Michigan Criminal Lawyer

When you have been charged with a crime, you need an honest attorney who will protect your rights and advocate effectively for your interests. The Leydorf Law Firm stands ready to meet that need. Whether for accusations of drug offenses, drunk driving, sex crimes, assault and battery, weapons offenses, or even more serious crimes, Nicholas Leydorf is your most supportive ally, working diligently to protect you from a conviction and the resulting criminal penalties. Being the subject of a criminal investigation is stressful. Many of our clients and their families have no experience with the criminal justice system. Being arrested can be a life-altering event and can affect your family, your job, and your future. You need a criminal defense lawyer who has experience and knowledge in substantive criminal law as well as criminal procedure. We have guided hundreds of clients and their loved ones through this process.

Criminal Defense

In Michigan criminal cases, the State bears the burden of proof. This means that the State must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the charged offense. Criminal defendants do not bear any burden of proof. In some cases, however, a criminal attorney in Michigan may help a defendant set forth an affirmative defense, such as consent, self-defense, or a mistake of fact. A defense attorney also may attack the prosecution's case by arguing that its evidence is not enough to prove all the elements of the crime.


Under Michigan law, anyone who was operating a motor vehicle while impaired due to the use of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two may be charged with a DUI offense. There are several DUI crimes in Michigan, including operating while intoxicated and operating while visibly impaired. In many DUI cases, the defendant may be able to avoid a conviction by showing that the State’s evidence, such as the results of a breath or field sobriety test, is unreliable or insufficient to support a conviction. A defendant may also be able to argue that the police had no reasonable basis for conducting the traffic stop, and therefore any evidence obtained during the stop should be suppressed.

Drug Crimes

There are numerous drug crimes with which a person may be charged in Michigan, including drug manufacturing, possession, and trafficking. Some drug charges are misdemeanors, but many are felonies that carry substantial penalties. Criminal defendants have numerous rights under the law, however, including a right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Thus, if you are charged with a drug crime, but the evidence that the State intends to use against you was found during a search conducted without a warrant, or a search that surpassed the scope of a warrant, the search may have violated your constitutional rights. A Michigan criminal attorney can help you argue that the evidence found during the search should not be used against you.

Sex Crimes

If you are convicted of a sex crime, such as rape, sexual assault, or child molestation, it can have drastic consequences. Specifically, you may not only face imprisonment but also be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of your life. There are defenses that you may be able to assert to try to avoid a conviction, depending on the facts of your case. For example, you may be able to argue that no sexual conduct occurred, and you are a victim of a false accusation. You may also be able to argue that the alleged victim consented to the conduct.

Violent Crimes

Assault, battery, attempted murder, and other crimes that result in bodily harm to the victim are examples of violent crimes. In many cases involving violent crimes, the State may introduce evidence of the alleged victim's injuries as proof that the defendant committed the crime. Even if the State has strong evidence in its favor, however, a criminal lawyer in Michigan may still be able to obtain a favorable outcome by asserting an affirmative defense. For example, if the defendant acted out of a reasonable belief that immediate harm or death would occur if they did not use force, their lawyer may be able to prove that the defendant was acting in self-defense.

Weapons Crimes

Michigan has numerous laws regulating the sale, use, and possession of guns, and there are several weapons crimes that can arise out of a violation of those laws. For example, it is illegal to own an automatic weapon, machine gun, silencer, or muffler in Michigan, and people who own illegal weapons may face significant fines or imprisonment. There are certain groups of individuals who are barred from owning weapons as well, such as people who have been convicted of felonies or who have been declared mentally insane. These cases often involve complex situations and may require creative arguments to maximize a defendant’s chance of defeating the charge.

Theft Crimes

Several offenses constitute theft crimes, including larceny, retail theft, and identity fraud. In many theft crimes, intent is an element of the crime, which means that the State must prove that the defendant knowingly took property that another person or entity rightfully owned, with the intent of permanently depriving the victim of the property. Thus, a defense asserted in many theft cases is a mistake of fact, which means that the defendant was operating under the belief that he or she was within his or her legal rights in taking the property. A Michigan criminal lawyer also may argue that the evidence is not adequate to establish that the defendant intended to deprive the victim of the property permanently.

White Collar Crimes

White collar crimes, such as embezzlement, money laundering, and fraud, are more complicated than other crimes and involve a substantial number of financial documents. Many white collar crimes involve violations of federal laws and are therefore prosecuted in federal courts. Generally, the prosecution must prove that the defendant's acts were intentional and that the alleged harm was not a result of mere negligence. If the prosecution cannot meet its burden, the defendant should not be convicted.

Criminal Appeals

Simply because a judge or jury finds that there is sufficient evidence to convict a person of a crime does not always mean that the conviction is just, since many people are wrongfully convicted. If you were convicted of a crime, a knowledgeable attorney can assess the facts of your case and determine if there is a basis for an appeal. During an appeal, the appellate court will review the evidence produced in the case to determine if the lower court committed an error or if the verdict was against the clear weight of the evidence. If you wish to appeal your conviction, it is important to act in a timely manner, since there are strict deadlines for when an appeal must be filed.


A criminal conviction can affect your life long after any fines have been paid and jail time served. For example, it may prevent you from obtaining employment or housing. In many cases, however, a person convicted of a crime can obtain an expungement, which permanently removes any record of the person’s conviction from public access. Currently, only people who have been convicted of certain crimes are eligible for an expungement, and only one felony crime or two misdemeanor crimes can be expunged. Additionally, there is a minimum time for which a person must wait following a conviction before he or she will be eligible for an expungement.

Estate Planning

As people grow older, they may want to think about how they would want their property to be distributed upon their death. A will or a trust can accomplish this goal. Sometimes a trust may make more sense than a will because it avoids the need for probate, a process that can be time-consuming and costly. If you do not devise an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to default intestacy laws, which may not result in the arrangement that you would prefer. In addition to creating a will or trust, a Michigan resident may want to craft a power of attorney to give someone whom they trust the authority to handle financial or health care decisions if they are incapacitated.

Consult an Experienced Criminal Attorney in Michigan

Attorney Nicholas Leydorf at The Leydorf Law Firm is a dedicated defense attorney who will aggressively advocate in your favor to help pursue the best legal result available under the circumstances. Based in Lansing, Mr. Leydorf defends people charged with crimes throughout Michigan. You can contact us at (517) 388-6800 or via our form online to schedule a free consultation.

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