Leelanau County Government Center where a criminal defense attorney in leelanau county practices law.
Leelanau County Government Center & 86th District Court
Leelanau County Courthouse where a criminal defense attorney in Leelanau County practices law.

Leelanau county, in my humble opinion, is the most beautiful county in Michigan. Home to many lovely villages and cities, Suttons Bay, Northport, and Empire, in the summer this county swells with people. The famous road M-22 runs along the shores of Leelanau County. As the people fill up Leelanau County for the spring, summer, and fall fun, the Leelanau Courts become busy. A good criminal defense attorney in Leelanau County can salvage a vacation.

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Matthew Benedict’s Criminal Defense Attorney roots in Leelanau County

I held my first criminal trial in Leelanau County as an assistant prosecutor, a trial that I won. My law mentor and father, Hon. Richard L. Benedict was an 86th District Court Judge for 22 years in Leelanau County. For the first eight years of my legal career, I served as court-appointed counsel for Leelanau County in the 86th District Court. During this time, Hon. Richard L. Benedict taught me how to be a litigator and I successfully defended many indigent residents of Leelanau County. I know the Leelanau County courts well and the Leelanau County Prosecutors respect me.

Former judges on the wall of a a courtroom in the 86th District Court.

What is the role of a Leelanau County Criminal Defense Attorney?

The role of a Leelanau County criminal defense attorney is to ensure that their client is treated fairly in the courts. I like to describe criminal representation in two main phases. The first phase is litigation; the second phase involves earning leniency and matching court supervision to the client’s needs. Both phases focus on the fair treatment of the client.

Almost immediately a criminal defense attorney must review the client’s bond conditions for fairness. A bond before the trial can result in substantial hardship for the client and their family. A criminal defense attorney’s role is to mitigate harsh bond conditions for the client. The first phase, litigation, involves a thorough analysis of the case facts to determine if the client’s constitutional rights, such as the client’s 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure or the client’s Miranda rights were violated. Overzealous police officers will cut corners to make an arrest, and when this happens, an experienced criminal law attorney has to fight back for their client. I have seen my fair share of illegal searches from both the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department and The Tribal Police of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians. I have filed and won several motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence in Leelanau County courts. Some cases must be tried before a jury to advocate fairness for the client.

If the client decides to forgo litigation by accepting a plea offer, then a criminal defense attorney’s role shifts to the process of matching the punishment for the crime with the client’s needs. In the district court, the courts want to rehabilitate the defendant. There is no one size fits all approach to straightening people out. A good criminal defense attorney in Leelanau county will carefully match the client’s sentence to the person, with the goal of maximizing the chances of rehabilitation for the client. The judges in Leelanau County often respond and provide leniency for a condemned defendant making an honest effort at life changes. It is a criminal defense attorney’s role to develop and implement a strategy so the client/defendant earns leniency by the sentencing judge.

Affordable criminal defense attorney fees for Leelanau County

If a person is charged with a felony, they should expect substantial attorney fees for criminal defense representation. Put simply, felony cases involve high stakes, a prison sentence. My typical felony criminal representation contract is an hourly contract with advanced payment upfront.

Criminal defense representation for misdemeanor cases is where I can make allowances to help the client. I typically use a hybrid flat fee contract that includes a reasonable base fee, then additional money for pretrial motions or a trial.

A Criminal Defense Blog that Demonstrates a Passion for Criminal Law

I have developed a criminal law blog with Northern Michigan, including Leelanau County, in mind. This blog demonstrates my commitment and passion for criminal law. Recently I have expanded my education outright to a Youtube channel. I have written blog articles on a wide variety of legal topics. Please visit my criminal law blog to learn more about criminal defense in Leelanau County.

Call 231-883-4170 for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Leelanau County

Leelanau County Courts and Police Departments

Click on the links below to visit the webpage for each Court serving Leelanau County.

86th District Court

13th Circuit Court

Leelanau County Probate Court

Tribal Court, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

Tribal Court in Suttons Bay where a criminal defense attorney in leelanau county practices law.
Tribal Court is held at 2605 N West Bay Shore Dr, Peshawbestown, MI 49682

Criminal Defense Attorney in Suttons Bay MI

Downtown Suttons Bay Michigan
Downtown Suttons Bay MI

Suttons Bay is a quiet town that comes to life in the summer. My family and I have spent many lazy Sunday afternoons at Suttons Bay Beach. After a long day at the beach, we either end up at Boones Prime Time Pub or V.I. Grill.

Suttons Bay has all the same criminal law-related occurrences as other Northern Michigan communities. In the summer months, the tourists invade Suttons Bay and consume too much alcohol, and hit the roads. In the winter months, the permanent residents get cabin fever and run amok with the law. My extensive experience in the Leelanau Courts makes me an excellent choice for a criminal defense attorney in Suttons Bay.

Downtown Suttons Bay Michigan
Downtown Suttons Bay MI

Leelanau County Police Departments

Leelanau County has two police departments serving county residents, the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department and the Tribal Police of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians. The Tribal Police respond to criminal activity within tribal lands and criminal activity at the Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge. Make no mistake, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians take law enforcement seriously. Nearly every inch of the casino and parking lot is actively monitored with surveillance equipment. Most guests at the casino don’t realize that tribal police are cross-deputized in Leelanau County. Several of my past clients have expressed shock when they are arrested and taken to the Leelanau county jail by a Tribal Police officer.

Entrance to Leelanau Sands Casino
The Entrance to the Leelanau Sands Casino

Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office

Tribal Police of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians.

Leelanau County Sheriff's Office and Leelanau County Jail where a criminal defense attorney in Leelanau County practices law.
Leelanau County Jail and Sheriff’s Office