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December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

I bet you just can't wait for another Christmas wish, right? Well, let's get that out of the way first: Merry Christmas. And Happy Hanukkah, as well. We celebrate both holidays at my house. When you celebrate, don't over-indulge. Most of my DUI cases happen by accident. No one plans on getting pulled over for drunk driving, but somehow, it happens. Plan specifically to NOT let this happen to you. Uber is everywhere, and whatever inconvenience you might have to endure to stay somewhere or get a ride home, it will be thousands of time worse if you get popped for a drunk driving offense.

Beautiful-White-Christmas-Tree-Artificial-Christmas-Trees-Idea.jpgTo anyone who is planning an appeal to win back a Michigan driver' license, or to remove a Michigan hold on their driving record, know that you must be genuinely sober to start the process with any chance of success. If you are, then you have a much deeper understanding of what it means to celebrate the season. You also almost certainly have more to celebrate. Sobriety is a gift that can be tested at this time of year. No matter what, remember that it has never worked out for anyone to go back and try to drink moderately. Never. It won't work for you, either, but all the trouble you remember will be back in your lap in no time. If you even have to think about controlling or limiting your drinking, that alone proves you're not a normal drinker. Just don't pick up.

Criminal charges
sometimes seem to come out of the blue at this time of year. From drug possession, including possession of marijuana, and embezzlement charges, all the way to indecent exposure offenses, sometimes people just act out because the holidays can be every bit as stressful as they can be fun. So you get it; take care of yourself, and if you need help, my office is here to do just that. Now, in the true spirit of the season, let's chuckle at a good Christmas joke...

Continue reading "Merry Christmas 2015" »

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June 8, 2015

Michigan Criminal, Driver's License Restoration and DUI Articles that Matter

As a Michigan driver's license restoration and DUI lawyer, I believe that I am without equal in the volume and quality of information I put up on this blog. In addition, I have a pretty good website, and a new one is in the works and should launch in the next couple of months. As the previous article about my first 3-hour meeting with a new driver's license restoration client makes clear, there are simply no shortcuts to doing things right, and while my website is good, it is this blog where my various sections on criminal law, driver's license restoration, DUI, indecent exposure, and probation really examine these subjects in exacting detail. In this article, I want to explain to the reader how much this blog reflects my ideas, methods, passion, and voice.

Stop Important.jpgAs usual, there is an inspiration for all of this. Lately, my email has been filling up with offers from all kinds of outside writers to contribute an article to my blog, along with all kinds of cross-link schemes and ways to advertise, host advertising, and otherwise, supposedly, make money. To be 100% clear, for now and forever, I am not interested. I have written every single word on this blog. Every idea here is mine. Everything that is right about this blog comes from me, and any and everything else is mine, as well. I write the kind of articles I want to read. When my web company first suggested a blog, I was completely turned off, because most of the legal blogs I had seen involved the "writer" taking some old news story and rephrasing it and commenting upon it. I saw nothing instructive or useful in that. I took up the idea to do this blog with the intention to write in my own style, explain how I do things and, to the extent possible, how the law works in the real world, particularly in criminal, driver's license restoration and DUI cases.

In fact, and precisely because I write everything that goes up here, the reader can rather accurately pick up on my "voice" within my numerous writings. Without ever having to even think about it, there is undoubtedly a consistency throughout my articles, because I wrote them all. Why in the world would I ever have someone else write a "guest" article, unless it was a Judge or a hearing officer writing about his or her experience deciding the kinds of cases I handle? And of course, that couldn't happen for rather obvious reasons. My goal has always been to answer the most common questions people ask, and to explain how and why things work the way they do. As far as I have seen, no one has come close to doing that anywhere near as well as I have. Yet for as "proud" as that may sound, there is a larger, self-serving interest at play here, as well...

Continue reading "Michigan Criminal, Driver's License Restoration and DUI Articles that Matter" »

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May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Every Memorial Day, I skip writing about all the legal stuff and try to take a moment to thank all of the brave men and women who have served our country in the armed forces. We certainly pay a lot of lip service to this idea, but as I was thinking about what to write, it struck me that the very name of the holiday, Memorial Day, means to memorialize, or remember, those who died in service, and to thank those who survived for their service. Memory and memorial are parts of the same thing: remembering. However you do it, take a few minutes to think about our veterans, and those who are protecting us right now. We owe these people a lot.

It is a sacrifice - and a profound risk - to be in the military. From the most experienced combat veteran to the person whose supportive role is off, or even away from the battlefield, being in the military is the ultimate generous gift to your country. What these people get in return is a million times less than the sacrifice and risk they undertake. We can never thank them enough, and our efforts to do so will inevitably fall pitifully short of the mark. At least there seems to be bi-partisan political agreement on that score, although it is shameful that, whatever needs to be done hasn't been done yet, because we are now learning more about problems with the VA and the failures of the care provided to our veterans.

TY 1.2.jpgI love our country. I love the fact that I can argue politics, and disagree with what our elected officials do and say. Yet none of that would be possible without the security provided by our armed forces. When all the talk turns to action, those of use who do nothing more than talk are humbled by the brave actions of those who actually wear the uniforms. And all the talk and thanks in the world can't make up for a lost limb, or, worse yet, a lost life. Have you ever stopped to think about the numbers of military lives lost in our various conflicts? While each one is precious, and represents someone's son or daughter, or husband or wife, and maybe even mother or father, the sheer number of people who die in the cause of our country each year should reinforce the courage it takes to be in the service.

I hope anyone reading this takes the time to say 3 prayers today: One in memory of all those who have been killed or wounded while in service, another in thanks to all those who have served, and a third for the protection of and in thanks to all those currently serving. If you have a problem with prayer, then take a few moments and give this some thought. Take 3 minutes of your life and think about what all these people have given of theirs.

In my own small way, I do what I can for our veterans. I offer a standing (although unpublished) 10% discount on all my fees for anyone who is active or reserve duty military in all driver's license restoration, DUI or criminal matters. Beyond that, I offer my deepest gratitude for your service. God bless all of you, and your families. Although we can never thank you enough, know that we are forever in your debt.

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May 31, 2013

Life has a way of Getting in the way of life...

This short article is presented to explain why my blog has gone "silent" these last few weeks. Having maintained a publication schedule of 2 articles per week for the last several years, I have been noticeably absent of late, and haven't put anything up on this blog. Normally, on Memorial Day, I write a short piece of gratitude for those who have served our country, but this time, my thoughts have turned more inward. Still, I think it is important that we not forget the sacrifice made by our wonderful service people here and abroad, past and present:

Thank you all and God bless you for your service.

Rose 1.3.jpgSince around the end of February, my attention has been required to care for my ailing father. As an only child, and with my dad having turned 90 in August of 2012, the demands on my time have virtually exploded since about February of this year (2013).

My dad died on May 23, 2013. He was a veteran, having served in the army. He was proud of the service he gave to our country, and I am proud of him. Because of the Memorial holiday, he was laid to rest on May 29, 2013.

While I am sad beyond words, I was at least able to be with him when he passed. I had prayed for that opportunity, and was lucky enough to have had the honor and satisfaction of having held each of my parents when they passed away. No one wants to see their parents die, but when that inevitability approaches, to know that they had the best comfort and companionship you can provide is reassuring.

My day-to-day world involves working on Detroit area DUI cases, winning Michigan license restoration appeals, and successfully handling the rather specialized criminal cases in which I concentrate, including embezzlement, indecent exposure, marijuana and suspended license charges. My practice is rather similar to my family life, in a strange kind of way. While some lawyers will handle a much wider spectrum of cases than me, I have chosen to keep the number of things I do to just a few. In my own family, I have no siblings, and my wife and I have just one child. In my practice, I focus on just a few things so that I can do them with an unparalleled expertise. My family, like my practice is small and intimate.

Losing my dad did not come as a surprise, or a shock, but it still hurts. I've always been very close to my parents, and as they got older, my role shifted to being more the parent than the child. When my mom died in 2008, my dad was already 86 years old. In the last few years, I've been in even closer contact with him, often seeing him daily and calling him on the phone to speak with him multiple times everyday, and handling doctors and medication and what seemed at the time like a million other things.

Continue reading "Life has a way of Getting in the way of life..." »

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May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

It's Memorial Day. Each year, I take a break from my usual publication schedule of two articles per week and put up a short expression gratitude for the sacrifice and service that our men and women in uniform make on our collective behalf.

This year, we find many of our military personnel in Afghanistan. It is dangerous and deadly there. Memorial Day is a special day reserved for special people. And these special people risk life and limb to keep us safe. Throughout the history of our country, many of our service people have died in combat. Loads more have been wounded, and all of them put themselves at risk, and in harm's way for us.

Flag 2.2.jpgI'm sure every reader would agree that we owe a deep, collective "thank you" to everyone who has served or is serving in our armed forces. From the oldest Veteran, to the youngest enlistee, to all our Reservists, and everyone who has given their life while in service, thank you for your courage and your sacrifice.

I wish we could do more to show our appreciation. I have not made a point of advertising this, but in my Office, I always give a 10% discount off of my listed Fees to anyone who is on active duty, or who is following a period of active duty in the Reserves. This applies across the board to everything from Driver's License Restorations, to DUI cases, and to those Criminal charges that I handle. If anyone else is in a position, in whatever capacity, to offer at least some small token of appreciation to our service men and women, I urge you to do so.

While we at home relax, and take it easy on this Memorial Day, and as we enjoy our nice day off, amongst whatever other things things we do, please remember to take a minute and offer up a prayer of thanks and for the protection of our courageous Military personnel all over the world. They certainly deserve it.

Thank you all so very much.

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February 17, 2012

Detroit-Area Ciminal and DUI Cases - Finidng a Lawyer and Dealing with Disappointment

Within the numerous articles of this blog, I have tried to write about real issues and provide real insight into the kinds of cases and concerns that real people encounter in the real world. In a manner of speaking, I try to "keep it real." Humorous word use aside, it has always been my goal to write about those things that are relevant in readers' lives. On top of that, having just finished a 7-part, very detailed series about the Steps in a Detroit-Area DUI case, I was looking for a subject that would allow me to write a shorter article.

Inspiration hit when I was speaking with Ann, my Senior Assistant. As we were going over the morning's emails and phone calls, she rather causally observed that we had received our usual load of emails that express the writer's interest in hiring my Representation, yet conclude with the sender asking me to call them, as well as the usual number of inquiries from people who have unresolved issues left behind from a case for which I was NOT their Lawyer. Most of the time, the person indicates that their former Lawyer didn't do or explain something well enough, and other times, the person admits having tried to "play Lawyer" by representing themselves.

SadFace.2.jpgThis article will address why I NEVER get involved with another Lawyer's work, especially after the fact, and why I almost NEVER take on any post-Sentencing or Appellate-type work. I will also explain why I think almost anyone who takes the time to email me, then asks for me to call them, is a "time waster."

First, the "time wasters." While there are numerous situations in which a person might drop me an email inquiring about something or other, particularly in the context of Driver's License Restoration cases, anyone serious about moving forward in a case will note my business hours and call my Office. It is simply far more convenient for a person to call my Office during regular business hours than it is for my Office to try and manage a call to someone during the hours they provide. Thus, instead of a person providing a phone number and indicating that are available between certain hours, it just makes more sense for them to call my Office during those times.

Add to this that, over the years, we have found that those same emails very often result in our leaving a message anyway. Look, if you're serious about wanting to talk to us, then call. Why ask us to call you? I don't email my Dentist's Office after hours and ask them to call me to set up and appointment. I just call and make one.

Lately, when people leave such emails, we'll simply respond by telling them that we're open M-F, from 8:30 to 5, and can be reached at 586-228-6523.

Continue reading "Detroit-Area Ciminal and DUI Cases - Finidng a Lawyer and Dealing with Disappointment" »

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January 20, 2012

Free Michigan Criminal and DUI Case Consultation, and all KInds of Other Free Stuff, too!

To the unwitting consumer, the word "free" suggests, as it's supposed to, "something for nothing." Yet it is a basic high-school concept, often overlooked by those thinking they're about to get some kind of "deal," or even "freebie," that "there is no such thing as a free lunch."

In the Legal world, this most often arises when Lawyers offer a "free consultation." While the consultation is, of course, "free," anyone getting it needs to remember that there is no such thing as a "free lunch."

Slickster2.jpgThis article will draw back the curtain on the ever-present use of that marketing tool by so many Lawyers. And if the reader is thinking I'm going to describe myself as a shining exception to're right!

In the interest of fairness, I should point out that I have and will always offer a "free consultation" of sorts. By "of sorts," I specifically mean that I will do a consultation by phone, but do not make Office appointments and drag someone in on the pretense that I want to use a precious time slot just to answer their questions. Think about it for a moment; how does it advance any Lawyer's interest to line up people for "free" Office visits with no expectation of actually being hired? Where is the money going to come from to keep that Office open and pay the staff? It is, instead, the opportunity to turn that "free consultation" into a paid retainer that's really going on, not some kind hearted, altruistic opportunity to provide a cozy environment just to answer someone's questions with no hope or chance of eventually being hired, and paid.

The fact is, a "free consultation," whether it's my free phone consultation or anyone else's free Office consultation, is an opportunity to meet a potential new Client (meaning paying customer). Certainly, no Lawyer intends a free consultation to be time spent with someone who has no intention of hiring them. I'll be honest about that here; the last thing I have time to do is use up an appointment slot to answer questions and explain stuff to someone looking just for free Legal advice. Yet any number of people will admit and say, right up front, that they have another Lawyer and just want t know if he or she is on the right track, or they have no money and can't afford a Lawyer, or give some other indication that they have no ability or intention to become a Client. How many of those do you think I can carry and still pay my bills? I wonder, would these same people call up a plastic surgeon, make an appointment for a "free consultation," and go in, only to explain that they're not interested in any of the services the surgeon provides, but rather want to know what he or she thinks is the best product they an buy over-the-counter to eliminate the lines around theie eyes, or reduce the appearance of wrinkles?

Thus, the "free consultation," at least to the Lawyer, means an opportunity to interact with someone who needs and is interested in hiring an Attorney. So what, you ask, is my beef with this tactic?

Continue reading "Free Michigan Criminal and DUI Case Consultation, and all KInds of Other Free Stuff, too!" »

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December 23, 2011

Welcome Back.... Now get to Work!

In my last blog post, I took a detour and wrote about my recent medical experience. Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, my Office remains up and running, and I am essentially "back in the saddle" again.

Normally, I take the last 2 weeks of the year off, anyway. This really amounts to little more than me thinking I'm on some kind of vacation while I work from home. I take and return calls as needed, reschedule Court dates until after vacation...

Get to Work2.jpgSome things never change...

I will be returning to the Office, right after the New Year, as I had planned before I got sidelined almost 2 weeks ago. I never imagined how much I could miss being busy with work, but I really do.

I have noted in a recent, previous article how I truly enjoy handling License Restoration cases. It also seems that an important part of my self-identity has also become the guy who shows up in Court on DUI and other matters and makes things better. I once heard it said that a major part of a person's identity is what they do for a living. Whether it was my Dad (when he was "Joe the Mailman") or my Uncle Tom, the Truck Driver, or my Mom, the Secretary, or even Lisa the Therapist, or Tim the Carpenter, society first identifies us by what we do. And whatever you do, when you are on hold from doing it, you feel, in a way, like your own self-identity is also in a state of suspended animation.

So beyond keeping things up and running, there is a tremendous emotional and psychological boost to getting back in the saddle; you feel like your old self again.

My Office is currently setting early to mid-January appointments in Driver's License Restoration cases (I've been booked into the first week of January since about mid-December), and making appointments as needed for any other Criminal matters. I still want to squeak some kind of vacation out of this last week and a half...

Accordingly, if you have a problem and are looking to hire a Lawyer, I'm here, as always. You can either contact my Office, or drop me an email in the contact box on the right side of this page.

Oh, and before I forget....

Happy Holidays!

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December 19, 2011

The Real Meaning of Life

This article will be a major deviation from anything else on my blog. On Thursday, December 8, 2011 (yes, I do publish ahead), my heart was stopped during major, emergency open- heart surgery, occasioned by a torn aorta (technically called a "dissected aorta"), most likely the result of very heavy duty weightlifting, my favorite sport and hobby, or at least formerly so. My body was taken down to about 35 to 40 degrees; all my blood was removed and stored separately while a cold saline solution was circulated through my system to keep it at that near-freezing temperature. During those several hours, all brain activity had ceased as the surgeons worked on my heart. I was, quite literally, dead, for a time. Rushed to the Hospital and facing imminent death, I had no alternative but to undergo to this procedure. The scariest part of the whole deal was that there was about a 10% chance that I would be unable to be revived. In other words, I would simply remain dead. While the odds for my survival were, statistically speaking, favorable, I was wheeled into pre-op knowing that I might never again see anyone whom I loved. I might never see my 14-year old daughter again. I might never see my wife again, either. 10% seems like a pretty high number when it applies to your life.

I was terrified.

2nd Chance.jpgI cried, and I begged God to let me come back. This article will not be a religious piece in any way, beyond my observing that I am convinced that my faith in God is, was, and will be important in my recovery. Others in my situation may have a very different belief system, or even no belief system to speak of, and our post surgical experiences would nevertheless be the same. This is not about how or why I came back, but rather about what to do with what can only be described as a true "second chance."

In all likelihood, this is not the article the reader came here for. Please read this one, anyway. The License Restoration and DUI stuff can be found in the "Topics" Section on the right. It's not going anywhere.

Imagine, for a moment, those people whose death would affect the most profound loss in your life.

Next, imagine that you were called and told by a distant hospital to expect the death of one of them imminently. Too soon, in fact, for you get anywhere close enough to see them and say goodbye. You are, instead, informed that you will be called shortly, once they have passed. You are told to stand by the phone.

In due course your phone rings, and you pick up to hear the dreaded news...

Continue reading "The Real Meaning of Life" »

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May 31, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

US Military5.jpgToday is a day to honor those who have served our County in the Armed Forces. For most of us, it is a day off. Ironically, for those now serving, it is yet another day of defending our Country, being in harm's way, and trying to come home alive.

There aren't enough words to properly thank those who have worn a U.S. Military uniform. They literally put their lives on the line for us. Next time you see someone in uniform, go ahead and thank them for their service. You'll likely get the most grateful smile and acknowledgment you could ever imagine in return.

On this day, let us pause for a moment and send up a prayer for those in our Military. They deserve our deepest gratitude for their incredible sacrifice.

Happy Memorial Day.

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May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Break - Remember Those Who Served and are Serving

I'm taking a break today, as are many of us. We should bear in mind, however, that the whole reason we have the freedoms we do, such as a day off, like today, is because of the sacrifices made by those who served in our armed forces. Had our soldiers not given so much of themselves in World War II, we might have been conquered by Germany, or Japan. Every American who defended against the Japanese attack, and every American who fought in Europe against the Nazi scourge, were the very definition of the term "heroes." The same holds true for every other U.S. Veteran in every other conflict, right up to today.

We ask a lot of our Military. We ask them to take minimal pay, and march off to foreign lands and put up the good fight. Then we ask them to come home, and blend back in. We can debate the reasons for this or that war all day long, but soldiers have to be above that. And they are.

Our Good Soldiers.jpgToday, as we have our military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, bear in mind that even if they have all their limbs, they have seen things and lived in conditions that would cause any one of us trauma, even as a bad dream. There isn't enough money in the world to pay them for that part of themselves they leave behind as they carry out their orders. And those are the lucky ones.

Many come home broken, or in pieces, or dead, in a box. Next time you see someone in uniform, look them in the eye and thank them for serving their Country. Our Country. After all, you thank the clerk at the gas station who gives you change, don't you? Don't you think our Heroes deserve an an often overlooked, but much overdue expression of appreciation?

For all the degrees, honors, fame or fortune a person can get, or earn, I don't think there's any, or all of it, that equals the distinction of having served in our armed forces. The very fact that you're reading this as a free person means you should thank a Veteran.

So I'd like to issue a profound "Thank You" to all of the people who have, or are serving in the U.S. armed forces. God Bless you all for your incredible sacrifices on your Country's behalf. I only wish there was some way to repay you for that beyond our boundless gratitude.

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

16th (Livonia)
18th (Westland)
19th (Dearborn)
20th (Dearborn Heights)
27th (Wyandotte)
31st (Hamtramck)
32A (Harper Woods)
33rd (Woodhaven)
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


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.


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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 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 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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December 28, 2009

About this Blog - The Scope and Meaning of "Free Consultation"

It seems that the term "Free Consultation" is often misinterpreted as "Free Advice" or "Free Answers." To put this in perspective, let's talk about those Plastic Surgeons who do face lifts, certain enhancements, and other "nip and tuck" procedures. Often, they will advertise on the Radio or in the Phone book, and offer a "Free Consultation." It is clearly understood that they will spend the time with someone looking to perhaps use their services in order to assess what, if anything, they can do for that person.

No one would think to call them, set up an appointment, go in, and say "I don't have any money for a face lift, but I was wondering what you thought about these over-the-counter skin-firming products?" In the same way, who would go into a car dealership, pull into the service area, and meet with a mechanic to describe a "funny sound" their car was making, then tell they guy "I don't have the money to have you fix it, but if you'll tell me what to do, I am going to try it myself."

hour-glass.jpgYet amongst those who e-mail us everyday, we get any number of those who either outright tell us they don't have any money for a Lawyer, or whose e-mail is obviously seeking advice and direction with no intention of hiring me to do the work. I have tried, until now, to at least provide some help to those who ask for it, but the pressures of economic survival and the limitations of my own time, multiplied by the sheer number of such e-mails and calls, requires me to write this article explaining why I can no longer take the time away from paying Clients to advise those are not, and will not become, paying Clients.

The success of this Blog has been wonderful. I have tried, within the articles I write, to be as explanatory and helpful as possible, and, to be honest, I have yet to run across anything even remotely close to the information-loaded site I have put up. The payoff has been that any number of potential Clients find that I am more informative than any other Lawyer they have encountered. In the end, after a "consultation," they retain my services. This is how I pay for the employees, their benefits, the utilities and this Blog.

In addition to simply putting up a lot of information, I have repeatedly pointed out that my Criminal Practice (with the exception of Driver's License Restoration Cases) is limited to Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties. Even those willing to hire me outside the Metro-Detroit area should know that I do not handle cases anywhere outside of the Tri-County area, with the possible, and limited exception of certain cases in St. Clair, Lapeer, and Livingston Counties. Of Course, I can handle License Restoration cases that have anything to do with the State of Michigan, because I am able to schedule all Hearings in the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division's Livonia Office. I likewise handle Bankruptcy Matters from Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, St. Clair and Sanilac Counties because all those cases are heard in the Bankruptcy Court in Detroit.

So my purpose in writing this article is so that I have something to attach as a reply to those inquiries which are not seeking a "Consultation," but rather have a question or questions, or otherwise seek some direction in a Case which I will not be getting hired to handle, or to those asking about a case pending outside of the Tri-County area

A little math may help. Say we get 4 or 5 such "free" inquiries per day. And say I spend about 10 to 15 minutes reading, thinking about and responding to each. That totals nearly a little more than an hour a day, and over the course of a week, another 6+ hours of work for which I am not paid. Think of it this way; if your boss asked you to stick around for an extra hour everyday after work to just help out non-customers, and told you that you wouldn't be getting paid to do it, how quickly would you sign up for that program? You do, after all, want to go home, spend time with your family, and maybe help out with homework or whatever else your job as a parent requires.

Of course, my "Consultations" are still free, but the term "Consultation" needs to be understood in terms of an exchange of information to see if my services and someone's legal needs are a good match, and if those services will be retained in order to benefit the person and help their Legal situation.

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October 14, 2009

About this Blog: The Free Consultation, and Who we Can and Cannot help

In a departure from my usual instructional-style Blog post, I feel compelled to address an issue that is quite literally causing my phone to ring off the hook. While I am both somewhat surprised and extremely pleased with the unexpectedly large response to and readership of this Blog, my staff has been inundated with phone calls from around the Country seeking all kinds of advice and citing the "free consultation" notation on both my Blog and Website. Sometimes the caller may be in Michigan, but asks about a case pending somewhere I do not go. Other times, the caller may want to ask questions about an area of law that I do not handle.

I wish I could help, or at least give some worthwhile direction to everyone who needs a little information, but my office simply cannot help in matters that fall outside the scope of what I do and where I do it. My experience and Practice is limited to handling Michigan cases. Even then, I limit my Practice (and thus my advice) to the Metropolitan Detroit and outlying areas for everything except License Restoration matters.

phone-illustration-ringing-off-the-hook.jpgA recent caller from Connecticut wanted to ask about his Foreclosure and Re-Financing options. I have no idea how Foreclosures and Re-Financing are done outside of Michigan, and am in no position to even begin to advise or direct anyone from a different state, beyond telling them to contact an Attorney there who handles the kind of matter for which they need advice.

Another caller wanted to know what he should do about a recent Traffic Ticket. It turns out that he was calling from another state about a ticket he received in that state. Again, I have no clue about how things are properly handled in any state other than Michigan, and even here, my Practice is more or less limited to the Metro-Detroit. Throughout the articles on this Blog, I often use the terms "Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties," "Tri-County area," "Metro-Detroit area" or "Metropolitan-Detroit area." I'll define exactly what that means below.

Let me clarify specifically what help I can provide beyond the general information to our (apparently) growing readership that's in this Blog:

1. Michigan Driver's License Matters: Anything that requires either a Restoration or Clearance of a Michigan Driver's License, no matter where the person lives. In other words, if you need help with a Michigan License, it doesn't matter where you live, whether in, or even outside of, Michigan itself.

2. Michigan Criminal, Drunk Driving and Traffic Ticket Cases: I handle Criminal, Drunk Driving, and Traffic Ticket Cases that are brought or are pending in any Court in Macomb County and any Court in Oakland County.

In Wayne County, I'll only handle cases which are brought in the following District Courts:

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

This includes, of course, Felonies that are or will be heard in the Wayne County Circuit Court.

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

Given that I base my advice and answers upon experience, and because my experience is primarily in Macomb, Oakland and those limited parts of Wayne Counties, I am unable and unwilling to advise or direct someone with a case outside of those geographic areas to do anything other than contact an experienced Lawyer who would be considered "local" there.

3. Michigan Bankruptcy Cases: My office files Bankruptcy for people who live in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, St. Clair and Sanilac Counties. Anyone who lives in one of those Counties will have their case heard in Detroit. If you do not live in one of these Counties, then your case will not be heard in Detroit, and I only handle cases that are heard in Detroit. Because different locations can operate a bit differently, I do not advise anyone whose case would be heard outside of the area where I practice. Those individuals should contact a "local" Attorney.

There are no words to express how gratified I am that anyone finds anything I say to be worthwhile. Nevertheless, I have tried to be clear in my various Blog posts, as well as on my site, about the geographic scope of my experience and Practice. I think one of the reasons I can be as detailed as I am is precisely because I limit what I do and where I do it. I have pointed out that part of the very experience I sell is the knowledge one gains from doing something again and again in the same places and with the same people.

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