Articles Posted in Criminal Cases

Usually, the biggest concern for anyone facing a Michigan criminal charge is staying out of jail. My team and I see that in just about every case we handle. It doesn’t matter if a person is facing a charge for assault, disorderly person, DUI, embezzlement, indecent exposure, or anything else. Everyone’s first order of business is to avoid jail, and that’s understandable. However, there is another important and even farther reaching concern, and that’s what does (and doesn’t) wind up on a person’s record.

A criminal case can show up on your record and negatively impact youThe good news is that the fear of going to jail often misplaced. Avoiding it, at least in the kinds of cases our firm handles, is usually not too difficult. In many cases, it’s because my team and I do good work. In other cases, however, it’s because jail simply isn’t on the menu in the first place. What is at issue in every criminal case is the potential damage that can result from a conviction when it goes on a person’s criminal record. We live in the Information Age now, so that can have a profound effect on one’s future.

The upshot, of course, is that it’s critical for us to protect that record. The importance of this can sometimes get lost in all the panic over going to jail. Unless a person has a bad prior record, or has done something truly heinous, keeping him or her out of jail is easier than keeping his or her record clean. If a person is being considered for a job, and some kind of conviction that might make a difference to that employer shows up on a background check, the mere fact that he or she did  or didn’t go to jail isn’t going to matter. Let me explain….

Embezzlement charges are scary. Countless of our clients have related how they felt when first contacted by their former employers or the police about missing money, or inventory. They all describe feeling a “pit” in their stomachs, because they knew what was coming. Our firm handles a LOT of embezzlement cases. We know how they work, and how to best resolve them. In this article, we’ll go over some of the more important points of these cases. First, though, we’ll begin with what to do if anyone, including the police, contacts you, and it’s simple: Shut up.

 <img src="drawing of the word e'embezzlement'.jpg" alt="3 key things about Michigan Embezzlement cases. ">Seriously. No matter what did or did not happen, there is nothing a person can say that’s going to help his or her situation. Unfortunately, people sometimes feel riddled with guilt if they’ve helped themselves to company money, or goods. Then, in a misguided attempt to “set things right,” they make admissions. Even if the evidence in a case is overwhelming, and the facts beyond dispute, just don’t say anything. Even though it’s free, this is priceless legal advice. Moreover, you will never find any competent lawyer who will disagree with it. Ever.

Over the years, my team and I have been called upon by countless people who have been contacted about a potential embezzlement case. We have always advised them to exercise their absolute right to remain silent. As a direct consequence, some of these same people wound up NOT being charged precisely because they DID keep their mouths shut. That’s not to say that such a strategy will work in every case, but even if the evidence is rock-solid, admitting to anything just doesn’t help.

As Michigan criminal lawyers, my team and I represent people in a wide range of cases. Even though we don’t handle things like rape or murder charges, our client’s cases are plenty serious to them. Sometimes, we are contacted by a person before he or she is charged with an offense. Often, this happens when the police reach out and want to speak with them. There isn’t a single competent lawyer in the country who would ever say “go ahead” and talk to the police. If there is one universal bit of legal advice that applies to every person with whom the police want to question, it’s this: Shut up.

<img src="police detective.jpg" alt="Don't talk to the police - remain silent. ">It’s been awhile since I’ve addressed this topic. A a number of recent calls to our office have made clear, however, that it’s time to do so again. The right to remain silent and not incriminate one’s self is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The police, for their part, try to work around that and get someone to talk. In large part, those efforts are legal. For as different as one case might be from another, and no matter what the situation, we keep coming back to the same proven advice: Shut up.

As a general rule, it’s never helpful to talk to the police without a lawyer. If there’s an exception, it’s if (and, really, only if) a person can prove he or she was somewhere else at the time of the incident in question. The police are trained how to ask questions. They know the techniques to suck someone in so that, even if they start out unwilling to talk, they eventually wind up providing answers. This isn’t a morally bad thing. Is there anyone who is unhappy that such interrogation tactics wind up catching serial killers and rapists and other really bad people?

As Michigan criminal, DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, every case we take begins with a consultation, and all of them start with a phone call. In a recent conversation I had with Ann, our senior assistant, I mentioned I had recently read that a lot of people facing a criminal or Michigan DUI charge feel intimidated to pick up the phone and call a lawyer. What Ann said in response was so simple, yet brilliant, that it became the inspiration for this article: “The worst part about not calling a lawyer is not calling.”

 <img src="nervous woman.jpg" alt="Call about a Michigan DUI charge. ">We’ll come back to that statement shortly, because as our talk progressed, it became clear that I was not seeing the full picture of what she meant. I had thought, at least up until that moment, that the main reason people would be afraid to call (or otherwise contact) an attorney was a fear of being “hounded.” I can relate to that, because it’s the very reason I don’t want to give out my contact information online. Plenty of sites offer something like a “free quote,” but the catch is that you must provide a phone number and/or email, first. Then, they never leave you alone….

It turns out there is more to people’s reluctance to call a lawyer than just that. I know that a lot of lawyers can be jerks, but we’re not. However, someone facing a Michigan DUI charge who finds us online doesn’t know that. He or she has no clue that we’re down-to-earth, friendly, and just genuinely nice people. What Ann made clear to me is that there is more than just the fear of being “chased” after providing contact details that makes a person hesitant to call. Unfortunately, it’s largely being put off by the smug attitude of some in the legal profession.

Indecent exposure charges are a main concentration of our practice. My team and I understand that there are countless reasons for how and why these charges come about. We see everything from people getting frisky in a place that wasn’t as private as they thought to men getting caught in “sting operations” at local parks and on trails. In this article, we’ll examine the court system’s big concern in these cases. Ultimately, anyone facing an indecent exposure charge just wants get out of it and protect their record. We’ll then look at how our firm can help do that.

xx-2-271x300Let’s begin by noting that the overwhelming majority of indecent exposure charges and aggravated indecent exposure charges are made against men. In those uncommon cases where a woman is charged, most involve having been caught getting a bit too frisky with someone, and in those cases, both parties find themselves being cited. More often, however, men are the ones who wind up being charged. Often, it’s for something like outright flashing or masturbating in their car. Sometimes, however, it’s for seeking the sexual company of other men in what turns out to have been some kind of undercover sting operation.

There are, of course, many other situations that can give rise to indecent exposure charges. However, those listed above are among the most common. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use the term “indecent exposure” throughout this article to mean both regular indecent exposure and aggravated indecent exposure, unless a distinction between the 2 charges is necessary. Regular indecent exposure is just that – the exposure of one’s genitals. It is a misdemeanor offense. The charge turns into “aggravated indecent exposure” if someone fondles his (or her) genitalia.

If you need a lawyer for either a criminal or DUI charge, or you need legal representation to get your driver’s license back, then you should be looking for an answer to these questions: “Why should I hire you?” and “What can you do for me?” A person should always have clear answers to those questions. If not, it means he or she plowed ahead without having made an informed choice.

MSJ2-300x267Unfortunately, this happens more than the reader might imagine. In the criminal and DUI world, this is particularly true when people act out of fear. Too many will sign on with the first lawyer who calls them back after-hours, or over the weekend. In license appeal cases, this often happens when a person chooses a lawyer based primarily on price. Neither of those is the right way to secure quality representation. In fact, they reinforce the notions that a good hiring decision should be explainable by answering the questions posed above.

Of course, while the answers to those questions needs to be clear, they also have to make sense. They must be tempered by reality. Anyone facing a criminal or DUI charge would love to hear that some lawyer has the special and unique ability to make his or her problems go away. However, that’s not how things work in the real world. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop some law offices from tying to sell themselves that way. Accordingly, the first order of business for anyone who is a potential consumer of legal services is to first filter through the marketing hype.

As Michigan DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, we use our experience and skill to actually make things better for our clients and produce the best possible outcome for them, whether we’re defending a criminal or DUI charge, or getting someone’s license back. As of this writing, I have published well over 1200 articles examining how things work in criminal, DUI and driver’s license restoration cases, and have explained as much about the legal process as I can. One thing I have not covered yet, however, is the very real element of luck, because it affects every case, and just about everything else we do in life, as well.

vectorstock_20630412-300x300Like so many of my other articles, this one was inspired by a real life case involving a client arrested for DUI in about the toughest jurisdiction here in the Greater-Detroit area. I often write about the importance of location in criminal and DUI cases, because it does directly impact how a case will play out, but the underlying truth is that what really makes one location easier or tougher than another are the prosecutors and Judges who work there. Certain courts are just “tougher” than others, but that tends to follow a kind of general continuum, with the more lenient courts being clustered around each other, and vice-versa.

Another key point I make is that DUI cases are always accidents of geography. Nobody plans to go out and get arrested for drunk driving, and therefore nobody plans their route with any notion of not driving through the toughest jurisdictions and, instead, staying within those that are known to be more “forgiving” in case they get pulled over. And if that’s not enough, add in that there are some multi-Judge courts where the differences between those Judges – meaning specifically how “tough” any one of them is compared to the other(s) – can be very pronounced.

Our goal, as Michigan criminal, driver’s license restoration and DUI lawyers, is to produce the best results possible in every case we take while being fair and honest. We are a premium service law firm, and therefore don’t compete with any other lawyers or law firms on price. However, we are the ONLY law firm that actually lists its prices, and also the only one that talks about money, as I’m going to do here. Frankly, I cannot understand why the subject of cost is treated like some big secret, especially because it’s such an important part of hiring a lawyer.

https://www.michigancriminaldefenselawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/286/2021/11/2.3-300x270.jpgThere are 2 important things about money and legal services worth noting, and they’re like opposite sides of the same coin: First – you will never get what you don’t pay for when you hire a lawyer. Experienced, skilled and talented lawyers will never compete to be the most “affordable.” The better class of anything is never cheap. Second, it is an unfortunate fact that too many attorneys charge far more than their representation is worth. It’s much easier to wind up paying too much for an average, mediocre lawyer than to get any kind of “deal” for top-notch legal services.

Our firm hasn’t raised prices for almost 2 years (since November 19, 2019, to be exact), but recent cost increases have left us with no other choice. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused just about everything to go up in price, and the expense of that has reached our door, as well. In addition, we’ve added staff to our team, so our overhead costs have grown, and we had to offset some of that by increasing our fees. In this article, I want to explain why it had to be done, and to talk about legal fees in the context of criminal, driver’s license restoration and DUI cases.

In our role as Michigan criminal defense lawyers, we handle a lot of indecent exposure cases. I have written more about this topic than any other attorney local to the Greater-Detroit area, and hope these articles are helpful to anyone facing this kind of charge. While there are a lot of elements to these cases that can essentially be examined to death, the bottom line is that a person charged with either indecent exposure or aggravated indecent exposure needs a lawyer who can produce the best (as in most lenient) possible results. In this piece, we’ll examine the landscape of indecent exposure offenses and look at how to do that.

Skinny1flash-265x300There are 2 different kinds of “indecent exposure” charges: regular, or simple indecent exposure, and “aggravated indecent exposure.” Simple indecent exposure is a misdemeanor offense, while aggravated indecent exposure is treated as a felony offense. We’ll get into the specifics of each later, but it’s important to note that sometimes, the term “indecent exposure” is broadly used when speaking of either offense. Throughout this piece, and where relevant, I will make sure to distinguish each specific offense from the other, while at other times, especially when referring to both charges as a class of offense, I will simply use the term “IE.”

Also, however politically incorrect it may be, I’m going to proceed on the assumption that any reader dealing with an IE charge is male. Our firm has handled countless indecent and aggravated indecent exposure charges over the decades, and with only one – and therefore very notable exception – they have all been for men. That one odd case involved a young woman attending a music festival who had dressed in short-shorts that some ticket-happy police officer thought were just too short. As it turned out, I was able to quickly get that entire case dismissed outright.

In the previous article, I explained that right now, during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Michigan Secretary of State is conducting all driver’s license restoration hearings remotely. In this article, I want to examine the impact that going remote has had on the way Michigan criminal and DUI charges are being handled, both in the courts, and in our office. As of this writing (October 2020), we’re 7 months into the pandemic, and the legal world is adapting to handling cases in new ways.

Lady5Having had to do that by sheer necessity, there are likely to be some permanent changes (at least in our practice) to the way criminal and DUI cases are handled in the future, many of which are favorable. Right now, in the Metro-Detroit area (meaning Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and the surrounding counties), “going to court” in many jurisdictions means connecting to a legal proceeding virtually. So far, we haven’t had a single complaint from any client who had to appear on a video conference with the court instead of actually having to have physically show up in it.

I don’t expect there to be any complaints, either. It’s basic human nature to prefer to do things the easier way, especially when the outcome is at least as good as it would be otherwise. There’s an old saying that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and even though the idea of holding meetings virtually is not any kind of new invention, society’s attitude about them, and expectations for them, have certainly evolved in the past several months.

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