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FAQs

What Should I Make Sure My Attorney Knows About Me?

Sometimes, it’s really helpful for the attorney to know all about your personal circumstances, whether good or bad, because they can sometimes provide opportunities to resolve a case more favorably. For example, some clients do a lot of work with their church or are involved in the community, while others may be the primary caretaker to sick parents or relatives. Other times, there may be a good explanation as to how they got involved in the situation that got them in trouble.

The more you talk to your attorney, the more they know about you, and often, they learn things that may be useful in defending the case or making a deal to reduce consequences. In short, the more we know about the client, the better we can handle their case.


What Should I Ask a Criminal Defense Attorney During an Initial Meeting?

Obviously, you’ll want to ask about their experience, especially with your type of case, but you should also ask them about the court your case is in and the prosecutor you will be facing, as well as find out how many clients they’ve had with the same or similar background as you, including the same problems, the same situation you are facing. There are a number of issues that are influenced by experience and skill level and you want to make sure the attorney you choose is a good fit for you and your case.


What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

A felony is a serious crime, such as arson or murder. In addition, if the law provides for imprisonment for an offense that is longer than one year, the offense is usually considered a felony. A felony arrest remains on your record forever and can be used against you for sentencing purposes on future cases, regardless if you were guilty or innocent of that previous charge. In Michigan a single conviction, even if a felony, can be expunged after five years. Some convictions are ineligible for expungement.

A misdemeanor is a petty offense. It is a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement. Most misdemeanors are punishable by up to 93 days in jail but a high misdemeanor is punishable but up to two years in prison. The confinement for anything other than a high misdemeanor is in a city or county jail, rather than a penitentiary or prison.

Generally, the potential punishment is the deciding factor in whether a crime falls into one category or the other. If imprisonment for longer than a year is the punishment provided by law, it is usually considered a felony. If the potential punishment is for a year or less, then the crime is considered a misdemeanor.


What Common Mistakes are Made in Criminal Cases?

The biggest mistake people make who are not represented by a really good attorney is to simply show up to court and wait to see what happens; they don’t go in with a plan of attack and action. Preparation for everything is important; for court hearings, motions and especially for trial; if you want the best possible outcome, you have to make that happen.

Being lazy and thinking that it doesn’t matter how you prepare for court is the biggest and most important mistake that people make. Another mistake is in thinking that it doesn’t matter who your attorney is, as is acting in a way that will make the court mad at you, such as showing up under the influence of alcohol or drugs while they’re on bond. Doing things like that can result in serious penalties.


What is the Difference Between Private Attorneys and Public Defenders?

The biggest difference between having a private attorney and being assigned a public defender centers on time; a private attorney will have the time to focus on their client’s case, while the public defender simply won’t. Public defenders usually have a huge caseload, and they simply can’t spend the time necessary to do a thorough analysis of the evidence and deal with various issues, and they can’t take the time to get to know their clients very well, which means it will be difficult to get the best outcome for your case.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t some good public defenders and bad private attorneys, but the odds are in your favor if you hire a private attorney. A public defender’s job is very difficult, and they can’t focus their attention on you the way a private attorney can.


Oakland County Jail

Q. In violation of probation 1st offence in Rochester court, adulterated urine samples, I heard you can pay instead of doing jail time. 60 dollars a day?

A. some of the judges will sentence you to jail and if you still owe fines and costs from your case they will allow you to reduce the amount of jail you serve if you pay that money. It is usually around $60 for a one day reduction. Only up to the amount you owe not the entire sentence.


TN Visa Nullified Because of Criminal Charges, Out on Bond Waiting Trial, What Kind of Status am I?

Q. I am not permitted to leave USA until trial is over. Am i now an illegal citizen? Can i get a temporary status?

A. You are not an illegal citizen in the eyes of the criminal court but you have bond conditions to prevent you from leaving that are merely intended to insure your attendance at trial.


What Happens if I Violate a Personal Protection Order Against Me?

A police officer may make a warrantless arrest if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that you violated your Personal Protection Order. If the police cannot find you, they may choose to file a warrant request for stalking or aggravated stalking.


Can I Stay Out of Jail? Violation of Probation 52-3 Judge Nicholson

Q. I got sentenced to 12 days in jail and 18 months’ probation on Jun 18, for DWI that happened 14 years ago. Probation included substance abuse counseling, aa twice a week, random drug/alcohol screens, a marihuana weekend class, traffic safety class, MADD panel, and get my GED. I only had a public defender.

I haven’t completed any of the classes as of yet which need to be completed this month. I have been going to a and counseling.

I started a great new job on July 7th. I’m refinishing manager at Detroit wheel and tire in Troy. This is life changing job change for me and my family so I need to do anything possible to keep it. I’m just so far behind on my mortgage from court fees and missing work,

I meet with my probation officer on July 17 she informed me I had 5 drug tests come back adulterated. We talked and came to the conclusion that I was consuming to much water prior to testing ( I was having trouble urinating in front of the guy) and I would start holding and giving my first urine of the morning that way it was guaranteed to be pure urine . She told me any more adulterated tests she would violate me. Then a week later I get a notice in the mail of a violation there was another adulterated test dated the 16 th the day before our meeting. I spoke with her and 2 tests I’ve taken since then have been good.

I also take Norco for a back issue do every test I take is Lab tested

I didn’t intentionally alter any test. There was no need I haven’t used anything not per scribed and already approved by the judge. I still owe the court 400 in installments 200 end of August then end of September.

A. If you didn’t do anything wrong then don’t plead guilty to the violations. Judge Nicholson is one of the toughest judges in the county but she doesn’t want to lock up innocent people. You need an attorney experienced with her and with these claims of adulteration. There are often circumstantial ways to prove you were clean which is the real issue.


If I am Convicted of Drunk Driving (OWI / DUI) in Michigan, Will I Go to Jail?

An OWI / DUI conviction does not automatically lead to jail. In fact, most first-time offenders receive a probationary sentence to go along with fines, substance abuse treatment and community service. Your punishment will depend on whether it’s a repeat offense, your blood alcohol level, and whether any aggravating factors were involved, such as causing the death or serious bodily injury of another person. Also, each individual judge has their own policies and practices when it comes to putting people in jail. Every court and every judge is different. An Oakland County DUI lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of your case and argue for the most lenient sentence possible. Our attorneys handle many DUI cases in every court in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb Counties and are experienced in dealing with the individual circumstances of each court and judge. Contact us today.


How Should I Choose a Lawyer to Assist Me in My OWI / DUI Case?

First, you want a Michigan OWI / DUI lawyer who will listen to you, explain your case to you and answer your questions. Your freedom and your driving privileges are at stake, and you deserve information. Second, you want a lawyer who is knowledgeable of the constitutional and statutory aspects of drunk driving cases. Third, you want a DUI defense attorney who understands the scientific evidence, such as breath and blood test results that will be at issue in your case. Finally, you want a lawyer who knows the local prosecutors, judges, practices and procedures, which will be helpful in securing a dismissal or making sure you receive the lightest punishment possible under the circumstances. It is crucial that your lawyer have a great deal of experience with OWI / DUI cases specifically. Many lawyers don’t know what they don’t know and lead clients down the wrong path.


What Should I Expect to Pay a Lawyer to Handle My OWI / DUI / Drunk Driving Case?

Our drunk driving attorney fees vary from case to case. The factors we take into account are the severity of the charges against you and how many hours and resources we have to invest in defending your case, including the amount it will cost for independent tests or experts. We always make sure to discuss our fees upfront with each client so they will know what to expect as their Michigan OWI / DUI / drunk driving case moves forward. You should feel no pressure to contact us. We are glad to meet in person or discuss your case on the telephone. After our discussion we can quote you a specific fee. You will never be pressured into hiring our firm so feel free to call now.


Will I Lose My Drivers License in a Drunk Driving Conviction?

In Michigan, if you are convicted of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) your license will be suspended for 30 days and then restricted for 150 days. If you are convicted of Operating While Visually Impaired (OWVI) your license will be restricted for 90 days. These are the license penalties for a first offense. For a second offense within 7 years of either Operating While Intoxicated or Operating While Impaired the license penalty is revocation of your driving privileges for a minimum of one year. For a third offense within 10 years the penalty is revocation of your privilege for 5 years. These license sanctions are severe and require that you properly defend any drunk driving arrest your face.

A first-time offender convicted of drunk driving also faces:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to 6 points on a driver’s license
  • Up to 180 days with a suspended license, with a restricted license possible after 30 days

Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer Test If the Police ask Me to?

By law, you are required to submit to a breath test when requested by the police. However, refusal to take a preliminary breath test offered on the side of the road is a civil infraction punishable by a fine and no other penalties. Refusal to take the test at the station can result in a one year suspension of your driving privileges unless one of four rights are violated. Immediately contact an experienced DWI lawyer at Paul J. Tafelski, P.C. to assist you with your case if you have refused a breath test. Failure to act immediately to challenge the accusation that you refused the test may result in you unknowingly waiving your rights to fight the case. DO NOT DELAY in contacting a DWI attorney.


What Will Court Costs and Fines Be If I am Convicted of Operating While Intoxicated?

Fines and costs vary somewhat between courts. Generally, you can expect fines and costs from the court to be somewhere between $500 and $1000. However, there is little known, hidden expense called the Driver Responsibility Law. That is a tax that the Governor and Legislature introduced in 2003 to raise money by penalizing bad drivers. The Driver Responsibility law imposes an additional and separate fine on drivers convicted of drunk driving. A party convicted of Operating While Intoxicated will be assessed a fine of $1000 per year for two years. A driver convicted of Operating While Impaired will be assessed $500 per year for two years. If you don’t pay the fine your license is indefinitely suspended by the state.


“But I Only Had Two Beers.” How to Fight a DUI When You’ve Said This?

The first thing to remember is, never say “I only had two beers” because that’s what 98% of people pulled over say to police officer, and they see that statement as a clue that you probably had more than that. Ultimately, that statement alone won’t hurt the outcome of your DUI. The results of the breath or blood test and the field sobriety tests will make the biggest difference.


How to Hear “Not Guilty” or “Case Dismissed” on Your DUI Case

Generally speaking, when you hear those words, it’s come following a very thorough review of the evidence and challenges to mistakes made by or things not done by the police and the court, which means that, in your DUI case, the fact that rules were not followed means the evidence is insufficient.

Bottom line, it starts with hiring an experienced, well-trained DUI lawyer as soon as the case arises and let them get busy gathering up all the evidence that exists, to review it carefully to bring forth any challenges to that DUI case and see if there are any issues in a case that are winnable, Getting the best result takes a lot of hard work and recognizing winning issues.


Top Mistakes That Could Jeopardize Your DUI Case

The biggest mistake many people and attorneys make is to not even bother to gather up all the evidence and review it carefully; the main thing that can screw up a winnable DUI case is a lack of thorough preparation or having an attorney who doesn’t know all the different angles of a DUI case. However, another big mistake is admitting to behavior to police that they shouldn’t admit to anyone, such as telling them they knew they shouldn’t have been driving.


Things People Don’t Know That May Help Their DUI Case

Sometimes, it’s possible for health problems such as reflux or diabetes, to affect blood or breath test results, but also, improper monitoring by police before administering the DataMaster can affect the admissibility of that primary breath test. Other times, the police may not have a valid reason to stop a driver, which can result in a complete dismissal of the case. Many people have no idea that they have cases than can be challenged.


Why is Hiring an Attorney for a Repeat DUI Offense Even More Important This Time Around?

Michigan law for a second DUI is a minimum of five days, with a maximum one year; in most cases, judges will sentence someone to five days or more for a conviction, although some will give a full year in the county jail on a second offense. That wide range of possible jail time is a major reason to have a great attorney on your side. For example, if you knew you’d go to jail, you’d be a lot happier with a sentence of five days than a sentence of 30, 60 or 90 days.

Even if you’re totally guilty of DUI and there is no defense to your second offense DUI, you’ll need help to make sure everything is presented the best possible way, to minimize your penalty; in addition to the jail time, your driver’s license could be revoked for a minimum of one year, meaning no driver’s license at all. In order to avoid these very serious penalties, you need an attorney who can help you navigate that complicated system.


Can a Blood Test Within a DUI Case Be Fought?

Blood test cases can always be fought, because there are many issues that can happen in blood tests, such as the use of preservatives in the blood testing kit, delays in testing, chain of custody, and the skill and reputation of the testing facility. Blood tests are more complicated and require attorneys who are well-versed in the law, but they can be challenged.


Does a Letter to the Judge Asking Him to Review a DUI Sentence Have to Be Filed With the Court First?

Q. I want to write a letter to the judge in Sterling Heights to reconsider a harsh DUI sentence that I have been given.

A. Your best bet is to have a lawyer familiar with your judge write a motion to modify terms of probation. A letter is not a terrible idea and it can be sent directly to the judge and should not just be a tale of what you can’t do but a thoughtful explanation of what is best in this case and why you want and need it changed.


Court Never Notified the SOS That My DUI Case was Closed Now I Can’t Get My Drivers License How Can I Fix This?

Go to the court and explain the problem. See what they tell you. Generally, they need to send a notification to SOS that case is over and how it was resolved. Should not be too difficult!


I Have No Tickets on My Record and Just Got a Speeding Ticket. Is It Worth Fighting?

Absolutely. The best time to fight a ticket is while you have a clean record. An experienced traffic lawyer can often negotiate the best plea bargain when the client has a clean record. Often, a deal can be made to reduce the ticket to an offense that does not get reported to the Secretary of State and therefore never appears on your record. That way, if you get another ticket you will still have a clean record and can try and avoid any points all over again.


I Just Got a Ticket and I Was Definitely Guilty. Is It Worth Fighting?

Generally, yes. If you have an experienced criminal defense attorney, a reduction in the number of points can usually be negotiated. Sometimes the ticket can be eliminated altogether. Unless the officer gave you an unbelievable break they will usually agree to a reduction when an experienced lawyer is involved.


I Would Like to Fight My Traffic Ticket but I Don’t Want to Take a Day Off Work to Go to Court. Is There Any Other Way to Fight the Ticket?

Most courts in metro Detroit recognize how busy people are and are now allowing traffic ticket attorneys to represent their clients without the clients having to be present in traffic matters. Often clients give us authority to negotiate the best possible deal for them and we handle everything without the clients presence. However, if you want to fight the ticket with an actual hearing you will need to be present.


What is Michigan’s Drivers Responsibility Law?

Basically, it is a tax on bad drivers that Governor Granholm and the legislature created to help fix the states budget deficit. However, since politicians don’t want to be accused of raising taxes they called it a law about responsibility. The fees begin at $100 if a person has 7 or more active points on their record and increase by $50 for every additional point. For 18 points the fee is $650. Once you cross the point threshold you will have to pay the fee for two years. Failure to pay the fee will result in a suspension of your driving privileges. In addition, the following, more serious traffic matters have higher fines. Operating While Intoxicated- $1000 per year for two years, Operating While Impaired- $500 per year for two years, Driving While License Suspended- $500 per year for two years, No Proof of Insurance- $200 per year for two years. Below is a list of eligible offenses and their fines.


I Know That I Have a few Really old Warrants, I was Wondering the Best Way to Take Care of Them

Q. I know for sure that I have one warrant from my sons attorney when he was 17 (he is now 30) and another one for harboring a runaway unbeknownst to me 13 years ago (my son had this too but it was dropped when he turned himself in) in Oakland County. My son says I have another one in Lapeer from him not paying his court fees, but I am not entirely sure. I know how bad this sounds, but I am ready to take care of it. I don’t have any money, and I don’t see that changing, I am in the process of getting my water turned off and right behind that I am about to lose my house. I would like to take care of my warrants so that I may be able to get a better job, and any advice you can give me I would truly appreciate.

A. Walking in and surrendering is the best way to handle it in my opinion. If you come in the front door (voluntarily) instead of the back door (picked up) you will usually get a lower bond amount. If you can’t afford an attorney which would be the best help then use the court appointed. Judges don’t look at these things as nothing but it is a terrible thing to worry about looking over your shoulder forever trying to avoid these warrants. Be prepared with some cash for bond or a bondsman and then have your explanation all thought out for what happened and why you waited so long.


Got Caught Driving with No Insurance in Michigan What Can Happen to Me

Q.This is the first time.

A. It’s a very expensive ticket to drive with no insurance and also carries with it driver responsibility fees and is a misdemeanor. Make sure you show up to court with proof that you now have insurance. You may be able to negotiate a reduction to a civil infraction.


Traffic / Speeding Ticket: If I ask for a Hearing, Can I ‘Admit Responsibility’ After Moving for Discovery If I Don’t Have a Case?

Q. This is for the 52-3 District, which I hear is tough. I received a speeding ticket for 5 mph over. I know the usual advice is to contest, but money is tight so I can’t afford to throw away court fees (plus lost wages) if my only defense is to hope for a no show. Because I didn’t know the speed limit, I was still 5 over after adjusting my speed. I also stupidly admitted to driving 15 over (though the officer wrote down 16, which is reckless driving), but I do not know whether evidence exists for that, hence wanting discovery. If I ask the prosecutor for a plea to avoid court, would he likely accept, and would there still be extra fees? If I plead “no contest” at the hearing, is it possible they would up the charge to reflect my admission? If I fight it, what can I possibly argue?

Additional information:

I don’t know if this matters, but the ticket says my race is “W”, which I assume is white/Caucasian. Perhaps the system does not have a code for my ethnicity/skin color, but would this discrepancy help me at all?

A. Request a formal hearing and appear at court with the intent to make a deal. Let them know your circumstances and if you have a good record there is a good chance they will improve the ticket. Usually, the same fine applies although sometimes the fine is a little higher if you get a very good deal. No benefit to having the wrong race on the ticket. Sorry.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
My son was charged with two serious felonies for home invasion. Paul worked long and hard on the case and was able to negotiate a deal so that all of the charges were dismissed after my son completed probation. He is now in college without a criminal record. Mr. T.
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I was arrested for drunk driving and possession of a controlled substance (Vicodin). Paul worked hard on the case and kept the felony off my record and got the drunk driving case reduced so that I kept my driver’s license and my job. He really cared about helping me. J.T.
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When I recently had an issue at the airport, I decided to call Paul on the weekend. He called me back on a Sunday! He dealt with my issue without me having to fly back to Michigan and got it dismissed. Until you go through the court system especially for the first time, you don’t have a sense for how harrowing it can be. E.W.