Articles Posted in Criminal Law and Procedure

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. 

While it’s true that a juvenile record doesn’t necessarily count against you as an adult, that doesn’t mean that your past charges can’t come back to haunt you. Potential employers, the military, and yes, even colleges may consider your juvenile record and hold it against you when making decisions that affect your future. An Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can help you understand how these charges can affect your future and what you can do about it. 

Your Juvenile Record

It may be helpful to understand what charges may be considered by a college or other institutions. In Michigan, juvenile convictions are referred to as “adjudications.” An adjudication will include any of the following outcomes: 

  • You were charged with a crime, a trial was held, and you were convicted. 
  • You pled guilty to the charges when you were arraigned. 
  • You pled guilty as part of a plea agreement. 
  • You pled “no contest” to the charges.

If you were acquitted, it’s likely that the charges will not be considered, although there may be some exceptions. 

Not too long ago, the opioid crisis used to be a fixture on the front page of newspapers across the country and a regular feature on news programs. As a result of the pandemic, however, America seems to have forgotten all about the opioid crisis that has affected almost every state. According to Michigan state authorities, the use of opioids has surged during the pandemic, leading to a 26% increase in overdoses from April through June of this year. The month of April was especially brutal, reflecting a 33% increase in overdoses. 

Overdoses are a tragedy, but they overshadow the legal issues that plague addicts. For many opioid users, criminal charges don’t lead to recovery – they keep them using and often lead to other crimes. If you’re facing an opioid charge, an experienced Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can help you get a positive outcome. 

Possession of Heroin or Fentanyl in Michigan

Generally speaking, the penalties you face for a drug charge is based on the type of drug and the amount. Drugs are classified on a schedule, with Schedule I drugs being considered the most dangerous, and schedule 5 being the least serious. Schedule I and II narcotics carry the harshest penalties. 

We may still be seeing the fallout from the lockdown order even though it’s been lifted. You might think that crime has declined, but the fact of the matter is that you could still face criminal charges even though you’ve never left your home. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime, your entire future is at stake. Don’t leave your life in the prosecution’s hands – contact an Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

Some of the Charges You Can Face in Michigan

There is a wide variety of sex crimes you can be charged with as a result of using the internet on your computer or smartphone:

  • Solicitation of a minor 
  • Indecent exposure
  • Child pornography
  • Solicitation of a prostitute
  • Lewd behavior

All of these are crimes independent of the internet, but the internet makes it easier to find yourself facing these charges. Nothing is what it seems on the internet – people lie about their age and their intentions all of the time. Child pornography can be hidden among other files. Regardless of the situation, you can be charged with a sex crime even if you had no intention of doing anything illegal. 

The phrase “during these uncertain times” has become a part of our daily lexicon. Although the stay at home order has been lifted, the Governor has stated that the state will continue to monitor the number of cases and will reimpose restrictions if necessary. Unfortunately, many of us remain in limbo. You may have lost your job or only be working part-time. Your children’s activities have been canceled and school has not yet resumed. With limited outlets for people’s time and energy, it’s only a matter of time before we see an increase in assault and battery charges. Should you find yourself in this situation, an Ann Arbor assault and battery lawyer can help you face your charges and fight for your rights. 

The Difference Between Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are named together so often that people think they are a single crime. This is not the case – assault and battery are actually to separate charges. The principal difference between assault and battery is as follows:

There are numerous reports in the news concerning the rise in domestic violence that has occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of Michigan’s lockdown order. Many worry that an upward trend in child abuse cases could be made worse as a result of the pandemic. It may take some time for these cases to come to light, but statistics aside, you need to take immediate action if you’ve been accused of child abuse. The best thing you can do is to contact an Ann Arbor domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.  

Understanding the Charges You May Be Facing

Many people are shocked when they are charged with child abuse because they don’t realize how easily an allegation can lead to charges. This is because people don’t understand the laws that protect our children. Under Michigan law, there are four degrees of child abuse charges: 

  • First-degree child abuse: Knowingly or intentionally causing serious physical or mental harm to a child.
  • Second-degree child abuse:

(1) Causing serious physical or mental harm by way of omission.

As the lockdown in Michigan drags on, people are being forced into close contact with spouses and family members for longer periods of time than usual. Once you add in the stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, you suddenly have a situation that many are saying has led to an increase in domestic abuse cases. 

Facing a domestic abuse charge during this time may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, you do not have to face these charges alone – an experienced Ann Arbor domestic violence lawyer can help.

COVID-19: A Toxic Environment Fueling Domestic Violence Charges 

People are unable to go to work, children are unable to go to school, and they are required to stay home. Activities are canceled and public gatherings are not allowed. One of the few options to relieve the stress and boredom is to go outside for a walk. 

We’re entering the third month of the Covid-19 shutdown. Last night, Governor Whitmer extended the shutdown order until June 12, while relaxing some guidelines. 

What do the Courts Look Like?

In Washtenaw County, no in-person hearings are being held. For a while when the shutdown first started, there were a few in-person hearings. ArborYpsi Law appeared for two in-person preliminary examinations (a sort of mini-trial early in a felony case). Preliminary exams have since stopped being in-person. For now, preliminary exams will to be held in-person are moved to August, and maybe further. 

All ArborYpsi Law bench trials (trials heard by a judge) in Washtenaw County and in other counties to be held in-person have been moved to August. Jury trials are cancelled and postponed indefinitely. All pending ArborYpsi Law jury trials were pushed to August or simply cancelled. The August dates are simply placeholder dates until the courts know when jury trials will resume. More on that below. 

Due to Michigan’s strict stay-at-home guidelines, people are home from work and school with nowhere to go. Predictably, this has led to increased friction between family members, which has reportedly led to an increase in domestic violence calls. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence and are now facing charges, you should speak with an Ann Arbor domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. 

What to Do if You Are Facing Charges 

First, you should remain calm. Many people who are accused of domestic violence believe that their case is hopeless and that no one will believe their side of the story. Fortunately, this is not the case – you are innocent until proven guilty, and a skilled attorney can use the facts and the law to help you craft an effective defense. 

If you are under a restraining order (referred to as a “personal protection order”), you should absolutely comply with its terms. Do not have any contact with your accuser or the alleged victim, directly or indirectly. If you are being required to leave your home, do so as soon as possible. We realize that this can be more difficult than usual at this time, but find somewhere to go, even if it means staying with a friend or family member for the time being. You can make arrangements to have someone get your belongings later on. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all, including the legal system. Day to day operations have ceased. Currently only matters involving emergencies or in-custody defendants continue to proceed. Public health officials urge social distancing in this new age of the pandemic. Calls for social distancing do not feel as if they will end soon.

Social distancing presents problems for many courtroom procedures. Most court proceedings now are by Zoom. The most celebrated courtroom procedure of all – the jury trial – would seem impossible to complete with social distancing.

What Will Happen to Jury Trials in the Pandemic?

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