Category Archives:Criminal Defense

Michigan Fireworks Laws

iStock 000016947992Medium 300x300 Michigan Fireworks LawsMichigan Fireworks Laws:

The Fourth of July has come and gone but fireworks can still be heard in neighborhoods all around Detroit when the sun goes down. Michiganders have been enjoying relaxed state fireworks rules since Governor Synder signed the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act of 2011. This act allows aerial fireworks to be legally purchased within Michigan state lines, making it easier for consumers to put on their own impressive firework displays around the holidays.

The law states that local governments may create their own ordinances to regulate the use of consumer fireworks as long as the local ordinances do not restrict the use of consumer fireworks on the day before, of, or after a national holiday except to dictate that fireworks cannot be discharged within certain hours. Localities with a population of 50,000 or more may prohibit use from midnight or 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. and localities with a population of less than 50,000 may prohibit use from 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. Violating a local fireworks ordinance comes with a fine of up to $500.00 so it is best to refer to your city or town’s ordinance before you use fireworks.

The Act also prohibits the use of fireworks by someone that is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances or from use on public property. An individual that violates these provisions could be fined up to $500.00.

Recently, Michigan state Senator Glenn Anderson stated that he is working to repeal the 2011 Act and prevent the sale of high-powered fireworks within Michigan.   His primary concern is that the expected economic benefits of allowing sales don’t outweigh the risks to Michiganders’ health of widespread use. Individuals across Michigan feel the same way and have concerns about the noise implications. Local governments are responding to these concerns by strictly enforcing the law.

Violations come with a significant penalty. If you have violated the Act or a firework ordinance, contact the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or send us a private message. We will help you assess your options and discuss how to proceed.

 

Michigan Implied Consent Law

iStock 000012031771Small 300x300 Michigan Implied Consent LawMichigan Implied Consent Law: The Risk of Refusing Tests

If you are a Michigan resident, you should be aware that the act of operating a vehicle enters you into an implicit agreement to submit to alcohol testing. MCL 257.625c dictates that any individual who operates a motor vehicle on a public highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles within the state is considered to have given consent to chemical tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine to determine if he or she has been using alcohol or another controlled substance in certain circumstances. These circumstances include if you are being arrested for operating while intoxicated or while visibly impaired.

Violations occur when an individual is arrested under one of the provisions cited in MCL 257.625c including operating while intoxicated and the driver has refused to submit to a breath test. Though it is not mandatory that you submit to a breath test, you should know that refusal is de facto an implied consent violation. Some individuals refuse under the assumption that it may help them avoid the primary charge including operating while intoxicated. However, the officer will almost always proceed to obtain a warrant to do the testing and the implied consent violation has already occurred.

An individual seeking to challenge the refusal violation must request a hearing within 14 days of the date of notice. Time is of the essence in these cases. The ramification of violating the implied consent provision is a one-year suspension of your operator’s license. Note that this applies only to the first refusal. If you refuse a second time within seven years of the first refusal, your operator’s license may be suspended for a period of two years. There may also be special ramifications if you have a commercial operator’s license.

There is an exception to the implied consent rule under MCL 257.625(c)(2) for individuals that suffer from hemophilia, diabetes or other conditions requiring the use of an anticoagulant which may justify the refusal to submit to a blood test. This defense should be raised by your attorney because an officer may neglect to include this information in his report thus subjecting you to punishment.

Losing your operator’s license has a severe impact on your life economically and socially. If you were arrested for operating while intoxicated or any of the other offenses cited in MCL 257.625c and refused to submit to alcohol testing, contact the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC. We have extensive experience handling cases in the Metro Detroit area, giving is the expertise necessary to handle these intricate cases. Contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 now for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Cell Phone Searches and the 4th Amendment

iStock 000005022838Medium 300x300 Cell Phone Searches and the 4th Amendment Cell Phone Searches and the 4th Amendment: You’re Going to Need a Warrant for That

A recent Supreme Court ruling took a strong stance in support of privacy, preventing law enforcement officers from searching individuals’ cell phones without a warrant. The Supreme Court made a combined, unanimous decision over Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie that police officers generally must obtain a warrant before searching a suspect’s cell phone regardless of what type of cell phone it is.

In the first case the Court discussed, the defendant was stopped for a traffic violation. After law enforcement accessed information on his cell phone, he was charged with a weapons offense and associated with gang activity. In the second case the Court discussed, the defendant was arrested after police officers believed they observed him engaging in a drug deal. Law enforcement officials then used information on his cell phone to determine the location of his residence, obtained a search warrant and found drugs and other contraband at the premises. The defendant was charged with drug and firearm offenses. In both of these cases, the defendants sought to have the evidence that had been discovered as a result of the cell phone searches excluded. In support of the searches, the government argued that a search of the data stored on a cell phone is “materially indistinguishable” from searching the types of physical items that are typically found on suspects such as address books and purses. Therefore, the government argued that law enforcement officials should be able to search cell phones without a warrant. The Court rejected this argument, humorously noting that, under the government’s logic, a ride on horseback would be materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon.

Despite this, the Court did state that the exigent circumstances exception could apply, allowing an officer to search a cell phone without a warrant. Under this exception, an officer can search the information contained in a cell phone if it is necessary to prevent an imminent danger. Additionally, the Court stated that law enforcement officers may physically search a cell phone in order to ensure their personal safety. For example, an officer may examine the physical aspects of the cell phone in order to determine that a weapon is not hidden on or in it. Further, this ruling does not denote that cell phones cannot be searched at all; it merely states that officers must obtain a warrant before they perform a search of the cell phone.

Ultimately the Court’s ruling protects individuals’ privacy by requiring law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before searching the information contained in cell phones. This case reinforces privacy interests in a technologically saturated world and serves as an example of how technological evolution may cause us to reconsider the scope of our constitutional rights.

For more information about criminal defense, Contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or send us a private message.

Detroit Curfew Laws

iStock 000021432631Medium 300x300 Detroit Curfew LawsThe Detroit fireworks went off without a hitch last Monday, despite the threat of thunderstorms. However, the night was cut short for a number of young viewers. Detroit police officers were out in full force on and one of their goals was to implement the modified curfew. The Detroit curfew law was altered for Monday night, dictating that individuals under 17 years of age needed to be accompanied by an adult after 6 p.m. Ultimately over 100 juveniles were detained for violating the curfew.

The default curfew is less restrictive, though the penalties are significant. The standard Detroit curfew law dictates that it is unlawful for a minor to be on a public street, sidewalk, playground, vacant lot, or other unsupervised pubic place, or in a place of entertainment (including movie theaters and restaurants) during certain times. The Ordinance organizes the rules by age:

  • For minors age 15 and under: from 8:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. during standard time and from 10:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. during daylight savings time.
  • For minors ages 16 and 17: from 10:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m., except Fridays and Saturdays: from 11:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. during standard time and from 11:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. during daylight savings time.

(Sections 33-3-11 and 33-3-12, Ord. No. 30-08, § 1, 12-9-08)

The curfew rules do not apply to private residences, private clubs, schools, churches, duly-licensed family hobby and recreation centers, fraternal organizations, or any other civic agency, organization or institution.

If a minor commits a delinquent act by violating the above referenced rules, the parent could be held responsible. The first conviction for violating the Ordinance subjects the parent to a fine between 75 and 100 dollars. The second violation subjects the parent to a fine between 100 and 500 dollars. All subsequent violations subject the parent to a fine between 250 and 500 dollars and, if the court chooses, confinement in the county jail for between 15 and 90 days or probation upon the condition that the parent participate in a government sponsored mandatory work program for the duration of the sentence. (Sec. 33-6-4. Ord. No. 9-87, § 1, 3-25-87)

Questions about Detroit Curfew Laws? If your child violated the curfew you may be forced to pay significant fines or face other serious penalites. For more information about or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

 

Michigan Juvenile Expungement Lawyer

iStock 000009770048Small 300x300 Michigan Juvenile Expungement LawyerMichigan Juvenile Expungement Lawyer:

Many people think that if you were convicted of a crime as a juvenile, that crime will not be on your record. However, many times that is not the case and these convictions will still appear on a background check. Thankfully, the juvenile expungement statute is somewhat more lenient than that for adults (although the adult statute has recently changed to include the concept of exempt minor offenses). Under MCL 712A.18e, a person who has been adjudicated of not more than 1 juvenile offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult and not more than 3 juvenile offenses, of which not more than 1 may be a juvenile offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult and who has no felony convictions may file an application with the adjudicating court or adjudicating courts for the entry of an order setting aside the adjudications. A person may have only 1 adjudication for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult and not more than 2 adjudications for an offense that would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult or if there is no adjudication for a felony if committed by an adult, not more than 3 adjudications for an offense that would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult set aside under this section. Multiple adjudications arising out of a series of acts that were in a continuous time sequence of 12 hours or less and that displayed a single intent and goal constitute 1 offense provided that none of the adjudications constitute any of the following:

  • (a) An assaultive crime as that term is defined in subsection (7).
  • (b) An offense involving the use or possession of a weapon.
  • (c) An offense with a maximum penalty of 10 or more years imprisonment.

This means you are eligible if you have 1 juvenile offense which would have been a felony as an adult, and not more than two equivalent misdemeanors, and no felony convictions. You are also eligible if you have three juvenile offenses that would be the equivalent of misdemeanors.

Just as with the adult expungement statute, some exceptions apply including:

  • 1)     The offense cannot be punishable by life in prison if it were the adult version of the crime;
  • 2)     You can’t expunge traffic offenses;

To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.

 

Failure to Stop and Identify at the Scene of a Property Damage Accident 257.618

iStock 000038399572Small 300x300 Failure to Stop and Identify at the Scene of a Property Damage Accident 257.618

Hundreds of car accidents occur in Michigan every day. If damage to your car and a delay in your day isn’t frustrating enough, you may even receive a ticket if you don’t follow the exact protocol following the accident.  Under Michigan Vehicle Code 257.618 the driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he has been involved in an accident upon public or private property that is open to travel by the public shall immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall remain there until the requirements of section 619 are fulfilled or immediately report the accident to a police station or officer.

Failure to Stop and Identify at a Property Damage Accident is commonly called Hit and Run. It is a 6 point misdemeanor offense and carries a hearty fine,  and possibly jail and/or probation. Section 619 dictates that the driver of a vehicle who knows or has reason to believe that he or she has been involved in an accident with an individual or with another vehicle that is operated or attended by another individual will do the following:

Give his or her name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is operating, including the name and address of the owner, to a police officer, the individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which he or she has collided.  Then the driver must show his or her license to the individual or driver of whose car was struck or a police officer and do everything to reasonably assist in securing medical aid for anyone injured.

If you have been involved in an accident, fail to meet these requirements and the accident results in damage to a vehicle operated by or attended by any individual, the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment or, more commonly, a fine of $100.00.  Tickets for this offense are very common in Michigan.  Many drivers that are involved in an accident want to get the whole ordeal over with as soon as possible but it is advisable to take the requisite actions in order to avoid paying a fine on top of any repairs that might need to be done.   However, if you were involved in an accident and received a ticket of this nature, there are resources you can use to ensure this ticket does not cause issues in the future.  The attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC have a great deal of experience with tickets of this nature in the courts of Metro-Detroit.  If you would like more information, please call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

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Michigan Criminal Defense and Crimes of Moral Turpitude

iStock 000011733339Small 300x300 Michigan Criminal Defense and Crimes of Moral TurpitudeMichigan Criminal Defense and Crimes of Moral Turpitude:

Our final post concerning convictions for non-US citizens will address which crimes are considered to be crimes of moral turpitude.   As mentioned before, being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude can render a non-U.S. Citizen removable or inadmissible.

A crime of moral turpitude is merely a description for other crimes.  This category includes crimes of violence as well as other crimes that may carry moral indicators.  Murder and other aggravated misdemeanors and felonies are considered crimes of moral turpitude.  Domestic abuse and other family-related offenses may be considered crimes of moral turpitude.  For example, child neglect and domestic assault can render you removable.  Other crimes of moral turpitude are immigration fraud, trafficking weapons or drugs, and retail fraud.

Crimes that are not associated with moral turpitude include basic assault, operating while intoxicated, disorderly conduct, and even carrying small amounts of marijuana.  The difference between being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude and avoiding a misdemeanor that is considered to bear moral turpitude hinges on whether you can successfully plead other offenses down to disorderly conduct.  This is why having an attorney that is experienced in criminal defense and understands your situation is so important.

The moral character of an applicant is a substantial factor taken into account by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services during the naturalization review.  Further, being convicted of crimes of moral turpitude may have effects on visa, green card and naturalization applications or render you removable.

It is extremely important that you consult an attorney to review your criminal record if you are facing a crime such as this.  Obtaining counsel that understands the difference between crimes of moral turpitude and crimes not associated with moral turpitude is important to ensure your future is secure.  The attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC are seasoned defense attorneys.  We pride ourselves on providing individualized care in order to achieve the best outcome for each and every one of our clients.Contact us with a private message for a free Consulation.

 

              

 

Tigers Opening Day Criminal Charges?

iStock 000016018188Small 300x300 Tigers Opening Day Criminal Charges?Opening Day 2014, Tigers take on Kansas City Royals

Opening day is here and with it spring temperatures. While we all remember past opening days when it was chilling and people were anxious to head home early, this year it’s actually nice enough to be outside and even hit the bars after the game. However, police are active and in the area during opening day and are often writing an inordinate number of citations.

Have you been charged with urinating in public at the Tiger’s opening day? If so, you may be charged under the city ordinance, or state law. Detroit’s code Sec 28-9-2.0- Indecent exposure states that “No personal shall make any indecent exposure of his or her person in any public place.” MCL 750.335a states: A person shall not knowingly make any open or indecent exposure of his or her person or of the person of another. Violation of the section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both. While both of these sound fairly ambiguous and like they are not a big deal, they actually have pretty serious consequences. You can end up on the sex offender registry unless these charges are successfully negotiated and reduced by an experienced attorney.

Have you been charged with a drinking and driving/DUI offense on opening day? Michigan law provides strict penalties for operating while impaired (OWI), operating while visibly impaired (OWVI), and OWI High BAC (HBAC Law), where your blood alcohol content is .17 or above. These are difficult charges to handle with an attorney, let alone on your own especially if it is not your first offense. You are looking at licensing ramifications, as well as potential jail time, court costs and fines. An experienced attorney can work to mitigate these penalties and protect your rights.

Finally, each year around this time we hear from people who have been charged with a Minor in Possession (MIP), open intoxication/public intoxication (public intox or open intox), or drunk and disorderly conduct. These are all misdemeanor offenses which can be negotiated with the city attorney or prosecutor to minimize the effect on your life. However, without an experienced attorney you risk jail time, a permanent criminal record, and high costs and fines. Our offices work with local prosecutors and city attorney’s every day and can work to get you the best deal available so you can go on to enjoy the rest of the season in peace. Contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Criminal Convictions and Non Resident Visas Michigan

iStock 000014317254Small 300x300 Criminal Convictions and Non Resident Visas MichiganCriminal Convictions and Non Resident Visas Michigan:   

In a previous blog, we discussed the various statuses an alien may have in the United States and the rights that are associated with those statuses.  It is important to keep in mind that these statuses can be affected by criminal convictions.  Under 8 USC 1101(a)(48), a conviction is defined as a formal judgment of guilt entered by a court, a finding of guilty by a judge or jury, the entrance of a guilty plea or nolo contendere by the alien or admittance of sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilty when the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty or restraint on the alien’s liberty.   This broad classification includes pleas under the Holmes Youthful Training Act.

So what exactly are the ramifications of a criminal conviction?  Convictions can make aliens removable or inadmissible.  Removal (or deportation) involves a hearing before an immigration judge.  Inadmissibility applies to aliens who are seeking entry into the United States or aliens who are currently in on U.S. soil and are attempting to obtain permanent status through a green card.   Illegal aliens are typically considered both removable and inadmissible.

The effects a conviction may have depend on the nature of the crime.  For example, crimes of moral turpitude such violent crimes or crimes involving theft or fraud that are punishable for more than a year may render an alien removable or inadmissible.  Further, multiple convictions of crimes with moral turpitude can result in removal and detention.

If you are an alien facing criminal charges, it is extremely important that you seek the help of an experienced attorney who understands your status in the United States.  The attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC have handled many cases and will select ideal tactics when handling your case in order to achieve the best possible outcome.  Contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

 

Are you a Immigrant Facing Criminal Charges?

iStock 000014099805Small1 300x300 Are you a Immigrant Facing Criminal Charges?Are you a Immigrant Facing Criminal Charges? As a U.S. alien, it is important to understand your status because it determines your rights on U.S. soil.  As a non-citizen or non-national, there are 3 categories you may be a part of.

The first category is legal permanent residents.  Individuals in this group are green card holders.  As a permanent resident and green card holder, you are protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residency and your local jurisdiction.  You have the right to live permanently and work in the United States.  Also, you are able to choose whatever lawful profession you desire so long as it is not limited to U.S. citizens only.  These rights do come with responsibilities.  As a green card holder, you must obey all U.S., state, and local laws, file income tax returns and reports, and, if you are a male between the age of 18 and 25, you must register with the Selective Service.  Further, if you are convicted of a crime you may lose your green card.

The second category of aliens is non-immigrants who are legally in the United States.  These individuals are in the United States temporarily as tourists, business or temporary workers, or students.  These individuals must possess visas and may only perform activities related to that visa.  For example, if you receive a temporary work visa, you must work for the employer that you listed on your visa application.  If you would like to change employers, you must take steps to amend your visa application.  A non-immigrant may possess multiple visas, each for a different purpose.  If you receive nonimmigrant status through a visa, you gain certain rights.  If you have a temporary work visa, you have the right to be treated and paid fairly under U.S. law and to keep your passport and other documents in your possession.  However, like a green card, your visa may be subject to revocation if you are convicted of a crime.

The third category of aliens is illegal aliens.  These individuals entered the country illegally (without a green card or visa) or may have entered legally but remained beyond the authorized amount of time.  If you are an illegal alien you still have rights under U.S. law.  However, individuals in this category are often in a difficult position because they may not exercise those rights for fear of drawing attention to their illegal status.  Additionally, if you are convicted of a crime you may be subject to deportation.

Though these statuses guarantee certain rights, they are subject to certain rules.  If you are convicted of a crime it may jeopardize your status.  If you are facing criminal charges and you are a not a U.S. citizen or national, call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.  The attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for your rights.