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Generally, police officers who are investigating a crime need a warrant to search a defendant. There are exceptions, though, such as in cases in which an officer reasonably suspects that a person is committing a crime. In such instances, an investigatory stop may be justified. Recently, a Michigan court discussed the right against unreasonable search and seizure in a matter in which the defendant was charged with numerous firearms and drug offenses. If you are accused of committing a crime, you should consult a trusted Michigan criminal defense attorney promptly to discuss your options.

The Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, the defendant was arrested at a gas station for carrying a concealed gun without a license. Apparently, an officer saw the gun in the defendant’s waistband with the handle protruding from his coat. The officer asked the defendant if he had a license to carry the gun, to which he replied he did not. The officer then confiscated the gun and arrested the defendant, after which it was discovered he had heroin in his possession as well.

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous weapons crimes and possession of heroin. He moved to suppress the evidence found during his arrest on the grounds that it was the product of an illegal search and seizure. Specifically, he argued the gun was not concealed but was being carried in accordance with the State’s open carry law. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the State appealed. Continue Reading ›

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted most facets of society, including those individuals that are currently incarcerated. Many people in prison have a higher risk of suffering severe illness due to COVID-19 and are justifiably concerned regarding the threats posed by the virus. Some individuals may be eligible for compassionate release, but demonstrating such release is warranted is difficult, as noted in a recent Michigan opinion issued in a case in which the defendant was convicted of a weapons offense. If you are charged with a criminal offense, it is prudent to meet with a seasoned Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to determine your options for seeking a favorable result.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of federal law. He had an extensive history of criminal convictions, including felony convictions for assault and delivery and possession of drugs. He pleaded guilty to the firearms charge and was sentenced to 46 months in prison. He began serving his sentence in January 2019. The defendant filed two motions for compassionate release. He withdrew the first, and the second was denied. He then filed a third motion for compassionate release, which was also denied.

Grounds for Compassionate Release

Pursuant to the First Step Act, a district court can consider motions filed by incarcerated defendants asking for reductions in their sentences. In determining whether to grant a compassionate release motion, a court has to engage in a three-part analysis. First, it must find that compelling and extraordinary reasons warrant a reduced sentence. The court must then ensure that the reduction complies with the applicable policy statements issued by the sentencing commission. Finally, the court must weigh all relevant statutory sentencing factors. If the court finds that each requirement is met, it may reduce a prison sentence but is not required to do so. Continue Reading ›

While gun ownership is generally lawful, people who have been convicted of felonies often lose their right to own weapons and can be charged with criminal offenses if guns are found in their possession. In many cases, though, the police will not have direct evidence of possession of a firearm but will have to rely on circumstantial evidence to establish a defendant’s guilt. Although circumstantial evidence is generally admissible, evidence of other wrongful acts usually is not. Recently, a Michigan court issued a ruling explaining the admissibility of other acts evidence in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm. If you are charged with a weapons offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a dedicated Michigan criminal defense lawyer to discuss what evidence the prosecution may put forth.

The Underlying Incidents and Defendant’s Conviction

It is reported that the defendant sent the victim threatening text messages, including a picture of an assault rifle. Later that day, the defendant went to a party hosted by the victim and got into a verbal altercation with her before pointing a gun at her head. He left the party, but that evening he became involved in a high-speed chase with the victim and fired shots at her vehicle. The victim then called the police and reported the defendant shot at her.

Allegedly, the defendant was arrested a week later. The police searched his home and found an assault rifle. He was charged with multiple crimes, including possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony. The defendant appealed, arguing in part that the prosecution improperly relied on evidence of other acts to establish his guilt. Continue Reading ›

In Michigan, people can be charged with harboring the intent to commit certain crimes. If a defendant is charged with such a crime, the prosecution must demonstrate the defendant’s mental status at the time of the alleged offense, and if it cannot, the defendant should be found not guilty. The evidence needed to prove an unlawful intent crime was the topic of a recent opinion delivered by a Michigan court in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for intent to commit arson. If you are accused of committing illegal acts, it is smart to speak to a trusted Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights.

The Defendant’s Alleged Acts

It is reported that the police were dispatched to the home of the victim due to reports of domestic abuse. When they arrived, they found the defendant inside the victim’s home with her children. He refused to vacate the home and spilled lighter fluid throughout the residence. Police followed the defendant to the second floor of the home, where he reported he had gasoline and he was going to torch the house.

Allegedly he kept asking the officers for a lighter or lit cigarette. At one point, though, he stated he was not going to set a fire. The defendant was charged with multiple crimes, including intent to commit arson. He was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing that the prosecution lacked adequate evidence to support his conviction. Continue Reading ›

With the holidays approaching, local law enforcement usually steps up DUI enforcement efforts. Unfortunately, many people unwittingly incriminate themselves. Knowing your rights beforehand may not help you avoid a DUI charge, but it can make the prosecution’s case more difficult to prove. As a result, a skilled Ann Arbor DUI lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.  

Understanding DUI Charges

Many people think that the prosecution’s case is based entirely upon how you performed in the field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer results. While these are key pieces of evidence in their case, they are susceptible to challenge, and they, therefore, need to rely on other evidence as well. For example, the prosecution will also introduce evidence concerning the following:

  • Probable cause. The police need probable cause to pull you over. As a result, the prosecution will need to introduce evidence that demonstrates why you were pulled over in the first place, such as a broken tail light or you were speeding. 
  • The officer’s observations at the time you were stopped. For example, the prosecution may need the officer to testify that they smelled alcohol on your breath, your eyes were watery, or your responses to their questions were rambling and incoherent. 
  • Your own actions and statements. The officer may also testify as to what you said and did at the time you were arrested. 

Ultimately, the prosecution wants their case to represent a complete picture of your guilt. Many people don’t realize that the police are trained to conduct DUI stops in a way that helps the prosecution build their case. An experienced Ann Arbor DUI lawyer can evaluate the case against you and identify potential weaknesses. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has been issuing orders concerning public gatherings and face masks since the beginning of the pandemic. The orders go into effect for a limited time, with the most recent being effective as of December 9th and to remain in effect through December 20th. However, we expect subsequent orders that are substantively identical to be implemented so long as the pandemic continues. 

Many people are unaware that these orders are enforceable by the police and that failure to comply can result in criminal charges. If you have questions concerning the order and how it may apply to you or have been charged with a violation, an Ann Arbor criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate these issues. 

What the Emergency Orders Require

The orders essentially do two things: 

What Happens When You are Charged with Drinking and Driving

Were you charged with a misdemeanor operating while intoxicated? Being charged with an OWI is stressful, and the legal process is confusing. ArborYpsi Law is here to help you. Learn more about the process of working with an Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer. 

 

Below is a general outline of the court process, what to expect, and an explanation of the options.

Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer’s First Step: An Arraignment

An arraignment is the first step in the court process and serves several purposes.

If you are pulled over for a DUI, it’s important to understand that you have rights. You do not need to do whatever the officer asks you to do or answer all of your questions. In our last post, we discussed some of the rights you have – rights that protect you from incriminating yourself. 

Unfortunately, the police are very aggressive when it comes to DUI enforcement, so there probably isn’t much you can do to avoid being changed. The goal is to avoid helping the police build a case against you. If you’ve been charged with DUI, an Ann Arbor DUI lawyer can challenge the prosecution’s case and help you get a fair result. 

Breathalyzer Tests

There are two breathalyzer tests that are typically administered as part of a DUI arrest. The first is a roadside test, or “preliminary breathalyzer test” (PBT). You have the right to refuse this test. If you choose to do so, you face a civil infraction and fine, but there will be no license suspension or points on your license. That said, similar to the field sobriety test, the officer may still arrest you for DUI if they believe they have sufficient basis. 

The holidays are a time of increased DUI enforcement in the Ann Arbor area. While there may not be as many office parties and other holiday events this year, people will still get together in their homes to celebrate. As a result, it’s safe to assume that police will continue to aggressively crack down on drivers they suspect are driving while under the influence. 

Obviously, the best way to avoid a DUI is to not drive if you have been drinking or under the influence of drugs. However, it’s important to understand that you have rights in the event that you do get pulled over. In the event that you are charged with DUI, the best thing you can do is speak with an Ann Arbor DUI lawyer as soon as possible. 

Know Your Rights When You Are Pulled Over

Unless you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, every DUI begins with a traffic stop. The police can stop you for almost any reason, such as a broken tail light – it doesn’t need to be based on suspicion of DUI. Most people are inclined to cooperate with the officer’s instructions but don’t realize that the police use several tactics from the very outset to help build their case. 

People who have been arrested or have a criminal record are often worried about what a potential employer can ask during an interview. This is a complicated area of the law, and the answer to this question is unfortunately convoluted. An experienced Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can guide what questions you may be required to answer and which questions you can legally decline. 

Misdemeanors Without a Conviction

Under Michigan law, potential employers may not ask you any questions concerning a misdemeanor arrest that did not result in a conviction. As a result, employers cannot ask you any questions concerning a misdemeanor arrest if your charges were dismissed or you were acquitted. 

There is one important exception – if you seek employment with a law enforcement agency, they can ask you questions concerning misdemeanor arrests that did not result in a conviction. 

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