Michigan Criminal Lawyer Blog


Since 2003, the State of Michigan collects Driver Responsibility Fees against driver’s when excessive points are abstracted on a person’s driving record (Category 1 Offenses). Fees are also collected for specific offenses, regardless of points (Category 2 Offenses). Drunk driving is an example of an offense categorized under Category 2.  For example, a person who is convicted for Operating While Intoxicated is required to pay $1,000.00 per year for 2 years for a total of $2,000.00. A conviction for the lower drinking and driving offense of “impaired driving” requires $500.00 per year for 2 years in fees.

These fees have been called a “death penalty for drivers” by State Rep. Joe Haveman (R-Holland). Haveman favors legislation which would phase out all driver responsibility fees and he has called the law a “cash grab” for the state at the expense of motorists, who can lose their license for non-payment.

Traffic tickets are handled in the district Courts. In the district courts where we appear frequently, including : 37th District (Warren/Centerline), 38th District (Eastpointe), 39th District (Roseville/Fraser), 40th District (St. Clair Shores), 41-A District (Sterling Heights, Shelby Township, Macomb Township, Utica), 41-B District (Clinton Township, Harrison Township, Mount Clemens), 42-1 District(Romeo/Washington Township), 42-2 District (New Baltimore/Chesterfield Township), 72nd District (Marine City/Port Huron Divisions), 44th District (Royal Oak), many individuals are driving without a license and without insurance. They just cannot afford all of costs associated with traffic tickets and Driver Responsibility Fees.

Unfortunately, many people without a license still need to drive in order to keep a job and support their families:

A major source of the problem begins when a person obtains a ticket, such as drunk driving, that requires substantial Driver’s Responsibility Fees. When the person cannot pay the fees, the State of Michigan imposes license suspension. The situation becomes compounded when the person continues to drive. Future tickets result in further periods of license suspension along with additional Driver Responsibility Fees that are imposed for excessive points or serious criminal driving offenses.

The underlying cost for insurance is another financial barrier (in addition to Driver Responsibility Fees) when someone has obtained multiple points or a serious conviction such as reckless driving or drunk driving.  Also, most insurance companies will not provide coverage for unlicensed drivers. The result is that many of these people will continue to drive illegally, and without insurance, while continuing to incur other traffic tickets and owing thousands to the State of Michigan in Driver Responsibility Fees.

List of Driver Responsibility Fees
The Michigan Driver Responsibility Fees program requires monetary fees for drivers who Accumulate seven or more points on their driving record (Category 1), or are convicted of specific qualifying offenses (Category 2).

Category 1 Offenses (based on the number of points )
7 Points $100
8 Points $150
9 Points $200
10 Points $250
11 Points $300
12 Points $350
13 Points $400
14 Points $450
15 Points $500

Category 2 Offenses (based upon specific offenses)
Assessed $1,000 per year for two years
• CDL Manufacture/Distribute a Control Substance
• Fail to Use Due Care Causing Death of Person Operating Implement of Husbandry
• Fail to Use Due Care Causing Injury of Person Operating Implement of Husbandry
• Failed to Stop After P.I. Accident
• Failed to Stop or Identify After P.D. Accident
• Failed to Stop or Identify After P.I. Accident Causing Serious Impairment of a Body Function
• Failure to Stop or Identify After P.I. Accident Causing Death
• Failure to Use Due Care and Caution Causing Death of a Construction Worker
• Failure to Use Due Care and Caution Causing Injury of a Construction Worker
• Failure to Yield For an Emergency Responder Causing Death
• Failure to Yield For an Emergency Responder Causing Injury
• Fatality Through Negligent or Criminal Operation of a CMV
• Felonious Driving
• Felony With Auto Used
• Felony/Auto Used
• Fleeing and Eluding officer 1st Degree – Causing Death
• Fleeing and Eluding Officer 2nd Degree – Causing Serious Injury
• Fleeing and Eluding Officer 3rd Degree
• Fleeing and Eluding Officer 4th Degree
• Manslaughter
• Moving Violation Causing Death
• Moving Violation Causing Serious Impairment
• Murder/Auto Used
• Negligent Homicide
• Operated Commercial Motor Vehicle with BAC .04 .07
• Operating with Blood Alcohol Content of .17 or higher (Super Drunk)
• Operated While Intoxicated or While Impaired By Controlled Substance Causing Death
• Operated While Intoxicated or While Impaired By Controlled Substance Causing Serious Injury
• Operated While Intoxicated or While Impaired By Liquor Causing Death of An Emergency Responder
• Operated While Intoxicated or While Impaired By Liquor Causing Serious Injury
• Operating While Intoxicated
• Operating While Intoxicated or While Impaired Causing Death
• ORV – Allowed Person Under Influence Alcohol/Controlled Substance To Operate
• ORV – Combined Operated Under Influence Liquor/Controlled Substance
• ORV – Combined Operated Under Influence Liquor/Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content
• ORV – Operated Under Influence of Controlled Substance
• ORV – Operated Under the Influence of Liquor
• ORV – OUIL/OUID/OWI Causing Death
• ORV – OUIL/OUID/OWI Causing Serious Impairment of A Body Function
• ORV – Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content (.10)
• Reckless Driving Causing Death
• Reckless Driving Causing Serious Impairment of a Body Function
• Snowmobile – Felony/Snowmobile Used
• Snowmobile – Operating Under the Influence of Controlled Substance Causing Death
• Snowmobile – Operating Under the Influence of Controlled Substance Causing Serious Impairment of A Body Function
• Snowmobile – OUIL Causing Death
• Snowmobile – OUIL Causing Serious Impairment of A Body Function
• Unlawful Driving Away Auto
Assessed $500 per year for two years
• Child Endangerment
• Combined OWI and Controlled Substance
• Drove Commercial Motor Vehicle While Disqualified
• Drove While License Suspended/Revoked/Denied (DWLS)
• DWLS Causing Death
• DWLS Causing Serious Injury
• No Insurance Under The Insurance Code
• Operated While Impaired By Controlled Substance
• Operating While Impaired By Liquor
• Operating With Presence of Drugs (OWPD)
• Person Under 21 With BAC
• Reckless Driving
Assessed $200 per year for two years for convictions with incident date between May 1, 2004 and October 1, 2012. *
• No Proof of Insurance (3100)
• No Insurance (3106)
Assessed $150 per year for two years for convictions with incident date between October 1, 2003 and October 1, 2012
• Drove w/o Proper License/Endorsement/Vehicle Group Designator (3020)
• Drove While License Expired (3220)
• Drove While Unlicensed or License Not Valid (3010)

Every driver who can avoid points or get a traffic offense reduced or dismissed should think of it as a good investment. Fighting every traffic ticket can mean avoiding points and saving thousands of dollars in Driver Responsibility Fees. When a ticket is serious or criminal, such as drunk driving or reckless driving, merely getting the charge reduced saves $1,000.00 in Driver Responsibility Fees. Keeping points or certain offenses off of a driving record can also keep insurance premiums under control.


In Michigan, the offense of embezzlement is a crime of opportunity which is committed by someone who is in a position of trust (such as a cashier or teller) or in a special position to care for the property of another (accountant, bookkeeper). The recession has caused financial hardship for many of our clients in Macomb County and Oakland County. The housing crisis, stock market decline and bleak employment situation hit many people at a time when they were funding retirement plans and college educations. After 2007, embezzlement crimes soared in the United States. Unfortunately, desperation, poverty, drug use and opportunity are causes why otherwise law abiding people break the law to make ends meet.

Embezzlement Penalties

Wikipedia defines embezzlement as the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one to whom such assets have been entrusted. Embezzlement is covered in the Michigan Penal Code at MCL 750.174. The maximum penalties are as follows:

Value of Property Embezzled         Maximum Penalties

less than $200.00                                    93 days imprisonment, $500.00 fine*

$200.00 to $999.99                                 1 year imprisonment, $2,000.00 fine*

$1,000.00 to$19,999.99                           5 years imprisonment, $10,000.00 fine*

$20,000.00 to $49,999.99                      10 years imprisonment, $15,00.00 fine*

$50,000.00 to $99,999.99                      15 years imprisonment, $25,00.00 fine*

$100,000.00 or greater                           20 years imprisonment, $50,00.00 fine*

*Fine may be up to 3 times value of embezzled property.

Our Clients

I can say that most of the clients that are charged with embezzlement made bad decisions while under financial stress, depression, or other hardship such as a divorce or death of a loved one. As Macomb County criminal defense lawyers, we attempt to identify the underlying cause or reason for the embezzlement and make recommendations accordingly which may include counseling or substance abuse rehabilitation. For the most part, our clients that engage in embezzlement do not have any prior criminal record.  A majority of our clients are conservative with traditional family values and lifestyles. In other words, they do not fit the typical description of a criminal nor do they have the personality of a deviant.

There is Hope:  Positive Results Achieved in Embezzlement Cases

The embezzlement activities come to an abrupt halt when the employer discovers a paper trail of excessive inappropriate transactions and the suspected party is confronted by the police or employment security department. By the time we are retained, our clients have already faced termination of employment and may have been interviewed by the police without our involvement.  I can say that many clients have expressed relief in this scenario.  They explain that are just tired of being stressed and worried about being caught.  They also understand that they have engaged in a cycle of repetitive destructive conduct that was not likely to end without some legal intervention. Now, the client is faced with certain criminal prosecution and will need a lawyer. Fortunately, there are many ways that an embezzlement case can be resolved.

Most embezzlement cases are carefully investigated before the accused party is remotely aware. This means that the accused party has been monitored and a paper trail of evidence has already been gathered.  When confronted, the accused may also be someone who makes a confession to the employer and the police. The confession is admissible against the accused party unless it is made involuntarily, coerced or made under some threatening or unconscionable conditions.  Faced with strong evidence by the employer, our best course of legal action is to seek a favorable plea bargain.  Plea bargaining embezzlement cases is sensitive because the victim is usually someone who feels betrayed by a trusted employee. In addition, all embezzlement cases will require repayment, or restitution, as part of any plea bargain. Our goals  in plea bargaining embezzlement cases may include one or more of the following:

  • Avoidance of jail
  • Reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor
  • Negotiating a reduction in over-stated restitution
  • Seeking a delayed sentence pursuant to MCL 771.1 for sentence leniency
  • Seeking a dismissal pursuant MCL 771.1 after a deferred period of time (usually 1 year)
  • Seeking dismissal of multiple charges for expungement eligibility (*only 1 felony is eligible for expungement)
  • Obtaining HYTA status for eligible offenses (currently age 17 but before age 24)

* The prosecutor may opt to bunch multiple incidents of embezzlement for a single charge or seek multiple separate charges for each incident and obtain a complaint or indictment with several charges/counts based upon each incident.

Our blogs are based upon our personal experience as criminal defense lawyers.  For more information about embezzlement, restitution, plea bargaining, sentencing or other areas of criminal law, please review our website and other blogs published by ABDO  LAW.

A recent article in the Detroit Free Press says what I have been wanting to say about forfeitures, “Justifiable Seizures Or Legal Shakedowns by the Police?” The article makes several observations:

-Michigan gets a D- as being one of the worst states in the nation property seizures/forfeitures,
-Michigan’s forfeiture laws lack enough safeguards,
-Michigan forfeiture laws invite abuse.

Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair Counties all engage in forfeitures of property which is alleged to be connected to the commission of a crime. Forfeiture or seizure of property is a means by which the government can take the property of an individual that is used in the furtherance of committing a crime or is acquired by the proceeds (cash) from a criminal enterprise. Property from an individual may be forfeited pursuant to Michigan’s civil forfeiture laws even if the person is never charged with a crime. The proceeds derived from forfeited property are turned over to the same police agency that spearheads the forfeiture. The Detroit Free article states that there is an inherent conflict because police agencies profit from the assets they seize.

The federal government and most states passed civil forfeiture laws in the 1980s as a weapon in the war on drugs. Now the laws are used against ordinary citizens charged with minor drug offenses such as possession of marijuana. However, many law makers and former police are now critical of the forfeiture process. Michigan State Representative Jeff Irwin says, “It’s a perversion of our right to due process.” Even a former police officer is critical of the forfeiture laws. According to the Detroit Free Press article, Neill Franklin, a retired Maryland law enforcement officer after 34 years of service, is now an outspoken critic of what he views as the failed war on drugs, and said forfeitures, while once used to bring down major drug traffickers, are now being used to harm ordinary citizens.

An article in the Washington Post, Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes, found:

There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through the Equitable Sharing Program, totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. Half of the seizures were below $8,800.

Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government. But in 41 percent of cases — 4,455 — where there was a challenge, the government agreed to return money. The appeals process took more than a year in 40 percent of those cases and often required owners of the cash to sign agreements not to sue police over the seizures.

Hundreds of state and local departments and drug task forces appear to rely on seized cash, despite a federal ban on the money to pay salaries or otherwise support budgets. The Post found that 298 departments and 210 task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their annual budgets since 2008.

Drug Cases and Forfeitures

Forfeitures are common when someone is charged with a drug crime. First of all, any property may be seized that constitutes a place or vehicle where drugs are used, sold, stored or transported. In addition, cash or property that is acquired by the profits of drug sales or other criminal enterprise may also be the subject of forfeiture. When property is seized there may be an opportunity to get it back or negotiate a settlement with the police and prosecutor. In many drug forfeiture scenarios, which most defense lawyers refer to as “smash and grabs”, the offender is only caught with a small amount of drugs or marijuana. Typically, the marijuana or drugs is found in a motor vehicle. The police will have the motor vehicle impounded and serve the offender with forfeiture notice. Once the process begins, an attorney can usually negotiate to settle the forfeiture and get the vehicle returned. In addition to the funds necessary to facilitate the settlement with the police, the offender is also responsible for towing and impound (storage) costs.

Drunk Driving or Solicitation of a Prostitute Leads to Forfeiture of Motor Vehicle

A motor vehicle may be forfeited when it is used in connection with a drunk driving or solicitation of a prostitute. Those who have face prostitute solicitation charges know that the Detroit Police run an ongoing sting operation where a female police officer works undercover in popular locations where prostitution occurs. When an unsuspecting customer offers money for sex, the motor vehicle is seized and the person is criminally charged with “offer to engage a prostitute”. The police give the offender instructions for the return of the vehicle which ends up costing about $1,000.00 plus towing and impound fees.

What to Do if You are Subjected to a Police Seizure of Property or Criminal Investigation

A law may seem to be reasonable on its face. But once in place, a law can be oppressive and fraught with abuses. Such is the case with Michigan’s forfeiture laws. I have seen first hand how one can be made to lose everything based upon a minor drug charge. Your first priority when confronted with a police situation is to refrain from making any statements.  An excellent resource on the topic of  your right to remain silent can be found on a Youtube video (DON’T TALK TO THE POLICE) which has had more than 5 million views. A single word such as “no” when denying the commission of a crime can be used to bring criminal charges for lying to a federal agent.  Making a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation can result in criminal felony charges pursuant to 18 UCS 1001. Did you know that Martha Stewart served time in prison for violating 18 USC 1001?

Your next course of action should consist of contacting a criminal defense attorney for legal representation. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you on matters such as cooperation/snitching. As we explain in our blog on the subject of cooperation, the little fish are used to get the big fish.  Other legal  issues during a criminal investigation or forfeiture proceeding may include a polygraph examination. Did you know that an innocent person could fail a polygraph examination?

There are numerous other variables out of your control when the police are out to get you. By the time that you realize that you are being investigated, the police have already gathered records and talked to witnesses.  The investigation is usually kept secret and witnesses are advised to not discuss the investigation with anyone or face criminal charges such as obstruction of justice. I have only mentioned a few situations that can arise in criminal investigations or forfeiture scenarios.



IMAGE Criminal_justice_system1

This blog is long overdue. In this blog I will attempt to explain the reasons that make it so difficult to get a domestic violence dropped or dismissed.

The Prosecutor Represents the People of Michigan or Municipality Where the Offense Occurred

First of all, it is important to understand that once a criminal case is pursued, the prosecutor represents the people or public at large for a specific jurisdiction. County Prosecutors have authority to pursue criminal cases on behalf of the “People of Michigan”. City or township prosecutors have authority to prosecute those that are accused of committing ordinance violations within their jurisdiction. Federal criminal cases are prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office. For this reason, the court title of any criminal case is:

• People of Michigan (plaintiff) vs. John Doe (defendant), or,
• People of Shelby Township (plaintiff) vs. John Doe (defendant), or,
• People of the City of Sterling Heights (plaintiff) vs. John Doe (defendant).
• For Federal cases: United States of America (plaintiff) vs. John Doe (defendant)

Every criminal case is pursued on behalf of the people within that jurisdiction by the appropriate prosecuting official or city attorney hired by a municipality or township. The victim of a criminal case is not named as the plaintiff or a party to the case. The victim is named as a witness and later can be subpoenaed as a witness to testify against a defendant in a case which is being pursued on behalf of the people.

Why Won’t the Prosecutor Dismiss a Domestic Violence Case When the Victim Wants it Dropped

As I stated in another article, the party pressing domestic violence charges may immediately have regrets and want to get it dropped. Since most domestic violence cases start out with a frantic 911 call when tempers are flaring, the person making the call rarely knows or understands the ramifications to the other party until later. A domestic violence conviction can label the victim’s spouse or significant other as a violent person which triggers legal entanglements and loss of valuable rights (inability to get a concealed weapons permit, inability to travel across international border to Canada). Unfortunately, getting the case dropped is not easy.

The policy to prosecute those accused of domestic violence/assault is something that has evolved over many years. In my opinion, the issue of domestic violence/assault became a national issue following the Michigan case of People of Michigan vs. Francine Hughes. Ms Hughes was charged with murder after setting her ex-husband’s bedroom on fire in 1977. Her attorney argued self-defense. The jury, who was moved by her circumstances as a battered spouse and the victim of physical violence for several years, found her not guilty. In 1984, the case was profiled in a movie, “The Burning Bed“, starring Farrah Fawcett, which is credited as being influential in the way domestic violence cases are handled.

Now, public policy is a strong factor in the prosecution of domestic violence cases. There are several governmental agencies involved in the criminal process when someone is charged with domestic violence/assault. The government agencies that I am referring to are the police, prosecutor and the judge. Behind the scenes, the government also employs victim’s rights advocates and probation officers. The victim’s rights advocate becomes involved immediately to promote the rights of the victim during a pending criminal case. The probation department becomes involved to make sentence recommendations and monitor a defendant after a guilty plea or verdict. All of these government agencies are usally located within the same building or government complex. All of these government agencies, with the exception of the court, are aligned on the side of law enforcement/prosecution; not on the side of the accused.

The Role of the Police in Domestic Violence/Assault Cases
Let’s talk about the role of the police, or first responders, to a domestic violence call. Long gone are the days when the police made a domestic call to a residence and let the alleged perpetrator go to the corner bar to cool off. The police can no longer make judgment calls as to who is right and who is wrong when they investigate domestic violence cases. Once an allegation of an assault is made (any intentional touching of another without consent), an arrest will occur. There is no such thing anymore as getting the case dropped on the spot. The reason for this attitude is based upon several valid grounds. First of all, the function of the police is to investigate and report their findings to the prosecutor, not determine guilt or innocence. Second of all, the police fear that a serious injury or death may occur should they fail to take action by removing the alleged suspect from the premises. Lastly, the police face serious criticism and potential liability if they fail to act and a party is later injured or killed. Therefore, public policy favors an arrest and issuance of a “no contact order” as an interim bond condition.

The Role of the Prosecutor
The police take their investigative report to the prosecutor for review. It is the prosecutor that authorizes the criminal case against the accused party. The county prosecutors in Michigan are elected officials. As an elected official, it is in their best interest to show the public that they are tough on crime. Again, the public can be critical in situations when a prosecutor is weak on crime or easily drops cases. For this reason, prosecutors will object to a dismissal motion by defense counsel when a victim a victim fails to appear in court. Some prosecutors will go to great lengths to track down an uncooperative victim. Like the police, the prosecutor’s office needs to avoid scandal and any scenario where someone is injured or killed because of a failure of the system to protect the public. Upon authorizing criminal charges, the case is turned over to the court system for criminal legal proceedings. Misdemeanor domestic violence/assault cases are handled in the district courts.

The Role of the Judge and Court
Once a case is in the court system, a judge is assigned to the case. Judges, like prosecutors, are elected officials in the State of Michigan. The judge’s role in a criminal case is to keep order, control the proceedings make rulings on evidence and answer motions or requests by the parties. In theory, a judge is impartial and does not concern himself or herself with the dispute between the parties. In some cases, a defendant may want the judge to act as the trier of fact without a jury. This is called a waiver trial or bench trial. This would empower the judge, acting alone, to render a verdict of guilty or not guilty. However, a person charged with a crime may not have a choice in the matter because either the prosecutor or judge may force a jury trial even when a defendant is willing to waive the same. In my opinion, judges tend to favor jury trials in cases with strong public policy, the presence of the media or where a certain verdict (by a judge without a jury) could subject the court to disapproval.

The Role of a Lawyer in Domestic Violence Cases
If you have been following along, then you should realize:

The police pass the case up to the prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney then passes the case up to the court. The victim’s right advocate is a watchdog and acts as a voice for the victim. The court can decline to accept the role as the trier of fact the case and pass the case along to a jury. Nobody knows what a jury will decide. Should a defendant plead guilty or be found guilty, the court passes the case to the probation department.

The scales of justice are heavily weighted in favor of the prosecution in criminal proceedings. Police, prosecutors and judges want to avoid censure, avoid liability and remain popular in the eyes of the public. The people that are selected for a jury trial are not always who you think they are. If this sounds overwhelming and scary, it should. Only an experienced attorney can navigate someone in the criminal justice system and hope for a favorable outcome. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer knows when to work with the system, not against it. For starters, you may need answers to one or more of the following questions:

  • Can a no-contact order be lifted?
  • Can a domestic violence/assault case be dismissed without trial?
  • What happens if the victim in a domestic violence/assault case wants it dismissed?
  • What happens if the victim in a domestic violence/assault case fails to appear for trial?
  • Can I argue that I acted in self-defense in a domestic violence/assault trial?
  • Why am I charged with domestic violence/assault if I was only trying to avoid a fight?
  • Will the victim be charged with a crime if he or she changes the story?
  • *Will the victim be charged with contempt of court if he or she fails to obey a court notice or subpoena?
  • Can the victim file a supplemental report with the police or prosecutor?
  • What does it mean when a criminal case is dismissed without prejudice?
  • What does it mean when a criminal case is dismissed with prejudice?

*It is unethical for an attorney to advise anyone to ignore a court notice or subpoena.

We have written extensively about domestic violence cases and cannot go into detail answering all of the above questions without being repetitious with respect to other articles and blogs on the subject. Please browse through our blogs and articles which discuss various topics in relation to assault and domestic/violence assault crimes:

How Am I Being Charged With Domestic Violence / Assault When I Acted In Self-Defense?

Can I be charged with a crime if only one person says I did it and there are no other witnesses or evidence (commonly called “he said/she said” cases)?

Imposition of No Contact Orders for Persons Charged with Michigan Criminal Offenses; Assault, Stalking, Domestic Violence

When a Misdemeanor Assault or Domestic Violence Case Escalates to a Felony

Part 1: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County, Michigan, Investigation, Arrest and Statements by the Accused

Part 2: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County, No-Contact Orders, Dismissals for First Offenders

Part 3: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County; Court Process, Victim Failing to Appear in Court, Victim Providing a Contrary Statement

IMAGE assault-with-a-deadly-weapon

ABC’s of Assault and Domestic Violence Cases

In Michigan, the crimes of “assault and battery” or “domestic violence/assault” are classified as misdemeanor offenses, or minor criminal offenses. The offense of “assault and battery” means that the defendant made intentional (non-accidental) physical contact with another person and without consent to do so. Any touching of the other party, however slight, is sufficient to constitute an assault and battery. Domestic violence/assault is charged when a close relationship exists between the parties. Some of the cases that we see involve minimal physical contact or physical contact for a specific purpose or intent other than to cause harm. For example:

-Taking the car keys or other property from another person.
-Jostling the other party to escape from a volatile environment -Making physical contact with the instigating party while trying to avoid confrontation.
-Trying to defend oneself from another person (self-defense).
-Restraining another person from causing physical harm to others or to himself/herself.
-Restraining another person from causing physical damage to property.

We have seen every single one of the above scenarios result in criminal charges.

Assault or Domestic Violence Case Don’t Go Away Once they are in the System

The class of assault crimes that involve close relationships, particularly domestic violence cases, rarely involve extreme circumstances or injuries. In a large percentage of these cases, the party who made the 911 call has regrets and may want to drop the charges. When this is the case, the alleged victim may claim that the incident was a misunderstanding or that the police did not report it accurately. However, once an arrest is made and a criminal file is officially in the “system”, it is not easily dismissed. The system consists of several governmental organizations (police, prosecutor, court, victim’s rights advocate, probation department) that are required to follow protocol in the handling of a criminal case. The police pass the case off to the prosecutor and prosecutor passes it off to the courts. In another blog, I explain why it is so hard to get domestic violence/assault cases dropped.

Most Domestic Violence/Assault Cases Begin with a 911 Call to the Police
It merely takes a 911 call to the police that can be the start of an agonizing legal process. After the 911 call, the police are summoned to go to the location of the alleged crime. The police are prepared to deal with parties that may be under the influence of alcohol/drugs and in a frantic emotional state of mind. Once present, they begin their investigation by separating the parties. The alleged victim will be examined for any possible injuries and the need for medical attention. Any injuries, however slight, such as red marks, bruises, cuts or the presence of blood, will be noted and photographed as possible future evidence. As I said, the police will separate the parties to gain order at the alleged crime scene, defuse the episode and to take statements from the parties. Keeping the parties at a distance makes it harder for them to fabricate statements. The police will attempt to get an admission/confession from the suspect confirming that physical contact was made upon the alleged victim. The victim is also given an opportunity to explain the incident. First the police like to obtain an oral statement. Then the police will ask the victim to provide a consistent written statement. An angry spouse or ex may introduce extraneous details in the statement which may not be completely honest or don’t tell the whole story. Any aspects of self-defense are often left out when a victim talks to the police. Unfortunately, missing details, embellishments or untruthful statements to the police may be enough to escalate a simple assault or domestic violence from a misdemeanor to a serious felony.

Felony Assault Crimes in Michigan

Let me start out by providing an example of recent felony related assault case which was handled by our firm in Macomb County:

Example: Our client said that his wife was blocking his attempt to leave the house after an argument ensued. She suffered a bloody nose in the process when he was trying to restrain and calm her down. She called 911 and told the police that it looked like a murder scene in her kitchen and that there was blood everywhere. The police photos showed blood on her face and on the floor which made the situation look more egregious. She said she was strangled by her spouse. She never obtained medical attention. The police arrested our client and the prosecutor charged our client with a felony that could carry up to ten (10) years in prison, assault with intent to strangle or suffocate.

The above example is one of many possible ways that actual or alleged assaultive conduct can result in a felony charge. The following is a list of assault related offenses in Michigan that may be charged in the context of a domestic altercation as a felony:

Assault with a deadly weapon (gun, knife, chair, bottle, phone)
Assault with intent to commit sexual contact
Domestic violence/assault 3rd offense
Assault with intent to maim
Assault with intent to commit sexual penetration
Assault with intent to do great bodily harm
Assault by strangulation or suffocation
Assault with intent to murder
Assault against a pregnant individual causing miscarriage

The maximum penalties for the above listed felony cases range from 4 years up to life in prison. The above offenses are linked to the appropriate Michigan statutes for further information about the offenses and related criminal penalties. Sentencing for felonies is governed by the Michigan Sentence Guidelines.

A Few Words about Felony Assault with a Dangerous Weapon

The offense of assault with a dangerous weapon is charged more often than any of the other felony assault related charges. The offense, assault with a dangerous weapon (ADW or felony assault), does not require any physical contact. In addition, the offense does not require the use of a conventional weapon such as a gun or knife. Michigan Criminal Jury Instruction, 17.10, defines how a jury is required to determine whether an instrument is a dangerous weapon:

A dangerous weapon is any object that is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death. Some objects, such as guns or bombs, are dangerous because they are specifically designed to be dangerous. Other objects are designed for peaceful purposes but may be used as dangerous weapons. The way an object is used or intended to be used in an assault determines whether or not it is a dangerous weapon. If an object is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death, it is a dangerous weapon. You must decide from all of the facts and circumstances whether the evidence shows that the instrumentality in question here was a dangerous weapon.

In recent months, we have seen several domestic violence/assault cases charged as felony assault with a dangerous weapon. I cannot attribute this to anything in particular but feel that prosecutors are becoming more aggressive to authorize a felony charge even when the facts are not compelling and the victim does not want to prosecute. Fortunately, there are legal means to get a case under control.

Please browse through our blogs and articles which discuss various topics in relation to assault and domestic/violence assault crimes:

Public Policy Reasons Make it Difficult to Get Domestic Violence Cases Dismissed

How Am I Being Charged With Domestic Violence / Assault When I Acted In Self-Defense?

Can I be charged with a crime if only one person says I did it and there are no other witnesses or evidence (commonly called “he said/she said” cases)?

Imposition of No Contact Orders for Persons Charged with Michigan Criminal Offenses; Assault, Stalking, Domestic Violence

Part 1: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County, Michigan, Investigation, Arrest and Statements by the Accused

Part 2: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County, No-Contact Orders, Dismissals for First Offenders

Part 3: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County; Court Process, Victim Failing to Appear in Court, Victim Providing a Contrary Statement


When a person commits a crime that involves a victim, a number of laws apply that provide the victim with several rights. Some of these rights allow for the victim to collect restitution, speak at sentencing, be afforded a victim’s rights advocate and confer with the prosecutor. In every respect, these are important rights.

Article 1, Section 24 of Michigan’s Constitution
provides as follows:

Crime victims, as defined by law, shall have the following rights, as provided by law:

  • The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
  • The right to timely disposition of the case following arrest of the accused.
  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.
  • The right to notification of court proceedings.
  • The right to attend trial and all other court proceedings the accused has the right to attend.
  • The right to confer with the prosecution.
  • The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing.
  • The right to restitution.
  • The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.

Michigan’s Constitution gives powerful rights to a crime victim which can mean that a victim can block a plea agreement or have an impact on sentencing. Courts and prosecutors must abide by a rigid set of rules to include the victim in the criminal process and make an inquiry regarding the victim’s losses or injuries. Some courts utilize a checklist to insure that the victim’s rights are protected. In many cases, the victim can actually be sympathetic to the defense. It always helps when the victim does not obstruct the plea bargaining process and does not ask for jail or other unjustified harsh punishment at the time of sentencing.

However, as a criminal defense lawyer, it is far better to represent someone when a victim is not involved or when a victim does not take a position against the defense with respect to the plea bargain or sentence. The worse case scenario occurs when an alleged victim acts overly victimized, exaggerates a loss, requests inflated or spurious restitution or actually savors the drama of criminal court proceedings. In situations such as these, most judges know when a victim is seeking punishment that is cruel or is just taking advantage of the system. Unfortunately, some judges will give the victim too much latitude which makes the entire criminal process difficult for criminal defense lawyers.

a. is a good idea b. is abused by victims c. involves a flawed process d. all of the above

Another vital tool that has been afforded to victims is the ability to request restitution at the time of sentencing and thereafter. A restitution hearing can be held to verify or contest a restitution claim. A person, business entity or third party (such as an insurance company), that suffers a loss because of the defendant’s conduct can request restitution. Michigan’s restitution statute and laws give the victim and the judge numerous powers including:

  • When sentencing a defendant, the court shall order defendant to make full restitution to any victim of defendant’s course of conduct.
  • Court must not consider defendant’s ability to pay.
  • Restitution may include any individual or entity that suffers direct physical or financial harm as a result of an offense. Insurance company as a victim.
  • Restitution may include any victims of the defendant’s course of conduct even though the losses are not attributable to the factual foundation of the charge that resulted in the conviction.
  • A co-defendant or co-conspirator may be held jointly held liable for the entire amount of the loss.
  • A defendant who plead guilty to home invasion was properly ordered to pay restitution for damage caused by accomplices who caused a fire after defendant left the premises.
  • If conduct causes serious bodily injury, serious impairment of bodily function or death, court may order triple restitution.
  • Victim’s loss may include prejudgment interest.

Restitution is commonly addressed at the time of sentencing. In my opinion, it is a flawed process because at the same time that the defendant is asking for a lenient sentence; the victim is asking for compensation. Whenever money is involved, most defendants that have the wherewithal will pay when they feel that it will appease a victim or save them from jail or prison. This usually means that the defendant usually consents to restitution which is rarely questioned by the prosecutor or judge assigned to the case. I have seen more than my fair share of abusive restitution claims where a victim is allowed to profit at the expense of a defendant who is facing incarceration.

Case 1: The victim was seeking restitution in a case where the defendant was charged with home invasion. The victim had old photographs of jewelry and recent appraisals based upon the old photographs to seek and obtain substantial restitution. She did not have any receipts or any recent documentation or photographs. In some of the photographs, she was wearing the jewelry but in others, she was not. There was no way to know whether she really ever owned the jewelry or the real value.

Case 2: A business entity claimed several thousands of dollars in accounting costs to investigate a defendant charged with embezzlement. There was no way to prove or disprove whether the accounting costs were actually necessary or just linked to this case.

Case 3: Co-defendants were convicted of taking equipment from a facility. The equipment was recovered. Although the equipment was old and in need of repair, the victim claimed and received in excess of $20,000.00 restitution for alleged damage to the equipment.

Civil Lawsuit or Criminal Restitution Hearing?

In my opinion, it was a far better system when a victim of a crime was required to file a civil lawsuit for damages arising out of a criminal offense. In civil lawsuits, the aspect of criminal punishment does not exist. A civil lawsuit is not based upon emotion, sympathy or the “hang em high” mentality that exists in criminal cases. A jury trial is permitted in civil proceedings and there is a process to establish or refute damages which includes depositions, discovery, expert witnesses and motion practice to refine the case. The prosecutor and victim rights advocate do not exist in the civil process and the judge does not have to placate a victim based upon the politics or media exposure which is more prevalent in criminal cases. The civil lawsuit, or civil process, is designed to require a party to prove a loss by verifiable evidence. Whereas, in the criminal arena judges and prosecutors may yield to the “get tough on crime” philosophy which may have an influence on decisions regarding restitution.

The criminal process is not designed to deal with restitution or damages claims efficiently and fairly. When a restitution claim is asserted, there is nobody in the criminal process that is likely to give credence to the defendant or cast aspersion on a victim.
Prosecutors and judges may raise their eyebrows when faced with incredulous restitution claims but neither will rarely put a victim’s integrity in dispute. The odds are in favor of the victim since it is assumed the accused in the criminal process is lying and the victim must be telling the truth.

When confronted with restitution claims, we make recommendations to our clients on a case by case basis. There may be situations when we recommend settlement of an allegedly inflated restitution claim. Our recommendation may be based upon the economics or legal fees associated with a long drawn out restitution hearing. In addition, the payment of restitution, or making a victim whole, is often viewed favorably by the prosecutor and judge.


What does Peer to Peer (P2P) Mean?

File sharing sites on the internet allow the access of digital content from other computers connected on a peer to peer (P2P) network. A peer (personal computer user) may copy the contents such as videos, music, photographs or books of a peer (another personal computer).

Risks Associated with P2P Networks – File Sharing

Some of the risks associated with P2P file sharing are as follows:
• Exposing your hard disk to others • Contracting computer viruses • Infringing copyright • Others using the P2P can obtain files from your computer’s hard drive
Usually, many P2P file sharing programs have inferior security. This can pose a danger for all the contents stored in a hard disk which are exposed to other users. In addition, the computers of P2P users can contract computer viruses because file’s are downloaded from an unknown source. P2P programs may also contain viruses and worms, which prevent users’ computers from functioning properly.

Crimes Associated with File Sharing

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued warnings regarding the dangers of P2P activity. The warnings caution users regarding the potential threats of Peer-to-Peer networks, the legal consequences of copyright infringement, illegal pornography and computer hacking. Since P2P networks allow access to anyone, law enforcement agencies at both the federal and state level have become actively involved in searching out cyber criminals or those that may possess or distribute child pornography.

How Does Law Enforcement Know Someone is Involved in File Sharing on P2P Network?

Law enforcement officers conduct surveillance within P2P networks by searching databases for incriminating files. When a P2P user downloads a file, the program places it into a shared folder. In addition, the user may also provide files from a computer to the shared folder for others to obtain. The FBI has a program which allows it to see all of a user’s shared files. The FBI will track an IP address of a computer and eventually obtain the owner’s name and physical location from an Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is followed by a search warrant for computer equipment, electronic storage devices and any other material which may contain illegal content such as child pornography.

Child Porn: Worldwide Problem

A variety of laws contained within United States Code make it a federal crime to advertise, distribute (traffic), produce, transport, receive or possess child pornography. The internet has made child pornography more accessible than at any time in history. A recent study, Child Pornography on the Internet, provides an excellent resource regarding the problems associated with child pornography in the age of electronic transferring and digital imaging. Quoting from the article:

“It is difficult to be precise about the extent of Internet child pornography, but all of the available evidence points to it being a major and growing problem. At any one time there are estimated to be more than one million pornographic images of children on the Internet, with 200 new images posted daily. One offender arrested in the U.K. possessed 450,000 child pornography images. It has been reported that a single child pornography site received a million hits in a month. As noted above, one problem in estimating the number of sites is that many exist only for a brief period before they are shut down, and much of the trade in child pornography takes place at hidden levels of the Internet. It has been estimated that there are between 50,000 and 100,000 pedophiles involved in organized pornography rings around the world, and that one-third of these operate from the United States.


This is an updated article in our series about retail fraud cases which are handled extensively by our criminal defense lawyers in Macomb County. We have posted several other articles relating to retail fraud that are referenced at the end of this article.

Places/courts where retail fraud cases are prevalent

Retail fraud cases seem to be on the rise in every court where we appear. Retail fraud cases are always one of the most frequently charged misdemeanor offenses in the Macomb County District Courts. While every court in Macomb and Oakland County sees its fair share of retail fraud cases, the courts which are located in jurisdictions with shopping malls, mega strip centers and major shopping corridors have the greatest number of retail fraud cases on their dockets. A list of the courts that would fall in this category are as follows:

Retail fraud penalties: Prior record of offender may increase penalty

Retail fraud crimes can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor and are classified by the value of the property taken or whether the offender has a prior record. A prior record for larceny, false pretenses or a prior retail fraud may result in enhanced penalties.

Retail fraud usually involves the act of taking property from a retail establishment without paying for it. It may also involve attempting the change price tags or paying less than the actual price by some act to defraud the establishment. The degrees and penalties for retail fraud are as follows:

Retail fraud 1st Degree, felony: Value of property stolen: $1,000.00 or more Maximum penalty: 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the difference in price or property stolen, whichever is greater.

Retail fraud 2nd Degree, misdemeanor: Value of property stolen: $200.00 to $999.99 Maximum penalty: 1 year in jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the value of the difference in price or property stolen, whichever is greater.

Retail fraud 3rd degree, misdemeanor: Value of property stolen: less than $200.00 Maximum penalty: 93 days in jail and/or a fine of not more than $500.00 or 3 times the value of the difference in price or property stolen, whichever is greater.

Some reasons that someone commits shoplifting or retail fraud

There are some reoccurring reasons as to “why” a person commits a retail fraud offense. Our clients are usually the kind of people that have never been in trouble and are faced with personal difficulties. However, shoplifting is not limited to those that are downtrodden and underprivileged. Some of our clients are well off or suffer from a compulsive shoplifting disorder. It is our job to work with our clients to understand why he or she engaged in risky behavior so that we can provide effective legal representation and solutions.

Financial distress: The number 1 reason that is given for committing retail fraud is because of family financial turmoil. In cases such as this, we find our clients taking things to maintain the household such as food, household goods and children’s clothing. I attribute this to the meltdown of the economy which hit middle class families the hardest.

Impulsive behavior: Impulsive conduct, or acting before you think, is also high on the list of reasons that a person engages in the offense of retail fraud. Impulsive conduct is almost always tied to some other life problem or stressor which we try to identify. Impulsive behavior is more common with youthful offenders. However, impulsive behavior is also present when someone has a psychological disorder such as ADHD, anxiety disorder or recent stressful event such as a death, retirement or marital problems.

Prescription medications and drug addiction
: Prescription medications for psychological disorders can sometimes cause irrational behavior which leads to a person to commit retail fraud. In these cases, we recommend that our client get a current medical examination and consider engaging the services of a counselor. Drug addicts may commit retail fraud because of financial reasons or to resell goods to fund a drug habit. Again, getting as much background as possible and taking proactive measures before court can make a vast difference in the outcome of a case.

What to expect in the Macomb County District Courts

The outcome of a retail fraud case in the Macomb County Districts Courts will depend upon various factors including:

  • The prior criminal record of the offender.
  • The value of the property stolen can make a minor retail fraud offense into a felony.
  • The proactive measures taken by the offender prior to the first court date.

In a recent Wall Street Journal Article regarding misdemeanor offenses, Judge Thomas Boyd, who handles misdemeanor cases in Ingham County, Michigan, said “he sometimes finds himself arguing with defendants who seem too eager to admit wrongdoing without consulting a lawyer.”

While retail fraud cases do not usually involve jail, they can be devastating on a person’s permanent criminal record. A retail fraud offense can label an individual as a “thief” or “dishonest” person.

When a client has never been convicted of a crime, we may be able to advocate for a plea bargain to obtain a first offender program (such as HYTA) or petition for a delayed sentence which can result in dismissal of the offense. When someone is charged with felony retail fraud in the first degree, our goal may be to seek a reduction of the felony to a misdemeanor and avoid jail. Our experience has been that most retail fraud cases are resolved favorably by knowing our courts, knowing our clients and taking action prior to the first court date to address underlying problems associated with risky behavior.

Retail Fraud Sterling Heights, Shelby Township, Utica, Macomb Township
Handling Shoplifting Cases in Clinton Township
Most Prevalent Misdemeanor Cases in Macomb County District Courts


Blood alcohol levels are related to the amount of alcohol consumed. The passage of time may mean that some of the alcohol has been eliminated from the body. A consultation with someone charged with drunk driving invariably will involve questions which pertain to these factors:

  • How many drinks were consumed?
  • What was the alcohol percentage (proof) of the beverage consumed?
  • How big were the alcohol containers/glasses, shot, 12 oz, 16 oz?
  • What time did drinking begin and when did it end?
  • What was the result of the test administered by the police (breathalyzer)?

The answers to these questions, and others, allow our attorneys to explore the accuracy of the chemical or blood test result and explain the processes of alcohol absorption and elimination to our prospective clients. This article contains a description of these processes along with various useful charts.

Alcohol absorption and elimination are processes that occur when a consumes an alcoholic beverage. Absorption refers to the passage of alcohol through the blood, while alcohol elimination is the rate at which alcohol leaves the body.

Blood alcohol content

Shot, Beer, and Wine

Blood alcohol content (BAC), or blood alcohol level (BAL), refers to the amount of alcohol in the body. Numerous factors have an influence on BAC levels. These include consumption of food, percentage of alcohol, body weight, sex, and physical activity. Furthermore, every person digests alcohol in a different way, which leads to varying absorption and elimination rates.

Alcohol absorption

Through a process known as diffusion, alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and small intestine. The rate of absorption occurs more rapidly when a person consumes a beverage with a higher proof, or percentage of alcohol.

Absorption occurs faster when a person drinks alcohol on an empty stomach because the alcohol goes directly into the stomach lining, without a barrier of food. An individual may attempt to control alcohol absorption by slowing down the ingestion of alcoholic beverages and by drinking water in between alcoholic beverages. It should be noted that recently consumed alcoholic beverages would not necessarily show up on a breath test because the process of absorption takes time to occur.

Ordinarily, it takes about 30 to 60 minutes for alcohol to be absorbed in the body. However, it may take up to two (2) hours for complete absorption to occur when someone engages in binge drinking within a short period of time. Binge drinking refers to an individual’s consumption of multiple alcoholic beverages in two hours. Generally, the amount of drinks per two hours varies between men and women; men must consume five (5) or more drinks, while women must only consume four (4) or more drinks to meet the level of binge drinking.

Alcohol elimination

Alcohol is eliminated from the body via excretion and metabolism.
Most alcohol is metabolized, or burned, in a manner similar to food; this process results in production of carbon dioxide and water. A small portion of alcohol is excreted through the individual’s breath, leaving the body as alcohol. This process allows for a breath alcohol test, or more commonly referred to as a Breathalyzer test.

Average rate of elimination


First, it must be understood that everybody eliminates alcohol from his or her bloodstream at different rates. The factor playing the most significant role in the elimination of alcohol is the passage of time. Over time, alcohol is eliminated from the body in the same manner that other toxins are eliminated. Scientific studies, however, have been able to ascertain an average rate of elimination for individuals. According to Forcon, a well-known forensic consulting firm, individuals may see a decrease in their BAC by 10-20% within the first hour, while most will only see a 13-18% decrease.

fabian dismissal

Above image is an actual court disposition resulting in dismissal of multiple offenses.

This blog is based upon our experience representing clients that are charged with multiple criminal offenses. Multiple criminal offenses may be brought even when there is a single intent involved. When confronted with multiple criminal charges, our objective becomes one of untangling the mess, isolating what really occurred and attempting to get charges reduced or dropped.

In certain situations, a person may obtain multiple criminal charges arising out a single incident, single intent or criminal episode. An evening of alcohol consumption with friends, or the escalation of a domestic altercation, sometimes ends poorly. In other cases, multiple criminal charges may be the result of an over-zealous prosecutor or police agency seeking to hit an offender with every offense in the Michigan Penal Code. In our experience, multiple criminal charges arising out of a single incident is usually “over-kill” on the part of the prosecutor or cops and seldom results in multiple convictions when approached with a sound legal strategy.

Over Zealous Prosecution, Over-Charging

As I mentioned, multiple criminal charges may occur when a prosecutor is over zealous. Multiple charges give the prosecutor an unfair edge in the plea bargaining and jury process.

Plea bargaining: A prosecutor has leverage during the plea bargain stage of a criminal case when a defendant has multiple criminal charges arising out of the same conduct. In a multiple charge scenario, a defendant may not want to risk fighting multiple criminal charges at trial. The prosecutor may offer to dismiss some of the charges upon a defendant pleading guilty to 1 or 2 of the offenses in a multi-charged complaint.

Jury process: In addition, prosecutors have an advantage with juries in cases where multiple charges are pursued. The advantage is a psychological one where the jury feels that a defendant facing multiple criminal charges must have done something wrong to deserve it. Also, jurors may feel that they can satisfy both the prosecutor and defense by spitting the verdict and finding a defendant guilty of some of the charges while dismissing others.

Examples of Cases Involving Multiple Criminal Charges

Example #1: Our firm represented a spouse charged with domestic violence, preventing use of telecommunications equipment, disorderly conduct and resisting/obstructing the police. Our client tried to leave the residence because of a heated argument with his wife. His wife blocked the doorway and he pushed her aside to leave the residence. The police report said that our client attempted to grab the phone from his wife when she first tried to call the police during the argument. He then left the residence but returned shortly thereafter while the police were present. The report stated that our client was loud and uncooperative when he tried to give his side of the story to the police. Our client did not have any prior record and was hardly someone we would qualify as a trouble maker or violent person.

The above scenario (Example #1) is not uncommon. Improperly handled, the defendant may have wound up being convicted of several offenses (domestic violence, tampering with telecommunications equipment, disorderly conduct and resisting/obstructing police). That was not the case. Our job was to separate the wheat from the chaff. In other words, we were able to negotiate dismissal of several offenses (misdemeanors and felonies) which did not pertain to the underlying purpose of police intervention. The prosecutor and police both agreed that the person did not deserve multiple convictions. His wife was also helpful because she admitted that she was complicit and contributed to the physical contact when she obstructed her husband’s mobility as he attempted to vacate the residence. The final outcome was a plea to the offense of disorderly conduct which was taken under advisement pursuant to MCL 771.1 by the court and dismissed after one (1) year of good behavior.

Example #2: Our client was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. He failed the field sobriety tests and tested positive for alcohol on the preliminary breath test (PBT). He was arrested. The police did an inventory of the vehicle and found a small quantity of marijuana and a “one-hitter” pipe. He had a suspended license because of an unpaid traffic ticket and did not have proof of insurance although the vehicle was insured. His charges consisted of drunk driving (OWI, .08% or greater), possession of marijuana, possession of narcotics paraphernalia, driving while license suspended and no proof of insurance.

In this scenario (Example #2), we were able to have the no proof of insurance offense dropped because our client produced valid insurance at the pretrial conference. The driving while license suspended offense was also dropped because our client provided proof that he paid the ticket which resulted in his license suspension. Our client agreed to plea to a reduced charge of “impaired driving” and the offense of possession of marijuana was taken under advisement pursuant to MCL 333.7411 which was dismissed upon good conduct after 1 year. The offense of possession of narcotics paraphernalia was also dropped at the pretrial conference.

We hope that this blog is useful to anyone facing multiple criminal charges. As I stated, a sound legal strategy and the ability to negotiate effectively can often lead to favorable results with minimal consequences. Knowing how to deal with the prosecutorial arm of government can mean getting a huge break without serious criminal convictions.

Links to other popular blog pages:

Pretrial conference

Domestic violence, Part 1

Domestic violence, Part 2

Domestic violence, Part 3

Should you cooperate (snitch) with the police?