Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing a criminal charge or are under investigation in the Grand Rapids area, you probably have a growing list of questions relating to your case about what might happen, and how you can fight to start to put this situation behind you. The best person to answer your questions related in Grand Rapids is an experienced local criminal defense attorney. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience successfully helping people like you in Grand Rapids and around the state of Michigan.How Our Lawyers Can Help You Now
At Grabel & Associates, we understand that each case is unique in its facts and situation. We also understand the burden that a prosecutor carries when they authorize charges against someone. A prosecutor is required to prove each and every element of every criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt in order to properly secure a conviction against someone. A multitude of defenses can come into play depending on the situation. Some of the most common questions that need to be answered in defending your case may include:
- Did the police violate your rights?
- Did the police conduct a proper investigation?
- Are there inconsistencies in a witness’ statement?
- Would a private polygraph be helpful in your case?
- Would an expert witness enhance your defense?
- What motives does the witness have to falsely accuse you or a loved one?
- Do you have an alibi?
- Were you acting in self-defense?
The answers to these and other case-specific questions will help you and your attorney formulate an appropriate defense. Once a full evaluation of your case is complete and any necessary investigation is conducted, you may then be presented with an option for a plea deal. Any deal that is offered by the prosecution should be discussed at length with your attorney to make sure that you fully understand the specifics so you can make the most informed decision.
If I’m charged with a crime in Grand Rapids, should I hire a local attorney?
Yes, if you’re charged with a crime in Grand Rapids, you should retain an attorney who’s based there. We understand why you’re asking, though. A lot of clients think that an attorney who practices frequently in the local courts is a part of the “system,” that we’re in cahoots with the local prosecutors and judges, that we all golf together on the weekends. These clients think that a local attorney is more interested in maintaining these relationships than really fighting for you. Is that true?
No. As attorneys, we have an ethical duty to achieve the best possible result for every client in every case. We take that duty seriously. Our results prove it. If extensive motions need to be filed in a case, we don’t care that it will annoy the prosecutor. If a case should go to trial, we’ll take it to trial, even if the judge is pushing for a plea to clear his docket. Our priority is you, not them (and we don’t golf).
And, instead of being a liability, an attorney’s local knowledge actually redounds to the client’s benefit. Knowing what strategies, a prosecutor is likely to deploy or how a judge is likely to rule on a motion can be crucial to the success of a case. So if you’re charged with a crime in Grand Rapids, hire an attorney in Grand Rapids. It’s the smart choice.
Do prosecutors in Grand Rapids pursue criminal charges overzealously?
No, prosecutors in Grand Rapids pursue criminal charges aggressively but not overzealously. In cases where we’ve provided exculpatory evidence that police overlooked, prosecutors with the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office have been willing to consider it. In several cases, prosecutors have either dismissed charges or declined to bring charges in the first place after considering evidence we’ve provided. In other words, the prosecutors don’t believe the police or the accuser at all costs (which is more than we can say for some other prosecutor’s offices throughout the state).
In terms of plea bargaining, whether you’re offered a “good deal” depends, in our experience, on which individual prosecutor is assigned to your case. Some are reasonable, others are miserly. It’s unfair that the whims of a particular prosecutor can dictate the outcome of a case, but that’s the reality. In some cases, too, the prosecutors are required to follow set-in-stone “policies.” For example, in operating while intoxicated cases (commonly called “DUI”), prosecutors will typically offer to reduce the charge to operating while impaired as long as the client’s blood alcohol content was below 0.15. As another example, in first-degree criminal sexual conduct cases where the alleged victim was less than 13 years old, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office has a policy of not offering pleas to reduced charges at all.
So if you’re charged with a crime in Grand Rapids, don’t expect a walk in the park, but do expect that if you have evidence showing your innocence, prosecutors will earnestly consider it.
The decision of whether to take a deal or go to trial is ALWAYS yours as a defendant.
Remember; nobody can require you to take a deal or go to trial, not your attorney, not even the judge.
If a plea agreement cannot be made at pre-trial then we stand ready to give the best defense possible at any jury or bench trial. This would include a specifically tailored strategy that is built for your case. The prosecution’s case will be confronted and examined from every possible angle. Our criminal attorneys are trial tested and understand that the key to success is to treat each case as unique as the individuals that are accused. Each case will take its own path towards its resolution as we build your defense together. We understand the gravity of all accusations and will work as a team to successfully make it through this stressful chapter of your life.Aggressive Representation in All Criminal Defense Matters
Our attorneys defend a wide variety of criminal cases in the Grand Rapids area, the most common charges defended include:
- Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Other sex crime charges
- Operating while intoxicated (OWI/DUI)
- Drug possession
- Domestic Violence
- Driving while license suspended
This is not a complete list of charges that our attorneys defend by any means. If you have specific questions related to you or a loved one’s case, then contact us at Grabel & Associates for a free consultation at (616) 213-4133 so we can help you immediately.Where Do Criminal Cases Start?
Criminal cases in the Grand Rapids area can be authorized by a few different governmental agencies. As an example, misdemeanor cases can be charged by local city prosecutors if the individual is accused of breaking a city criminal ordinance. These local city prosecutors can work directly with the city as a city employee or can be independently contracted by the city to provide legal services. In Kent County, misdemeanor cases that allege the breaking of a state law, and all felony charges are authorized by the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office. The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office is located at:
82 Ionia Ave. NW, Suite 450
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Note: It is strongly advisable to have an attorney make any calls on your behalf.
The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office authorizes and prosecutes the vast majority of criminal cases that arise in Kent County. In the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office annual report, the office proudly reported the highest number of convictions per Assistant Prosecuting Attorney when compared with any other large Michigan county, averaging 94 convictions per assistant prosecutor.Incarcerated in Grand Rapids
Note: If someone is incarcerated due to a pending criminal charge, they will either be housed at the local police department handling the case as listed above or at the Kent County Correctional Facility. The jail is located at 701 Ball Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 and can be reached at (616) 632-6100.
If you are faced with answering any questions from the Grand Rapids or Kent County police, it is important to use your constitutional right to remain silent. Police can and will lie to you to achieve their objectives. If you are being questioned by the police, then you may very well be the target of their investigation, whether they tell you that or not. Make sure to approach any situation involving the police with an experienced attorney by your side.Grand Rapids Area Courts
It is important to know the courts in and around Grand Rapids if you are facing a criminal charge anywhere in Kent County. Grand Rapids and its surrounding cities are all within Kent County, MI. All misdemeanor cases in Kent County are handled at the District Court level according to their location. Felony cases start at the District Court level and end up in the Circuit Court if there is enough probable cause shown (at a preliminary examination hearing) that a crime was committed, and that the accused committed it. The first stop (after arraignment) for any criminal case in the Grand Rapids area whether it is a misdemeanor or felony is in District Court. A District Court Judge has the authority to hear all misdemeanor cases within his or her jurisdiction and also has the authority to make a probable cause determination at a preliminary examination. A District Court Judge can also set bond conditions and make rulings on the admissibility of evidence in any case they preside over.
There are five District Courts and one Circuit Court in Kent County, they are as follows:
- 59th District Court: Services the cities of Grandville at 3161 Wilson Ave. SW, Grandville, MI 48419 and can be reached at (616) 538-9660 and Walker at 4343 Remembrance Rd. NW, Walker, MI 49534 and can be reached at (616) 453-5765. This court has one Judge, Peter P. Versluis and a part-time magistrate.
- 61st District Court: Services the city of Grand Rapids at 180 Ottawa NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 and can be reached at (616) 632-5700. This court has one full-time Magistrate, Steven Brunink, and six Judges: Michael J. Distel, Jennifer L. Faber, Nicholas S. Ayoub, David J. Buter, Jeanine N. LaVille and Kimberly A. Schaefer.
- 62-A District Court: This court is located at 2650 DeHoop Ave. SW, Wyoming, MI 49509 and can be reached at (616) 530-7386. It services the city of Wyoming and presides over all of its misdemeanor cases. This court has two Judges, Pablo Cortes and Steven Timmers, and one part-time magistrate.
- 62-B District Court: Services the city of Kentwood at 4740 Walma SE, Kentwood, MI 49512 and can be reached at (616) 698-9310. It presides over all of its misdemeanor cases. This court has one Judge, William Kelly, and one part-time magistrate.
- 63rd District Court: Services all other cities in Kent County and presides over the misdemeanor cases that arise in these areas. It is located at 1950 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 and can be reached at (616) 632-7770. This court has two Judges: Jeffrey J. O’Hara and Sara J. Smolenski.
- 17th Circuit Court: Located at 180 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, all felony cases that arise in Kent County end up here if there is probable cause shown that a crime has been committed and that the defendant is the perpetrator. The court can be reached at (616) 632-5220 and has fourteen Judges: Mark A. Trusock, Terence J. Ackert, Curt A. Benson, Paul J. Denenfeld, Christina Elmore, Kathleen A. Feeney, Patricia D. Gardner, G. Patrick Hillary, Deborah L. McNabb, George J. Quist, J. Joseph Rossi, Paul J. Sullivan, Christopher P. Yates and Daniel V. Zemaitis.
If you have any questions related to a criminal case in the Grand Rapids area, then we are here to help. At Grabel & Associates we fight for justice by specifically focusing on the area of Criminal Defense. It’s all we do, and we do it best. If you are facing a criminal charge in or around the Grand Rapids area, then put our experience to work for you before it is too late. We are proud to offer a free consultation to anyone with questions about their legal situation. Call us today at (616) 213-4133 or contact us online.