March 2010 Archives

March 29, 2010

Embezzlement Crimes in Michigan - Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County Cases

Most often, it goes like this: My office receives a call from someone who has been contacted by the Police (usually, a Detective) who wants to talk to them about an embezzlement case. In almost all of the cases, the person used to work for the person or company that went to the Police. The person calling my office is scared, and doesn't want to say anything that will make matters worse. It is not uncommon for the caller to have been told by the Police that if they do not give "their side" of the story, the Police will get a Warrant.

The caller wants to come in and is willing to pay whatever the cost in order to get some sound Legal advice.

man3.jpgAnd then I surprise them by telling them that the best advice is so simple, it would be a crime in itself to charge them for it: Just shut up.

In another article on this Blog, I explained what to do (and, more importantly, what NOT to do) when a Police Detective calls. As explained in detail there, in almost every case I've ever seen, by the time the Police call, they already have enough evidence to go ahead and get a Warrant charging the person with a crime. In that sense, the Police are being completely (and maybe too) honest. Think about the message the Police either leave or pass on: If you don't call, we'll get a Warrant. In order to do that, they need to establish "Probable Cause" to the Judge, and they're already indicating that they have it.

Therefore, about the only thing a person can say that would help out is something to the effect of "that wasn't me - I was living in Arizona during that whole time period, never was here in Michigan, and I can prove it." Anything other than that is just another nail in their coffin.

My advice in those cases is always to be polite and cooperative - return the call, and tell the Police you'll come in to be processed (meaning "booked" and "Arraigned"), but don't want to say anything or answer any questions. I tell the caller they can tell the Police they are "exercising their 5th amendment right against self-incrimination on the advice of Counsel." You've at least seen that one on TV, or in the movies, right?

Continue reading "Embezzlement Crimes in Michigan - Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County Cases" »

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March 26, 2010

Change in Weekly Article Schedule on This Blog

I sincerely hope any reader of this Blog would agree that the articles here are informative. When I was first considering doing a Blog, I checked around and was rather put off by what I saw. To me, most Legal Blogs were about some Lawyer restating a recent news story and then adding in his or her take on it.

When I decided to undertake this project, I knew I would set out to write about real world cases and how they're handled. Instead of talking about some obscure legal case the Supreme Court has decided, and which will have no application to anyone I'll ever represent, I wanted to explain and, perhaps demystify, the legal process for the kinds of case that ordinary people (the kind I Represent) regularly face.

typing.jpgBased upon the responses, I have received, I think it has been a resounding success.

But success comes with a price. In this case, that price is time. Having fallen behind from time to time in my 3 times per week publishing schedule, I have been faced with either staying (or at least feeling) way behind, or writing shorter articles. Hey, I know I'm wordy, but in order to explain and "demystify" this stuff, the articles cannot be cut short just to crank them out and make them short.

So, in order to maintain the quality of the information I put out, I have decided to scale back my publishing schedule to 2 times per week instead of 3, usually Mondays and Fridays. I may slip a short 3rd article in my weekly output from time to time, but in looking over the topics I plan on discussing, I know that a pretty large time commitment is involved, and I want these articles to be as good as all others on this Blog.

I realize I may be "whistling in the wind" and flattering myself that anyone really cares, but even for anyone who subsequently finds this Blog because of a search inquiry, there will be an obvious change in the number of articles published each week. And this will either be explained, or not. And if there's one thing I try to do on this Blog, it's explain....

Thanks for reading.

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March 24, 2010

Michigan Driver's License Holds - Getting a License in Another State

In my Practice as a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I am often called to help people who've moved away and find that they cannot get licensed in their new state because of a "hold" from Michigan. I have written several articles on this Blog relating to applying for an out-of-state License, the types of Appeals that can be filed, and why I don't believe in Appealing "by mail." Anyone interested in clearing up a "hold" on a Michigan License should read those articles, as well as the "Quick Start" guide to License Restoration on my website.

Recently, I have represented some Drivers who were willing to move back to Michigan in order to at least get a Restricted License. In many cases, however, moving back here is not an option, so the relocated Driver must file for what's called a "Clearance" which is basically a release of any and all "holds" on their Michigan Record, which in turn will allow them to get the out-of-state License.

Man-and-Suitcase2.jpgFor those Driver's whose License has been Revoked for multiple DUI's, then the series of articles on this Blog regarding the Driver's License Restoration process is a necessary starting point. In that series, I go over how a person files for a License Appeal, and cover all the ins and outs of both the process and the mindset needed to successfully go through it.

In one of the article previously mentioned about Administrative Reviews, I pointed out why I do not believe in them, and why I think the best way to get a License Restored (or get a Clearance) involves coming back here, to Michigan, to clean things up. Let's be clear about one thing: a person, wherever they may be, does not need to go through the License Restoration, or "Clearance" process if their License is merely Suspended. Those individuals can pay off what they owe, or set up some kind of payment plan, and get a "Clearance" that shows the outstanding matter is, or is being, cleared up.

The formal "Clearance" process only applies to Driver's whose Licenses have been Revoked, and the vast majority of those cases stem from multiple DUI's. Anyone in this boat has 2 options (3, if you count not doing anything and never being able to drive legally as an option):

1. File for the "Appeal by Mail," meaning sending in for an Administrative Review, or

2. Apply for an In-Person Hearing before the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD).

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Holds - Getting a License in Another State" »

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March 22, 2010

Driving While License Revoked in Michigan - 2nd (or Subsequent) Offense - Part 2

In the 1st part of this article, we did an overview of DWLS 2nd charges, and saw how where a case is being handled can affect it's outcome. In that regard, we've said a lot, but only learned a little. Let's now turn to the reality of DLWR 2nd and Subsequent charges and how they're handled in Court. As we have noted, the vast majority of DWLR cases originate from multiple DUI's.

A person facing a "true" DWLR 2nd, meaning they only have 1 prior DWLR conviction on their Record, will still have to explain themselves to a Judge. Even if they were caught driving to work, the Judge will point out that they absolutely knew they were not allowed to drive, but chose to do so anyway. What do you say to that?

Hand Judge.jpgBefore you answer that question, let's add in that many Judges will also point out to the person that all the excuses and promises in the world hold little meaning to them, because this person undoubtedly said those things last time. You know, "been there, done that."

This is were the value of a good Lawyer comes in. Beyond droning on about how old you're client is, and where they work, and how they just want to get on with their life (which is about the most useless waste of words I ever hear come out of a Defense Lawyer's mouth - who doesn't want to "get on" with their life?), a good Lawyer will point out to the Judge that the Client understands that, no matter what happens in Court, they have effectively "shot themselves in the foot." Remember, with each subsequent Offense, a Judge has to figure that whatever sentence the person got last time, it wasn't enough. In order to keep the Judge from "ramping up" the consequences, the Lawyer has to point out to the Judge that there are other consequences to the person's actions, outside of Court, that will automatically be "ramped up" anyway.

What I mean is that the Lawyer needs to point out that the Client is going to get nailed, financially, by the Secretary of State for additional Driver Responsibility Fees. And here's a catch: Even if a DWLR 2nd Offense is reduced to a 1st Offense, the Secretary of State simply counts the number of prior Offenses within 7 years. Thus, a person with 2 DWLR 1st Offense convictions within 5 years is going to pay the same Driver Responsibility Fees as a person who has both a DWLR 1st and a DWLR 2nd Offense. For DRF purposes, such a Plea Bargain has no effect.

Continue reading "Driving While License Revoked in Michigan - 2nd (or Subsequent) Offense - Part 2" »

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March 19, 2010

Driving While License Revoked in Michigan - 2nd (or Subsequent) Offense - Part 1

In the previous articles in this series, we examined the charge of Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) 1st Offense. We learned that, although part of the exact same Law, DWLR is still a different crime than Driving While License Suspended (DWLS), and the majority of DWLR cases arise because the Driver has accumulated multiple DUI's. This article will focus on DWLR 2nd and Subsequent (meaning, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.) Offense. Like the other articles in this series, this one will be broken into 2 parts, the first part being more of an overview of DWLR 2nd Offenses, and the second looking more at how 2nd and Subsequent Offenses are actually handled in Court, and the other consequences they cause. From here on out, we'll simply refer to DWLR 2nd or Subsequent Offense as DWLR 2nd Offense. It will be clear when were talking about 3rd, 4th and additional subsequent offenses.

At first glance, one might think that DWLR 2nd Offense is just a more serious crime than DWLR 1st Offense, and that's partly true. As I frequently point out in these Blog articles, my observations are limited to the Courts of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. Thus, what I say here may not be accurate in the Courts of other Counties.

bilde.jpgUnlike so many "doom and gloom" observations about how bad things are or can be with any given charge, a DWLR 2nd Offense charge does not have to be the end of the world. Of course, if this charge is made out as part of another DUI arrest, it can't get much worse. On it's own, however, a true 2nd Offense is really quite survivable. That's not to say there aren't consequences. As a Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I can point out that right out of the gate, anyone getting a DWLR 2nd charge has set themselves back at least a whole year as far as any License Appeal goes.

And while that's certainly a valid concern, for anyone facing a DWLR 2nd Offense charge, a more immediate consideration is staying out of Jail. Just like DWLS 2nd Offenses, DWLR 2nd Offenses are Misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in the County Jail. As far as Misdemeanor's go, a 1-year Misdemeanor is the most serious of all Misdemeanor charges.

When a person hires a Lawyer to help them in one of these cases, they usually have 2 big concerns: staying out of Jail, and avoiding Probation from Hell. Depending on where the case is being heard, how this works out can be very different from Court to Court.

Continue reading "Driving While License Revoked in Michigan - 2nd (or Subsequent) Offense - Part 1" »

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March 17, 2010

Michigan Driving While License Revoked 1st Offense - Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we did an overview of DWLR, compared and contrasted it to DWLS, and left off by noting that anyone facing a DWLR 1st Offense is usually already in "hot water" by virtue of their prior Record. In this second part, we'll look at why that's the case, and how this charge can negatively impact a person's hopes of having their Driver's License Restored anytime soon.

Every Judge hearing one of these cases is going to look at the Defendant's prior Record. That means, to put it plainly (if not harshly), almost every DWLR Driver will be seen as a repeat-offender Drunk Driver who, after all of that, still can't follow the law. That may seem mean spirited (although it's not meant to be), but it's certainly far more accurate than saying almost every DWLR Driver is safe bet to stay out of trouble.

Trooper3.jpgGiven that perspective, it only makes sense to make sure the Defendant not only has a Lawyer, but a good one. Hiring some person from far away, or who is not a "regular" at handling these cases makes less sense than taking a Court-Appointed Lawyer. Whatever else, at least the Court-Appointed Lawyer will have an idea of how the Judge will handle the case, which is a lot more than can be said for the Lawyer from far away or the one who doesn't regularly handle this kind of case.

In my Practice, that means only handling these cases when they arise in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne Counties. Whatever "shopping" a person does, bear in mind that the term "local" means a lot here. While it's not for me pass judgment on other Lawyer's practices, or those who hire them, I can certainly give my opinion. Knowing what I know, if I had to hire a Lawyer for a DWLR charge, I'd look for someone from the local, Tri-County area and steer away from those "1-800" number, statewide, "go anywhere, handle any case" kind of outfits. If my case was in a County outside of the Tri-County area, I'd hire a Lawyer from that County. Now, I realize there are exceptions, but a s a general rule, I'd mark that as number 1.

Continue reading "Michigan Driving While License Revoked 1st Offense - Part 2" »

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March 15, 2010

Michigan Driving While License Revoked 1st Offense - Part 1

In the previous series of articles, we have examined Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) cases (both DWLS 1st Offense, and DWLS 2nd and Subsequent Offense) and noted that the subject of this series, Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) is a more serious offense.

In Representing Clients with DWLR charges in the Courts of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, I have learned that, beyond the actual Law, there is another, real-world dimension to how these cases are viewed and handled.

Police2.jpgThis article will be broken into 2 Parts, and will deal specifically with Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) 1st Offense. The next articles in this series will deal with DWLR 2nd and Subsequent Offenses.

I point out that DWLR is a more serious Offense than DWLS, but the fact of the matter is that both DWLS and DWLR, and both 1st and 2nd (or Subsequent) Offenses for each are both violations of the very same Law, and are both subject to the exact same penalties. So why is it that I call DWLR more serious than DWLS?

This is what I meant about there being another real-world dimension to these cases beyond the actual, written Law. While it is possible for a person to pick up a DWLS case as the result of a DUI, there is only a very limited scope within which that can happen, and either involves a Breathalyzer Refusal or a 1st Offense DUI (actually and technically, an OWI) wherein a person's License has been suspended for 6 months, and where they were granted a Restricted License for the last 5 months of that period, after they served a mandatory 30 day "hard suspension," meaning no driving privileges whatsoever.

That means that the only DUI matters that can cause a person's License to be Suspended are either Suspensions for Breath-Test Refusal, or a 1st Offense OWI where there was no reduction of the charge to an "Impaired" driving."

However, the number of cases involving Revoked Licenses (DWLR) due to DUI convictions is way higher than the number of DWLS cases attributable to a DUI. That's because unlike the narrow time frame when a person can have a License Suspended because of a DUI, any combination of 2 DUI-related convictions within 7 years will cause a person's License to be Revoked for LIFE, unless and until they are approved, after a Hearing before the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD). Such a Driver can't even apply for this Hearing until at least 1 year has passed.

Continue reading "Michigan Driving While License Revoked 1st Offense - Part 1" »

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March 12, 2010

How to Read and Use This Blog, the Topics Links and the Cross-References

This article is really an interruption in a larger series about Suspended and Revoked Driver's Licenses. The reason I'm doing this is to make sure the reader understands how these Blog articles are categorized, and so that they know that most articles here connect with other articles, or even series of articles, and, if read together, can provide a comprehensive analysis of how certain things work (or at least how I handle them).

Most often, the reader will wind up here because of a search-engine query. Often, the reader will be taken to an article that directly relates to the topic (like DUI, Drug Cases, or License Restorations) they're searching. Sometimes, however, a person might wind up on either the most recent article posted, or some other article, neither of which have nothing to do with what they're looking for.

woman-using-laptop2.jpgI'm no web master, so I can't really explain how that happens. I do know, however, that despite whatever article a person may wind up on, even if it doesn't relate to their search, it usually means there is another article on this Blog which does. In other words, if a person has searched for "Delivery of Marijuana Mi" and then winds up on this article, because it's the most recent entry, the search engine didn't exactly fail, it just didn't go to the actual article about "Delivery of Marijuana in Mi." That's what the column on the right side of this Blog is for.

That column, about ¼ of the way down on the right side of this (or any) page, lists all the articles I've posted by Topic. Thus, the person who winds up on this article but was searching for Marijuana Delivery would scroll down and click one of the listings for Marijuana.

Within the framework of those Topics, every article has, at the bottom, a listing of other topics in which that same article can be found. This is how I, as the author, have cross-referenced Topics. This means that a person wanting to learn all they can about one Topic should also click on those other Topic listings, because those other topics also have related information in them.

Also, a number of my articles are written in multi-part series. The way the site works, the newest articles are always listed above the older one. This means that every series of articles is kind of listed in reverse, or newest first, oldest last. Thus, Part 1 of any series is always at the bottom.

Continue reading "How to Read and Use This Blog, the Topics Links and the Cross-References" »

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March 10, 2010

Driving While License Suspended 2nd or Subsequent Offense in Michigan (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County) - Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we began reviewing DWLS 2nd (and Subsequent) Offenses. This article picks up where the previous one left off. We'll examine how a Lawyer approaches and handles DWLS 2nd (and Subsequent) cases, and how, with each successive prior DWLS conviction, a person edges closer to actually getting locked up for this charge. As in the previous article, we'll simply use the term "DWLS 2nd" or "DWLS 2nd Offense" to mean both an actual 2nd Offense, meaning a person has only 1 prior DWLS conviction, as well as all "Subsequent" Offenses, where a person has 2, 3, or even more prior DWLS convictions.

In my Practice, DWLS 2nd Offense cases are handled much like 1st Offenses. When I am hired by someone to handle a DWLS 2nd, I fist want to know why their License was Suspended. As much as we've talked about DUI's, the most common reason for a License Suspension stems from either an unpaid Traffic Ticket or Tickets, or unpaid Driver Responsibility Fees.

Courtroom2.jpgIf at all possible, the first thing a person with ANY Suspended License charge should do is clear up whatever it was that caused their License to be Suspended in the first place. Obviously, if the reason is for a DUI, all the person can do is wait. If the Suspension is the result of an unpaid Ticket or Tickets, then the person should pay them, or at least begin scheduling Court dates or work out some kind of payment plan to at least set the ball in motion.

The reason this is so important is that, as a Lawyer representing someone for a DWLS 2nd, I want to work out some kind of Plea Bargain for that person. Even if I know a Client is not likely to go to Jail, I need to try and minimize every other negative consequence of charge so that they can get back on the road as soon as possible, and so that they don't go broke in the process.

Let's look at a few examples. Let's say Dave the Driver gets pulled over in Warren for a DWLS 2nd. Lets say he already has a DWLS on his Record, which is the result of some unpaid Tickets elsewhere. When I go to Court for Dave, if I can show the Prosecutor that Dave has either taken care of his outstanding matters, or has at least started the process (meaning done more than simply saying he's going to take care of them), it is still possible for me to work out the poster-boy of all Plea Bargains in this kind of case, which has the whole DWLS charge dropped to what's known a s a "No-Ops." A "No-Ops" stands for No Valid Operator's License on Person, which amounts to being pulled over and having left your Driver's License at home. It carries no Points, no Mandatory Additional Like Suspension, and no Driver Responsibility Fees.

Continue reading "Driving While License Suspended 2nd or Subsequent Offense in Michigan (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County) - Part 2" »

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March 8, 2010

Driving While License Suspended 2nd or Subsequent Offense in Michigan (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County) - Part 1

In Part 1 and Part 2 of the previous articles about Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) 1st Offense, we reviewed some of the reasons for and consequences of that charge. In this and the next articles, we'll look at DWLS 2nd Offenses and examine how and why that charge is (and is not) sometimes made, as well as the consequences that accompany a 2nd Offense. This overview will be based upon the many DWLS cases I have handled in the Courts of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties.

Given the sheer number of DWLS cases that I handle, it only makes sense that a pretty fair share of them involve DWLS 2nd (or Subsequent) Offenses. It should be obvious at the outset that a DWLS 2nd or Subsequent Offense charge means a person has at least 1 prior DWLS conviction on their Record. From here on out, we'll refer to DWLS 2nd or Subsequent Offense as just plain DWLS 2nd Offense.

2008-alfa-romeo-159-interior1-775738.jpgWhen someone is Arrested and then Charged with a DWLS 2nd, it's usual for their first concern to be staying out of Jail. If I have done anything in these blog articles, I think it's fair to say that I have NOT been any kind of alarmist, or used any scare tactics to frighten anyone about the real-life consequences of their situation. In fact, I have gone to great lengths to point out just how unlikely going to Jail is in many different kinds of cases, including the previous series of articles about DWLS 1st Offenses.

That changes a little bit now. While a DWLS 1s Offense almost never (and simply never, in my experience) results in someone going to Jail, Second (2nd), and especially that part about Subsequent (meaning more than 2 prior DWLS convictions) Offenses brings a person much closer to being locked up.

First of all, DWLS 2nd Offense is a Misdemeanor, like DWLS 1st Offense, but it carries a penalty of up to 1 year in Jail (a 1st carries a maximum penalty of up to 93 days in jail). In addition, it carries a maximum fine of up to $1000 (DWLS 1st carries a max of $500), 2 Points on the Driver's Record, and a Mandatory Additional Like Suspension. Beyond that, there is yet another, cumulative Driver Responsibility Fee, meaning that any DRF for a 2nd Offense is added on top of whatever other DRF a person might owe.

Continue reading "Driving While License Suspended 2nd or Subsequent Offense in Michigan (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County) - Part 1" »

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March 5, 2010

Driving While License Suspended in Michigan - 1st Offense in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County - Part 2

Part 1 of this article focused on defining a DWLS 1st Offense charge, and what the law sets forth as possible consequences for such a charge. In part 2 of this article, we're going to talk about the real consequences of a DWLS 1st Offense charge, and what can be done to avoid them, and perhaps the whole DWLS charge altogether.

While there are exceptions, pretty much all DWLS cases involve someone getting pulled over and caught driving. In that sense, the usual Client is caught "red handed," as the term goes, and there are seldom any evidentiary issues to challenge, except, occasionally, the underlying Police reason for the Traffic Stop.

dc-police-car2.jpgTherefore, in the usual, garden-variety DWLS 1st Offense case, a person has been pulled over for some reason and is found to have their License Suspended. Most of the time, they'll be arrested and taken back to the Police Station, but sometimes, they'll be let go with a Citation (Ticket). Of course, they're not let go to keep driving; either someone in the car with a valid license will have to drive, or they'll be allowed to call someone to come and pick them up. Depending on the circumstances, the car may or may not be impounded.

After all of that, they start looking for a Lawyer. They want to know several things, and first among them is whether or not they can be kept out of Jail. Good news here; unless the person has a really horrible prior Record, a 1st Offense DWLS is almost a slam-dunk for staying out of Jail. In fact, I cringe when people sometimes tell me some Lawyer or other told them he or she would keep them out of Jail. To me, that's like a Dentist telling a person with a cavity that because of the filling they can put in, they'll keep the person from getting brain-cancer. In fact, I can't remember anyone I've ever represented even coming close to going to Jail on a DWLS 1st Offense charge.

Okay, so we know that in all but the rarest of rare cases, we're not talking about Jail. Next on anyone's list is (or at least should be) what can be done to avoid all the other consequences (Mandatory Additional License Suspensions, Points, Driver Responsibility Fees, etc.)? The answer to that question depends, more than anything, on the driver's prior Record. If the person gets a DWLS 1st charge after having ignore 22 Tickets in 14 different Cities, and has 20 outstanding Suspensions for failure to take car of any of them, their chances of working out a deal to avoid all the consequences of a DWLS are a lot slimmer than a person who has 1 or 2 (or even 3 or 4) outstanding unpaid Tickets that have resulted in Suspensions.

Continue reading "Driving While License Suspended in Michigan - 1st Offense in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County - Part 2" »

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March 3, 2010

Driving While License Suspended in Michigan - 1st Offense in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County - Part 1

Driving While License Suspended cases have always been a large part of my Practice, and the sheer number of such cases has been rising over the last several years. The economy has prevented many people from paying off or otherwise dealing with Traffic Tickets, which then results in a "FCJ" or Failure to Comply with Judgment" Suspension of their License. Even those who handle their Traffic Tickets are sometimes unable to pay the Driver's Responsibility Fees, or what's known as the "bad drivers tax." When those Fees are not paid, the Driver's License is Suspended.

There are, of course, lots of other reasons why a person's License may be Suspended. In this article, we'll discuss some issues regarding Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) 1st Offense cases, and how that can affect a person's ability to get their License reinstated. In the next article, we'll examine how this works in cases of Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) 2nd and Subsequent offense. After that, and as this series of articles continues, we'll see how all this works in Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) cases.

statepolice2.jpgThe 2 terms DWLS and DWLR are sometimes confused, and despite being part of the same law, are very different, and carry very different consequences. So, to define our subject here, we're talking about matters involving Suspended, and not Revoked Licenses, and Parts 1 and 2 of this article will deal with DWLS 1st Offenses.

Let's clarify one more thing; I only handle DWLS and DWLR cases where the charge is pending in a Court in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County. A recent exception to that limitation only served to reinforce my decision to limit my Criminal Practice to the Tri-County area (this geographic limitation does not apply to my License Restoration or Bankruptcy Practices). Thus, what you read here is how things work in the Detroit area. Some or all of it may apply elsewhere, but I have no inclination or interest in finding out to what extent that is or is not true.

Suspended License cases come in several different flavors. Some cases, like those that we'll be examining in this article, involve a "1st Offense," meaning that the person charged has no prior DWLS cases. Some people, however, do have "priors," and the number of those "priors" can range from 1 prior to many. Not to swap war stories, but perhaps the highest number of prior suspensions I have seen on a Client's record was over 60! Long story about that one, but I kept the guy out of Jail.

Continue reading "Driving While License Suspended in Michigan - 1st Offense in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County - Part 1" »

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March 1, 2010

Fees and Payment Plans for Michigan Criminal, DUI and License Restoration Cases

Let me begin this "article" by pointing out that it is a departure from my usual information-style discussion of some aspect or other of the kinds of Criminal, Drunk Driving and License Restoration cases that I handle. I have found that, after reading some of my articles, some people will call my office and ask "How much do you charge?" or "Do you have a payment plan?"

On this Blog, there is a "button" entitled "Fees" which takes the reader directly to my Fee schedule. Ditto for mywebsite. For whatever reason, that button seems to get missed a lot. This "article" will discuss money; how much I charge for certain legal services and how payment is made.

cash-register.jpgFor Driver's License Restorations, I charge $3600. The usual payment plan begins with 1/3 ($1200) down at the first face-to-face meeting, another $1200 paid as the case is prepared, and the final $1200 paid about a week before the actual Hearing.

Most Misdemeanor cases are paid with an initial Retainer or ½ down, with the second ½ due prior to the Court date. Therefore, a typical Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County District Court case with a fee of $3600 would require a $1800 payment at the first face-to-face meeting, and the other $1800 paid just before the actual Court date.

In Misdemeanor cases which require more than 1 Court appearance (DUI cases always require 2 Court dates), the Retainer is still ½, with the second ½ due prior to the SECOND Court date.

For Felony cases, I usually require ½ down as a Retainer, and break the remaining ½ into 2 separate payments. Thus, if the Fee is $6800, I usually require ½ ($3400) as a Retainer at the first face-to-face meeting. The next payment is $1700, which is paid when (and if) the case goes to the Circuit Court. The final payment of $1700 is due just prior to the last Court date, which is usually the Sentencing.

Sometimes, by special arrangement, I will break the payments into 3 equal installments. Often, I will work out a deal where no further fees will be charged beyond the initial first ½ if the case is finished up in the District Court, rather than being bound over (or "sent up") to the County's Circuit Court.

Traffic Tickets
are always handled on a ½ down, the other ½ due before Court basis.

There are no payment plans based on monthly or weekly installments, and the 1/3 to ½ down required as an initial Retainer is pretty much set in stone. Throughout my Blogs it has been my goal to be honest and direct. To that end, when someone calls about a Misdemeanor or Felony case and offers to put down a few hundred dollars, with promises of future payments, I must decline. Those arrangements have never worked out satisfactorily. A retired Judge once said, when imposing fines and costs and allowing no time to pay them, that although he believed most people had good and honorable intentions to pay, it was better that they got credit from someone who knew them better than he did, and that's how it works in my Office.

My office accepts Cash, Check, Money Orders, and Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

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