Clients Throughout Michigan

We also practice statewide. Whether you’re in Monroe or Houghton, St. Joseph, or Sault Ste. Marie, we can help you. Contact us online or at our 24/7 defense hotline at 1-800-342-7896 so we can get to work helping you get your life back. We have three convenient office locations in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor. But if you can’t make it to the office, one of our case managers will gladly travel to you for a consultation.

We like to make things easy for our clients. That’s why we’ve been rated one of the Top Ten Best Law Firms in Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. Facing a criminal charge is stressful. Hiring a lawyer shouldn’t be.

Our fees are also reasonable and competitive. You work hard for your money. So, do we. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality legal services at affordable prices.


Our Experience with the Michigan Criminal Justice System

Our team of attorneys has decades of collective experience to utilize in your case. We practice statewide and have handled just about every kind of case you can imagine. We’ve obtained “not guilty” verdicts in courts throughout the state, and we’ve had convictions overturned at both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.

Our Approach to Criminal Defense

Every case is different. Instead of a “one-size fits all” approach that some law firms use, we tailor an approach based on the specifics of your case. Some cases need an aggressive approach. Others need finesse. Our criminal defense law firm has been around long enough to know which approach your case needs.

Also, when you retain Grabel & Associates, you’re not just getting one lawyer, you’re getting the firm. Although you will have one lead assigned to your case, all our Michigan criminal lawyers routinely consult with each other and work together to get the best possible results for all our clients. Our success is your success. Learn more about our philosophy.

Our Track Record of Criminal Defense Wins

Don’t just take our word for it. Take a look at what our former clients have said about us and the results we’ve been able to achieve for them. We dare you to find another criminal defense firm with our track record.

We Care About Our Michigan Clients

Once we’re on the job, you’ll be able to consult with our friendly, compassionate, and dedicated team. We put a premium on developing close relationships with our clients so we can best serve each client’s unique needs. The credo that we all operate by is this: put yourself in your client’s shoes. We understand that this is a stressful time and that there’s a lot at stake for you. We’ll do everything we can to keep your record clean and to keep you out of jail.

Communication is key to us. We understand that being prosecuted can be one of the worst experiences of your life. We make themselves available to answer all the questions and concerns you have during this difficult time. You get our cell phone number, not just the office number. You won’t be left in the dark while your case is being resolved. We will ensure that you are continually updated on the status of your case.

“Keep in touch.” That’s what we tell all our clients at the conclusion of their cases. We pride ourselves on maintaining relationships with our clients even after their cases are over. We love hearing from former clients and learning about the successes they’ve been able to achieve because we were able to keep their record clean or keep them out of jail or prison. That’s why we do what we do.

Our Attorneys Defend Clients Throughout Michigan

Our criminal lawyers know Michigan – the laws, courts, judges, juries, prosecutors, and people. This inside understanding of the state law and legal system will provide you with an unmatched edge as you progress through your case. Our statewide criminal defense covers numerous areas including Lansing, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Detroit, Benton Harbor, Southfield, St. Joseph, Pinconning, Kalamazoo, Mount Pleasant, Saginaw, Brant, Traverse City, Allegan, Ann Arbor, Hillsdale, Lapeer, Port Huron, Marquette, and the Upper Peninsula.

Contact our Michigan defense attorneys by phone or online now and begin working with our team towards an exceptional case outcome. We are available 24/7 for potential clients statewide.

Proven Results - Verdicts and Dismissals

Recent Not Guilty Verdicts, Dismissals, Charges Not Brought by Prosecuting Attorney through Our Intervention and Aggressive Defense of our Clients

Michigan Sex Crime Attorneys Blog

Michigan Criminal Lawyers Blog

Client Reviews

If you are reading these reviews you are about to make a decision that will have a large impact on the rest of your life. I choose Grabel and Associates to represent me in my case and I could not have been more satisfied with the level of professionalism and dedication to their clients. I had the opportunity to meet and work with multiple lawyers in the practice all of which showcased a vast knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of the legal system. When you choose Scott Grabel to represent you will open yourself up to all of his resources. Depending on your case Grabel knows experts in all fields. I worked with polygraph examiners, investigators, and forensics experts. Grabel and Associates will defend without prejudice of innocence or guilt. Scott Grabel was able to lead me through every step of the process with great communication the whole way. I would recommend Scott Grabel and Associates to my friends, family and anyone who is in need of representation. B. A.
Best attorney in state of Michigan. Caring and a true friend. Scott was with us every step of the way. He fought for a great injustice for our son and was able to provide an outcome that gave his life back. L. A.
Scott and his firm did an awesome job representing a family member of mine, I would highly recommend him and his firm! They were extremely reliable, trustworthy and very informative and did a great job with the case. I couldn't be happier with the results that we received, I can't speak highly enough about the great job he did. If you are thinking about using his firm, I would highly recommend, I would definitely use his firm again if needed, he is an a great attorney with a great firm, you won't be disappointed! M. F.

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