Interviewer: For the record, what’s the difference between a robbery, burglary, and larceny?
Paul Tafelski: Typically a robbery involved force directly with a person. Whether you use a gun or just your fists or whatever you’re just taking something right away from somebody in their presence; whereas a burglary could be sneaking into a building or a property to steal something. Larceny is really just another word for stealing so a larceny and a burglary could be the same thing and both burglary and a robbery involve some form of larceny. It just has to do really with whether or not there was use of force or a breaking into someone else’s property, someone else’s building.
Interviewer: Someone could have a burglary and a robbery at the same time if they broke into someone’s house and they confronted the individual there, there was some violence.
Paul Tafelski: Yes, correct.
Most Common Crime that People Mistake as No Longer Being an Illegal Activity
Interviewer: Let me ask you, what are some crimes that you represent people for that most people aren’t commonly aware of as it being a crime at all?
Paul Tafelski: One thing is in the last couple of years since medical marijuana has been legalized in Michigan and as a result there are a good number of people have medical marijuana cards that can now legally possess marijuana; however, for those that don’t have a medical marijuana card it’s just as illegal as it ever has been. Yet, maybe people feel like it’s not as big of a deal as it used to be. They’re often surprised when they get arrested from a small quantity of marijuana charged with misdemeanor of possession of marijuana.
Unfortunately, what they find out is that the courts don’t look at it as being legal and don’t look at it as being less of a big deal then it used to be and those situations people have been surprised by the treatment they received in the courthouse.
The Amount of Marijuana a Person Has Does Not Affect the Prosecution When Charging Possession
Interviewer: At court, is there any leniency when the person who says, “hey look, I didn’t even know what the limit was” or “I knew but I didn’t know that I had that much”. Do people ever argue “I have permission to get medical marijuana but it’s still the case of me just not knowing that I had too much?”
Paul Tafelski: I haven’t really seen that particular issue but the medical marijuana stuff is as an issue has usually been whether they were simply lawfully in possession. It really hasn’t been because the quantity was too much because if it is too much it’s not a defense to say I didn’t know. That really hasn’t been the issues that have been prosecuted it’s really been more about the validity of the possession and things like that.