Articles Posted in Criminal Law and Procedure

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?

The Supreme Court announced that there will be no jury trial in the state of Michigan until at least June 22, 2020. Wayne County went further in delaying all jury trials until August 17, 2020. Wayne County, of course, an Detroit in particular, has been hard by the Coronavirus. The Court’s announcement came just before Governor Whitmer extended the shutdown order until May 15. 

If you’ve been arrested, it’s important to remain calm and take steps to protect your rights. That said, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and uncertain as to how to best protect yourself. As a result, the best thing you can do is speak with an Ann Arbor criminal defense lawyer who can defend you against your charges and protect your future. 

Have You Actually Been Arrested?

It may seem hard to believe, but it isn’t always easy to tell if you are under arrest. As a result, the very first thing you need to do is ask if you are under arrest. The police may not answer the question directly, but If you are free to leave, then you are not under arrest and you should leave immediately. If you are under arrest, the next steps you take are critical. 

Do Not Talk to the Police

You are probably familiar with the most basic of Miranda rights: the right to remain silent. However, the temptation to explain yourself can be difficult to resist, and many people will jeopardize this right by answering seemingly harmless questions. After all, many people worry that they will “look guilty” if they don’t cooperate with the police. Unfortunately, anything you say can and will be used against you, even pertaining to inconsequential details. 

One of the most fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution is the right to an attorney if you have been charged with a crime. However, you are not required to hire a lawyer and you can always represent yourself if you so choose. While you may think you don’t need a lawyer, hiring an experienced Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can provide you with multiple advantages that will ultimately lead to a better result.   

An Ann Arbor Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Understand Your Charges

The first thing an attorney can help you with is understanding the charges you are facing. Many criminal charges are more complex than they appear at first glance. Some charges are more difficult for the prosecution to prove than others. You may also be facing multiple charges, some of which appear to be contradictory. Understanding the precise nature of the crimes you have been charged with is critical to getting a fair result. 

Your Attorney Can Evaluate Your Case

Despite what the prosecutor wants you to believe, the fact that you have been charged does not mean that you are guilty. They have to prove the charges against you by producing evidence in court that proves you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced Ann Arbor criminal defense lawyer can find out what evidence they have against you and determine whether it may be sufficient to obtain a conviction. He or she can also identify the lack of evidence and what they cannot prove. 

With the Coronavirus pandemic growing, people are staying indoors. The expectation is that people will stay hunkered down in their homes through at least the end of April. Tensions are running high. Arrests for domestic violence could increase with this newfound tension in close quarters.

What is Considered Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is an assault or battery that is committed against a person you are in a relationship with or with whom you share a household. Here is how I explain assault and battery. A battery is where I punch someone. An assault is where I threaten to punch someone and have the immediate ability to do it, or I try to punch someone and miss. A battery does not have to be as severe as a punch. A battery could be a push, a slap, spitting at someone, grabbing a person, or sometimes even grabbing an object a person is holding. The key to whether an action is a batter is whether the touching of the other person is offensive and non-consensual.

Can an Assault or Battery ever be Legally Justified?

There are times when an assault or battery was committed but the action was justified. The main justification is self-defense. If someone is about to punch me, I can use force to stop them first. I don’t have to let a person use force against me. Or if a person is actually punching me I can physical action against them too.

As the threat from the Coronavirus increasingly consumes the public attention, people are noticing the growing threat from the disease to people in jails and prisons.

Incarcerated inmates are especially vulnerable to the spread of the virus. It may easy for many people to self-isolate in their homes and apartments. Social distancing in prison may be impossible. Inmates live in confined quarters with restricted movements. Sheriff’s deputies, prison guards, and many other staff work closely around the inmate population, and of course go out into the world and back after a day of work.

Governor Whitmer issued an executive order to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan prisons and jails. The Order focuses on the Michigan Department of Corrections. The Order also makes recommendations to county jails. 

The Coronavirus has impacted all of us. From Asia to Europe to America, the Coronavirus is a global pandemic. Over the last couple weeks in Michigan, we have seen schools shut down, followed by a shutdown of restaurants and bars. Governor Whitmer ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down beginning March 24 and continuing to at least April 13.

States across the country, including New York, California, and Ohio, have also ordered non-essential businesses to close. Each state defines “non-essential” differently.

Courts are an essential business, and the courts are open in a limited capacity. For criminal cases, the courts are only handling cases for defendants who are in custody, meaning they are in jail because there is no bond. Most court cases are not being heard during this shutdown period.

No one plans to get charged with drinking and driving. Most people who get charged did not have any intentions in the world of committing a crime. Getting pulled over and arrested is a scary experience for anyone. The next day you’re released from jail, now what?

When Will I Be Charged With a DUI?

Often a person is released from jail and they haven’t actually been charged with any crime yet. This can be confusing. You probably won’t actually be charged yet for a while. This could be for a couple reasons. First, a prosecutor must review the case and determine what charges there will be. Prosecutors do not move fast. A prosecutor might not review your case for months. The prosecutors often have to wait for the police officers to finish writing a police report and submitting it to the prosecutor’s office.

In many DUI cases, a driver’s blood is taken. The Michigan State Police must analyze the blood. That blood must be mailed to the MSP labs in the Lansing area, where it will get in line to be tested. Once tested, an MSP lab technician will provide the results to the local prosecutors. This process can take some time.

10:00 am this morning is the first time adults can buy recreational marijuana in Michigan. It’s been just over a year since Michigan voters said yet to legal weed. Michigan is the 10th state to have legal weed.

Where Can I Buy Legal Weed

The only stores selling legal weed right now are in Ann Arbor. Right now, three stores in Ann Arbor  selling recreational weed.

Ann Arbor, the home of the Has Bash, is a fitting place to be the first with legal weed sales. It was in 1972 that Ann Arbor decriminalized possession of marijuana, making it a civil infraction with a fine.

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