When a person is charged with one or more criminal offenses in Michigan, their case will generally be heard in the county in which the crime was committed. However, there are times when a defendant can request a change in venue (i.e. where their court hearings will be held) and have their request granted by the court. Circumstances that might increase a defendant’s chance of getting their venue changed include:
- The defendant isn’t able to receive a fair trial.
When an individual’s case is being heard, they hold the right to receive a fair trial. This means an impartial jury must be assigned to the case, according to the Sixth Amendment.1 An impartial jury is one that is made up of individuals who are not biased toward the defendant. When one or more biased individuals are chosen to participate as a juror in a case, it is important that their opinions are neutral so that they are able to make a decision using only the evidence that is presented to them rather than allowing their feelings or opinions influence their decision.
In the event an impartial jury cannot be selected, a defendant can have their Michigan criminal defense lawyer request that the venue be changed so that an impartial jury can be selected.
- The initial venue is not where the crime was committed.
Although it is common for a defendant’s court hearings to be held in the county where the crime was committed, sometimes, it may be held elsewhere. If the venue is wrong, meaning it is not where the crime was committed, a defendant can have their criminal defense attorney request a change in venue.
- The individual lives in a county other than where the crime was committed.
A court may or may not allow an individual to request a change in venue if they live outside the county in which the crime was committed. This is something the defendant would need to discuss with their Michigan criminal defense attorney.
It is important for individuals to understand that although they submit a request to get their venue changed, it is not a guarantee that the court will grant their request.
If an individual or a relative of theirs is looking to find out more about getting a venue changed for a criminal case in Michigan, they can contact the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. for legal help. MI criminal defense attorney Stuart R. Shafer has been helping individuals who have been charged with a criminal offense understand and exercise their rights for over 45 years and is ready and available to provide legal advice and guidance to anyone else who may need it.
The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. can be reached at:
1223 Turner Street, #333
Lansing, MI 48906