Criminal Appeals Information

Writ of Habeas Corpus

The attorneys at Grabel & Associates are premier trial and appellate lawyers. We are experienced in all aspects of post-conviction claims including federal habeas corpus cases and motions for relief from judgment (also known as “6500 Motions”).

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Michigan Circuit Court Appeals

Some trial court decisions may be appealed directly to the highest court, the Michigan Supreme Court, however, this is rare, and most appeals of a trial court decision are heard by the Court of Appeals. Appellate court decisions are often published, which means they become part of the overall body of law in the state and can be relied on as examples for other cases. For this reason, you need a qualified appellate lawyer because simply making an appeal does not mean you will be granted one.

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Michigan Court of Appeals

The Michigan Court of Appeals is an “intermediate” appellate court between the Supreme Court and the Michigan trial courts. Appellate court decisions are often published, which means they become part of the overall body of law in the state and can be relied on as examples for other cases. For this reason, you need a qualified appellate lawyer because simply making an appeal does not mean you will be granted one. How your appeal is presented to the court is critical in getting your case accepted for review or reconsideration by any appellate court.

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Theft and Property Crimes Appeals and Post-Conviction Services

Shoplifting may not sound like a serious conviction on your record, but any type of theft can make employers reluctant to hire or promote you, and anyone who runs a simple background check on you for a loan, scholarship, housing, adoption, etc. will see that you were convicted of stealing someone elses’ property. And, if the value of the item you took exceeded a certain amount you may be convicted of a felony crime and be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and be subject to a fine of $15,000 or even more for victim restitution.

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Sex Crimes Appeals and Post-Conviction Services

If you have been convicted of a sex offense, you may think your fate has been sealed, but that is not necessarily true in all cases. Juries and judges can make mistake, legal errors, new evidence may come to light — all of these things may afford you the chance to pursue post-conviction rights.

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DWI, OWI, DUI Appeals and Post-Conviction Services

We are experienced trial lawyers and appellate lawyers. We know how to review court records to see if any of your rights were violated during the trial or sentencing process. If your sentenced was excessive we may be able to help you get your sentence reduced. We may be able to overturn a conviction, or get you a new trial, lighter sentence, parole, restore driving privileges, or have your conviction set aside.

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Assault Appeals and Post-Conviction Services

Michigan Criminal Defense Appeals Attorneys

Assault charges carry a wide range of penalties from simple assault (a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of no more than $500) to the felony charges of Assault with Intent to Rob and Steal, or assault against a pregnant woman — both of [...]

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Drug Crime Appeals and Post-Conviction Services

Effective March 1, 2003, mandatory sentencing for drug crimes was eliminated by law. The elimination of mandatory prison time was applied to those already convicted and serving prison time for drug crimes. Judges are now allowed greater judicial discretion and flexibility when imposing sentences for drug crimes rather than being required to pronounce hard and fast sentences based exclusively on drug weight. Current Michigan law also allows the lowest-level offenders a five-year term of probation and the parole board now has the discretion to grant early release to some inmates serving time for drug crimes.

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Domestic Violence Appeals and Post-Conviction Services

Domestic violence is a serious crime, and, unfortunately, does exist in many households throughout Michigan. In cases involving domestic violence, the prosecutor has a goal: get a conviction in an effort to end the violence by punishing the offender. But many cases of domestic violence involve a vindictive spouse accusing the other in an effort to manipulate the courts, gain an advantage in a divorce or child custody hearings, or just out of spite.

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Murder Appeals and Post-Conviction Services

Our criminal courts are required to follow procedures and apply the law when it comes to the defendant’s rights just as much as for victims, because sometimes, innocent people really are accused of crimes they did not commit. And, when someone is convicted of the serious crime of murder, the legal system does not end there — they have the right to an appeal.

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Crimes Eligible for Expungement in Michigan

Take this seven question test to see if you may be eligible to have your criminal record set aside in Michigan. If you are, call our attorneys for expert legal representation to help you put your past behind you.

You are not required by law to have an attorney handle a petition to have a criminal record sealed — but the courts recommend that you do. The steps involved can be tedious and the courts will not cut you any slack just because you chose to represent yourself. If you file the wrong information, complete forms improperly, or make other mistakes, your application could be denied.

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Types of Criminal Sentences

Types of sentences that a defendant can receive including: concurrent, consecutive, deferred, fixed (determinate sentence), flat, minimum, maximum, mandatory, indeterminate, life sentence, and suspended sentences.

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Michigan’s Sentencing Guidelines

Although Michigan has adopted sentencing guidelines, judges have discretionary authority to depart from Michigan’s sentencing guideline range but only where there are “substantial and compelling” reasons to do so. If you received an unfair sentence, or were sentenced more harshly than is permitted by law, you may have the right to appeal your sentence even without appealing the conviction. It is important that you contact our Michigan Sentence Appeals Lawyers as soon as possible because you have a very limited time frame in which you can appeal a sentence.

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Michigan Criminal Sentence Appeals

Sentences are supposed to be administered in such a way as to reflect the severity of the crime and should take into account certain circumstances of the offense and the history of the offender. If you have been sentenced beyond what the law permits, or otherwise excessively penalized for a conviction, contact our sentence appeals lawyers today, or call 1-800-342-7896 immediately to discuss your option to appeal your sentence. Once you are sentenced you have a tight statute of limitations in which to file an appeal.

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Legal Rights Waived in Plea Bargains

Information about types of pleas, why plea bargains are made, the rights you forfeit when you entering in a plea bargain, and legal options you may have to change or withdraw a guilty plea. If you plead not guilty or “no contest” to a charge, you give up the right to:

  • An attorney appointed at public expense if you are indigent (without money to hire an attorney);
  • The right to a trial; and
  • The right to appeal.
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Federal Appeals

Defendants who have been convicted of a federal criminal crime are entitled to file a direct appeal under federal statute 18 U.S.C. §§ 3732, 3742. The defendant may appeal either the conviction or the sentence imposed after either a guilty plea has been entered, or after a trial. A defendant’s conviction is not final until it has been affirmed on direct appeal.

Defendants who file an appeal are known as the “appellate.” An appeal is sent to a court of appeals in which the trial court proceedings are reviewed to make sure that all proceedings were carried out in accordance with the law…

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Types of Post-Conviction and Pre-Sentencing Motions

The jury has reached a verdict, or a judge has made a ruling. You may think all you have left to do now is await sentencing, and, while some cases may seem cut-and-dry, not all are and there are many situations that warrant post-conviction legal services to help a defendant get the best possible outcome.

Post-conviction motions are different from a direct appeal, and both can be advantageous for defendants to consider. Appeals are filed with the appellate court and post-convictions motions are filed with the trial court. Post-conviction motions are sometimes filed after a direct appeal has been lost, but many are also filed after a conviction either before or after sentencing.

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Motion to Change or Withdraw a Plea

There are many legal tools available to a defendant before, during and after trial that may be help the defendant obtain a better outcome. However, when a defendant’s guilty plea is accepted, the defendant may forfeit certain rights, including the right to appeal.

It is always easier when a defendant motions to change a plea after a conviction but before sentencing, but there are also legal remedies to withdraw or change a plea after sentencing. And, if you are withdrawing a guilty plea in a federal court, especially after sentencing, the procedures are far more complex and must be done by filing a petition for federal writ of habeas corpus (also called a 2255 petition.)

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Michigan Supreme Court Appeals

Information about the Michigan Supreme Court; its Justices, purpose, scope, and the appeals process from application to decision.

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Legal Resources

List of resources for Michigan criminal defense post-conviction services, motions, and appeals.

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Judicial Process in a Criminal Case

An overview of the Michigan Judicial process from arrest to arraignment to trial and appeal.

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Motion for Directed Verdict

In some criminal cases making a Motion for Directed Verdict may be legally advantageous for the defendant.

A Motion for Directed Verdict is a procedural device whereby the decision in a case is taken out of the hands of the jury by the judge. A verdict is generally directed in a jury trial only where there is no other possible conclusion because the prosecutor has not offered sufficient evidence to establish a Prima Facie (presumed to be true, unless proven otherwise) case. In other words, the prosecution has not met the criteria of showing a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” …

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Motions and Appeals

Criminal defense attorney Scott Grabel is a seasoned trial lawyer and appellate law attorney. Heading a legal team with more than 100 years of legal experience in criminal trial law and appellate law, you can rest assured you will be getting the best possible representation when you hire Grabel & Associates for your defense appeal. We handle all types of appeals including…

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Motion for Ginther Hearing – Ineffective Counsel

If you have been convicted of a crime because of ineffective assistance of counsel, one legal option is to file a Motion for Ginther Hearing. The term for this motion is derived from the decision People v Ginther, 390 Mich 436 (1973). A Ginther Hearing is an evidentiary hearing on a defendant’s motion for new trial claiming they received ineffective assistance of counsel.

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Appeal by Application for Leave

One type of appeal that can be filed is called an Appeal by Application for Leave. This type of appeal applies in certain situations and allows the appellant to ask for a review of specific legal issues, including review of facts and law supporting a decision.

An Appeal by Application for Leave requires permission from the higher court before an appeal can be filed. The circuit court has the final discretion to accept or reject an Appeal by Application…

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Appeal of Right

An Appeal of Right is an appeal made to a higher court that does not require permission from the court before it can be filed…

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First Steps in Filing an Appeal

If a motion for a new trial has been denied, the next legal step may be to file an appeal. A criminal appeal asks a higher court to reconsider the decision by a (lower) trial court based on a review of the trial records.

An appeal is not a request for a new trial and the appellant may not submit new evidence except under strict guidelines and unique circumstances (i.e., new DNA evidence that could prove innocence.) An appeal is a request for a higher supervisory court to review the decision of another court to assess whether the decision is legally sound and that the law was properly followed and applied in the verdict and sentencing.

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Glossary of Judicial Terms Relating to Criminal Law

Definitions of legal words relating to criminal law and appellate law.

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Applying to the Court for Probation

If you have been convicted of a crime, and motion for a new trial is not in order or was denied, you may still be able to apply for parole at sentencing.

At sentencing, you may be given:

  • Given straight probation; or
  • Especially if there is a prior criminal record, the probation officer may recommend a certain time in jail or prison be server prior to being eligible for parole; or
  • Given probation that is conditional upon specific requirements such as performing community service, completing a treatment program, or other conditions of probation.

Some offenses require mandatory jail time served or may be ineligible for parole. You may also be asked to pay a fine or make restitution.

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Grounds for a Motion for a New Trial

Motions for a new trial are fairly common, but rarely granted. Because a motion for a new trial is a request for a court to overturn a jury verdict or judge’s decision and order a new trial, there must be grounds for the request.

Grounds for motions for a new trial generally fall into two categories:

  • Discovery of New Evidence
  • In the Interest of Justice
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FAQs: Which Court to Appeal To

The court of appeals in which to file an appeal depends on which trial court’s decision you are appealing. There are three trial courts in Michigan: circuit, district (including four municipal courts), and probate. Appeals are also sometimes filed with the “court of last resort” or the Michigan Supreme Court, and some appeals make it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here is a list of which court to file an appeal in Michigan.

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