Frequently Asked Questions

Call 269-686-9448 Now!  "We Fight.  You Win!"

225 Hubbard Street, Allegan, MI 49010

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Established in 1997

Listed below are questions we are asked often, and their answers.  Simply click on the question to find the answer. 

If you don't see the question or answer you seek, call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Can I represent myself?

Why would you want to?

You have a Constitutional Right to represent yourself. However, given that the prosecuting attorney is a lawyer; and that a lawyer undergoes years of education, practice, and continuing legal education, the average citizens are unable to adequately represent themselves in a criminal case. Further, consider that most attorneys would never represent themselves in their own case. The best response to the question again is, "why would you want to?"

We have all heard the saying, "a person who represents himself has a fool for a client." Well, it's true.

If you are charged with a crime...If you are being questioned by the police...If you are under criminal investigation...You need a lawyer!

When a citizen is charged with a crime, the State or Federal Government is seeking to take away that citizen's liberty. If you are convicted of a Federal or State crime you could be fined and/or incarcerated. You could permanently lose certain rights.

A criminal conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life and may mean you are disqualified from certain types of employment or benefits in the future. Prior convictions may be used to increase the sentence for subsequent convictions. Certain minor crimes (misdemeanors) may become felonies for repeat offenses.

If you are charged with a crime or are being questioned by the police or other law enforcement and have a question about whether you need a lawyer, contact Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC for a free consultation.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

What will a lawyer do for me?

Work, Work, Work...

Most lawyers, whether experienced or not, will work hard for their clients. It is just the way we are made. After a minimum four years of college and three years of law school, a lawyer seldom knows how to relax. However, hard work may not be enough.

You need a lawyer with the experience to know where to spend resources and time. An inexperienced lawyer can spend hours pursuing a defense that is destined to fail. Work ethic and experience allows a lawyer to focus efforts on those areas of a case that will do a client the most good. 

Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC is dedicated to providing the best defense for you and your loved ones, with years of experience defending clients charged with crimes in both the Federal and State Courts.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Can you guarantee a result?

No, a lawyer can not ethically guarantee a result.

No attorney can ethically guarantee a result. The guarantee of a result implies that your fee is refundable if your lawyer is unsuccessful. Such a fee would then be contingent on the outcome of the case. The ethical rules governing the behavior of lawyers forbid a lawyer from entering into an arrangement for a contingent fee in a criminal case.

If a lawyer guarantees a result, ask them to put it in writing. If they will not reduce it to writing, they lied to you.

You need an attorney that will be straight with you, one who will give you the bad news as well as the good. You need a lawyer who will fight for you and keep you informed of the law and the likely outcome of your case. Your lawyer works for you.

Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC is dedicated to the legal profession and to providing our clients the very best criminal defense possible. We will provide you the information and advice to allow you the opportunity to make the best choices in your case.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Will any lawyer do?

Not all lawyers practice criminal law...Not all criminal lawyers practice in both State and Federal Courts...Not all criminal lawyers are part of a team...

So..no! You need a lawyer who has skill in defending persons charged with the type of crimes alleged against you, and who has experience in appearing in the court in which you will be appearing.

If you are charged with a crime, you want a lawyer who has experience and training in handling the type of criminal case charged against you. The area of criminal law is ever changing with new court rulings and statutes affecting the rights of citizens. You should seek a lawyer who is experienced in the court where you will be appearing. Many very good State criminal defense attorneys have never handled a Federal criminal case. Many good civil attorneys have never represented a person charged with a crime. The procedures and rules of evidence in Federal and State courts differ, and lawyers practicing in one court may not be familiar with the practice of law in another court. Federal Criminal Laws and State Criminal Laws are not the same. You need a lawyer who can bring experience to your defense after having spent hundreds of hours handling your type of case.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Why should I hire your firm?

The Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC legal team is comprised of aggressive defense attorneys. We are well-versed in all criminal law and defense matters, and very experienced working within the Michigan justice system. Our defense attorneys are fully prepared to undertake our clients' cases.

When we work with our clients, we do everything possible to make sure that they receive the very best outcome. We aggressively and effectively represent our clients in both the State Courts of Michigan and the United States District Court.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Can you help with arrest warrants?

Clearing up an arrest warrant can be done one way: appearing in front of the court that issued the warrant. As long as the warrant is in the system, the person can be arrested for it in any state, in any contact with the police or government agency, and even coming into the United States at the airport. Immediate action to clear up the warrant is the best way to approach this legal problem. Voluntarily coming into the court may often prevent later jail time if the person is actually arrested on the warrant.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Can you help Drug Addiction?

The obvious and sad reality is that addiction often leads to criminal behavior including theft, drug sales, DUI, and other more serious criminal violations. There are numerous drug programs in Michigan, in-patient and out-patient, available to treat drug and alcohol addiction.

Often we have used these programs as an alternative to jail.

While keeping clients out of jail is the firm's main objective, we are also concerned about recidivism. We want to prevent clients from relapsing and being rearrested. Accordingly, we counsel clients to take their rehabilitation seriously. We encourage them to commit to change with a sponsor or the 12-step lifestyle, and also encourage seeing a therapist on a regular basis.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

State v. Federal Court?

Federal court cases are typically investigated by federal agencies, including the FBI, DEA, Customs, Treasury, and other federal agencies. Sometimes state and local police agencies work with federal prosecutors if the offenses involve major quantity of drugs, weapons or other contraband.

The federal government has more resources to prosecute cases, including special units to prosecute drugs, fraud, and violent crimes. While the state and local government also has special units, they have fewer prosecutors with larger case loads. Also, local law enforcement does not have nearly as many resources to complete investigations with as much thoroughness as federal law enforcement.

For the most part, it is definitely in a criminal defendant's interest to be prosecuted in state, rather than federal court. The state of Michigan's sentencing system has more flexibility in terms of alternative sentencing options than sentences handed down in Federal Court.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

What about my immigration status?

Criminal convictions may cause direct and grave consequences to someone's immigration status, often leading to deportation proceedings. The INS guidelines are often very complex and the Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC confer with immigration lawyers to properly advise clients.

Before going to court, our attorneys discuss with clients their immigration status. Often our attorneys seek charges that are not considered by the INS as moral turpitude offenses (which are subject to deportation); this is done in an effort to protect our client's immigration consequences.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Should I hire a criminal defense attorney?

After you have been arrested, cited to appear in court or charged with a criminal offense, the best thing you can do is to consult with an experienced Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney.

You want to speak with a criminal attorney who has successfully handled cases involving the same crime that you have been charged with. Additionally, you want to retain the services of a lawyer who is familiar with the courts and laws of the state where you were charged or arrested.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is the best decision you will make. By hiring an attorney, you ensure that you will receive the representation and resources you will need to successfully fight your criminal charges both in and out of court. Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC will protect your best interests and place every effort into your successful defense.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

My constitutional rights were violated!

If your constitutional rights were violated, Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC will aggressively seek to exclude evidence obtained as a result of police misconduct.

At times, police misconduct occurs in searches that take place during ordinary traffic stops or in a suspect's home. Additionally, if law enforcement is too aggressive in trying to obtain an incriminating statement from a suspect, it may violate the suspect's Miranda rights.

Litigation in the criminal court allows a defense lawyer to protect his client's rights by submitting motions to the judge seeking to exclude the recovered evidence or received statements from trial. Often a successful motion to suppress evidence cripples the prosecutor's case, causing the case to either be dismissed or substantially reduced in plea negotiations.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

What if I face felony charges?

A prosecutor makes an independent decision on what charges to file, irrespective of what the arrest was for. The police may tell you that you are going to be charged with a certain level of offense. However, the exclusive right to charge a crime belongs to the prosecutor who may follow the officer's recommendation or deviate from the recommendation based on the facts and circumstances of the offense.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Do I need a lawyer for DUI?

The U.S. Constitution has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court as giving everyone to right to act "pro-se," or, in other words, to represent him/her self without an attorney. However, our courtroom experience has shown that individuals representing themselves cannot do nearly as good of a job defending themselves as an experienced criminal defense attorney can—even if the litigant is a civil attorney who does not have a criminal defense or prosecution background.

We've dealt with many people representing themselves in court and have seen numerous errors committed by litigants representing themselves. Also, a DUI plea carries a mandatory license suspension. On a first time DUI, a license is suspended for either no less than 90 days or no less than 6 months if there is a refusal to submit to an evidentiary breath test.

Many people believe that if they provide a sample of breath and the result is a .08% or greater than they have no opportunity to defend themselves. That is not always the case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can uncover possible constitutional or statutory violations that law enforcement may have committed while interacting with you and can also determine after a thorough review of the evidence whether factual problems exist for the prosecution making their case difficult to prove. A case is never as simple as whether or not an individual's alcohol concentration was a .08% or greater.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

What is a "felony"?

A basic felony is a criminal offense that is punishable with more than two years of jail. Felonies are serious criminal offenses and are considered more severe than misdemeanors.

The prosecuting office typically seeks substantial custody time. Examples of felonies include Murder, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Domestic Assault, Grand Larceny, Aggravated Assault, third offense DUI or DUI Causing Death or Serious Injury, Child Sexual Assault, Arson, Embezzlement and many others. These offenses carry substantial jail time under the laws of the State of Michigan.
Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

What is a "misdemeanor"?

A misdemeanor is a criminal offense in the State of Michigan that is punishable with less than two years of jail time.

Misdemeanor offenses are less severe than felonies. Examples of misdemeanors include cases of first and second offense DUI without death or serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of an accident, simple assault, negligent operation, and disorderly conduct.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

What is an "arraignment"?

Arraignment is the initial court proceeding where a defendant is advised of his charges, and usually enters a "Not Guilty" plea. If a defendant is out on bail, he/she stays out of custody unless the prosecutor demonstrates to the court that the defendant is a risk of flight or non-appearance.

In other words, the prosecutor has to explain to the judge why the defendant needs to be rearrested when he has already voluntarily shown up to court after posting bail. The prosecutor clearly has the burden of proof here, and bail gets increased in cases where the defendant is on probation, there are new charges filed, or the source of bail (the monies used) are connected to illegal conduct.

Call The Law Offices of Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Will charges be dropped?

Not necessarily. There are many reasons why the alleged victim or reporting party may have a change of heart. It may be that the report of crime (violence, theft, or other violation) may have been false or inaccurate. It may also be that the person is scared to proceed with a prosecution.

The police and the prosecutor's office are aware of all the reasons, and do not just "drop charges" especially in domestic violence cases. They attempt to re-interview the reporting party to understand the reason behind the change of heart.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

I'm innocent. Should I worry?

Innocence is not a legal defense, it is a conclusion. Unfortunately, innocent people are arrested, convicted and incarcerated.

Our legal system is far from perfect. Persons who are innocent are sometimes convicted. It is not uncommon to hear of citizens being released after having been incarcerated for years.

DNA technology has had a profound impact on the criminal justice system and has been use to prove that innocent persons have been convicted of crimes and wrongfully incarcerated. The fact that a person is innocent of the charges alleged against them should never lead to the conclusion that they do not need the very best legal defense they can secure.

Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC is aware of the urgency to prepare a defense for our clients. Time is of the essence, and by waiting to secure legal representation, valuable advantages can be lost. If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, do not wait to secure legal representation in the hope that the Government will "drop the charges". The Government will make every effort to secure a conviction; you need a criminal defense attorney.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Can you explain "bail"?

Bail is financial assurance that a defendant will return to court after being released from custody. There are two ways to post bail.

First, "cash" bail may be posted with the custodial agency to cover the entire amount of the bail. At the end of the case, if bail is exonerated, the defendant will receive a check for the entire amount posted (takes about 8-10 weeks).

Second, a "bond" through a bail company may be posted. A defendant in the State of Michigan pays 10% of the entire amount to a bail company, which puts up the entire bail amount through a bond. If bail is exonerated, the 10% is not returned to the defendant because this is the fee he paid to the bail company to post bail on his behalf (like an insurance premium).

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Do I need a lawyer?

Many cases are resolved with police just closing their files, because the evidence of a crime is simply insufficient. The court system does not get involved. However, as with many things in life, the world is not perfect and police officers do make mistakes. People have been falsely accused of rape, domestic violence, murder, and even drug possession because officers were either making negligent mistakes in their investigation, intentionally framing suspects, or intentionally lying about probable cause to justify an otherwise unlawful search of a home, car, or even of someone's person.

Innocent people have served years in prison only to be released upon DNA testing. We have heard clients say "Hey, I am innocent! I figured I would go explain the events to the police and this would all go away!" Unfortunately they were wrong.

At times police officers are inclined to disbelieve what a suspect tells them, and they may not have the time or motivation to fully investigate a client's story. What happens? The next thing the suspect knows is that he/she is arrested, placed into custody, and does not know how to clear his/her name.

The attorneys at Robert J Baker & Associates, PLLC have had personal experience with representing clients who are simply innocent — these have proven to be some of the most difficult cases.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

What happens when arrested?

The police officers involved write reports about the crime, obtain witness statements, run a background check of the suspect, and do further investigation as needed before submitting their work to the prosecuting authority.

A prosecutor reviews the documents to determine whether criminal charges - a misdemeanor or a felony - are warranted. The prosecutor has the option of rejecting the case for criminal prosecution, filing a misdemeanor, or filing a felony charge. If charges are filed, the next step in the criminal process is in court, at an arraignment.

Call The Law Offices of RJ Baker & Associates, PLLC at 269-686-9448 and let us help.

Attorneys and Staff

RJBPhotoContactsmRobert J Baker - Juris Doctorate in 1997. BA in Accounting in 1994.

 


vargosmSteven Vargo - Juris Doctorate in 2012. BS in Business Administration in 2009.

 


MarisPhotoContactsmMarisa McNeely

Paralegal

 

 

faq

Case Studies

influence Juveniles, mentally impaired, and under the influence are prone to making false confessions.

 


coerced A person accused of a crime may experience coercion or duress, to admit guilt.

 


handcuffed Some people who are wrongfully accused of crimes are simply ignorant of the law and their rights.

Our Location

mapThe Law Offices of RJ Baker and Associates, PLLC is conveniently located in downtown Allegan, Michigan.  Our attorneys are also mobile and can meet with you in most any Michigan location.

Before you make the wrong decisions, contact us and arrange to meet to discuss your case.

Click here or on the map above to open a new window with Google driving directions.

225 Hubbard St
Allegan, MI 49010

 

Call 269-686-9448 now to arrange a FREE consultation!

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RJ Baker and Associates, PLLC. stays active in social media as a service to the greater good of the law.  Many times we see defendants enter the courtroom or a negotiation without proper counsel, and even not knowing their rights. 

We can be found on all the social media platforms below.  There, you will find helpful information on Criminal Law, Wrongful Death, Personal Injury, Civil Rights, DUI and Traffic, Probate and Estate, Bankruptcy, Family Law, Criminal and Civil Appeals, and Business Property Law.

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