Have you been thinking about “walking away” from your home? Many people, especially those who bought between 2004 and 2006 at the top of the market, now find that even with the dust settling on the housing market, they still owe more on their home then it is worth. This is called being “underwater” on your home. In some circumstances it can make good financial sense to walk away from the home. This means to just take the negative credit reporting of a foreclosure on your record, and let the house go into foreclosure. Especially where only one of two spouses has their name on the mortgage, and no one is too emotionally invested in the house this type of “strategic exit” can make a lot of financial sense for everyone involved. Everyone that is, except for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These government corporations lose out big every time a family walks away from a house secured by a note they hold. As more and more people recognize the value of walking away, they face a trend of loss. As such, the two have come together to offer a program to decentivize walking away from a property.
This program allows a homeowner to offer a deed in lieu of foreclosure. This program applies to homeowners who are current, and unlike many previous systems that required a homeowner to be in default. The homeowner gets to leave the property with limited liability, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac avoid the cost of foreclosing. The homeowner will release all rights to the property. One big advantage to the homeowner is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac waive any rights to pursue you on a deficiency. Generally if you are foreclosed on and the bank makes less then you owed them re-selling the house, the mortgage holder can pursue you for the remaining amount you owed them, which is called a deficiency. The deficiency is often thousands of dollars and the lender can pursue you for up to six years in Michigan. By taking advantage of the new program, effective March 1, 2013 you can avoid all of the hassle.
Arguably finding out there is a warrant out for your arrest can be one of the scariest parts of a criminal matter. Often people have never been in trouble before, don’t know what they’re being charged with, and don’t know what to do. While we can only give general advice without knowing the details of any particular case, in general it is best to contact and attorney and make a plan to turn yourself in. Then someone who is experienced in these matters can either get your arraignment waived or accompany you to the arraignment to ensure your rights are protected and have the bench warrant removed. This initial conversation is a good time to find out what the possible long term results of the crime you have been charged with are, and how we can work to mitigate them.
If there is one thing that makes Judges scared, it is the idea of having to explain to voter’s why they are perceived as being soft on drunk driving. The result is basically a competition to see who can be the toughest on drinking offenses. A secondary effect, is that in the legal world the social drinker seems to be becoming extinct. If you find yourself charged with an alcohol related crime, or dealing with an alcohol related driver’s license restriction the court is basically going to presume you have at least an alcohol problem, and more likely that you are a full-blown alcoholic. One problem that we see when people represent themselves is their initial and natural response is to try to disprove this presumption. When we represent someone we see this as an opportunity. The court is anxious to see you rehabilitated, and if we can work with this presumption, we can show the court through counseling, AA, and periods of sobriety that you are committed to staying sober and following the court’s instructions.
Navigating the legal world can be challenging if you are inexperienced, but an able lawyer can put their experience to work for you. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
While everyone who has received a drinking and driving ticket wants to get it dismissed, it is actually an extremely rare occurrence. Especially in Oakland County, the police and prosecutors have convictions down to a science and are unlikely to drop a case unless it is extremely weak.
Our office has been successful in defeating charges and has identified a few common factors. First, if the police stop was not legal you stand a much better chance of the charge being dismissed. Second, if you were not read your rights any information that came in after it would have been reasonable expected you would be read your rights is out. Thirdly, if you were not actually seen by the police driving your car it can be difficult for the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you were drinking AND driving. Finally, in some cases if your breath tests were performed in violation of the police’s own policies we may be able to argue they are invalid in rare circumstances.
If this does not describe your case though, don’t despair, we will still work to get you a good result. At this point our efforts will shift to sentencing, and plea negotiations. We can try to avoid you being subjected to extensive terms of probation, court costs and fines, and alcohol education and/or counseling sessions. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
When a domestic argument goes south and the police are called, it is a virtual certainty that one party is going to jail, especially if one or more of the Parties involved have a criminal record, the neighbors are complaining, or the Police have been there before. In some cases this is a policy, and in other jurisdictions it is law.
Once such a matter has been turned over to the prosecutor the victim will have little or no say in whether it goes to trial or not. One of the only defenses available to you is proving self-defense. An act is considered to be self-defense where a Defendant, reasonably believed that he or she was in danger of imminent death, or serious bodily harm, and used only force that was immediately necessary to protect themselves.
The reasonable belief test is judged from the perspective of a reasonable person in the accused’s situation. A domestic violence conviction can have long term effects in job applications, custody matters, and background checks.
You only have one shot to keep this off your record, so now is the time to be proactive. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
On May 22, 2012 Governor Snyder signed into Law new updates regulating the form and function of power of attorneys. It made several changes, although the changes will not apply to powers of attorney created before the effective date of October 1, 2012. Some of the most noteworthy changes include:
- A requirement that attorneys in fact sign an acknowledgment of duties. This document does not necessarily have to be attached to the POA. It must be signed prior to exercise of duties, but failure to have it signed will not affect authority to act per se.
- Two witnesses or a notary are now required. This was always best practice, but is now codified. There is no requirement that the acknowledgment of duties be signed.
- If a spouse serves as the attorney in fact for a spouse (A common phenomenon), the new law limits the ability of the attorney in fact to grant themselves any interest in property as a joint owner. As with all requirements of the new law, this can be contracted around and in many cases should be.
- If an attorney in fact is to receive reasonable compensation this much be specifically provided for.
- A preemptive exoneration clause may not provide indemnification for attorneys in fact for behavior that is in bad faith or made with reckless indifference
The policy behind these changes is to prevent elder abuse. A power of attorney is a very powerful document because it puts almost complete power into the hands of whomever you designate. It is not to be entered into lightly. These new provisions seek to eliminate what is perceived to be a growing problem of abuse of fiduciary duties via powers of attorney. It remains to be seen whether they will work, and how courts will interpret the new provisions.
As part of a larger court of specialized courts such as the Drug Court, or Mental Health Court, Wayne County recently instituted the Solutions Oriented Domestic Violence Prevention Court. On April 25th, 2011 it heard its first case.
Funded by federal grants, the Court is meant to address the larger problem of domestic violence within families through combining all cases involving the parties which will then be heard by one of three judges who are specially trained in issues of domestic violence.
Cases are selected for referral to the SODVPC at the time a Personal Protection Order petition is filed. If the filing clerk believes there is a high probability of fatality, or the abuse alleged is very severe, a representative will interview the Petitioner to further assess the probability of mortality. If it is considered probable, the Petitioner will be offered the opportunity to transfer the case to the SODVPC.
If it is transferred, all pending cases will be consolidated and heard by one of following Judges: Halloran, Elder, or Kelley. Other than that, the PPO matter will be handled in the same way as usual.
As a new court it is hard to know whether SODVPC will turn out to be advantageous or disadvantageous to a Defendant/PPO Respondent. On one hand, if your case is assigned to SODVPC it means it has been evaluated and found to be very severe. However this does not mean the allegations are true or not. If Petitioner’s claims are false, you stand just as good of a chance of being exonerated in SODVPC as any other court. Additionally, the Judge’s additional training may be to your advantage in rooting out the truth of what really happened.
Previously juvenile court used to be a strictly rehabilitative venture. The consequences were light and the court had the best interests of the child alone at heart. As it evolved though, it became more of a punitive endeavor, taking the best interest of the public into consideration in sentencing. As a result attorneys began to get involved to protect the liberties and due process rights of the children being charged. As an example of this shift, one need only look as far as the 35th district court. In the Northville/Plymouth area juvenile offenses are now handled out of the same court as adult offenses. While there are some differences such as dedicated probation officers and the application of juvenile as opposed to adult law, this is still a dramatic difference. If you or your child have been charged in the 35th district court or any other, you need an experienced advocate to represent you. This is not the time to let your child learn a lesson, as the court has made a clear statement it is no longer playing the role of a disciplining parent but rather a punitive body. An experienced attorney can work to get you one of these “best case scenarios.”
Some firms are all talk. At Garmo & Kiste we like to share real life stories of how we were able to help clients. Today after numerous pre-trials and substantial discovery we were able to get a loitering while in the presence of drugs DISMISSED outright. If this particular Defendant had gone into court unrepresented he would not have known to ask for multiple pre-trials or rounds of discovery. When we get involved though we force the prosecutor to actually prove every element of their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If this were done more often it is likely more cases would be dismissed when prosecutors realize they can’t meet their burden of proof. It is the difference between our client facing a term of jail time, a $500.00 fine, various court costs and fines, and a period of suspended or restricted license versus getting off entirely free and clear. Many times it is worth the upfront cost of hiring an attorney to prevent expensive, longer term results- as this case proves!
The results we got this morning in Roseville District Court are too exciting not to share! Our client was charged with a misdemeanor leaving the scene of a property damage accident and a careless driving charge. These are very serious charges carrying possible sentences of 93 days in jail, $500.00 fines, court costs, fees, and even possible licensing sanctions. We were able to negotiate with the prosecutor on his behalf and get him a plea deal where he only received a two point infraction for failure to stop within an assured clear distance. In a few years these points will fall of his driving record and most importantly, he will have no criminal record at all! This will help him in the future because it makes him a more attractive employee, will not pop up on background checks, or generally cause any trouble for him in the future.