September 2012 Archives

September 28, 2012

Indecent Exposure in Michigan - Stay out of Jail and save your Record

Indecent Exposure charges are very different from other Criminal charges on almost every level. Many Indecent Exposure charges are brought only after the Suspect has been contacted by the Police after a license plate number that was provided has been checked. In contrast to Drunk Driving or Drug Possession cases, which almost always begin with the Police observing or otherwise discovering the person doing the very thing with which they are charged (i.e., driving drunk, or possessing illegal drugs), many Indecent Exposure cases require a little preliminary Police investigation.

That said, a significant number of Indecent Exposure cases come about as the result of the Police stumbling upon a person in a compromising position, as well. There is a decent chance that if you're reading this, you've just had some firsthand experience with one of these two scenarios.

Sared Little Guy 1.2.jpgI know how nervous and scared a person feels in this situation. I've handled more of these cases than I can count. In every one of them, that volatile emotional mix included a strong dose of embarrassment, as well. Thus, when I speak of a person needing some "protection," I mean that, beyond someone to just look out for their Legal well-being, they need someone who can understand the emotional stress and fear they're experiencing. That's where I help.

I not only understand how a person facing either a simple Indecent Exposure charge, or the more serious Aggravated Indecent Exposure charge feels, but I know that, very often, there is some other source of stress in the person's life that led to the incident. You'd be surprised at the kind and status of the people who wind up facing one of these charges. In fact, quite unlike what someone on the outside might at first imagine, many of the people who wind up facing some kind of Indecent Exposure charge are "above average" or of a distinctly "higher level." I've represented every kind of person in this situation, from the proverbial "average guy" to men with advanced graduate degrees.

In almost every case, a person's top two concerns are their Record, and staying out of Jail. One could sarcastically say that if you're facing an Indecent Exposure conviction, you should have thought about that beforehand. Yet whatever incident brings on such considerations, and aside from whatever did or did not happen, protecting your Record is a huge priority.

Of course staying out of Jail is important, as well as avoiding a term of difficult Probation. Keeping you out of Jail is rather easy for me, and that sometimes comes as both a relief and a surprise to my Clients. In fact, I've never had a single Client of mine go to Jail in an Indecent Exposure case, and I've handled more of them than I can honestly count. The whole point of hiring a Lawyer like me is to make the outcome of the case, meaning what will actually happen to you, better.

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September 24, 2012

Embezzlement in Michigan - Hire the Right Lawyer

In almost every Michigan Embezzlement case, a Police Detective first contacts the person who is ultimately charged before any charges are ever brought. In my role as a Criminal Defense Lawyer, I am frequently contacted right after someone receives their first call from the Police. Nervous, and wondering what to do (as well as what not to do), they find my website section about Embezzlement or my various articles on the subject. They read a little, then, they call my Office.

If you've been contacted by the Police, then you know that sinking feeling. If you've actually talked with a Detective, you likely hung up the phone scared out of your wits, and knowing you need help. I hate anything that sounds like scare tactics, but it's just a fact that if you are facing a potential Embezzlement charge, you need competent and specialized legal protection. I provide that.

shut up 1.3.pngI really can't remember when or why Embezzlement cases became such a mainstay of my Criminal Practice, but in the last number of years, I've handled countless such cases in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. It seems that I have a certain aptitude and skill in handling these cases, and those qualities are repeatedly honed by frequent experience handling them. And for all of that, I rather like these cases...

Part of this, I think, has to do with my attitude and disposition toward my Clients. I've seen Embezzlement cases of every kind and stripe, from the simple to the complex. I've handled cases where a "little" bit of money didn't make it into the employer's deposit, until it added up to a substantial amount, to situations where goods or services were sent, or payments were made, to fictional persons or companies. In fact, if you can imagine it, I've probably seen it. Whatever else, a person dealing with an Embezzlement case needs to have a Lawyer who is non-judgmental and works to make things better for them.

In order to make things better, however, I have to assume the role of a diplomat. Many of the cases I handle are pretty clear-cut, and the evidence against my Client is pretty strong. In these cases, I have to be able to work with the Prosecutor and the Detective in charge of the case, and, most importantly, with the Judge, in order to make things materially better for my Client. And make no mistake about it, "better" means no Jail.

In other cases, a vindictive former employer may be driving the charge against a person, or, if there's anything to the charge, at least ratcheting up the amount of money involved. This can be tricky. A person may be on the hook for "X" amount of money. Yet when the former employer, who, in an embezzlement case, is called the "victim," claims losses more than that, the sympathy factor for the Defendant is pretty low, and he or she has a hard time being heard. Nobody is really worried that the "bad guy" (or gal) is being overcharged, legally or financially. Except me; I am.

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September 21, 2012

Win Your Michigan License back the first Time

If you have lost your License because of multiple DUI convictions, you know how tough it is without one. At the point where you're looking for a Lawyer to help you win it back, you know that the most important thing is not just winning your Michigan License Appeal. It's about winning it the first time (or at least the next time) around. You've waited long enough. Getting stuck for another year without the ability to drive and having to bum rides from everyone is not a plan. Getting back on the road is...

From my perspective, this is a spin on the old saying that "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Yet it's also spot-on. If you've tried to win your License back before, and filed a Michigan Driver's License Restoration or Clearance case, only to wind up having lost, you're probably not interested in the cold comfort of reassurances like "eventually," or "sooner or later" when it comes to finally winning your License back. Nor should you be. If and when you become eligible to file, or file again, you need and want to win, not lose.

Victory 1.3.jpgI bring a bit of a unique twist to this. If you've clicked around my site or this blog, you've likely seen that I Guarantee that I will win your case the first time around. I can do that by screening out people who cannot win. Sure, there are "a million little rules" involved in handling a Michigan License Reinstatement case, but to me, it's not any of those that pose a problem. I know that stuff like the back of my hand. The most important factor that I look for in a person is their commitment to not drinking again. If you have that, I can get your License back.

You don't need to be in AA to win your License back; more than half the people whose cases I win are NOT active in AA when I file their case. If you are in AA, then I can use that to your advantage. If not, don't worry about it. My Guarantee is ironclad, and applies to any case I handle. If I'm your Lawyer, you're getting your License back.

Lots of people get frustrated with the Secretary of State after trying a License Appeal on their own, and then losing. Many of these same people are determined, and try again, and even again after that. This week, I had a guy contact me who had just tried for the fourth time on his own and lost. This is where those "million little rules" come in. Many of these people are genuinely Sober. It's one thing to lose a License Appeal case while the state is asking all kinds of questions that take it for granted that you're not drinking, even though you still are. It's another to really be Sober and lose anyway. It's like they think you're a liar.

I think it's even worse if you spent money and hired a Lawyer, and then lost anyway. That's money wasted, and another year without a License in your wallet. That's why I offer a Guarantee. Now you feel worse; the state doesn't seem to believe you, and some Lawyer took your money and lost your case. When you get the Denial, the Hearing Officer explains why your case was rejected, and you're left wondering why your Lawyer missed something. It certainly can scare a person about doing business with any more Lawyers. Again, that's why I have a Guarantee.

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September 17, 2012

"Do-It-Yourself" Michigan Driver's License Restoration and Clearance Appeals

What does it take to win a Michigan Driver's License Restoration case without a Lawyer? Luck. As a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer who concentrates in reinstatement and clearances of Licenses that have been Revoked for multiple DUI's, I see certain patterns. By far, the most common thing I see is inquiries from people who try to win back their License without a Lawyer, lose, and then start looking for a Lawyer to appeal their loss.

I recently published an article about the Differences between a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Appeal, and an appeal from a losing decision. The terms can be confusing, but the way this plays out in the real world is pretty clear. Lots of people think they can do their own License Appeal, so they give it a try. They assemble their documents, and, if they live out of state, send in for an Administrative Review, or, if they live in Michigan, show up for a Hearing. A few weeks later, they get the news that they have been denied.

DIY 1.4.jpgBeyond the fact that, almost every day, my Office get a call from someone who has just learned that they have lost their "do-it-yourself" License Appeal, it seems that more than half of the new Clients I meet are people who have previously tried this route and lost. To be brutally honest about it, these Clients are actually easier to deal with than someone who has never been "through the system." They fundamentally understand how difficult the process can be, and they certainly realize that winning a Michigan Driver's License Restoration or Clearance case involves navigating a million little rules.

Those who call my Office, frustrated about losing their "do-it-yourself" Appeals are in for more disappointment when they find out that they'll have to wait a year to try again. Of course, they immediately begin to point out to me that there are certain "appeal" rights (as if I didn't already know that), but I explain that any such "appeal" is based upon the evidence they assembled and submitted in the case they lost, and that there was a obviously a problem with it (that's why it was denied), and that I have no interest in trying to resurrect and save their do-it-yourself Appeal that, by all accounts was already doomed before it began, anyway. They come to understand. They may not be happy, but they accept the truth of what they're told. It certainly helps when I explain that I don't make any money turning someone away.

Because so many of my new Clients come to me with a "do-it-yourself" loss under their belts, my custom intake form that I fill out during our first 3-hour meeting has a special section about prior Denials. I need to know how many times a person has tried this before. I also will want to see the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) Order of Action denying their prior cases. I want to see what damage I have to fix, and make sure that I can account for what has been stated in any prior Substance Abuse Evaluations and in prior Letters of Support. Let's face it, no one loses an Appeal because they get everything right.

Despite the fact that most "do-it-yourself" License Appeals are destined to lose, I tread carefully, and really do not explicitly advise against them. That smacks of trying to "scare" someone into hiring my services. Sure, if your circuit breaker or fuse box is smoking and sparking, you should heed the warnings of any electrician who advises, "call now!" But losing a License Appeal is not the same thing as dying in a house fire. The worst thing that happens is that a person is stuck bumming rides for another year. Thus, to anyone who wants to try this on their own, I say "Go for it!"

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September 14, 2012

Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer - Different is Better - Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I began talking about how and why I am "different" as a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer. I noted that there seems to be a flood of Lawyers claiming to "do" License Restorations, but that I am the only Lawyer that I know of who both requires that a person be Sober to accept their case, and then Guarantees that I'll win it the first time around. I began explaining my background and experience, and how that all comes together to account for my passion for the work I do. Sure, winning about 98% of my cases brings a certain job satisfaction, but it is also the satisfaction with he kind of work I do that help brings about such a high success rate.

I have a keen sense of what's important in any given License Appeal. There is no way to just "do" these cases, or have any kind of "cookie-cutter" approach to doing them, and this applies equally to the Lawyer, the Counselor doing the Substance Abuse Evaluation, and the Hearing Officer deciding the case. As a result, I have my own "Substance Abuse Evaluation Checklist" that I fill out during my first, 3-hour meeting with a new Client, and I give a copy to my Client to give the Substance Abuse Evaluator in order to make sure that all those pesky little details are covered, any one of which, if overlooked, can derail a License Appeal. This is a special form I've developed and refine, and is the product of having handled hundreds upon hundreds of License Restoration Hearings.

RandaBearDifferent2.2.jpgTo make sure that someone is not only legally eligible to file a License Appeal, but really able and really likely to win, I'll make sure they're screened when they call. I will always want to know how long the caller has been Sober, and will figure out if he or she can and should come in to meet with me, or should wait. If there is a problem, and the person cannot or should not move forward yet, we'll explain why. If they're ready to move forward and win your License back, they'll be scheduled to meet with me for a first, 3-hour appointment just to prepare to undergo the Substance Abuse Evaluation. I've tried (believe me, I have!) to shorten this meeting, and, once in a while, I can maybe knock a ½ hour off, but I've gotten winning my cases the first time around down to a science, and it just takes that long.

Later on, when someone's Substance Abuse Evaluation comes back, I don't even see it until my Senior Assistant, Ann, has first reviewed it. She checks for accuracy of names, addresses, dates, spelling, and things like the BAC test results (particularly important if a Client has listed "unknown," and then, somehow, a number shows up in that box) and the date of last use of alcohol. If she finds no obvious errors, she then puts in on my desk, for a thorough, final inspection. This is another place where the study of substance abuse issues comes into play: I need to make sure that a person's Diagnosis conforms with the other facts stated within the Evaluation itself, and that their Prognosis is not in any way inconsistent with anything else listed, therein, and that there is nothing implicitly or explicitly "conditional" about that Prognosis. These are not "legal" things; understanding these things means understanding Recovery and Sobriety, both in the "real world" and in the clinical world where people who diagnose and treat alcohol and substance abuse problems do their jobs.

At some point, my Client and I will go in for their Hearing. I do not do, and never will accept a "video Hearing." They are, to my mind, woefully inferior to a live Hearing. I could have any, or even all of my cases set for a video Hearing about 4 minutes from my Office if I wanted to. Sure, that would be a lot more convenient for me, but, as the sayings go, anything worth doing is worth doing right, and nothing good comes easy. I make the hour drive to Livonia to conduct a live Hearing because I know how crucially important it is to winning that I conduct all my Hearings live, and in-person.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer - Different is Better - Part 2" »

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September 10, 2012

Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer - Different is Better - Part 1

I win back Michigan Driver's Licenses, and I Guarantee that, if I accept your case, I'll win it back the first time around. I am passionate about what I do. About 75% of my day-to-day work is dedicated License Appeal matters. I consider myself a genuine Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer. While I try and maintain a high standard of dignity and professionalism, I have, on a few more recent occasions, found myself frustrated at what seems like the growing number of Lawyers who claim to "do" License Restorations and pretend that they somehow specialize in this field. In this article, I want to explain a little bit about what's different about me.

In the last few years I've won more License Appeals than anyone I know. In the course of any given month, I have written and published more useful information about the Michigan Driver's License Clearance and Restoration process than you can find, cumulatively, on the rest of the entire internet. My blog has over 350 informational articles; I publish 2 new ones every week. 146 of them, to date, are about Michigan Driver's License Clearance and Reinstatement matters.

Thumbnail image for Different 1.2.jpgI've seen some legal sites with a long page, or even a few pages of general information about License Appeals, but all of it ends with some kind of "call me now for a free consultation" line. No other site comes close to providing anything near the amount or quality of information about the License Appeal process that you will find right here. Click around the Driver's License Restoration section of my website or this blog and see for yourself.

Some legal sites have a section detailing their owner's "wins." I have too many wins to ever list, much less detail. Each year I win around 98% of more than 100 Driver's License Restoration cases that I handle. Instead of a list of wins, I provide a Guarantee that I will win: I Guarantee that, if I accept your case, you'll win your License back the first time we try. You cannot do better than that...

I set the bar at it's highest in terms of the results I promise to produce, but I also set the bar high in terms of who I will accept as a Client. I REQUIRE that a person be really and truly Sober before I will undertake a License Appeal on their behalf. This rather clearly separates me from the rest of the herd, and leaves me standing alone, holding what amounts to a red flag. This requirement explains how and why I can offer a win Guarantee, and it says a lot about me, and why I'm different.

A Client recently explained that he had decided to hire me to handle his License Appeal, knowing that my Fee was higher than some others, precisely because I was the only Lawyer whose site he had found that clearly stated that he would only accept a case for a genuinely Sober person. To him, and to me, requiring that a person meets the minimum legal (and inherent ethical) requirement that a person be committed to not drinking in order begin a License Appeal just seems like a given. After all, the whole goal of the License Appeal process is to prove that a person's alcohol problem "is under control, and likely to remain under control." This is absolutely required by Law. How could I just be willing to accept a Fee from anyone who will pay it without inquiring the person's past abstinence and their commitment to remaining Sober? Don't you think that a person's Sobriety (or lack of it) should be the very first thing a Lawyer asks about? Shouldn't a Lawyer make sure he or she can actually win someone's case before taking their money?

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September 7, 2012

Reinstating, Restoring or Clearing a Revoked Michigan Driver's License - Investing in your Future

In my day-to-day work as a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I frequently meet people who were eligible to seek Restoration of their Driver's License, or at least seek a Clearance of a Michigan "Hold" upon their Driving Record much earlier. Their reasons for waiting are varied, but lack of funds is frequently a part of problem. In this article, I'm going to turn the tables a bit and talk about how, in some cases, not getting that License back can itself be part of the reason for a lack of funds, and how getting back on the road again, legally, is really an investment in your future.

Many people find their way to my Office after first having tried their own hand at a License Appeal, and losing. Given that 3 out of 4 Administrative Reviews are Denied, many of my new Clients hire me to get it right the second time around. Sometimes, however, people become discouraged after trying a License Appeal on their own and losing, and don't even bother to look at their options again until some change in circumstance forces them to do so.

Opportunities 1.2.jpgBeyond lack of funds, quite often, it's a job, or the possibility of a new job, that motivates someone to really find about winning back their License, or getting a Michigan Clearance so they can get a License in a different state. Whatever the reason, almost everyone finds that being able to drive again certainly increases their options, as well as their earning potential. This is particularly true for those who live in Michigan, or any place, really, without a first-class mass transit system. By contrast, if a person lives in Chicago, or New York, and has access to a subway system that can take them pretty much any and everywhere they'd need to go, then lack of a Driver's License isn't such a big deal.

The inspiration for this article came, like so many others, as a result of a conversation I had with Ann, my Senior Assistant. A guy from out of state had just called and asked if we could help him out because he lost a "do-it-yourself" Administrative Appeal. He wasn't happy to find out he was going to have to wait another year, and then complained about how he had a good job offer, but needed a License to take it. He had become eligible to file his Appeal a few years before, but didn't feel any real push to do anything about it until the job thing came up.

Ann and I then began to discuss how many other opportunities a person may miss simply because they rely on other people to get them around. If you think about it, even if a person has a good job close by, or at least has a ride to get there, if they have no way of driving anywhere else, they probably don't even have their eyes or ears open for a better opportunity elsewhere. In other words, they can't really give any serious thought to the idea of finding a better job because they're stuck.

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September 3, 2012

DUI 1st Offense in Michigan - Making Things Better in the Detroit-area

A 1st Offense DUI in is a very frightening thing to face. For most people, it represents their first (and hopefully only) Arrest. Being taken to Jail, and then released the next day, only to have go retrieve their car, and then try and find a Lawyer, brings with it a rush of unpleasant emotions. There really is no way to make those feelings disappear, but as a Michigan DUI Lawyer, I can certainly help make them better.

For over 22 years, I have helped good people move past this bad situation. I provide a level of services very different than those Lawyers pandering for Clients on a "low bidder" basis. Precisely because I don't run an assembly-line of high volume, low cost cases, I can take the time to address my Client's personal and emotional concerns about the Drunk Driving charge they're facing. As a result, they get things made a lot better than someone going the bargain Lawyer route.

Things will get better 1.2.jpgAnd if there's a point to this whole article, it's that things are not as bad as they might at first seem. No matter how bleak and uncertain things may look, a person can almost always get through this rather painlessly. If someone facing their first Offense is carefully and properly guided through the DUI process, and even if everything that can go wrong does go wrong, they can still emerge from it virtually unscathed. This is where I come in; this is my world.

It is my job, in a DUI case, to look for defects in the evidence that can potentially result in a dismissal of the charges. DUI cases don't dismiss themselves. Statistically speaking, most DUI cases don't get "knocked out" just because an astute Lawyer goes on the hunt for a problem with the evidence, or how it was gathered. Imagine a person being wheeled into the ER of some hospital with a gunshot wound to their chest, and the Doctor saying to their spouse, "Wow, this is unfortunate; about 85 to 90% of all people with a wound like that don't survive. Do you really want me to go through all the work of trying to save this person, anyway?"

Of course! No matter how slim the odds, a Doctor or a Lawyer has to do all in his or her power to produce the best outcome possible

Here's where DUI's are different: It is true that a Lawyer will not likely find some fatal defect to the extent that a Judge is going to pound the gavel and yell "Case dismissed!" in majority of cases. Yet by conducting a precisely that kind of microscopic inquiry looking for such defects, other, smaller issues can be found that can be used to the Client's advantage, such as driving a Plea Bargain to a reduced charge, or to setting up a Sentencing agreement for no Jail in a case where some Jail time might really be a possibility.

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