Thomas Smith | Holland Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Criminal, Traffic, Driver's License Appeals

616-796-0072


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Born, raised, and educated in Michigan, Thomas Smith has practiced law for over 29 years, predominately in the field of criminal law. As both a prosecutor and defense counsel, he has successfully prosecuted and defended literally thousands of criminal cases, from low-level misdemeanors to life-offense felonies.

Mr. Smith began his legal career as a trial attorney in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a Captain and Judge Advocate (defense counsel). In that capacity, he handled hundreds of felony and misdemeanor cases before members panels (juries), military judges, and Administrative Discharge Boards at Camp Pendleton, California.

After fulfilling his commitment to the Marine Corps, Mr. Smith became an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office in Lansing, Michigan, where he prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases. After his tour as an assistant prosecutor, Mr. Smith became a criminal defense counsel with The Reynolds Law Firm, P.C., a prestigious criminal defense firm in Lansing. While there, Mr. Smith successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors.

To further hone his research and writing skills, Mr. Smith became a Research Attorney with the Michigan Judicial Institute, a division of the Michigan Supreme Court. In that capacity, he authored and edited numerous legal Benchbooks and Monographs on substantive and procedural criminal law, including the influential Sexual Assault Benchbook (2002), the New Magistrate Traffic Adjudication Manual (2003), and various criminal procedure Monographs, which are distributed to all Michigan judges (including court staff), magistrates, prosecutors’ offices, and probation offices. Mr. Smith also published a book from his USMC experience: On Marine Culture (2018). In 2003, to take advantage of his research and writing and trial advocacy skills, Mr. Smith established his own law firm, the Smith Law Firm, P.L.L.C., which is dedicated to defending the accused in criminal and traffic matters—and in upholding the highest standards of integrity.

Finally, Mr. Smith has been actively involved in drug courts. For 12 years, he was the designated defense attorney on the Ottawa County Recovery Court (OCRC).
Please describe a case in the last year or two where you made a big difference.

We conducted a jury trial in a criminal sexual conduct case that, if unsuccessful, would have sent the client to prison for at least 25 years. Fortunately, the jury returned a not-guilty verdict and the client was set free. We trusted our client and let a jury decide his fate, to his everlasting appreciation. We have successfully obtained full driving privileges for clients who have had their driving privileges revoked for many years. And we have successfully expunged or set aside criminal convictions for clients, which removed many barriers for them educationally, vocationally, and in life.

How did you build a successful practice?

From experience at working at a law firm that was very respected and well run. We frequently tell law students that they should seriously consider not setting up a law practice right after getting out of law school. There is simply too much to know to effectively and professionally run a respected law office/firm. You must know the law, how to run a business, how to deal with clients, how to deal with opposing counsel, judges, court staff, and how to conduct yourself in a courtroom and examine witnesses, craft persuasive arguments, and win cases, et cetera. It is a whole lot to know, and most law schools do not teach many of these things. You must also be candid and forthright about admitting what you do not know and to seek expert advice on those issues--by, for example, employing a CPA to do your accounting and taxes, by asking other lawyers and court staff questions that you do not know the answer to. And by listening and seeing how other respected attorneys run their law practices. We have a saying: When you are ready to learn, the teacher will appear.

What should clients look for in a lawyer?

Clients should look for a lawyer who can be trusted, who will communicate often and effectively, who has much experience in the type of law to be covered, including the courts, and who you can get along with. The attorney-client relationship is just that--a relationship. And like any relationship that is successful, the people need to get along, communicate, and like respect each other.

How important is local knowledge to the success of your cases?

Local knowledge is many times crucial to a case. It includes knowing, in criminal cases, the prosecutors and who to negotiate with, the judges and court staff, and how the courts operate, and sentencing or punishment practices of the courts.

What information can you provide in a free phone consultation?

We can help the caller understand the type of case, the court involved, including the judge, the prosecutors, some options, and potential avenues for success.

What information do you need in a free phone consultation?

The type of legal matter, the court involved, the next hearing date, and the facts underlying the legal matter. Also potentially important is the age of the caller and criminal history, if any.

What differentiates you from other lawyers in your community?

We communicate frequently and try to fully answer our concerns of clients. We have been involved in the criminal law for approximately 30 years and have gained tremendous insight into how criminal cases are successfully handled.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Our most rewarding aspect is obtaining what the client desires as an outcome--and removing obstacles or impediments to a successful future in school, work, or in life. For instance, if we can avoid a criminal conviction for the client--or help the client have drivers license privileges restored--we feel rewarded. We also feel rewarded by being a sentinel on the system, as we like to say, keeping prosecutors, and law enforcement from abusing their power.

What are your other interests in addition to law?

Reading, running, vacationing, and being with family.

Are you involved in your community?

We try to stay active in the community in which we live and work--by cleaning up the neighborhood and helping others when the opportunities exist.

Position Organization Location Duration
AttorneySmith Law Firm, PLLCHolland, MIPresent
School Degree Major Graduation
University of Detroit Mercy School of LawJ.D. Law School1990  
Michigan State UniversityBachelors1983
State / Court Date
Michigan1991
  • Member | Michigan State Bar
    Member | Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan
    Member | Marine Corps Association
  • U.S. Marine Corps, Captain, Judge Advocate, 1988-1995, 1988 (Officer Candidate School), 1992 (The Basic School; Naval Justice School), 1992-1995 (Fleet Marine Force)
  • Author:
    On Marine Culture (2018)
    Sexual Assault Benchbook, Michigan Supreme Court (2002)
    New Magistrate Traffic Adjudication Manual, Michigan Supreme Court (2003)
    Monograph: Preliminary Examinations (Revised Edition), Michigan Supreme Court (2003)
    Monograph: Issuance of Complaints & Arrest Warrants/Issuance of Search Warrants (Revised Edition), Michigan Supreme Court (2003)
    Scientific Evidence Guide Update by Federal Judicial Center, Michigan Supreme Court Report (August 2001)
    The Frustrating Effects of Hills on Small Arms Marksmanship, Marine Corps Gazette (June 1999)
    Waving Good-Bye to Juveniles, Ingham County Briefs (April 1998)
    Professional Reading for the Profession of Violence, Marine Corps Gazette (April 1992)
    Disarming America, Michigan Out-of-Doors (January 1990)
    Hilly Hunting, Michigan Out-of-Doors (December 1989)
    Lifting the Veil—The War in Afghanistan, In Brief (October 1988)

    Editor:
    Guide to Vehicle Immobilization, Michigan Supreme Court (2002)
    Monograph: Pretrial Motions (Revised Edition), Michigan Supreme Court (2001)
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Update Date: 2019-05-22

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Thomas Smith
314 120th Ave
Suite 5
Holland, MI 49424
42.806343,-86.0785157

MAIN LOCATION

314 120th Ave
Suite 5
Holland, MI 49424


Other Locations:
  • Grand Rapids Location
    200 Ottawa Ave., N.W.
    Suite 401
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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