Articles Posted in Criminal Record History

 

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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 more serious 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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JUSTICE.gifAbdo Law Firm prides itself on empathy, understanding, personal service, and striving for the optimal resolution of all legal matters that we take on. We are entering our fourth year with Matthew as a partner, and are continuing to grow. We always looking to hone our skills and engage challenging issues. This year we have had hundreds of satisfied clients, each case is very important to our Firm. The ‘Notable Cases” series is intended to share with readers cases that had complex legal and factual questions. ‘Winning’ in law is not always black-and-white concept. In some cases, a win is helping a guilty client reach a best-case-scenario disposition of their case (reductions, keeping charges off their record, and reducing jail/minimizing probationary terms). In other instances, a win is a dismissal or NG verdict. With every new case, we sit with our clients and determine exactly how we can win and the best means of reaching that objective. Read below to learn more about some our Firm’s more demanding cases and the tactics we employed defending our clients.

Sterling Heights: Moving Violation Causing Death

In the summer of 2012, we were approached by a client who was being charged with Moving Violation Causing Death. The client was in a situation where a criminal misdemeanor would have cost her job, and moreover harsh severe license sanctions. The facts were as follows. The client was backing from her driveway when her car made contact with a bicyclist, the bicyclist died as a result. Nonetheless, our client maintained she was backing up slowly and never saw the bicyclist until she heard contact. There were no third-party eye witnesses and all of the evidence corroborated the client’s rendition of the facts. There was no exterior damage done to the car.

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What does it mean to provide cooperation, snitch or be an informant for the police?

Cooperation, using the little fish to get the big fish, is a major law enforcement tactic utilized everywhere and every day in the United States to gain information that would otherwise be next to impossible to obtain. This practice is also used extensively in the County of Macomb as a means to frustrate illegal drug activity.

The concept of “cooperation” with the police (also called “snitching” or “acting as an informant”) occurs when the police utilize an informant to obtain the information that would otherwise be difficult to discover.  Those asked to provide cooperation are usually in trouble with the law (busted for a drug crime) and are promised consideration in the legal system in return for providing assistance. Assistance is expected to be substantial and typically involves undercover work with narcotics agents or special units.  The informant may later be required to testify as a witness in subsequent court proceedings unless given protection as a confidential informant (CI).

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At Abdo Law, we deal with many clients that maintain a Concealed Pistol License, or CPL, and the question always arises: will I lose my CPL if I’m charged or convicted of a crime? The answer is maybe, but Abdo Law’s dedicated attorneys will do everything in their power to guide clients through the process.

The State of Michigan sets guidelines for those wishing to obtain a CPL:

• Applicant must be at least 21 years of age;

• Be a citizen of the United States or an immigrant lawfully admitted into the United States (green card holders)

• Be a resident of the State of Michigan for at least 6 months prior to application
• Successfully complete a pistol safety training course
• The applicant may not be subject to involuntary hospitalization, an order finding legal incapacitation or a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity
• Not be subject to a conditional bond release that prohibits the purchase/use of firearms
• Not be subject of a personal protection order (PPO)

• Applicant has not been prohibited from having firearms in his/her possession, pursuant to MCL 750.224f

• Have no felony charge pending in Michigan, or any other jurisdiction
• Applicant was not dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces
In addition to the above requirements, applicants for a CPL must prove to the State of Michigan that they have not been convicted of certain misdemeanors. Some convictions bar the applicant for 8 years and others bar the applicant for 3 years. Lists with examples of such crimes have been provided below.

A question that occasionally presents itself is whether a matter that was disposed of under HYTA, 7411, 769.4a, or 771.1 will affect a CPL license. It is my understanding is that a CPL typically will not be granted to individuals on probation, even with a deferral. These dispositions still show up on the back end of records systems for law enforcement. Moreover, my understanding is that while it is possible to get a CPL after a case disposed of with HYTA or 7411, it is less likely for a case concluded with 769.4a or 771.1. Before being granted the license, in Macomb County for example, you need to first sit before a board. Somebody who just got off probation, even with a 769.4a, may have trouble getting a CPL even though the case has been dismissed. Being that the charge tends to indicate violent behavior, it is my opinion such an individual will have more difficulty getting a CPL than someone with a 7411 deferral. Please be advised, this is just my opinion.

Nonetheless, if you believe your current or potential gun rights could be jeopardized you should engage counsel immediately. Deferrals, reductions, and dismissals could be helpful in reducing the time that you are ineligible for a CPL. On the following page we have provided crimes that make applicants ineligible for a CPL.
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In the past, a person could seek an expungement in Michigan provided there was only a single criminal conviction on the person’s criminal record.

Under the new law, a person may file for an expungement, of a criminal conviction even though the person has a prior criminal record consisting of not more than two (2) other convictions for “minor offenses”. A minor offense is classified as an offense which occurs before a person’s 22nd birthday with a maximum penalty of not more than 90 days in jail and a fine that does not exceed $1,000.00. This means that prior offenses such as assault and battery, simple larceny, driving while suspended, leaving the scene of an accident, disorderly conduct and other minor offenses will not preclude an expungement of an eligible conviction.

Our firm believes that this new law will open up the floodgates and make expungements possible for housands of persons who were not otherwise eligible under Michigan’s prior expungement law. An attorney will need to review the criminal history of the person seeking expungement to verify that any prior offenses qualify as “minor offenses” within the meaning of Michigan’s expungement statute or risk denial of the expungement.

Michigan has rigid requirements for person’s seeking expungements which include preparation of formal legal documents, criminal history search, a time-table for filing documents, legal notices to proper parties and a court hearing. The notice requirements for expungements necessitate service of documents upon the Michigan Attorney General, Michigan State Police, prosecuting attorney and the victim of the underlying criminal offense. Venue for expungements in Michigan is in the district or circuit court where the offense occurred.

Other important aspects of Michigan Expungements:

-The following offenses cannot be expunged: felony punishable by life in prison, traffic offenses and criminal sexual conduct convictions
-5 years must have elapsed since the date of sentence or release from prison for the offense which is being expunged.

As Macomb County criminal defense lawyers, we have provided legal representation for eligible clients seeking expungement in many Michigan district and circuit courts. Pursuant to Michigan’s new expungement law, prior minor offenses (before age 22) will no longer preclude a person from filing an application for an expungement. We believe this to be a step in the right direction for persons who have been burdened by an old criminal record but have made positive changes and deserve a fresh start in life.
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Eastland_Center_Logo.gifIn Michigan, retail fraud, more commonly referred to as shoplifting, is an aggressively prosecuted and pervasive offense. Frequently, our office defends these cases in Harper Woods where the Eastland Mall is located and many of these offenses occur. Originally opened in 1957, the facility houses large department stores including the Burling Coat Factory, Macy’s and Sears. Most large chain stores have loss prevention (see our related post) and prosecute theft aggressively.

What is it that you need to know if you are being charged with retail fraud? Defendants should take note that the prosecution need not prove that you left the store with misappropriated merchandise. Pursuant to MCL 750.356d it only needs be shown that intent not to pay is coupled with one of the following;

– Altering merchandise,

bomb-squad-tape[1].jpgBomb threats are a serious matter as recently illustrated in a Macomb Daily article, “Shelby Township man arrested in bomb threat at Mount Clemens DuPont plant.” In that particular case, a 43 year old man apparently made a bomb threat at a DuPont plant and said, “If you care about your employees, get them out. There are two bombs set to go off.” Although no bomb was found, the person was still charged. Bond was set at $10,000.00 and a preliminary examination is scheduled in the 41-B District Court in Clinton Township on June 13th.

In Michigan, bomb threat cases are felonies which fall under the category of false reporting or crimes/threats and can be punished by up to 4 years in prison and/or $2,000.00 fine pursuant to MCL 750.411a. A second conviction for making a bomb threat can carry up to 10 years in prison.

The financial cost of a bomb threat is enormous given the need for deployment of specialized law enforcement equipment and personnel along with the cost of business interference. These costs can be imposed against a person convicted of making a bomb threat in Michigan. First of all, the convicted person can be ordered to pay the state or local government for the cost to respond to the false threat. This can include all police and emergency responders which become involved to inspect the premises and provide security. In addition, the convicted person can be ordered to pay the victim restitution for the costs associated with the false threat. According to the above mentioned Macomb Daily article, the DuPont plant was forced to close while the bomb threat was investigated. Under the circumstances, the Company would be entitled to request restitution for costs and losses associated with the temporary shutdown. The insurance company for the victim may also be a party who would be able to claim restitution.

The following procedure will guide you to search for your criminal history records for expungement, employment/education applications, visa, immigration, personal records check or adoption (fingerprints are required). Individuals requesting their own criminal history receive all data (public and nonpublic):

-If you are a Michigan resident, go to your local Michigan law enforcement agency and ask to be printed on a Michigan Applicant Fingerprint card (RI-8). Complete the card entirely.

-If you are not a Michigan resident but require a Michigan criminal history record check, go to any law enforcement agency in the state where you reside and ask to be printed on a FBI Applicant Fingerprint card (FD-258). In the “Reason Fingerprinted” block of the card write in “Michigan Record Check”. Complete the card entirely. Include a cover letter explaining the reason for the fingerprint submission. Requirements are the same as Michigan residents.