Articles Tagged with Criminal Defense Attorney

Though you may not pay close attention to headlines in the legal world, you may want to take note of a recent opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The landmark case of Carpenter v. United States, which arose out of events and criminal allegations in Michigan, has significant implications for anyone who is charged in a crime based upon cell phone data. In sum, the finding expands your privacy rights because it limits the type of information police can obtain without a warrant. You should entrust your case with a knowledgeable Michigan criminal defense lawyer, but some important information may help you understand your rights.

Case Synopsis

Telecommunications providers capture and archive data of customers for billing and other legitimate business purposes. A user’s phone bounces off the closest tower and delivers the time, date, and location information back to the company. These details can be very useful for law enforcement investigating the whereabouts of a person who is a suspect in a crime. Cell phone location data is exactly what Detroit, MI state and federal agents used to identify and arrest Mr. Carpenter. He was eventually convicted and lost on appeal, at which point he and his defense attorneys took the case to SCOTUS.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits unlawful search and seizure. There are many ways in which a search and seizure can be unlawful, from the illegal search of a person to the unlawful seizure of property from an alleged criminal suspect’s home or motor vehicle. One of the more contentious issues concerning the Fourth Amendment and its protection is the practice of “stop and frisk.” In 2013, The New York Times published an article about the prevalence of racial discrimination in “stop and frisk” procedures and programs. Despite the fact that a New York court found the NYPD’s stop and frisk program to be racially discriminatory, that same year the Detroit police chief asserted that stop and frisk procedures would not change in Michigan.

What is a stop and frisk, and when is it unlawful?

Fourth Amendment Protects Against Unlawful Search and Seizure

Do the police in Michigan have to obtain a warrant in order to draw blood from a DUI/OWI suspect? Under Michigan law (MCL 257.625a), a person can be charged with an OWI if that person’s blood, breath, or urine show any sign of alcohol if the person is under the age of 21, and if the blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher for anyone who is 21 and older. Sometimes Michigan police officers administer breathalyzer tests in order to determine a driver’s BAC, but a police officer also may require a driver to submit to a blood test if they prefer. Does a law enforcement officer need to have a warrant in order to force a driver to submit to a blood test?

This is a question that actually went before the U.S. Supreme Court, and in 2016 the Court ruled that warrantless blood draws are unlawful in most suspected drunk driving cases, while a warrantless breath test is lawful.

Understanding Warrantless Blood Draw Laws

Child abuse is defined as any action that causes a child to suffer physical or psychological harm. In addition to physical and verbal abuse, it can include neglect, a parent or caregiver’s failure to provide a child with adequate medical care, and actions that put a child at an unnecessary, unreasonable risk of harm.

When you are facing a child abuse charge, you have the right to defend your case. A child abuse conviction can come with steep fines and a long prison sentence. Even without a conviction, an accusation of abuse can permanently damage your relationship with your child and your social reputation. Below are a few potential defenses to a child abuse charge. Talk to your lawyer about the details of your case to determine which of these, if any, is the right defense strategy for you.

Your Child was Injured in an Accident

“Sexting” is the practice of sending and receiving sexually charged and sexually explicit text, images, and videos. Sexting can be done via text message, email, through social media, or through other means.

Many different actions fall into the category of “sexting.” These include:

  • Knowingly possessing an image or video of a minor engaged in sexual activity or posing in a sexual manner;

In Michigan, the age of consent is 16 years old. A child younger than 16 cannot consent to sexual contact, even with another minor. Adolescents age 16 and older may consent to sexual contact with all others over the age of 16, except for in certain circumstances.

When an individual engages in vaginal, anal, oral, or digital penetration with a minor who cannot consent to sex, he or she may be charged with statutory rape. This offense is also known as criminal sexual conduct.

In Michigan, There is No Romeo and Juliet Law

Recently, the Michigan legislature recently passed an amendment repealing the Driver Responsibility Fee program. The program, enacted in 2003, required drivers guilty of certain traffic offenses to pay annual fees. These fees, which ranged from $100 to $500 per year as well as the $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee, will no longer be collected by the Michigan Department of the Treasury.

Some drivers must continue to make payments, though. Currently, Michigan drivers who entered Driver Responsibility Fee payment plans on or before February 1, 2018 are no longer required to make payments. Their payment plans are terminated. Drivers in this category who do not currently have pending actions against their driver’s licenses may have their licenses reinstated without having to pay the $125 fee any time between now and December 31, 2018. On January 1, 2019, the reinstatement fee will return. Drivers who entered payment plans between February 2, 2018 and March 31, 2018 are required to continue making their payments until October 1, 2018.

Understanding What this Means for You

You’re likely familiar with some of the legal consequences of a conviction on drug charges in Michigan. For possession of drugs listed at the lower levels of the state’s drug schedule system, such as certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs, you could be facing misdemeanor charges. Your sentence may carry up to a year in prison and maximum fine of $2,000. Possession of controlled substances designated as more serious under Michigan law, including marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, may lead to felony charges. Your sentence may be two years or more in prison and hefty fines. However, many people accused of drug charges aren’t aware that there are other consequences of a conviction, beyond jail, probation, and fines. When you consider the additional implications, you can see the importance of retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.

Driver’s License Suspension

State law provides that you could lose your driving privileges as a result of a drug-related conviction, even if you weren’t operating a vehicle at the time of your arrest. Your driver’s license is strictly suspended for 30 days, and there are additional restrictions for up to six months for first offense. For second or subsequent offenses the penalties are worse.

No one gets behind the wheel of a car expecting to be charged with drunk driving in Michigan, but even a slight lapse in judgment can lead to serious implications. Depending on your history of prior convictions and whether your conduct caused an accident, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony offenses. In addition to fines and potential jail time, a conviction can lead to a driver’s license suspension, sky-high insurance rates, a permanent criminal record, and other consequences. Knowing that prosecutors are cracking down on drunk driving, it’s important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist with your case. An overview of Michigan’s laws on driving while drunk or drugged should help you understand how these cases work.

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

Michigan uses the term “operating” in the context of drunk driving cases, but the charges are similar to DUI. If you’re 21 years or older, you can be arrested for OWI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or higher. The penalties are harsh if you’re convicted:

Interviewer: Yes, that’s unfortunate, a lot of people are told “It’ll be expunged” and ends up they have something on the record that is easily traceable. A lot of times they’re looking to get into trade schools or healthcare programs, they’re looking to study to become maybe a nurse, and completely get screwed because they wouldn’t be eligible for expungement.

Paul Tafelski: I know and that happens to a lot of people. This gets back to what you talked about before about people who feel bad and just want to throw themselves on the mercy of the court. These are the kinds of ramifications they don’t even think about then yet, are becoming more and more of a problem.

They just want to get it over, right. Especially if they think they’re just going to get a fine then in their minds they think the case is over well guess what, it’s not. It’s on your record forever.

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