Category Archives:Criminal Defense

The Overcriminalization of Michigan

The Overcriminalization of MichiganMichigan Severely Over-Legislated

Commit any crimes today? After you read this, you may be less sure of your answer. A report was recently published, “Overcriminalization in the Wolverine State,” outlining how out of control our legislatures have become. To clarify, there is not a higher crime rate in Michigan, there are just more crimes a person can be accused and/or convicted of. For example, recently our office represented an individual for the egregious misdemeanor of failing to have a lid on their trashcan. Some other examples from the article include:

■One man who disposed of scrap tires at a facility he thought was legal was sentenced to 270 days in prison and a $10,000 fine for unlawfully disposing of the tires since the facility did not have a license.

■A few years ago, a woman faced charges for operating an illegal day care simply because she helped her neighbor’s children get on the morning school bus.

■Other pitfalls include driving motor vehicles in a state wilderness area, purchasing a new or used motor vehicle on the weekend and transporting Christmas trees without a bill of sale.

■And here’s a sampling of new laws passed in 2012: It’s a crime to display any material containing the name of an elected Michigan official at a polling site; and also illegal to display an owner’s contact information on a barge.

While it is admirable for legislators to legislate against serious crimes, this proliferation of laws can have several unintended consequences. First, it can entrap law abiding citizens. We don’t want courts to waste their time pursuing non dangerous offenders. Secondly, this can divert law enforcement efforts away from dangerous criminals. Finally, a confusing legal code can lead to inconsistent applications of the laws, whether through mistake, or by design. Many of these esoteric laws are rarely used, and can be used as tools of oppression against communities that are more heavily surveyed by the police.

There is one consequence of these crimes that seems was fairly likely intentional: it brings in revenue for the state and municipalities. If you have been a victim of overzealous lawmakers, or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/ingrid-jacques/2015/02/12/jacques-michigan-criminalizes-population/23312999/

Minor In Possession of Alcohol Metro Detroit Lawyers

Yellow beer cansMinor In Possession of Alcohol Metro Detroit Lawyers

Are you a student at Wayne State University that has been charged with a criminal offense?  You should know this situation should not be taken lightly as criminal convictions can impact your entire life.  Don’t let your youthful indiscretion impact your career.

Minor In Possession of Alcohol (MIP) is a common offense among college students but the fact that it is well-known does not lessen the consequences it may have. Under the Michigan Liquor Control Code Section 436.1703, the first offense can carry a fine, substance abuse treatment, and costly probation.

If you are 21 or older, you should know that there are also offenses that those of legal drinking age may be charged with. Your actions while under the influence of alcohol may still have negative consequences. For example, an officer may give you a Disorderly Person ticket under the Michigan Penal Code Section 750.167 for being intoxicated in public if they believe you are causing a disturbance. This carries a punishment of up to 90 days of imprisonment or a fine of up to $500.00. Also, many individuals over the age of 21 are charged with Operating While Intoxicated for getting behind the wheel after having one or two too many drinks. Under the Michigan Vehicle Code Section 257.625, this offense has serious consequences that may include imprisonment for up to 93 days and a fine of $500.00, depending on the situation.

If you have been charged with Minor In Possession of Alcohol, Disorderly Person, Operating While Intoxicated, or any other offense and are a student, contact the Minor In Possession of Alcohol Metro Detroit Lawyers at Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. As alumni of Wayne State University Law School, we know the value of a good education and know how important it is to start your career off right. We have all of the tools needed to minimize the negative impact of the charges you received and we bring years of experience and individualized attention to every case we handle. Contact us today.

 

Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) misdemeanor criminal charges

Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) misdemeanor criminal charges

Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) is one of the busiest airports in the United States. As such, safety and security are high priorities. In order to promote these goals, the Wayne County Airport Authority Board adopted a new Airport Ordinance in March of 2013. This document details the rules that apply to travelers.

Travelers may be familiar with an announcement made in the airport that luggage should not be left unattended. This is a warning that coincides with an Airport Ordinance. Section 6.7 states that, “[a] Person shall not abandon personal property upon Airport premises… Violation of Subsection 6.7 is a misdemeanor.” In fact, it appears that law enforcement officers have been taking this rule very seriously in recent months.

Travelers may be surprised that a number of other seemingly innocuous activities are considered misdemeanors under the Airport Ordinance if conducted at the airport. These include:

• Using roller skates or other similar devices
• Altering, defacing, or damaging any airport property including walls, floors, or even plants
• Gambling in any way without a permit
• Posting or distributing any informational or advertising materials without a permit
• Taking still, motion or sound pictures of or at the Airport for commercial purposes without a permit

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor for violating these or any other sections of the Ordinance, contact the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC. These charges should not be taken lightly as conviction will create a criminal record or add to an existing one.

Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) misdemeanor criminal charges? Dealing with Homeland Security, Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) or customs/immigration violations? To receive more information, call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message

34th District Court
11131 Wayne Rd
Romulus, MI

East Lansing Michigan's Open Container Law

iStock_000000206708MediumGame Day in East Lansing

The Michigan State Spartans are gearing up for another game this Saturday against the Indiana Hoosiers. The Spartans have had a strong season and many fans will be donning green and white and gathering in East Lansing to watch the game.

Fans will enjoy the fall weather on Michigan State’s beautiful campus and tailgate at the well-known tennis courts and beyond. Though the consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted in certain areas on campus, East Lansing law prohibits a number of acts that seem commonplace on football afternoons. As such, it is important to keep in mind that law enforcement officers will still be on the lookout for individuals committing offenses such as open intoxication, urinating in public and minor in possession.

Tickets for these offenses should be taken very seriously because they carry economic and social penalties. For example, an individual being cited for minor in possession the first time can face a $100 fine plus court costs, community service and substance abuse screening, and a Criminal Record. The punishment increases with subsequent offenses. Open intoxication and urinating in public charges can even carrying jail time.

For information about specific charges see the links below:

Students facing any of these offenses will face obvious inconveniences when handling matters such as this but it can be even more difficult for individuals that received tickets when visiting from out of town. If you have received a ticket while tailgating or spending game day in East Lansing, contact the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC for help. We have extensive experience defending individuals facing these types of tickets. For more information about East Lansing Michigan’s Open Container Law or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

 

 

Tailgating Crimes Michigan

iStock_000019472011SmallCharged with Tailgating Crimes Michigan?

Fall is here, football season is in full swing, and the tradition of tailgating has resumed.  With both the NFL and NCAA playing there are plenty of opportunities for fans across Michigan to get together to enjoy the sport.  On weekends, thousands of fans flock to downtown Detroit to watch the Lions or to Ann Arbor to see the Wolverines.  While most of the football traditions are all in good fun, some fans may find themselves facing law enforcement on game day.  Charges for Operating While Intoxicated, Urinating in Public, Minor In Possession, Disorderly Person and Transportation of Open Intoxicants are very common during football season in Ann Arbor and Detroit.  Even though these charges are common, they are criminal offenses and should be taken seriously as they could have a negative impact on individuals’ careers or education because potential employers and universities frequently require the disclosure of criminal convictions.

If you have received criminal charges relating to your weekend activities, contact the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC.  We work frequently in Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw County and can aggressively represent you in your matter.  We are seasoned criminal defense attorneys and will strengthen your case with years of experience.​  If you would like to retain an attorney at Garmo & Kiste, PLC or receive more information, please call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.  The attorneys of Garmo & Kiste, PLC will help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Labor Day Drunk Driving Crackdown

report drunk drivers signLabor Day Drunk Driving Crackdown:

“Designated Driver Dark” and “Call a Cab Cider” may sound like quirky craft beer names but they are actually names for fictitious brews imagined by the leaders of a new anti-drunk driving campaign in Michigan. This branch of the “drive sober or get pulled over” campaign will run through Labor Day weekend.  Michigan police typically launch campaigns such as this in conjunction with crackdowns around holidays when citizens are most likely to drink including Thanksgiving, New Years and the Fourth of July.

The campaign is meant to raise awareness of a crackdown on drunk-driving offenses. Even though the campaign is humorous, it is related to unlawful activities that carry very serious ramifications. The crackdown will take place in over 40 Michigan counties including Wayne and Oakland.  Police officers will focus on the enforcement of drunk driving and seatbelt violations.  It is likely officers will keep a close eye out for the signs of offenses such as operating while intoxicated. This offense has ramifications that impact your career and social life.

If you have been charged with an offense as a result of this crackdown or while celebrating Labor Day weekend, contact the attorneys of Garmo & Kiste, PLC.  Our law firm has successfully handled many cases involving driving while intoxicated and other traffic and alcohol-related offenses.  If you would like more information or to retain an attorney at Garmo & Kiste, PLC, call (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or send us a private message.

Woodward Dream Cruise Criminal Charges?

BurnoutWoodward Dream Cruise Criminal Charges?

The rumble of engines can be heard on Woodward Avenue as car collectors are gearing up for the Annual Woodward Dream Cruise. The official event will be held on Saturday, August 16th, 2014 but hundreds are warming up their engines already.

The Dream Cruise first started in 1995 and has since become a Detroit tradition. The event attracts 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars from across the U.S. and beyond. The tradition is for caravans of cars to parade up and down the iconic Detroit Avenue, giving car lovers an amazing opportunity to “camp-out” on the street and spot some amazing models. Additionally, there will be other entertainment set up along the route including musical performances and a play zone for children.

The nature of the event lends itself to certain concerns and police will be out in full force implementing the law. They will be keeping an eye out not only for traffic violations such as Reckless Driving and Drag Racing but also general violations such as Open Container/Intoxicants and Urinating in Public. If you are charged with any of these offenses or others while you are enjoying the events over the next week, contact the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC. We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and have represented hundreds of cases in Metro Detroit including the 44th District Court in Royal Oak and and 43rd District Court Ferndale. For more information, contact the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or send us a private message.

Michigan Fireworks Laws

Brightly colorful fireworks  in the night skyMichigan 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_000012031771SmallMichigan 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_000005022838MediumCell 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.