41A-SHELBY-DIVISION

Shelby Township Division of the 41A District Court 

The 41A District Court has another division located in the City of Sterling Heights

Macomb County’s 41A District Courts

Divisions located in Sterling Heights and Shelby Township

There are 2 divisions of the 41A District Court in Macomb County which are geographically located directly next to each other but which cover distinctly different geographical regions of Macomb County and each operates under its own set of rules and policies. The fact that they have the same name and that they both come up on searches for the 41A District Court does cause some confusion. Hopefully, this article will settle it once and for all that there are TWO courts called the 41A District Court and what you can expect if you have legal business in these separate and distinct jurisdictions. 41A District Court locations and contact info:

41-A1 District Court, Sterling Heights Division

41-A2 District Court, Shelby Division

Geographical Coverage Map of Macomb County District Courts

The jurisdictional boundaries of the 41A District Courts are expansive. The Sterling Heights division has jurisdiction over the entire city of Sterling Heights from 14 Mile Road to Hall Road. Sterling Heights has its own police department. The Shelby Township division covers a much larger geographical area which includes all of Shelby Township, Macomb Township and the City of Utica. The Shelby division is policed by the Shelby Township Police and the City of Utica Police. Macomb Township employs the Macomb County Sheriff Department for police services as it does not have its own police force. The image below provides a map of the geographical areas covered by each Macomb County District Court:

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Types of Cases Handled in the 41A District Courts

Michigan’s district courts have jurisdiction to handle traffic, criminal and civil proceedings. There are certain limitations to the power the district court has over civil and criminal proceedings.

  • Misdemeanor criminal jurisdiction: The district courts have complete jurisdiction of misdemeanors from arrest warrant, arraignment through trial and sentencing.
  • Felony criminal jurisdiction: The district courts have limited jurisdiction over felony matters which includes arrest warrant, arraignment, probable cause conference and preliminary examination. Felony cases that are not resolved in the district court are moved to the circuit court following a probable cause conference or preliminary examination.
  • Traffic jurisdiction: The  district courts have complete jurisdiction to dispose of traffic matters to their conclusion or final decision.
  • Civil proceedings: The district courts have jurisdiction over civil matters not to exceed $25,000.00. Civil proceedings is excess of $25,000.00 are filed and heard in the circuit courts.

Misdemeanors, felonies and traffic matters are initiated in the district court. Criminal cases are initiated in the court system with an arrest warrant or appearance ticket. For all felonies and most misdemeanors, an arraignment is held in the district court to advise an individual of the charges and to set bond and bond conditions.

Some of the more common criminal matters that are handled in the 41A District Courts include:

What can be expected if I am charged with a crime in the 41A District Courts?

Those with business in the 41A District Courts can expect to be treated fairly by elected judges are compassionate and that will bend over backwards to give an individual a break. The 41A District Courts in both Sterling Heights and Shelby Township utilize all of the statutory first offender programs to facilitate dismissals, including all of the following programs:

Felony cases: If you get charged with a felony, it starts out in the district court. If you get your felony reduced to a misdemeanor, you AVOID A FELONY RECORD and it remains in the district court. Talk to a local experienced criminal defense lawyer to find out how this is even possible.

Drunk driving: If you  are charged with driving under the influence (OWI, OWI with high BAC, etc.) in the 41A District Courts, you are not looking at jail or losing your license for a first offense. Getting a local attorney to fight for the best outcome is your best bet if you are facing a charge for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are many discretionary components of a drunk driving sentence  including: community service, immobilization of vehicle, random testing for alcohol and drugs, reporting or non-reporting probation. Some of these conditions can be avoided by strategic legal planning beforehand.

Traffic tickets: The court clerks are not authorized to give legal advice. They will not tell you that you can fight a traffic ticket arising in Sterling Heights, Shelby Township, Macomb Township or Utica and get it amended to an offense that carries NO POINTS and will NOT BE ABSTRACTED on your driving record. As we say, it is a wise investment to fight every traffic ticket.

Expungements of old crimes and drunk driving: The 41A District Courts have embraced Michigan’s Clean Slate law and are eager to grant expungements to those that are eligible. In addition, for the first time ever, effective February 19, 2022, an individual may file for expungement of a conviction for OWI, Impaired Driving or Super Drunk Driving. When you get a case expunged, you can say: I have never been convicted of a crime!

Probation Departments of the 41A Districts in Sterling Heights & Shelby 

The district courts in Michigan (including the 41-A Districts) have jurisdiction to handle all aspects of a misdemeanor offense (arraignment, trial, sentence). A misdemeanor is defined as an offense which can carry up to 1 year in jail. If the offense carries a penalty greater than 1 year, it is classified as a felony. Probation may be imposed for a maximum period of 2 years for a misdemeanor. When probation is required, it may be ordered to be REPORTING or NON-REPORTING. Non-reporting is always preferred. However, an individual is placed on reporting probation will be required to check in/report with a probation officer at predetermined intervals (monthly, bi-weekly). A motion can be filed to modify probation as explained below.

Probation violations and motions to modify probation

As the Michigan statute says ( MCL 771.4): All probation orders are revocable but revocation of probation, and subsequent incarceration, should be imposed only for repeated technical violations, for new criminal behavior, or upon request of the probationer. Hearings on the revocation must be summary and informal and not subject to the rules of evidence or of pleadings applicable in criminal trials.

Probation violations can result in jail time and the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer is essential. Upon being found guilty of violating probation, the Judge can sentence a person to the maximum remaining jail time which has not been served. Failure to comply with any of the conditions of probation will lead to a probation violation hearing and possible termination of probation and jail. Here are a few scenarios that can result in a probation violation:

  • Getting charged with another crime
  • Failing to report as directed
  • Leaving the State of Michigan without permission
  • Missing or failing a drug or alcohol test
  • Failure to pay fines/costs
  • Failure to attend counseling

If you have been compliant with probation (no violations, completed all programs, paid all fines), you may be eligible to file a motion to terminate or modify probation. In filing a motion to terminate or modify probation, you will want to give your attorney proof that you completed any programs, community service and paid all fines and costs. If you intend to file a motion to modify or terminate probation, our firm recommends that you wait until you have served 50% of your probation term. To get the case before the Judge at the half way point, we would recommend that you get started a few weeks beforehand with your lawyer. Continue reading ›

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Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Michigan

The dos and don’ts if you are faced with hit and run for leaving the scene of an accident! 

A traffic crash is a traumatic event. Leaving the scene of an accident is a possible response if you have been in an accident and are afraid to stick around for one reason or another. We know that driving under the influence, without insurance or driving on a suspended license are just a few of the reasons for leaving the scene of an accident.

In Michigan, traffic offenses can be charged as civil infractions or as crimes. The offense of leaving the scene of an accident (aka: hit and run, failing to give identification at the scene of a crash) is charged as a crime in Michigan. Along with drunk driving, leaving the scene of an accident is also one of the most prevalent misdemeanor cases that is charged in the Macomb County District Courts. Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime that can carry jail, up to 2 years of probation, a fine, court costs and 6 points. Leaving the scene of an accident causing an injury is a more serious crime than one causing property damage. If you get convicted of leaving the scene of an accident a criminal record will be created. A criminal record can have many consequences including:

  • Being criminal inadmissible to enter Canada.
  • Lose your right to have a Concealed Pistol License (CPL).
  • Under certain circumstances, face deportation.

Let us explain what you should do if you have left the scene of an accident or if you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident. You should know that talking to the police without getting sound legal advice or pleading guilty without a lawyer are not your best options. In this publication, and others we explain why you should be proactive and that hiring a lawyer to fight every traffic ticket is a wise investment.

This publication is based upon our experience handling criminal cases, leaving the scene of an accident and traffic violations in the following Metro Detroit jurisdictions:

A driver’s duties following an accident

Pursuant to MCL 257.619, The driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he or she has been involved in an accident with an individual or with another vehicle that is operated or attended by another individual shall do all of the following:

  1. Give his or her name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is operating, including the name and address of the owner, to a police officer, the individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which he or she has collided.
  2. Exhibit his or her operator’s or chauffeur’s license to a police officer, individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which he or she has collided.
  3. Render to any individual injured in the accident reasonable assistance in securing medical aid or arrange for or provide transportation to any injured individual.

Failing to comply with these duties or failing to stop and give identification at the scene of a crash or leaving the scene of an accident can result in a criminal record, criminal penalties along with administrative sanctions by the Michigan Secretary of State.

Are you facing any of these scenarios?

Do not hesitate to hire a local attorney if you are facing any of these scenarios:

  • You have received a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident.
  • You have left the scene of an accident and sooner or later will be apprehended.
  • You have left your vehicle after an accident and do not know what to do.

An attorney will protect you from making the wrong moves with the police and your insurance company. Don’t be tempted to say that your car was stolen or make up some bogus story that will get you charged with a felony. Once you talk to the police, the police will get names of any witnesses and check out your story . Do you really want to implicate your friends and ask them to lie for you? The police will not tell you that you have a right to remain silent and a right to an attorney unless you have been placed in custody.

You just might not be guilty of anything if you were not aware that an accident occurred or remaining at the scene would have been harmful or obstructed traffic more than necessary.

Leaving the scene to avoid getting charged with drunk driving

It happens quite often when a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs and gets into an accident. A person leaves the scene of the accident believing it is far better to leave the scene than stick around and face drunk or drugged driving charges. The person may accomplish leaving the scene by driving away or by leaving a damaged vehcicle at the scene. This all becomes an extremely frustrating experience for the offender which often involves lying to family members, the police and the insurance company.  There are other reasons aside from operating while intoxicated that an individual may leave the scene. Other common reasons include driving with no insurance, driving while license suspended or because of an outstanding arrest warrant. Sometimes the individual is just alone and frightened.

Let us help you get your life under control if you have left the scene of an accident. DO NOT call the police and your insurance company and say that your car has been stolen. You will merely be exposing yourself to a felony charge for insurance fraud and filing a false felony report. Once you contact the police, you will asked for additional information that can be incriminating.

What to do if you are charged or have left the scene

If you have received a citation for leaving the scene of an accident, contact a lawyer for representation in the court system. If you are freaking out after leaving the scene of an accident and haven’t been caught yet, contact a lawyer to help you sort it out and establish a solid plan to address all of the following urgent matters:

  • Whether or not you should talk to the police.
  • Whether an insurance claim should be filed.
  • Getting your car out of the impound.
  • Dealing with the court system (arraignment, bond, pretrial conference, trial).

Let us explain the dos and don’ts if you are faced with any of the above scenarios:

  • DO retain an attorney to speak on your behalf.
  • DO get yourself cleaned up, sober and in  a better place if you intend to handle the matter with the police without a lawyer.
  • DON’T go home if you expect the police know your identity and your residential address.
  • DON’T make any statements to the police until you have consulted with a lawyer.
  • DON’T send any incriminating text messages to anyone.
  • DON’T say anything to your insurance agent until you have consulted with a lawyer.

There are ways for us to truthfully report the matter to the police without ever mentioning that our client was intoxicated the day before. Insurance fraud and filing a false police report are felonies. We will give you a solid plan to deal with the police, the insurance company and the court system without ever getting charged with a drunk driving or lying to the police! We consider it an emergency if you have left the scene of an accident, have not been home in several hours and do not have a clue what you should do next.

Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident 

Jail-time, losing your license, insurance issues and getting stuck in the court system for up to 2 years while on probation are all possible penalties for leaving the scene of an accident.

It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident pursuant to MCL 257.617a, which provides as follows:

  • 1. Leaving scene causing property damage: The driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he has been involved in an accident upon public or private property that is open to travel by the public shall immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall remain there until the requirements of section 619 are fulfilled or immediately report the accident to the nearest or most convenient police agency or officer to fulfill the requirements of section 619(a) and (b) if there is a reasonable and honest belief that remaining at the scene will result in further harm. The stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
  • 2. Leaving scene causing an injury: If an individual violates subsection (1) and the accident results in injury to any individual, the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

Leaving the scene of an injury accident

Leaving the scene of an accident may involve property damage, an injury to another person, or both. There are many factors that can make leaving the scene of an accident more serious. Leaving the scene of an accident involving only property damage with no injuries is a threshold case under the statute. If an injury is involved, the penalties are increased. If an injury occurs and alcohol or drugs are a factor, the offense is likely to be charged a felony, OWI causing an injury, which can carry up to five (5) years in prison. It is the job of an attorney to find ways to minimize the consequences of a more serious charge.

Restitution: Compensation to the victim(s)

Michigan’s restitution statute, MCL 769.1a, gives the court wide discretion to order reimbursement to any victim which arises out of the defendant’s criminal course of conduct.  The statute states as follows: when sentencing a defendant, the court shall order that the defendant make full restitution to any victim of the defendant’s course of conduct that gives rise to the conviction or to the victim’s estate. Restitution can include compensation for property damage and injuries such as: collision costs or fair market value of property, medical expenses, cost of psychological treatment to the victim or member of victim’s family and child care!

Restitution can be ordered to be paid during a term of probation. Whenever it is attainable and it will help in negotiations or sentencing, we may encourage our client to pay restitution up front.

Driving off after accident, leaving disabled vehicle at the scene

When the police find a disabled or abandoned vehicle that was in an accident, they are automatically suspicious that the driver was drunk, left the scene to avoid being tested for alcohol and waited to claim the vehicle until after his or her alcohol levels dropped below the legal limit for OWI/DUI. The police will typically put a hold on the vehicle until it is claimed and a statement is made by the owner/driver. This is where an attorney comes in and can talk to the police for you, schedule an interview and arrange to get your car released. If damage is extensive, the vehicle may remain impounded until the insurance company adjusts the damage. DO NOT REPORT THE VEHICLE AS STOLEN! Contacting the police before retaining a lawyer in this scenario is a big mistake. It is far better to let your lawyer do damage control and do all of the talking rather than get caught lying to the police which can lead to other serious felony charges.

 

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youthful offender

Effective October 1, 2021

HYTA is available for youthful criminal offenders ages 18 – before age 26

This is why HYTA dispositions for criminal offenses are such a big deal:

  • The court does not enter a judgment of conviction,
  • The record is sealed,
  • You do not need to disclose the offense if asked if you have a conviction, and
  • The case is dismissed upon compliance with conditions laid out by the court!  

Michigan’s  newest version of the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) goes into effect on October 1, 2021. Prior to October 1, 2021, HYTA applied only to individuals under the age of 24. The latest rendition of Michigan’s HYTA statute provides youthful adult offenders (ages 18 but before age 26) with an opportunity to keep a criminal offense, including serious felonies, off of his or her permanent criminal record.  Dismissals pursuant to HYTA means that the offender avoids the stigma and public record of a criminal conviction. Subject to some exceptions, HYTA is available for most felonies and misdemeanors. A conviction is not required to be disclosed on an application for employment or education when an individual is given HYTA status. HYTA status can be taken away if an individual fails to comply with the terms and conditions ordered by the court.

HYTA is not available for juveniles (under age 18) or for offenders that are age 26 or older. However, there remain many other provisions of law that can benefit juveniles and adult offenders.

How do you get a HYTA disposition? Rule #1: HYTA applies only for those age 18 but before age 26!

Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between getting HYTA or winding up with a conviction. Although HYTA requires a formal “plea of guilty”, the court does not enter a judgment of conviction and Michigan State Police records are sealed as soon as the court assigns an individual to HYTA status.

The are several parties to a HYTA disposition including the judge assigned to the case, the defense attorney, the prosecutor and the defendant. The crime victim and charging police agency may also have input when HYTA is requested.  According to the HYTA law (MCL 762.11), the prosecutor shall consult with the victim regarding the applicability of this section. The consent of the prosecutor may be required depending upon the age of the defendant at the time of the alleged offense:

  • Prosecutor’s consent is not required  for offenses committed on or after the offender’s 18th birthday but before his or her 21st birthday.
  • Prosecutor’s consent is mandatory for offenses committed on or after the offender’s 21st birthday but before his or her 26th birthday.

HYTA is not guaranteed and may be rejected by the court. Hiring an attorney that knows the laws and has excellent skills dealing with local judges, police and prosecutors is vital for those that want the best possible advantage in the legal system.

You can get HYTA more than once and other helpful information

The HYTA law has many special features including the following:

  • There is no limit on the number of cases which may be placed on HYTA status.
  • Juvenile offenders (under age 18) are not eligible for HYTA but may be eligible for a disposition in the juvenile system with the same result such as diversion or consent calendar.
  • HYTA is not guaranteed and may be rejected by the judge even if the prosecutor, police and victim consent.
  • HYTA may include jail, probation, counseling and restitution to any victims.
  • The court may require an individual that is given HYTA status to be drug/alcohol tested, maintain employment or attend high school.

The following offenses are not eligible for HYTA

The essence of HYTA is that it allows for eligible criminal offenses committed by youthful offenders to be dismissed and sealed. HYTA is available for most misdemeanors and felonies. However, the HYTA statute lists various offenses which are not eligible for HYTA status as follows:

  • Traffic offenses
  • Drunk driving
  • Major controlled substance offenses
  • Most offenses that under the criminal sexual conduct statute
  • A felony for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for life.

Charged with one of the above ineligible offenses? Talk to a lawyer about ways to negotiate a plea bargain for a lower offense that qualifies for HYTA status!

HELP: Will anything show up on my record if my case is dismissed under HYTA status?

Our attorneys are asked this question every single day. As we have explained, HYTA specifically says that upon the court’s acceptance of HYTA status, there is no adjudication of guilt, the record is sealed and the case is dismissed upon compliance with any conditions spelled out by the court. The benefit of HYTA cannot be overstated. It is an excellent deal which we have used to get thousands of criminal charges DISMISSED. As far as the record of an individual is concerned after getting a case dismissed upon compliance with a HYTA disposition, we can only say that it will be sealed by the court and the Michigan State Police and the public will not be able to view your record.  Should anyone contact the court about your record after HYTA has been granted, the court employees are instructed to say: “THERE IS NO PUBLIC RECORD” and “THE EXISTENCE OF HYTA RECORDS CANNOT BE DISCLOSED“.

Unfortunately, HYTA protection is limited and does not mean that your record is destroyed, disintegrates or vanishes.  The history of all criminal cases, including those disposed of pursuant to HYTA status, are forever maintained by the court, FBI and Michigan State Police. In addition, Michigan law gives  certain entities (courts, law enforcement) access to HYTA records that would otherwise be classified as non-public. In addition to law enforcement agencies, other entities are also given access to HYTA records including: financial institutions, educational institutions, utility companies, and health care companies.

Most prevalent crimes are eligible for HYTA

Most non-traffic misdemeanors and felonies are eligible for HYTA status. HYTA status is available for all of the following common criminal offenses:

Although traffic crimes are not eligible for HYTA, we are often able to get them amended to avoid traffic points and a criminal conviction. HYTA is not available in the federal court system. However, the federal court system does have programs, such as diversion, that allows for a federal crime to be dismissed.

Can you lose HYTA status once it is granted by the court

A person that is given HYTA status remains on HYTA status until the end of a period of probation. There are always some rules and conditions that the court will impose for individuals that are given HYTA status. Violation of any rule or condition imposed by the court can result in losing HYTA status, abstracting the criminal conviction and imposition of further sentencing which could include jail. Getting charged with another crime while on HYTA status will always constitute a violation.  When a person is violated, the court will conduct a hearing to determine if a person will retain or lose his or her HYTA status.  In my opinion, most judges do not like to take away a person’s HYTA status and I would say that a judge will usually bend over backwards to allow a person to stay on HYTA. A HYTA violation  is a serious matter that requires a solid plan ahead of time that can make a difference in keeping or losing HYTA status. However, keeping HYTA status may have consequences such as serving some time in jail. Do not hesitate to consult with an attorney if you find yourself in this position.

Other Michigan provisions which are similar to HYTA

There are other laws which can be used in Michigan to get a criminal case dismisssed or under control which include: which can be resolved by laws which are similar to HYTA. They are as follows:

MCL 769.4a is used to get domestic violence offenses dismissed.

MCL 333.7411 is used to get drug crimes dismissed.

MCL 780.621 is Michigan’s “Clean Slate” or expungement law.

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Detroit 

The City of Detroit is amid major economic growth.   Detroit’s growth includes a real estate boom, renovations of historic structures, updated infrastructures and housing developments.  The downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods are experiencing an influx in population which is likely to continue for several years to come.  The City of Detroit is also attracting visitors for entertainment and tourism from the suburbs, Canada, other states and countries. Places like the Eastern Market, Greektown, Midtown, Little Caesars Arena, Fox Theatre, Belle Isle, the DIA casinos, festivals, concerts and restaurants have become major attractions in the City of Detroit.  In addition, all of Detroit’s professional sports teams (Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, Pistons) have returned to downtown Detroit.

There are many dimensions to the City of Detroit. Detroit is known for its hard working and hard partying people. It is also a devoted sports town. Detroit is uniquely situated geographically with an international border shared with the Country of Canada which is divided by the Detroit River and accessible by crossing the Ambassador Bridge or Detroit/Windsor Tunnel . Detroit has 3 major casinos and hosts the International Auto Show each year.  The Covid-19 pandemic has been a game changer but Detroit has endured the worst pandemic ever is more vibrant than ever.

36th District Court is the busiest in Michigan

The 36th District Court is by far the busiest district court in the State of Michigan. It has a single location at 421 Madison, Detroit, Michigan 48226. There are 30 judges at this location that have demanding criminal, drunk driving and traffic dockets.

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Winding up in the 36th District Court can be an intimidating place without the guidance of an attorney. Dealing with security on the main floor, locating your court room and attempting to discuss your case with the prosecutor can be overwhelming and sometimes futile. By saying the wrong thing without proper representation, you could wind up having your case scheduled for jury trial and miss an opportunity to get out of the system.  If you find yourself in this position, getting experienced 36th District Court defense attorneys is crucial to navigate you through this major urban court system. Here are a few things that you should know up front about the 36th District Court:

  • Court employees and court officers are prohibited from giving any legal advice.
  • You are not allowed to bring your cell phone into the court building.
  • You will be required to appear for an arraignment and will be unable to make any progress without an attorney.
  • You will be required to appear for a pretrial conference if you are unable to resolve your case at the arraignment.
  • Your case will be handled by either the Wayne County Prosecutor or Detroit City Attorney for purpose of negotiations, plea bargaining and trial.
  • You will be required to pay all fines and costs on the date of your sentence.

Most prevalent crimes handled at the 36th District Court

Our firm has represented clients charged with just about every imaginable misdemeanor and  felony crime in the 36th District Court. The following is list of the most prevalent cases that we regularly see on 36th District Court’s docket:

What to expect at a bond hearing in the 36th District Court

If you are arrested or arraigned for a criminal matter in the 36th District Court, you will appear before either a magistrate or judge.  Insofar as possible, it is always advisable to have an attorney present for arraignment purposes. An attorney can make a considerable difference at an arraignment hearing by advocating for a personal bond (where no money needs to be posted) or a for a low cash/10% bond arrangement. In addition to the cash component of bond, the Court can also impose bond conditions upon a person’s release from jail. Drug and alcohol testing are common bond conditions for those charged with any crime involving drugs or alcohol. A ‘no-contact order‘ is assured in assault cases, domestic violence, sex crimes and all other crimes involving a victim. In retail fraud cases, the accused party may be instructed to refrain from entering the establishment where the alleged shoplifting occurred. A motion for a hearing can always be filed to modify bond conditions, remove a no-contact order or eliminate travel restrictions.

Crime classification: Misdemeanor or Felony

Misdemeanor or Felony Classification: In Michigan, the district courts have full jurisdiction to dispose of misdemeanors through sentencing. A misdemeanor is classified as an offense that carries up to 1 year in jail.  A felony is classified as a crime that can carry more than 1 year in jail. A felony case is initiated in the district court for the arraignment, probable cause conference and preliminary examination. A felony that is not resolved in the district court will be moved to the circuit court for further proceedings. In certain cases, a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor and can remain in the district court. . Accomplishing reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor, thus avoiding a felony conviction, is considered a huge victory. 

Economic and property crimes: Larceny, embezzlement, retail fraud and malicious destruction of property to name a few, are all crimes where the classification (felony or misdemeanor) and potential punishment is dependent upon the amount of property loss. For most property crimes, if the amount involved in $1,000.00 or more, it is classified as felony.

Case results in the 36th District Court

The outcome of a criminal case in the 36th District Courts is dependent upon many components.  The most significant factors that can have a bearing on the disposition of a case are:

  • Prior criminal history of the accused party.
  • Cooperation with the police.
  • Whether another party was injured, or property was damaged.
  • The ability of the accused party to provide restitution for damages to the injured party.
  • Whether the offense is a ‘policy case’ (crimes against senior citizens, children

All these special provisions of law are possible in the 36th District Court which can result in the ultimate dismissal of a criminal matter:

Even individuals that have a prior criminal record will be given respect and consideration for plea deals to get a dismissal under certain circumstances.

Non-Resident or Canadian: If you reside outside of Michigan, consider getting an attorney that is experienced with the 36th District Court system and will provide you with efficient representation.

Drunk Driving Cases in the 36th District Court

Based upon 2016 statistics compiled by the Michigan State Police, the Detroit Police Precincts reported numerous drunk driving cases in the City of Detroit. Law enforcement in the City of Detroit is also provided by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police. There was a total of 11,903 injury crashes in Wayne County with 648 involving alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. Another 183 fatality crashes were reported with 76 involving alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

1st offense drinking and driving:  For most first time drinking and driving offenders, jail is not likely absent some other aggravating circumstances in the 36th District Court. A person without any prior drinking and driving offenses can expect to get an OWI reduced to ‘operating while impaired’. It is extremely difficult and rare, but not impossible, to get a drinking and driving offense reduced to a non-criminal offense. In addition to probation, a person convicted for a first drinking and driving offense (operating while impaired) is looking at:

  • Probation for 1 year or less
  • Fines and costs approximately $1,200.00
  • Restricted license for 90 days
  • Attend an alcohol or substance abuse program (discretionary)
  • Possible drug testing, alcohol testing, AA meetings (discretionary)
  • 4 points on driving record

Super Drunk Driving: If a person is charged with Super DUI (BAC .17 or greater) a deviation may need to be filed to get a plea bargain for a lower offense. Super DUI convictions will result in mandatory license suspension for 45 days followed by a restricted license for a period of 320 days with the requirement of a vehicle breathalyzer ignition interlock device (BAIID). The Court can also order installation of an ignition interlock system on any vehicle driven by a person convicted of any drinking and driving offense, not just a Super DUI.

Repeat DUI Offender: A repeat drinking and driving offender may be looking at a longer period of probation, up to 2 years, with the possibility of some jail time.  There are many steps that we can recommend to those charged with a repeat offense to reduce the likelihood of incarceration in almost every court.

Third Lifetime DUI = Felony: DUI 3rd is a felony/with a maximum penalty of 1-5 years in prison.  Felony matters begin in the district court and can remain in the district court for purpose of sentencing and probation ONLY if reduced to a misdemeanor. Felonies that are not resolved in the district court are handled in the Circuit Court after the probable cause conference or preliminary examination. Click here for more information on felony procedure.

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Matthew S. Abdo & Cy M. Abdo

The Difference Between Civil Infractions and Criminal Traffic Violations

Traffic offenses are classified as non-criminal or criminal. A non-criminal traffic violation is called a “civil infraction”.  In this article, ABDO LAW will explain the differences between various traffic offenses and why you should fight every traffic ticket to avoid points and higher insurance premiums. Avoiding a criminal record may be an additional goal if you are charged with a criminal traffic offense such as leaving the scene of an accident, driving while license suspended or reckless driving. The Michigan Traffic Offense Code contains a complete list of all Michigan traffic offenses along with penalties, points and license sanctions. Here are the goals that we have when we fight a traffic ticket:

  • Avoid points
  • Avoid any offense on driving record
  • Avoid higher insurance premiums
  • Avoid a criminal traffic conviction

Civil Infractions: A civil infraction can result in the following sanctions: points on your driving record with secretary of state and monetary sanction (fine) to the court system. Not all civil infractions result in points or go on your driving record. If you are wondering, there are a few civil infractions which we can get in a plea deal to resolve a traffic ticket and keep a client’s record clean. The following offenses do not appear on your record and do not carry any points: double parking, impeding traffic and sudden acceleration. Yes, the court remains able to assess a fine for these matters. However, insurance rates will not be impacted since these offenses do not show up on your record. That makes it a huge deal to get a traffic offense reduced to a civil infraction which DOES NOT appear on your driving record. Here are a few examples of common civil infractions that can hurt you because they carry points and appear on your driving:

       Civil Infractions                           

  • Speed 1 to 10 mph over limit, 2 points
  • Speed 11 to 15 mph over limit, 3 points
  • Speed Over 15 mph over limit, 4 points
  • FTSACD (rear end accident), 2 points
  • Disobey stop sign, 3 points
  • Disobey traffic signal, 3 points
  • Careless driving, 3 points

Criminal Traffic Violations: When an offense is labeled a crime or criminal traffic violation, it can carry the following sanctions: points, fine, court costs, possible jail and probation. If the matter is a misdemeanor traffic violation, it can carry up to 2 years probation. A felony involving a motor vehicle (such as fleeing or OWI 3rd), can carry up to 5 years probation. Here is a list of the most common criminal traffic offenses that carry 6 points, possible jail and probation:

       Criminal Traffic Offenses      

Insurance companies get rich when you just pay a traffic ticket!

Don’t surrender to the police, courts and insurance companies when you get a traffic ticket! There is never any benefit to just paying a ticket without trying to fight it. Absolutely Never! Based upon our experience, all traffic tickets in every district court in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties can be fought, won and save you from getting jammed up with higher insurance premiums. When we refer to these counties, we are referring to the district courts located in these counties such as the 37th District Court (Warren, Centerling), 38th District Court (Eastpointe), 39th District  Court Roseville, Fraser), 40th District Court (St. Clair Shores), 41A District Court (Sterling Heights), 41A District Court (Shelby Township, Macomb Township, Utica), 41B District Court (Clinton Township, Harrison Township, Mt. Clemens), 42-1 District Court (Romeo, Washington Township), 42-2 District Court (New Baltimore, Chesterfield Township), 43rd District Court (Ferndale, Madison Heights, Hazel Park), 44th District Court (Royal Oak) and the 53rd District Courts (locations in Troy, Rochester).

When you get a ticket, points are added to your Michigan Driving Record which will result in higher insurance premiums. In addition, if you accumulate 12 or more points, your license will be suspended. Anyone getting a ticket should get a traffic defense lawyer to review all possible options. The avoidance of points has a huge economic benefit as far as motor vehicle insurance costs are concerned.

Clean Slate Law Allows for Expungement of Certain Criminal Traffic Violations

Prior to 2021, a criminal traffic violation was could NOT be expunged in Michigan. Now, under Michigan’s new  expungement rules, traffic misdemeanors may be expunged. There are exceptions to this rule and the following offenses involving a motor vehicle may not be expunged:

  • Any traffic violation involving an injury or death.

Effective on February 19, 2022, a first and only driving under the influence can be expunged.  Whenever in doubt, contact an expungement lawyer  to find out if your case is eligible for expungement.

Impeding traffic, double parking?? What do they mean?

Most of the time, an attorney can negotiate for reduction of the ticket which usually means less points. When this occurs, the ticket is amended to an offense such as “impeding traffic” or “double parking” which is a zero point violation and does not appear on the driving record. We understand that “impeding traffic” or “double parking” may not have anything to do with the original ticket, but who cares! The key is that it does not carry any points and does not go on the driving record of the offender.

Links to Macomb and Surrounding Area Courts

Here is a sample of courts that surround our office where we frequently practice and have had success in getting thousands of tickets dismissed!

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Read this publication to find out how YOU can avoid points and traffic offenses from being abstracted on your record!

Why is it wise to hire a lawyer and fight a traffic ticket?

If you look at only the cost of a traffic ticket ($150.00 to $180.00 for most civil infractions), you may think that it is cheaper just to pay it rather than hire a lawyer to fight it. The process to accept responsibility is made very easy and convenient by the government. On the face of the ticket, you will be given options to pay in person or on-line. In fact, according to the National Motorists Association statistics, only 5% of Americans contest their traffic tickets.  However, paying a traffic ticket without a fight will cost you far more in the long run.  Here are the major disadvantages to paying a ticket without trying to fight:

  • Higher insurance premiums for 3-5 years following the incident which are far greater than the cost of a lawyer.
  • Points appear and accumulate on your master driving record.
  • The prosecutor will consider tickets that appear on your record should you contest future tickets.
  • Employers may deny or limit your use of company vehicles.
  • Getting a ticket set aside after you admit responsibility is expensive and not guaranteed.

In this publication, authored by ABDO LAW, we explain why you should fight every traffic ticket and what outcomes can be expected in the court system. In addition, we describe how the insurance industry uses tickets against you to increase premiums for several years beyond the date of the ticket and why higher risk drivers (the young and elderly) should be especially diligent about their driving records. This publication is based upon our experience handling civil infractions and criminal traffic tickets for 1000’s of clients in every Macomb County district court.

What can an attorney do for me if I get a traffic ticket?

The path of least resistance, paying the ticket versus fighting it, is not economically logical. The best course of action is to fight every ticket with a skilled traffic defense lawyer. Having an attorney who knows how to negotiate traffic tickets can make a huge difference in the outcome as well as your household’s bottom line budget for the next 3-5 years. In our experience, we always leave the court system better off than we started. On a consistent basis, traffic tickets can be resolved with an advantageous outcome which will protect your driving record and save you hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars per year.

Who benefits most if you pay your traffic ticket without a fight?

When you simply pay a traffic ticket without a fight, the government wins the battle because they get their full fee for the citation as originally written. However, insurance companies win the long-term war because they use the information placed on your master driving record by the government to rate and adjust your premiums for the next 3-5 years, depending on the citation.

Insurance companies use many factors to determine your insurance premiums including: your zip code, credit score, type of vehicle, and your driving record. Nerdwallet has a list of the cheapest vehicles to insure, with the Honda CR-V topping the list and several Toyota models in the top 25.

The insurance industry will use information on your driving record (accidents and tickets) and assign “insurance eligibility points” when you apply or renew your auto insurance. Insurance eligibility points are not the same as the points assessed by the Michigan Secretary of State. Insurance companies use their own point system for purpose of calculating your premiums and may deny coverage if you have more than six (6) eligibility points within the past 3 years.

Nobody from the auto insurance industry will tell you that you should hire a lawyer for every traffic ticket because it is not in their economic interest to do so. The insurance industry calculates your premiums and discounts based upon many factors with the heaviest weight placed upon your past driving record.  While your insurance company may give you a break for your first minor speeding ticket, you will not get a break for your second one or for a major traffic violation such as reckless driving (6 points), careless driving, (3 points), excessive speed violations, and several other traffic violations.

If you get a second ticket soon after paying your first ticket, getting a break in the court system is not a given. In fact, the best deals are preserved for those with the best records. You can assume that the prosecutor will have a copy of your driving record when you go to court. Some prosecutors may not make any plea bargain for those with bad records or may only offer a negligible concession.

The young and elderly take the biggest hit by just paying a ticket

As we have stated, your insurance premiums are based upon risk assessment. Unfortunately, young and elderly drivers are in the highest risk groups and face the biggest economic hits for traffic tickets. Risk rates are higher for all drivers 25 and under as well as drivers 70 and over. More than anyone, these groups need to be proactive and do everything possible to avoid getting traffic tickets and to fight any traffic tickets that occur.

What is the best resolution I can receive by fighting a traffic ticket? Avoiding points and entries on your driving record

If you have received a traffic ticket, the best outcome is a dismissal without court costs. A dismissal may occur several ways: winning at trial, the officer failing to appear for trial, or the prosecutor agreeing to this disposition. Since it is very rare for the prosecutor to agree to an outright dismissal and the outcome of a trial is uncertain, seeking a plea bargain is usually the best option for favorable resolutions of a traffic ticket. In fact, traffic tickets are similar to criminal cases and 90% or more are resolved by negotiating with the prosecutor for a plea bargain. Below is a list of the most common civil infraction violations:

  • Speeding 16-25 mph over – 4 points, 3 points on freeway
  • Speeding 11-15 mph over – 3 points, 2 points on freeway
  • Disobeyed Stop Sign – 3 points
  • Improper Passing – 3 points
  • Ran Red Light – 3 points
  • Failed to Yield – 2 points
  • Speeding 6-10 mph over – 2 points, 1 point on freeway

Short of a dismissal, the best outcome that one can hope for is to get a traffic ticket reduced down to a NON-POINT AND NON-ABSTRACTABLE offense. The Michigan Motor Vehicle Code contains certain offenses that do not carry any points and are not abstracted on your record. The offenses that we commonly utilize to avoid points and abstracted records are “IMPEDING TRAFFIC” and “DOUBLE PARKING”. We have obtained these best outcome dispositions in every Macomb County District Court. However, getting a best outcome disposition will still require you to pay an assessment of a fine, typically between $150.00 to $180.00., but these offenses will never appear on your record for insurance rating purposes.

Are traffic tickets considered criminal offenses?

In general, most traffic tickets are considered “civil infractions” and are not considered criminal offenses. However, Michigan law categorizes certain traffic offenses as criminal which not only carry points (go on your driving record), but also possible jail, probation and other and driving sanctions (suspension). Criminal traffic violations are usually, but not always, offenses that tend to be more extreme than minor traffic violations. They are abstracted on the driving record and permanent criminal record of the convicted party. Below is a list of the most prevalent criminal traffic violations:

  • Operating While Intoxicated – 6 points
  • Reckless Driving – 6 points
  • Leaving the scene of an accident – 6 points
  • Failed to Stop or Identify after Personal Injury Accident – 6 points
  • Fleeing and Eluding Officer – 6 points
  • Failure to Yield for Emergency Responder, 4 points
  • Drag Racing – 4 points
  • Passing a School Bus – 3 points
  • Disobeyed School Crossing Guard – 3 points
  • Driving While License Suspended – 2 points

Expungement forbidden for criminal traffic violations: While we have already explained the advantages of fighting a civil infraction, even greater benefits can be achieved by hiring a lawyer to fight a criminal traffic violation. These advantages include avoiding a criminal conviction on your record; not having to disclose criminal violations on applications for employment and education; excessive fees; insurance points; probation terms and conditions, as well as other license sanctions associated with a criminal traffic violation. Every day, we get phone calls from prospective clients asking if they can get their misdemeanor traffic violations expunged. Unfortunately, criminal traffic violations are may NOT be expunged.. Get a step ahead of the government by calling 844-GOT-ABDO.

CPL rights forfeited 3-8 years for criminal traffic violations: If avoiding all the economic burdens and lifestyle constraints described above is not enough justification to hire an attorney and fight your traffic ticket, then it should also be noted that your Concealed Pistol License (CPL) privileges and 2nd Amendment rights are curtailed after being convicted of certain criminal traffic violations in Michgan. For example, Michigan Concealed Pistol License Requirements state that you cannot apply for a CPL if you’ve been convicted of reckless driving in the last 8 years.

Fighting vs Paying a Traffic Ticket: Cost-Benefit Analysis

A single traffic ticket will negatively affect your master driving record and be used by the insurance industry to calculate your automotive premium for the next 3-5 years. According to Gary Biller, President of the National Motorists Association, if you have another traffic violation conviction within that 3-5 year time period, your insurance rates can boost another 15-20%.

With the average cost to hire an attorney and fight a traffic ticket ranging from $250 to $400, you’d see the return on your attorney investment within the first 6 months on your automotive insurance rates. The actual cost to fight your civil infraction or criminal traffic violation depends on several factors such as whether someone was injured, whether real or personal property was damaged, your master criminal and driving record, whether the vehicle was insured, whether you were cooperative with the arresting police officer, etc.

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READ THIS PARAGRAPH even if you don’t read anything else on this page!

This is a must read if you are thinking about obtaining a gun or a Concealed Pistol License. Obtaining a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) is easy. For those meeting CPL eligibility, attending a CPL class and shooting your firearm at a close range target is about all that is required. However, once you obtain a CPL, you will need to be constantly vigilant when you are carrying your firearm, handling your firearm and storing your firearm. I would urge anyone that has a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) to get a lawyer on retainer for any possible predicaments or advice as necessary with issues that may be on the horizon. We believe that most CPL holders are responsible and never have a desire to use a firearm against another human being unless absolutely necessary for self-defense. However, knowing when you can act in self-defense and what to do if you use a firearm are of the utmost importance if you are thinking about carrying a firearm. If you use a gun against another person, the police will conduct an investigation according to assault and homicide protocol. You may be the one that ends up calling the police if nobody else is around. The 911 recording will be kept as evidence. Whatever you say on that 911 call could be the difference between winning a trial on self-defense grounds or getting convicted of a felony. The police will also take witness statements from the friends of the bad guy. What do you they will say about the incident? In addition to the police, if you draw your gun and shoot someone, family members of the bad guy will attempt to vilify you and put pressure on the police and prosecutor to take criminal action for an assault or a homicide crime even though you acted in justifiable self-defense.

Potential criminal charges for drawing or using a firearm against another person

If you carry a concealed weapon (CCW) without a permit, it is a felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison. Whether you have a permit to carry or not, once a gun is drawn in the presence of another person, there is the possibility of being charged with an assault crime and/or firearm crime, such as:

  • Assault with a dangerous weapon
  • Assault with intent to do great bodily harm
  • Assault with intent to murder
  • Homicide
  • Intentionally discharging a firearm aimed without malice
  • Possession a firearm on prohibited premises
  • Brandishing a firearm
  • Reckless discharge of a firearm
  • Possession of firearm under the influence

A criminal defense lawyer can estimate whether you will be treated as a hero or a criminal for using a firearm against another person. It is important for anyone with a CPL to know things such as whether it is permissible or a crime to use a gun from a moving vehicle or whether you can draw your weapon to scare off an annoying person.

Basic rules of self-defense

Michigan is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. A person may use deadly force, with no duty to retreat anywhere he or she has the legal right to be. Any person who uses a gun legitimately in self-defense has immunity from civil liability.

Use of Non-deadly Force: An individual not engaged in the commission of a crime may use non-deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if the person honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.

Use of Deadly Force: An individual not engaged in the commission of a crime may use deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if the person honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to prevent:

  • Imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual; or
  • Imminent sexual assault of himself or herself or of another individual.

Be a student and practice the art of self-defense

It is important to continuously practice using a firearm and research various firearm and self-defense scenarios that you might encounter. It is also wise to consider self-defense training for situations when a firearm is not appropriate or your firearm is not readily accessible.

There is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to self-defense. Fortunately, there are numerous outstanding resources and courses available to keep yourself sharp and prepared to defend yourself should the need arise.  The internet is a vast source of every imaginable self-defense situation that you possibly could encounter:

There are countless scenarios that you need to consider when acting in self-defense either with or without a firearm. Do your research on common self-defense situations. Also, ask your lawyer about matters that might seem obscure but that could arise such as whether it is ever appropriate to use your firearm from a moving vehicle against another person in a moving vehicle. Here is what we say in our website about using a firearm from a moving vehicle:

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CPL Eligibility in Michigan

It’s a felony in Michigan to carry a concealed pistol on your person or in a motor vehicle without a CPL. However, if you meet the legal requirements, you are entitled to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol (CPL). An applicant for a Michigan CPL must:

  1. Be at least 21 years of age.
  2. Be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted into the United States.
  3. Be a legal resident of Michigan and reside in Michigan for at least six-months immediately prior to application.  An applicant is a resident of Michigan if one of the following applies: possesses a valid Michigan driver’s license or official personal identification card or is lawfully registered to vote in Michigan.

Note: The county clerk shall waive the six-month residency requirement: for an emergency license, if the applicant is a petitioner for a personal protection order or the county sheriff determines that there is clear and convincing evidence to believe that the safety of the applicant or the safety of a member of the applicant’s family or household is endangered by the applicant’s inability to immediately obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol.

  1. Successfully completing an appropriate pistol safety training course or class.
  2. Not be subject to an order or disposition for any of the following:
  • Involuntary hospitalization or involuntary alternative treatment.
  • Legal incapacitation.
  • Personal protection order.
  • Bond or conditional release prohibiting purchase or possession of a firearm.
  • Finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.
  1. Not be prohibited from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving, or distributing a firearm under MCL 750.224f.
  2. Have never been convicted of a felony in Michigan or elsewhere, and a felony charge against the applicant is not pending in Michigan or elsewhere at the time he or she applies for a CPL.
  3. Have not been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces.

Gun rights impacted by misdemeanor and felony convictions

 Pursuant to Michigan and federal law, you cannot own or possess any firearm (pistol or rifle) with any felony conviction. If you are charged with a felony, getting a felony criminal defense lawyer to fight the case is the key to preserving your Second Amendment rights. Misdemeanor convictions are a problem for a person trying to get a CPL. The right to obtain a CPL is denied 3 to 8 years upon conviction of selected misdemeanors.  Misdemeanor representation is crucial if you are charged with a misdemeanor under state law or local ordinance and you value your criminal record and/or CPL rights. There are many ways that a criminal defense lawyer can fight to save your record and gun rights. MCL

-8-year period of denial misdemeanors: A person convicted of any of the following common offenses is required to wait eight (8) years before applying for a CPL:

  • MCL 257.617a, failing to stop when involved in a personal injury accident
  • MCL 257.625, operating while intoxicated punishable as a second offense
  • MCL 257.626, reckless driving
  • MCL 257.904(1), DWLS punishable as a second offense
  • MCL 750.81, assault or domestic assault
  • MCL 750.81a(1) or (2), aggravated assault or aggravated domestic assault
  • MCL 750.115, breaking and entering or entering without breaking
  • MCL 750.136b(7), fourth-degree child abuse
  • MCL 750.226a, sale or possession of a switchblade
  • MCL 750.227c, improper transporting or possessing a loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle
  • MCL 750.232, failure to register the purchase of a firearm or a firearm component
  • MCL 750.232a, improperly obtaining a pistol, making a false statement on an application to purchase a pistol,
  • MCL 750.233, intentionally pointing or aiming a firearm without malice
  • MCL 750.234, discharging a firearm while intentionally aimed without malice
  • MCL 750.234d, possessing a firearm on prohibited premises
  • MCL 750.234e, brandishing a firearm in public
  • MCL 750.234f, possession of a firearm in public by an individual less than 18 years of age
  • MCL 750.235, discharging a firearm pointed or aimed intentionally without malice causing injury
  • MCL 750.237, possessing or discharging a firearm while under the influence
  • MCL 750.237a, weapon-free school zone violation
  • MCL 750.335a, indecent exposure
  • MCL 750.411h, stalking
  • MCL 750.520e, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • MCL 752.861, careless, reckless, or negligent use of a firearm resulting in injury or death
  • MCL 752.862, careless, reckless, or negligent use of a firearm resulting in property damage
  • MCL 752.863a, reckless discharge of a firearm

-3-year period of denial misdemeanors:  A person convicted of any of the following common offenses is required to wait eight (8) years before applying for a CPL:

  • MCL 257.625, operating while intoxicated, visibly impaired, under 21 years of age with any bodily alcohol content, or with any presence of a Schedule 1 controlled substance or cocaine
  • MCL 257.625a, refusal of commercial motor vehicle operator to submit to a preliminary chemical breath test
  • MCL 257.625k, ignition interlock device reporting violation
  • MCL 257.625l, circumventing or tampering with an ignition interlocking device
  • MCL 333.7401 to 333.7461, controlled substance violation
  • MCL 750.167, disorderly person
  • MCL 750.174, embezzlement
  • MCL 750.218, false pretenses with intent to defraud or cheat
  • MCL 750.356, larceny
  • MCL 750.356d, retail fraud second or third degree
  • MCL 750.359, larceny from vacant structure or building
  • MCL 750.362, larceny by conversion
  • MCL 750.362a, refuse or neglect to return vehicle, trailer, or other tangible property delivered on a rental or lease basis with intent to defraud the lessor
  • MCL 750.377a, malicious destruction of personal property
  • MCL 750.380, malicious destruction of real property
  • MCL 750.535, receiving, possessing or concealing stolen, embezzled, or converted property
  • MCL 750.540e, malicious use of service provided by telecommunications service provider

Additional misdemeanors that will result in CPL denial periods are listed at MCL 28.425b.

Pistol Free Zones

Pursuant to  MCL 28.425o, it is illegal for a person with a CPL to carry a pistol at the following places:

  • School property except while dropping off or picking up a student.
  • Day care center, child caring agency, or public or private child placing agency,
  • Sports arena or stadium,
    A tavern where the primary source of income is the sale of alcoholic liquor by the glass consumed on the premises,
  • Any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship, unless the presiding official allows concealed weapons.
  • An entertainment facility that has a seating capacity of 2,500 or more,
  • Hospital,
  • Dormitory or classroom of a community college, college, or university,
  • Casino

Furthermore, per Administrative Order 2001-1 of the Michigan Supreme Court:

  • “Weapons are not permitted in any courtroom, office, or other space used for official court business or by judicial employees unless the chief judge or other person designated by the chief judge has given prior approval consistent with the court’s written policy.”

The following penalties may also be imposed for carrying a concealed weapon in a pistol free zone:

  • First offense:  State Civil Infraction, $500 fine, CPL permit suspended 6 months
  • Second offense:  90-day misdemeanor, $1000 fine, CPL permit revoked
  • Third and subsequent offenses:  4-year felony, $5000 fine, CPL permit revoked

Declaring your CPL when confronted or pulled over by the police

Pursuant to MCL 28.425f, an individual that is licensed to carry a concealed weapon shall carry his or her CPL and state issued driver license or personal identification card while carrying a concealed weapon. Upon being confronted (pulled over, etc.), the individual carrying a concealed pistol shall show both pieces of identification to the peace officer and IMMEDIATELY disclose that he or she is carrying a concealed pistol on his or her person or in his or her vehicle.  The penalty for lack of identification is a state civil infraction. The penalty for failing to immediately disclose (carrying a firearm) is civil infraction subject to the following:

  • For a first offense, by a fine of $500.00 and by the individual’s license to carry a concealed pistol being suspended for 6 months.
  • For a subsequent offense within 3 years of a prior offense, by a fine of $1,000.00 and by the individual’s license to carry a concealed pistol being revoked.

Brandishing a firearm

CPL holders need to know that a firearm should not be produced unless absolutely necessary and in justifiable self-defense. Brandishing a firearm is a crime that involves production of a firearm for the purpose of intimidation but does not amount to aiming or an assault crime. MCL 750.234e, provides that a person shall not willfully and knowingly brandish a firearm in public, subject to the following exceptions:

  • A peace officer lawfully performing his or her duties as a peace officer.
  • A person lawfully acting in self-defense or defense of another under the self-defense act.

The federal definition of brandishing is as follows:  to display all or part of the firearm, or otherwise make the presence of the firearm known to another person, in order to intimidate that person, regardless of whether the firearm is directly visible to that person.

Brandishing a firearm is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not more than $100.00, or both. In addition, a person convicted of brandishing will be denied the right to apply for a CPL for 8 years.

It is a good practice to be a private person about your firearms and your CPL. Don’t flaunt your firearm or show off.  Once a person knows that you have a firearm, it is very easy to be accused of brandishing or some other crime that can jeopardize your record and your rights. Unfortunately, fighting a lie or proving a negative is not the easiest thing to do.

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Michigan citizens are serious about their Second Amendment firearm gun rights

We are living in an unprecedented time. On top of the Covid-19 global pandemic, there are racial tensions, social unrest, unemployment, pandemic lockdown measures, social isolation and tumultuous politics. All of this friction is making people feel nervous, frustrated and afraid. There are conspiracy theories and fears that the election may bring about stricter gun laws. People are arming themselves in record numbers to feel safe.

Michigan Firearm Carry Laws

In the State of Michigan, it is always legal for an individual to keep a firearm at his or her residence and place of business. However, carrying a concealed weapon without a CPL in a motor vehicle, or other place outside of the home or business, is a felony that can carry 5 years in prison. Here are the basic rules in Michigan regarding open and concealed carrying of a firearm:

Open Carry: In Michigan, it is legal for a person to carry a firearm in public (open carry) as long as the person is carrying the firearm with lawful intent and the firearm is not concealed. You will not find a law that states it is legal to openly carry a firearm. It is legal because there is no Michigan law that prohibits it; however, Michigan law limits the premises on which a person may carry a firearm. There is no such right to “open carry” a firearm in a motor vehicle unless it is being lawfully transported.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon: You may conceal-carry a pistol in a motor vehicle and non-restricted places with a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) but it is a serious felony to carry a concealed weapon without a CPL.

-Concealed Defined: The carrying of a pistol in a holster or belt outside the clothing is not considered carrying a concealed weapon. However, carrying a pistol under a coat is carrying a concealed weapon. Attorney General Opinion 1945, O-3158. According to the Court of Appeals a weapon is concealed if it is not observed by those casually observing the suspect as people do in the ordinary course and usual associations of life. People v. Reynolds, 38 Mich App. 159 (1970).

Transporting a pistol without a CPL: You may transport a pistol in a motor vehicle without a CPL if it is being transported for a lawful purpose and according to strict requirements (unloaded, separated from ammo and occupants).

MCL 750.227 is the Michigan Statute which makes it a felony to carry a concealed weapon:  A person shall not carry a pistol concealed on or about his or her person, or, whether concealed or otherwise, in a vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, without a license to carry the pistol as provided by law and if licensed, shall not carry the pistol in a place or manner inconsistent with any restrictions upon such license. A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,500.00.

Transporting a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle

Michigan law details how firearms may be transported in a vehicle. MCL 750.227c and MCL 750.227d discuss the transportation of firearms, other than pistols, in vehicles. It is a felony for a person without a CPL to transport a pistol  in a motor vehicle. MCL 750.231.a provides the exceptions to this rule. In general, the statute allows for transportation of a pistol for a lawful purpose which includes going to or from any of the following:

  • A hunting or target area
  • A place of repair
  • Moving goods from a home or business to another home or business
  • A law enforcement agency for a safety inspection or to turn the pistol over to the police
  • A gun show or place of sale or purchase
  • A public shooting facility
  • Public land where shooting is legal
  • Private property where a pistol may be lawfully used

Properly transporting a pistol requires that it be unloaded, kept in closed case designed for firearms, and in the trunk or not be readily accessible to the occupants if the vehicle does not have a trunk. There is no way to “open carry” a pistol in a vehicle. An individual, without a CPL or who transports a pistol in a vehicle without having a lawful purpose as stated above, may be in violation of MCL 750.227, the carrying concealed weapons statute.

Macomb County & Metro Detroit: Record gun sales in 2020

According to FBI data, 27 million guns, a record number, were sold in the United States in 2016. According to a CNN article, it expected that the gun sales record of 2016 will be broken before the end of this year. In September alone there was a 61% increase in gun sales from the same month in 2019. Gun retailers and industry analysts say its normal for Americans to stock up on firearms and ammo during an election year. According to the analysts, the surge is motivated by fears that a Democratic president might expand restrictions on gun ownership. But this year’s sales spike is different because it’s being driven by a rise in first-time gun buyers, especially among African Americans and women.  Macomb County is mirroring the national trend with gun and ammunition sales up sharply in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic and other concerns.

Felony conviction precludes possession or ownership of a firearm

CCW is classified as a felony. Pursuant to federal laws, a person convicted of a felony loses Second Amendment rights and cannot own or possess a firearm. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries up to ten (10) years in prison.

If you are charged with CCW in the counties of Macomb, Oakland or Wayne, then you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer for felony representation to help you avoid a felony and retain your Second Amendment rights as is explained in more detail below.

Other Common Crimes Involving Firearms

A felony conviction means never being able to own a gun without restoring gun rights after a ten (10) year waiting period. Misdemeanor offenses do not preclude gun ownership or possession. However, most misdemeanor convictions will result in denial of CPL privileges for up to eight (8) years.

The following is a list of common firearm crimes that we are seeing in Metro Detroit (counties of Wayne, Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair):

  • Carrying a concealed weapon
  • Assault with a dangerous weapon
  • Carrying a concealed weapon in a motor vehicle
  • Brandishing a firearm
  • Reckless discharge of a firearm

It is illegal to own or possess a firearm if you get any type of felony conviction. If you have a CPL and get a misdemeanor conviction, you face denial of your CPL privileges for several years.

Avoiding a felony record is the only way to retain your gun rights

In 2019, there were a total of 5,810 incidents of felony CCW reported in the State of Michigan and several thousands of other crimes related to firearms. Get a local criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with CCW or any other felony in any city or township in Macomb County, Oakland County or Wayne County.

Depending upon the prior criminal record of the offender and the circumstances of each case, there is a strong possibility of avoiding a felony conviction. Even those with a criminal record, can ask for a deviation to get a felony reduced to a misdemeanor.

In Macomb County, the prosecuting attorney’s office has a protocol in negotiating a felony charge to a misdemeanor or under a special provision of law which can result in a dismissal. The Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney has authority over felony matters in the following courts:

In Wayne County, the prosecuting attorney’s office has a specially assigned attorney known as a “diversion attorney”.  Diversion is a special status which can be assigned to a file that can result in NO entry of guilt and a complete dismissal at the end of a designated period of time. The file is essentially “diverted” from the criminal system.

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Michigan’s clean slate law makes it possible to get a fresh start and wipe out several prior convictions including one offense for driving under the influence or impaired.

Summary of Michigan’s Clean Slate Law

Michigan’s expungement law has been broadened to allow for more offenses to be expunged on an individual’s criminal record than at any other time in history. MCL 780.621 contains the provisions of Michigan’s expungement law. The following is a summary of this law:

  • Individuals will be able to get up to 2 felonies and 4 misdemeanors automatically cleared. Crimes punishable by more than 10 years in prison, violent crimes, “crimes of dishonesty” such as forgery, human trafficking and other serious crimes that carry a sentence of life in prison, domestic violence, traffic offenses where someone was seriously injured or died, child abuse, sexual assault, and operating while intoxicated aren’t eligible.
  • Allows misdemeanors to be automatically expunged after 3 years, felonies after 7 years, and serious misdemeanors or a single felony to 5 years, shortening the waiting time to apply for expungement.
  • Up to 3 felonies and an unlimited number of misdemeanors may be expunged, but no more than 2 assaultive crimes and no more than 1 felony if it’s punishable by more than 10 years in prison.
  • Allows felonies or misdemeanors from the same 24-hour period — to be treated as one conviction for expungement. Assaultive crimes, crimes involving a dangerous weapon and crimes punishable by 10 or more years in person can’t be included.
  • Effective February 19, 2022, a first and only offense for driving under the influence, impaired or with a High BAC (.17 or more) may be expunged!
  • Allows those with marijuana misdemeanor convictions to apply for expungement if their offenses would have been legal for recreational use if the crime occurred after cannabis was legalized in 2018.
  • Allows a conviction for 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct that occurred before January 12, 2015 to be expunged if the individual has not been convicted of another offense other than 2 minor offenses.
  • Minor offenses are a misdemeanor or ordinance violation with a maximum term of imprisonment of 90 days or less.

The Clean Slate Law makes Michigan a nationwide leader in expungement reform. To date, only Utah, California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey allow low-level offenses to be automatically cleared from records, and Michigan will now be the first to include low-level felonies in the automatic process. For thousands of Michiganders, this is an opportunity for a better life. Michigan’s Clean Slate Law creates a more just, equitable, and inclusive expungement process.

Expungement of Drunk and Impaired Driving

Effective in February 2022, an individual will be able to get 1 lifetime offense for driving under the influence expunged. Eligibility to expunge an OWI won’t come easy. First of all, the individual can have one offense expunged if that individual has only one DUI offense on his or her record. The DUI expungement law will allow for expungement of any 1 of the following offenses:

  • Operating While Intoxicated
  • Operating Under the Influence of Drugs
  • Operating While Impaired
  • Operating with a High BAC .17 or greater
  • Zero tolerance/minor with any BAC

Operating under the influence causing an injury or death are not eligible for expungement. One of the rules for anyone seeking to expunge an DUI will require the applicant to prove that he or she has resolved any underlying alcohol or substance abuse problem. This may require getting a current substance abuse evaluation and other documentation of sobriety.

The Expungement Process in Michigan

Expungement proceedings are complex and doing it yourself can be a daunting undertaking. If you fail to notify required parties (Attorney General, prosecutor, Michigan State Police) or fail to obtain a record clearance , the case will be dismissed. There are several required involved when it comes to getting an expungement. The proceeding for expungement has The DUI expungement Michigan process is very rigorous and time-consuming.

While every case varies, our format for successfully setting aside and expunging convictions typically involves the following steps:

  • Preparation of all documents.
  • Obtaining a certified copy of your conviction.
  • Correctly filing documents with the court.
  • Obtaining supporting documentation and character letters when necessary/
  • Notifying all parties including the prosecutor and Michigan Attorney General.
  • Submission of fingerprints to the Michigan State Police for a record clearance.
  • Scheduling the required court hearing.
  • Preparing our client for the hearing.
  • Appearing at the hearing.
  • Providing an Order to Set Aside Conviction.

Do I have to say I was convicted of a crime after it is expunged?

Once you are granted an expungement of a crime, you are not required to ever list it on a job application or mention it in an interview. In fact, if you are asked, you can say:

I DO NOT HAVE ANY CRIMINAL RECORD. 

How to Obtain a Copy of Your Record

The Michigan State Police maintains a central registry of criminal records in a system known as the Law Enforcement Information Network. Access to LEIN is restricted to criminal justice agencies or those agencies statutorily granted authorization. However, an individual can obtain of his or her own criminal record by following the instructions on the Michigan State Police ICHAT link: http://apps.michigan.gov.

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