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‘Fleeing & Eluding’ and ‘Resisting or Obstructing’ the police are crimes that are classified as felony offenses in Michigan. These laws are meant to discourage conduct that endangers the public and the police who are engaged in the lawful performance of their duties. Our firm has seen an increase in fleeing and eluding cases, as well as resisting and obstructing cases, in Macomb and Oakland Counties. There are many reasons that are given by clients charged with these offenses. Some of the most prevalent reasons are as follows:

  • The offender is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both, and engages in risky behavior or irrational conduct.
  • The offender suffers from psychological disorders (PTSD, bi-polar disorder, ADHD), needs treatment or had an adverse reaction to medications.

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You may be eligible for restoration of your license if it has been revoked for multiple DUI offenses or for a felony involving the use of motor vehicle!

2017 has been a another year of victories for ABDO LAW clients that have had hearings before the the Driver License Appeal Division (DLAD). This year alone we have won 80 – 90% of our cases (we are still waiting on some results) on behalf of clients whose driver’s license was revoked for multiple DUI cases or for conviction of a felony driving offense (DUI causing injury or death). Losing your license can be a very embarrassing and demoralizing process. You either have to inconvenience others for rides, or risk driving with a suspended or revoked license and getting hit with a DWLS. With a DWLS conviction, you face jail and have to wait at least another year until you can get your license back. Oftentimes, people who have had their license revoked find themselves unable to find work or advance in a career. Other times, it is just a stinging reminder of a person’s past they are working hard to forget. We truly understand and identify with these concerns; we discuss them with our license clients every day. Our Firm specializes in and excels at license cases, it is a special area in our law practice where we can actually make our clients’ lives better. There is nothing more rewarding than to bring the process full circle by helping a client restore their full driving privileges.

We will give you advice to improve your license restoration appeal

 

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Royal Oak is one of the most popular nightlife destinations in Metro Detroit. There are few other towns that in just a couple city blocks have so many options for food and entertainment. Every week thousands of patrons fill restaurants such as Ronin, Town Tavern, or Andiamo. Royal Oak is also home to many well-known night spots such as Commune, Blackfinn, Fifth Avenue, and Luna. While there seems to be a push to attract people to the City for an evening out, Royal Oak does not tolerate drunken behavior on its streets. Anyone who sits in the back of the 44th District‘s Court Room for a morning will tell you that the docket is full of drinking related cases which include drunk driving and disorderly conduct. The point of this blog post is two-fold; one is to inform how to avoid a disorderly conduct charge and the second is to explain how our office can help if you are being charged in Royal Oak.

Disorderly conduct is NOT a civil infraction, it is a criminal misdemeanor, and it is punishable by jail time as well as a fine. Legally speaking, the City of Royal Oak defines Disorderly Conduct as follows:

§ 278-35. Disorderly conduct
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A person commits the offense of disorderly conduct if he or she:
A. Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior;
B. Makes unreasonable noise which tends to cause a public danger, alarm, disorder or nuisance;
C. Uses threatening, abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture, which by their very use inflict injury or tend to incite a breach of the peace;
D. Without lawful authority, disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons;
E. Obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic;
F. Possesses or consumes alcoholic liquor in any public park, public place of amusement, or area under the jurisdiction of the City of Royal Oak that is owned and/or administered by the City of Royal Oak;
G. Urinates in a public place, except at public toilets.
H. Engages in an illegal occupation or business;
I. Loiters in a house of ill fame or prostitution or place where prostitution or lewdness is practiced, encouraged, or allowed;
J. Knowingly loiters in or about a place where an illegal occupation or business is being conducted;
K. Is found jostling or roughly crowding people unnecessarily in a public place;
L. Commits the offense of failure as a disorderly person to disperse if he or she participates with two more other persons in a course of disorderly conduct likely to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, and intentionally refuses or fails to disperse when ordered to do so by a peace officer or other public servant engaged in executing or enforcing the law;
M. Permits or suffers any place occupied or controlled by him or her to be a resort of noisy, boisterous, or disorderly persons.
N. A person commits the offense of public intoxication if he or she appears in a public place under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, other drugs or combination thereof and he or she is either endangering directly the safety of another person or of property, or is acting in a manner that causes a public disturbance.
O. Commits the offense of window peeping.

Examples of Disorderly Conduct, Public Intoxication Cases, Peeing in Public

Practically speaking, the disorderly conduct state statute and local city ordinances cover a wide range of behavior that many might not realize amounts to criminal activity. There are a several scenarios that can result in being charged with disorderly conduct (a/k/a drunken disorderly or public intoxication). Here is just of sample of cases that we have seen:

  • Getting forcibly removed from a bar, only to find the police outside, who witness the scene and issue a disorderly citation.
  • Creating a disturbance of any kind, or fighting, after consumption of alcohol.
  • Urinating in public.
  • Entering the wrong house in a neighborhood after consuming alcohol (this happens more often than you would think).
  • Laying down on the sidewalk intoxicated or vomiting in a public place.
  • Having sex in public (which can also lead to sex crimes such as indecent exposure or gross indecency).

Other activity that will put you at risk for a disorderly conduct is being loud, harassing/pushing people in places of business, interfering with public property, and most importantly being disrespectful towards law enforcement.

Felony Charges for Extreme Conduct: Resisting/Obstructing the Police, Fleeing

The very nature of disorderly conduct, in our opinion, is that it is a fallback charge when conduct does not rise to the level of a more serious crime. Word to the wise, if being questioned by police ALWAYS be cooperative and polite. Lashing out towards law enforcement can turn a 90 day disorderly conduct misdemeanor charge into a felony such as  resisting and obstructing which can carry 2 years in prison. Likewise, driving off or running from the police is always a bad idea because once apprehended, the offender can be charged with fleeing and eluding, a felony with various penalties.

Hot Spots for Disorderly Conduct: Royal Oak, Ferndale, St. Clair Shores, Utica, Detroit

Mostly, we see disorderly conduct, or alcohol related cases (urinating in public, indecent exposure), arising in areas where there is a concentration of bars and people are assembled on the streets for various reasons. There is no limitation to where a disorderly conduct offense can occur. Nonetheless, the vast majority of cases occur in areas which offer a popular bar/nightclub scene like Royal Oak, Detroit, St. Clair Shores (Nautical Mile), downtown Utica, and downtown Ferndale.  Detroit sports venues and sports bars are also places where the police are watching and charging exuberant fans with disorderly conduct.  While disorderly conduct cases are always one of the most prevalent on every district court docket, I would say that we see more of them occur on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (one of the biggest ‘bar nights’) and Tigers opening day, than at any other time.

Courts will Consider Deferring Proceedings and a Dismissal!

Most of the people we see charged with this offense are young adults, those applying for school and work. A disorderly conduct is a horrible offense to have on your record at such a crucial period. Without any context for the charge, employers and educators will just see that the accused was too drunk in public. For that reason, fighting or negotiating these charges is crucial.

Unfortunately these cases do not lend themselves neatly to trials. Typically the accused was drunk and it makes for memory/credibility issues. However, our office has found that such cases are normally ripe for negotiation. If you are charged with Disorderly Conduct, do not make the fatal mistake of pleading guilty without first knowing all of your options. Contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer should be your first priority. Oftentimes, we can arrange a probationary period whereby the charge will be dismissed upon compliance with any conditions ordered by the court at the conclusion of the term. The length of the probationary period and the terms of probation are in the sole discretion of the Judge assigned to the case which may include all or none of the following: alcohol testing, drug testing, counseling, community service, reporting to a probation officer, fines/costs (always imposed) and possible jail time (rarely imposed unless the circumstances are extreme).

Our Firm is experienced in Royal Oak’s 44th District Court. We have found that its Judges are very realistic, fair, and will listen to well-reasoned arguments. Depending on the circumstances our office may recommend counseling if we believe, based on our experience, that it is necessary or will help facilitate a favorable disposition.
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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:

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Michigan’s Implied Consent Law pertains to the chemical test offered by the police when you are arrested for a drinking or drugged while driving offense, such as:

  • Zero Tolerance for those Under Age 21 Operating with a BAC of .02 – .07
  • Operating while Intoxicated (OWI), BAC .08 or more

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The offense of offer to engage the services of another for any act of prostitution, or solicitation of a prostitute, carries a mandatory 45 days in jail pursuant to City of Detroit Ordinances. The act of offer to engage, or OTE as it is commonly known, occurs when there is the offer of money for a sexual act. The ‘offer’ may occur by a direct request of a sexual act for a specified payment, by asking the question ‘how much” for a specified act or by kidding around with the undercover officer impersonating a prostitute.

That’s right, the City of Detroit has an ongoing sting operation whereby undercover female police officers, impersonating prostitutes, are strategically situated in areas of known prostitution. The female police officers, or decoys, are wired for audio which allows out of view law enforcement officers to hear the conversation between the decoy and the unsuspecting party. The unsuspecting party is typically operating a motor vehicle in the area and feels that it is safe to stop and talk to the decoy. Once there is any mention, or even a suggestion, of money for sex, a police vehicle will close in, place the unsuspecting party under arrest for OTE and seize any motor vehicle involved during the commission of the offense (See Vehicle Seizure Unit, Wayne County Prosecutor). The underlying criminal case for OTE will be handled as a separate matter in the 36th District Court.

The Detroit Ordinance: Offer to Engage or Solicit for Any Act of Prostitution

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Super Drunk Driving = Operating with a High BAC .17 or Greater 

Effective October, 31, 2010, Michigan’s “SUPER DRUNK” law went into effect.  The Super Drunk Law, now on the books for several years, is commonly referred to as ‘operating with a high BAC’ on police and court documents.  This law adds harsher penalties to drunk drivers with high blood alcohol levels of .17% or greater as follows:

  • Up to 180 days in jail.

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The nature of this publication will be dedicated to the frequent talking points which arise during our consultations with clients that are charged with a Michigan drunk driving case. When I refer to drunk driving, I am referring to the plethora of Michigan laws that cover operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) or impaired (OWVI) after the consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs or prescribed medications. We admit that the drunk driving laws are convoluted.  As I have stated in other publications, there are more laws on the books in Michigan for drunk driving than exist for the offenses of murder, kidnapping, burglary and rape combined.  Here is a sample of Michigan laws presently in force that cover the offense of drunk (or drugged) driving:

  • Criminal laws which empower the court to impose incarceration and other penalties.
  • Civil infractions, such as refusing the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT).

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Blood alcohol content (BAC), Michigan State Police Statistics

Blood alcohol content (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol which is estimated within a person’s blood as determined by a blood alcohol test.  Blood tests and breathalyzer tests are the most common methods for testing BAC. The Michigan State Police maintains statistics with respect to BAC testing, DUI convictions, average BAC levels and the number of convictions for those charged with a DUI offenses.  The statistics are further broken down for each county and each district and circuit court. In 2016, the Michigan State Police Drunk Driving Audit revealed the following statistics for those who submitted to a breath or blood test in Macomb County:

  • 2,182 tests were administered for breath or blood samples (breath tests accounted for 1,404)

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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, some common variable in retail fraud cases

Retail fraud cases are on the rise and are always one of the most frequently charged misdemeanor offenses in the Macomb County District Courts where we practice.  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 for obvious reasons. While each offender has a different reason for committing the offense of retail fraud, some of the common variables that we are seeing in our Macomb County retail fraud cases (especially retail fraud 3rd degree/under $200.00) are as follows: