Perrone Law, P.C

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(517) 351-0332
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221 W. Lake Lansing

Suite 200

East Lansing, MI 48823

Phone: (517) 351-0332

Fax: (517) 913-6287

jacob@perronelawpc.com

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Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Jacob A. Perrone is a Criminal Defense Attorney representing clients charged in Misdemeanor and Felony cases. He has extensive experience defending against criminal charges including but not limited to Home Invasion, Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm, Attempted Kidnapping, Felonious Assault, Strong Arm Robbery, Criminal Sexual Conduct, Drunk Driving, Controlled Substance Delivery and Possession, Manufacturing and Possession of Methamphetamine, Domestic Violence, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Felony Firearm, Assault, Fleeing and Eluding, and Breaking and Entering, Resisting and Obstructing, Minor in Possession, Embezzlement, Retail Fraud, and Larceny. He has a passion for justice. He approaches every case as a challenge to ensure that your rights are protected at every stage of the criminal process. Perrone Law, P.C. will conduct an investigation to prepare an effective criminal defense that involves interviewing witnesses and subpoenaing documents. They will also request in-car videos, 911 tapes, dispatch tapes, from the police department to prepare for trial. If a trial is impractical based on the investigation Mr. Perrone will fight for you to get the best possible plea offer from the prosecutor and a sentence that takes into account your personal situation.

Michigan Criminal Process

Police Investigate

Investigation may include interviewing victim, witnesses, suspects; collecting physical evidence; visiting, viewing, photographing, measuring crime scene; identifying suspects; through line-ups ... etc.

Police Make an Arrest (or Request a Warrant)

When a crime is committed in a police officer's presence --- or the officer has probable cause to believe that certain misdemeanors or any felony was committed that the officer did not see happen --- an officer may arrest a suspect on the spot without an arrest warrant. The officer will later submit a charging/warrant request to the Prosecuting Attorney, suggesting potential charges to be authorized.

Warrant/Charging Request Reviewed by Prosecuting Attorney

Most cases begin with a warrant request. This is generally the first time that the Prosecuting Attorney's office is involved in a case, unless a prosecutor reviewed a search warrant or visited the crime scene. At this stage, the Prosecutor determines whether a person should be charged with a crime and, if so, what the crime should be. The Prosecutor must thoroughly review all reports and records concerning the case, including witness statements. The Prosecutor also reviews the suspect's prior criminal or traffic record. Occasionally, the reviewing Prosecutor sends the case back to the police to conduct additional investigation.

District Court Arraignment

This is the first court appearance for any misdemeanor or felony. Once arrested and charged with a felony, the suspect appears in District Court for arraignment. The defendant is told what the charge(s) is (are) and the maximum penalty if convicted, and is advised of his constitutional rights to a jury or bench trial, appointed attorney, presumption of innocence, etc. The charging document is called a Complaint. The conditions and amount of bond are determined by the judge. In some cases --- generally based on the nature of the charge --- the Judge imposes conditions on the bond, such as no contact with the victim. Bond is set in almost every case, but it is up to the defendant's own resources to post the bail money, which allows him to be released. All further pre-trial procedures are determined by whether the defendant is charged with a felony or misdemeanor.

Michigan Criminal Misdemeanor Cases

District Court Arraignment

At a misdemeanor arraignment, the defendant will be given a chance to enter a plea to the charge: plead guilty, plead not guilty, or stand mute (i.e., remain silent, which is treated by the court as if the defendant pled not guilty). If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, the Judge may sentence the defendant on the spot or may reschedule the case for a sentencing date, which will give the probation department time to prepare a pre-sentence report including background information about the defendant and the crime, make a sentencing recommendation, etc. If the defendant stands mute or pleads not guilty, the case will be scheduled for a pre-trial conference.

Pre-Trial Conference

All misdemeanor cases are scheduled for a meeting between an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and the defendant (or his attorney) to determine whether the case will go to trial or be resolved with a plea. These meetings focus on resolving the case short of trial. The Judge and witnesses are not directly involved in misdemeanor pre-trial conferences. If a plea bargain is going to be offered by the Prosecutor, it is done here.

Pre-Trial Proceedings

Many other events can occur prior to trial. Depending on the nature of the case, there may be pre-trial hearings on Constitutional issues (confessions, searches, identification, etc.). The issues are presented to the Court through written "motions" (e.g., Motion to Suppress Evidence, etc.). It is essential to have a Criminal Defense Attorney with knowledge of the Pre-Trial process. The judge must determine whether evidence will be admitted or suppressed at the defendant's trial, whether there is some legal reason why the defendant should not be tried, or decide other ground rules for trial.

Michigan Criminal Felony Cases

Felony Arraignment

At a felony arraignment in District Court, the defendant does not plead guilty or not guilty. He is advised of his right to a preliminary examination within 14 days of the arraignment. The arraigning judge may also consider a defendant's request for a court-appointed attorney at this time.

Pre-Exam Conference

Some courts schedule a "Pre-Exam Conference" several days before the scheduled Preliminary Examination. The Pre-Exam Conference operates like a misdemeanor pre-trial conference, as a meeting between the Prosecutor and defendant (or his attorney) to see if the case can be resolved without the need to subpoena witnesses for the Preliminary Exam.

Preliminary Exam

The Preliminary Exam is a contested hearing before a District Court Judge, sometimes called a "probable cause hearing", held within fourteen (14) days after arraignment. Effective Criminal Defense at the Preliminary Exam is crucial. The Prosecutor presents witnesses to convince the Judge that there is at least probable cause to believe that the charged crime(s) was (were) committed and that the defendant committed the crime(s). Because the burden of proof is much less than at a trial, the Prosecutor generally does not call all potential witnesses to testify at the Preliminary Exam; generally, the victim and some eye witnesses plus some of the police witnesses testify. The defendant, through his attorney, can cross-examine the witnesses and present his own evidence (including witnesses). If probable cause is established, the defendant is "bound over" (i.e., sent to) Circuit Court for trial. If the Judge decides that there is not probable cause that the defendant committed the charged crime(s), the judge can bind the case over on different charges, can reduce the charges to misdemeanors for trial in District Court, or can dismiss charges. A defendant can give up his right to a Preliminary Examination. Most felonies arrive in Circuit Court after such a "waiver".

Circuit Court Arraignment

After the case is sent to Circuit Court, the defendant is again arraigned (given formal notice of the charges against him or her). The charging document is called an Information. He or she is again advised of his/her constitutional rights, and enters a plea to the charge (guilty, not guilty or stand mute).

Pre-Trial Conference

The Circuit Court may schedule a meeting between an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and the defendant's attorney to determine whether the case will go to trial or be resolved with a plea.

Pre-Trial Proceedings

The Circuit Court Judge may be called upon to resolve various pre-trial issues, some of which determine whether the case will continue to a trial, be resolved with a plea, or be dismissed; whether evidence will be admissible at trial; etc.

Pre-Trial Proceedings

The Circuit Court Judge may be called upon to resolve various pre-trial issues, some of which determine whether the case will continue to a trial, be resolved with a plea, or be dismissed; whether evidence will be admissible at trial; etc.

Michigan Criminal Trial Process

A trial is an adversary proceeding in which the Prosecutor must present evidence to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant is not required to prove his or her innocence or to present any evidence, but may challenge the accuracy of the Prosecutor's evidence. Both the defendant and the Prosecutor (representing the People of the State of Michigan) have the right to a trial by a jury. Sometimes, both sides agree to let a Judge listen to the evidence and decide the case without a jury; this is called a "bench trial". In a jury trial, the jury is the "trier of fact"; in a bench trial, the judge is. After the evidence is presented, the judge or a jury will determine whether the evidence proved that the defendant committed the crime.


General Outline of the Steps in a Jury Trial:

1. residents of the local county are randomly selected from a Secretary of State list of licensed drivers, and are summoned to the Court as potential jurors;
2. a blind draw selects twelve people from that group in felonies (six in District Court misdemeanors);
3. Voir Dire: the Judge, Prosecutor and defense attorney question the jurors about their backgrounds and beliefs;
4. the attorneys are permitted a limited number of "peremptory" challenges to various jurors (or an unlimited number of challenges for good cause);
5. after twelve (or six) acceptable jurors remain, the Judge administers an oath to the jury and reads basic instructions about the trial process, etc.;
6. the Prosecutor gives an opening statement to outline the People's case and evidence to the jury;
7. the defense may give a similar opening statement, or wait until later in the trial;
8. the Prosecutor calls witnesses, which the defense may cross examine;
9. the People close their proofs;
10. the defense may call witnesses, if it wants, and the Prosecutor may cross-examine them;
11. the defense rests;
12. the Prosecutor may present "rebuttal" witnesses/evidence to challenge evidence presented by the defendant during his proofs;
13. the Prosecutor rests;
14. occasionally, the trial judge will let the defense present "sur-rebuttal" witnesses to respond to the Prosecutor's rebuttal witnesses' testimony;
15. the Prosecutor presents a closing summary to the jury;
16. the defense attorney presents a closing summary to the jury;
17. the Prosecutor may present a rebuttal argument to the jury to respond to the defendant's attorney's closing summary;
18. the judge gives the jury detailed legal instructions about the charged crimes, the deliberation process, etc.;
19. the jury deliberates and returns a verdict.
A criminal case jury verdict must be unanimous.

Michigan Criminal Sentencing

Pre-Sentence Investigation and Report

The court's probation department prepares a report for the judge summarizing the crime, and the defendant's personal and criminal backgrounds. Generally, the victim is contacted for a recommendation of sentence. The probation officer concludes the report with a recommended sentence.


Sentencing in Michigan varies with the crime and can be the most confusing part of the criminal process. Criminal Defense includes effective advocacy at Sentencing. Most often, sentences are at the judge's discretion. The judge will consider the information in the pre-sentence report (subject to factual corrections by the parties), additional evidence offered by the parties, comments by the crime victim, and other information relevant to the judge's sentencing decision. For felonies, the Circuit Court judge will consult "sentencing guidelines" (originally established by the Michigan Supreme Court, but now applicable by recent "Truth in Sentencing" laws). The sentencing guidelines factor in aspects of the defendant's criminal conduct and his prior record, to determine the minimum jail/prison sentence. The judge may consider different alternatives, such as a fine, probation, community service, a sentence to jail or prison, or a combination. The judge must also order the defendant to make restitution to any victims who have suffered financial harm.