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Practice Areas

Most people do not anticipate that they will be charged with crimes, and if they are, they often feel as if they are unlikely to achieve successful outcomes. Many people accused of criminal offenses are found not guilty, though, since the State must present evidence sufficient to show beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty. Thus, many people charged with crimes in Southeast Michigan can defeat the charges by presenting a strong defense. If you are charged with a crime, it is vital to speak to a strategic criminal attorney regarding your potential defenses. Detroit criminal defense lawyer Ellen Michaels will be that resilient defense attorney for you. She will advise you on your rights, and pursue a favorable outcome to protect your freedom. She represents people in Detroit and the surrounding areas, including Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, and Monroe Counties.

Substantive Defenses

For many crimes, even if the prosecution can prove that the defendant did engage in the acts in question, the defendant may be able to demonstrate that the behavior was justified or excused via an affirmative defense. For example, a person charged with a crime involving bodily harm caused by the use of force may be able to argue that he or she was acting in self-defense. Under Michigan law, to establish that acts were taken in self-defense, a person must prove that he or she was not engaged in a crime at the time that the force was used and that he or she reasonably and honestly believed that the use of force was necessary to defend himself or herself or another person from the unlawful use of force.

Defendants charged with sex crimes, trespassing, theft, and other offenses in which lack of consent is an element may be able to argue that they had the victim’s permission prior to participating in the allegedly unlawful acts. In other cases, a criminal defense attorney in Detroit or surrounding areas might help a defendant show that they did not have the level of intent required by the state statute. Or a defendant may also be able to prove an alibi or show that their charge resulted from mistaken identity.

Defenses Arising Out of Constitutional Violations

In addition to substantive defenses, people can also argue that their rights were violated by the authorities during the course of the investigation or prosecution of the matter, which can result in the dismissal of the charges. In particular, the Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures, which means in part that they cannot be stopped or searched without a warrant or a reasonable suspicion that they are committing a crime. If a Michigan investigation is unlawful, any evidence obtained during it may be inadmissible in court, which greatly impairs the prosecution’s ability to demonstrate a defendant’s guilt.

Additionally, the Fifth Amendment grants defendants protection from self-incrimination. As a result, if they are questioned about a crime, coerced into confessing to criminal behavior or making a statement that suggests their guilt prior to being advised of their rights, a Detroit criminal defense attorney can ask the judge to suppress this evidence. Criminal defendants also have a right to a speedy trial pursuant to the Sixth Amendment. If the prosecution of a crime is unjustly delayed without cause, it could be grounds for the dismissal of the charges.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Lawyer

Although the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, a defendant in a criminal case should develop a strong defense strategy that defends their rights to the fullest possible extent. If you have been charged with a crime, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to assess your options as soon as possible. Ellen Michaels at Ellen K. Michaels and Associates, PLLC will work tirelessly on your behalf if you are fighting for your freedom and your future. Attorney Michaels serves people in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, and Monroe Counties from offices in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Ann Arbor, and West Bloomfield, where you can reach her by calling (248) 202-3345 or using the online form. She represents people who need a results-driven criminal defense lawyer in Detroit or surrounding areas.

Client Reviews

I hired Ellen Michaels to represent me after I was charged with retail fraud 3 in Livonia. She was wonderful to work with...


Ellen represented my daughter when she received an MIP. She not only fought for a full dismissal, which she was able to get...


Ms. Michaels fought for me every step of the way. She was smart and tough. I was so grateful to have her fighting for me. I...


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