April 2010 Archives

April 30, 2010

License Restoration in Michigan - Getting Back on the Road Legally

It's kind of funny to be called "The License Guy" by your fellow Lawyers, but because such a large part of my Practice involves Driver's License Restoration cases, I take it as a compliment. Occasionally, I am pulled aside in Court by some Lawyer (even on the Prosecutor's side) and asked a question about License Restoration. Frequently, the question involves a complicated issue, and within a minute or two, the person to whom I'm speaking says something like "give me your card, I'll have them call you."

One of the things I have learned from these "do you have a minute?" questions is that there is a prevailing belief that has almost reached mythical status about the impossibility of winning back a Driver's License once the person has had it Revoked because of multiple DUI's. Most people are surprised to learn that winning back a License is very possible. A few, on the other hand, think all a person has to do is file for an Appeal, show up, and say they haven't been drinking, and the License will be Restored. Neither of these are true at all. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle.

happy-driver3.jpgEven the Secretary of State knows that lots of people think that once the License has been Revoked, it's gone forever. In the Secretary of States' Official Publication, the DLAD Practice Manual (published before the DLAD, then known as the Driver Appeal and Assessment Division, changed it's name to the DAAD, or Driver Assessment and Appeal Division) the Secretary of State even says, about itself, that:

The Department is aware that there is a perception that the agency "never returns a license" in habitual violator appeals.

This underscores the fact that there is a widespread belief that these cases are impossible to win, and yet nothing can be farther from the truth. In the previous Blog entry, I noted that of the 25 or so Appeals I had filed, and for which I had conducted Hearings at the time of the article (the first quarter of the year 2010), I HAD WON EVERY ONE!

Now, there's no magic wand that I have that allows me to do that. Sure, I'm darn good at this, but part of that being good is deciding which potential Clients are ready to file an Appeal, and who needs some more work and must wait.

Continue reading "License Restoration in Michigan - Getting Back on the Road Legally" »

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April 26, 2010

Michigan Driver's License Restorations - My 100% Success Rate in 2010

As of this writing, I'm gearing up for a number of my usual, informative Blog articles. I have a few interesting, relevant and useful topics in the oven. For now, though, I thought I'd just engage in a little shameless self-promotion and demonstrate how all that hard work and effort that both the Client and I put into each Driver's License Restoration case pays off.

Up until this year, I have been able to honestly boast that I win more than 90% of the Driver's License Appeals that I handle.

As of today, I have conducted somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 License Appeal Hearings this year (2010) and have WON EVERY CASE I FILED!

trophy_man3.jpgThat's a 100% success rate!

This success is due to 2 main factors:

1. As much as I'm in business to make money, I only take cases where the potential Client has a very good, bona-fide chance of winning the Appeal. If I am speaking with someone who asks something like "So, for how long do you need me to say I've been sober?" I know I'm not talking to someone who is ready to file a License Appeal.


2. These cases take a lot of work. I don't know anyone who puts in anywhere near the effort that I do in these Appeals, but the results speak for themselves. My first meeting with a new Client usually takes about 3 hours. You simply cannot expect success in this endeavor if you're not willing to invest the time and effort necessary to do it right.

If you've been without a License due to multiple DUI's and wonder if you'll ever get your License back, or if you are inclined to believe the myth that you can never win one of these Appeals, please explore the Driver's License Restoration section of this Blog, and read the License Restoration section of my Website.

If you are ready to begin the process, then I can help you get back on the road. Believe me, at this stage of my career, I'm not looking to do anything to jeopardize my perfect record. I'm looking for winning cases. Perhaps yours might be one of them!

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April 23, 2010

DUI in Michigan and why Having a Prior MIP Complicates Things

As part of my Drunk Driving Practice, I handle lots and lots of DUI cases. The first question any DUI Lawyer has for a potential Client is "Do you have any priors?"

Often, the Client will indicate that they don't have any prior DUI's, but will mention that they had an MIP (which stands for Minor in Possession of Alcohol) when they were younger. This article will look at how a prior MIP (or several prior MIP's) can complicate a DUI charge.

alcohol2.jpgThe biggest concern in any DUI case (besides Legal Fees, Court Costs and staying out of Jail) is determining if the person charged has either an alcohol problem, or at least the potential to develop one.

This is why, BY LAW, prior to being sentenced for a DUI (and it doesn't matter whether it's a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense), a person must undergo a mandatory alcohol evaluation, sometimes called a PSI, or a Screening, or and Assessment. The Court is supposed to order a DUI Driver into the appropriate counseling or treatment if it is determined that they either have a problem, or present a potential or risk of developing one. This facet of any Sentencing is part of a person's Order of Probation.

Beyond the increased statistical risk that anyone with a growing number of alcohol-related Criminal Offenses has, the simple fact of the matter is that anyone in the Judge's seat sees a prior MIP as evidence of more inappropriate drinking. I often tell my Clients that, in a very real way, the Judge can write the date of that first MIP on a board, and then put the date of the new DUI to the right of it, and connect them with a line, and say "this is how long we know you've had a problem." A person may not be an alcoholic, but having more than one Drinking Offense in your past sure kills any notion of the DUI being an "isolated incident."

It is, of Course, the job of the Lawyer to educate the Client about that mandatory alcohol assessment, to make sure the Client avoids tallying up a score that indicates a problem, or a problem more severe than could otherwise be the case. On these alcohol assessment tests, the higher a person's score, the more severe their alcohol problem, or the greater the likelihood or potential there is for them to develop one. The lower their test score, the better things are.

Continue reading "DUI in Michigan and why Having a Prior MIP Complicates Things" »

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April 19, 2010

Michigan Driver's License Restoration - The Danger of Waiting too Long

My Practice involves filing a lot of Driver's License Appeals. The other side of that coin is the number of Appeals I do not file. Often, I must turn away a potential Client because he or she has not done one or more things that I feel is necessary to win an Appeal. Usually, in those cases, it's a matter of a short while, a little work, and then we can begin.

Another, rather ironic and unfortunate problem occurs to those who simply wait too long to begin the process of License Restoration. They get caught driving without a License, and in the process, send themselves right back to square one in the waiting game. A recent example in my own practice highlights this point.

handcuffed2.jpgA fellow came to see me in order to begin the License Restoration Process. Like most people, his License had been Revoked for multiple DUI's. He was legally eligible, and, I felt, ready to start the process. So he did. He went and paid to have his Substance Abuse Evaluation done, the first step in the process after I meet with a new Client. His Substance Abuse Evaluation came back wonderful, and I was anxious to get this guy on the road.

Then, a week or so later, he called the office with dreadful news; he had gotten arrested over the previous weekend for Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License.

I have covered the various aspects of these charges in a series of Blog articles on Driving While License Suspended/Revoked, and using that link, the reader can learn as much as they want to about those subjects.

Our point here is about the real consequence to his ability to file that License Appeal, which I only discuss briefly in the linked articles.

The short version is that he screwed himself. No matter how good a deal I eventually get for him on this new Revoked License Charge, he has dealt himself a serious blow and will have to wait anywhere from at least 6 months to a year (or even more) before we can file that License Appeal. And, by the way, his Substance Abuse Evaluation, which must be filed with the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), the body that decides these cases, expires 90 days after it is signed by the Substance Abuse Evaluator. So my Client blew $200 on that, and for nothing.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Restoration - The Danger of Waiting too Long" »

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April 19, 2010

Indecent Exposure in Michigan - "Uncovering" the Truth

Okay, I had to have a little fun with the title of this article, but the reality is that, for anyone facing this charge, it's really no laughing matter. Indecent Exposure cases are relatively common, and in my practice as a Criminal Defense Lawyer, come up regularly, if not necessarily frequently. In other words, I get my fair share.

Indecent Exposure is a Misdemeanor, but recent changes in the law have created a new kind of Indecent Exposure charge called "Aggravated Indecent Exposure," which is kind of hybrid crime called a "High Court Misdemeanor ." There is a very small class of Crimes called "High Court Misdemeanors" which are handled and prosecuted as Felonies, even though they are specifically called Misdemeanors in the Law.

Flasher.jpgWhen I say "handled and prosecuted as Felonies" I mean that, unlike typical Misdemeanor cases, which are and must be handled in the local, District Court, these cases start, like all Felonies, in the District Court, but must be finalized in the County's Circuit Court.

Unlike some Laws, which are complex and difficult, even for a Lawyer, to understand, the Indecent Exposure Law is straightforward and clear, and anyone reading it can understand it. Accordingly, there is no need for me to elaborate on the difference between the basic Misdemeanor and the Aggravated, High-Court Misdemeanor, beyond pointing out that what makes an Indecent Exposure Charge "Aggravated" is that the person charged was somehow "fondling" themselves.

The majority of Indecent Exposure charges involve having some private part exposed. While the name of the Crime itself can sound kind of "trench coat-flasher" creepy, many people are surprised to learn that merely urinating behind a building is an act of Indecent Exposure. Of course, for those who have been caught while relieving themselves, the whole notion of being charged with a sex crime is even more distasteful. It's probably true that most people would think of the terms "indecent exposure" as a "sex crime" when it involves something like "flashing." Despite what anyone thinks, and indeed, what anyone intended to do, or not to do, merely having certain private body parts exposed is enough to be charged with indecent exposure. No flashing, and no "audience" are necessary. As long as someone could possibly come upon and see a person who has some private part exposed, then having such a part exposed is Indecent Exposure.

Continue reading "Indecent Exposure in Michigan - "Uncovering" the Truth" »

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April 12, 2010

Criminal Cases in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties - What Exactly Does That Mean?

This article will be a very short overview of where I handle Criminal Cases. It represents another departure from my typical informational article discussing some area or other of Criminal Law. I am posting this one because, quite often, I am asked a question about a case pending in a Court beyond where I handle Criminal Cases, and I want to clarify exactly where that is.

In many of my Blog articles, and on my Website, I often use the terms "Detroit area," Metro-Detroit area," "Metropolitan Detroit Area" and "Tri-County area," and I frequently describe my Practice as being limited to "Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties."

Detroit.jpgLet me be very clear about where I go, and where I do not.

I have been, and regularly go to, every Court in Macomb County. My office is in Mt. Clemens. Thus, I'll handle Criminal, Drunk Driving (DUI) and Traffic Cases in all Macomb County Courts.

I will, likewise, handle Criminal, DUI and Traffic Cases in all Oakland County Courts.

I go to some, but not all Courts in Wayne County. Here's a list of Courts where I do Practice:

16th (Livonia)
18th (Westland)
19th (Dearborn)
20th (Dearborn Heights)
27th (Wyandotte)
31st (Hamtramck)
32A (Harper Woods)
34th (Romulus)
35th (Plymouth, Canton and Northville)
36th (Detroit), and
All Grosse Pointe Municipal Courts.

This includes, of course, Felonies heard in the Wayne County Circuit Court.

I will also handle Criminal and Drunk Driving Cases in the 72nd District Court in Port Huron.

I have, in the past, pointed out that I am not a fan of those "All Cases, All Courts" Law operations. I frequently observe that, in most cases, a person should hire a Lawyer who is "local" to the Court in which their case is pending.

Neither am I a believer in looking for good Legal Representation on a low-bidder basis. To me, trying to be everything to everybody, or using a cut-rate business model are not signs of quality, or at least not the kind that I'd buy into.

That said, just getting soaked for excessive legal expenses is not a sign of quality, either. I post my Fees right on my website. And why not? What's the big secret? I have no interest in "competing" with anyone else on fees. I'm more than some, less than others, and usually somewhere near the middle of the pack.

Continue reading "Criminal Cases in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties - What Exactly Does That Mean?" »

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April 5, 2010

Vacation!!!

out-to-lunch2.jpgWhew, it's been a run! Even a well-oiled machine needs a break every now and then, however, and I'm about to take one.

I plan on taking a week off after Easter. And Happy Easter to all who celebrate it.

As a result, there will be no Blog Articles published on April 5, 2010, or April 9, 2010.

Regular twice-weekly articles will start back up on April 12, 2010.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Jeff

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April 2, 2010

Finding the Best Lawyer for a Probation Violation in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County, Michigan

In previous Blog articles, I have written about various aspects of Probation Violations. In some Courts, these are termed "VOP," meaning Violation of Probation. Other Courts schedule them as "Show Cause" Hearings. Whatever the name, the purpose of the Hearing is the same: A reckoning for either doing something prohibited under the Probation Order, or for NOT doing something that was ordered. This article will examine how I do Probation Violations, why I think I'm so good at them, and how much I charge.

In almost every one of my other Blog articles I have steered away from sounding like a salesman, opting instead to describe the various legal processes, and how they work, at least locally. This article will be a departure from that. I write this in response to a number of calls and e-mails inquiring about retaining my services in Probation Violation cases.

Suit2.jpgI have been asked any number of times if I have ever handled a case like this, or that, or have been in front of some Judge or other. Likewise, I have often been asked what kind of strategy I would employ in handling someone's case. I want to answer all these questions in one fell swoop.

I have observed that Probation Violation Hearings are typically less "legalistic" than other kinds of Criminal Proceedings, because the only issue before the Judge in a Violation Proceeding is to determine, by what's called a "Preponderance of the Evidence" (in other words, that there is more proof that Probation was violated than there's proof it was not; think 50.01% -vs- 49.99%) whether the person either did something that was prohibited by the Order of Probation, or failed to do something that was required by it. Thus, many of the Rules of Evidence, which govern criminal Trials, don't apply, and all that "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" stuff goes out the window. Being a "legal encyclopedia" does not mean even the most knowledgeable Lawyer can effectively handle a Probation Violation.

When it comes to Probation Violations, you should be looking for a Lawyer who's Professional in appearance, and charismatic in disposition. If you really want to get specific, you should be looking for someone whose personality seems magnetic. Forget anyone who comes off as arrogant. Same with Rude. Ditto for cold. And, above all, you should look for someone who's "local."

Continue reading "Finding the Best Lawyer for a Probation Violation in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County, Michigan" »

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