Common Mistakes Clients Make
How to Avoid the Ten Biggest Mistakes Most People Make After Being Arrested for a Sex Crime
1. Not taking the matter seriously. This is a charge that will follow you for the rest of your life if you are convicted. The State and Federal government will keep track of it until you are dead. You will linger on the state’s sex offender registry for years and probably for decades. You are likely to spend years in prison. While in prison, sex offenders are universally hated by guards and other prisoners. Those serving time in Michigan prisons are often beaten, harassed, and assaulted by other inmates and prison staff.
2. Not hiring an experienced, aggressive attorney. The sex assault laws in Michigan are complex and you need competent representation. You must raise the right defenses at the right time or you will lose them. Facts will disappear, memories fade, and witnesses vanish. A winnable case can quickly become a loser without an experienced, tough, attorney at your side. What should you do? You need legal advice and you need it fast. The right attorney is critical. You want an attorney who has tried and won CSC (sex assault) cases in Michigan. Kronzek & Cronkright is a proven leader in this field.
3. Hiring an attorney based on the amount of the fee alone. The State has almost unlimited resources when it comes to your case. There are an endless number of prosecutors, police officers and detectives, lab technicians, physicians, and other experts. You need to hire a defense team and pay a fee which will allow your team to put time and effort into your case to counter the prosecution that is funded by large amounts of tax dollars. The bright side is that beating a sex assault charge is usually less expensive than spending years in prison. Like other professionals that excel in their fields, good defense attorneys need to be well-paid. Good legal representation does not come cheaply, and if you opt for an inexpensive lawyer, well, you know the saying "you get what you pay for?" You will quickly find out that this is very true. Just as you would not hire a general physician to do brain surgery, you should not hire an inexperienced "cheap" lawyer to handle a case that could potentially put you in prison. However, you must be weary of some of the “law firms” that advertise in Michigan and on the web. Some of them are not law firms at all! Instead, they act only as a referral agency keeping the bulk of the attorney fee for themselves and farming the case out to a local lawyer that willing to work cheap. These referral law firms may operate from California, Illinois, and Michigan among other areas. They never tell you that you are reaching an out of state law firm. They also never tell you that they will be keeping most of your money and referring your case to a local lawyer willing to work cheaply. BEWARE! Always inquire about whether the law firm has actual offices in Michigan, is based in Michigan and has full time lawyers working for their firm only that will be defending your case. At KRONZEK & CRONKRIGHT, we always welcome our clients to come to our office and meet our staff. All of our attorneys work only for our law firm. We do not keep your money and refer your case to other lawyers. We have a office and a full staff that operates in various locations in Michigan. We have no offices or facilities anywhere else other than Michigan.
4. Talking to the police. Many people are foolish enough to think that talking to the police will help them. Some people think that the cops will go easier on them. Others just want to be cooperative. Occasionally, people believe that not talking to the police makes them look guilty when they are asked “Are you trying to hide something?”. Don't let the police try to coerce you into talking. NEVER, NEVER speak with the police without your attorney being present. Always be polite but firm and tell the police that you are invoking your right to remain silent and do not want to speak with any of them until your lawyer is present.
5. Talking to other inmates at the jail. Sure you’re nervous, scared, and upset after being arrested. Talking to other inmates about the charges or your case may make you feel better. BEWARE. There are many jailhouse snitches and lots of people lose their trials based on testimony that is made up by their cellmates. Feel free to talk about anything other than the charges or your case. Discuss your case only with your defense team.
6. Waiving the preliminary examination. Michigan law gives you the right to have a preliminary examination in District Court. Lazy, incompetent, or inexperienced lawyers often convince defendants to waive these preliminary exams. Sometimes, on rare occasions, there are valid reasons to waive the “prelim.” However, waiving the prelim should be done only after you and your attorney have thoroughly examined all the options.
7. Taking the Prosecutor's first plea bargain offer. The first offer is not a bargain; it's just to get rid of your case with the least amount of work. Very few cases are dismissed or reduced to a non-sex offense charge at this stage. By taking the first offer, you do not give the judge an opportunity to rule on constitutional challenges. You give up your right to raise these issues and make the State prove its case. At Kronzek & Cronkright, plea bargaining is our very last option. We first focus on trying to beat your case by getting a full acquittal. If we find that plea bargaining is a necessity, we bargain from a position of strength, not weakness. Strength comes from a properly prepared case as well as the winning reputation that our defense team has earned across Michigan.
8. Failing to appear in Court. The Court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest and revoke any bond. The next time you are stopped for a traffic infraction, you will be sent to jail and likely remain in jail until the conclusion of your case.
9. Hiring a Skilled Attorney. Anything you say can be used against you. When you discuss your arrest with friends or family, you risk turning them into involuntary witnesses against you. It is in your best interest to remember the details of your arrest. It will help you in your defense. In any criminal case, you must be represented by an experienced, aggressive defense team. You can choose a lawyer or risk the consequences of representing yourself. By hiring an experienced, tough attorney immediately following contact from the police, you will be in the best position to protect your rights. Judges won't know if they should protect your rights unless someone defends you. For example, overworked prosecutors may use reports from inexperienced, or over-zealous police officers to over-prosecute a case. Our defense team is aware of these tendencies and we are trained to handle such situations. If you ask the judge to let you be your own attorney, he or she must allow this in most cases. We strongly recommend against representing yourself. Do not do this. In all sex assault allegations, get an experienced lawyer quickly. Your attorney should not be underpaid, overworked, inexperienced or court-appointed.
10. Thinking that talking to numerous attorneys will help you handle it on your own. You need to have an attorney protect you. Just like speaking to numerous surgeons won’t help you do surgery on yourself, you can’t learn to practice criminal defense in hours, days, or weeks. Our defense team has decades of combined experienced to help level the playing field.
Free attorney consultation: Fill out our contact form or call 1-866-766-5245 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to talk to an experienced Michigan defense lawyer about your case. Our attorneys represent clients throughout Michigan, including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Detroit, Saginaw, and Flint.