Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys’

Michigan Drunk Driving – Former NBA Star Jalen Rose Sentenced to 20 Days of Jail Time for Drunk Driving

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Jalen Rose—born and raised in Detroit, Michigan—played NCAA basketball for the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the famed “Fab Five.” He then went on to play in the NBA for 13 seasons. In March, he was arrested in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan, on drunk driving charges, to which he pled guilty in May.

On Wednesday, July 27, Jalen Rose was sentenced to 20 days in jail for drunk driving. Judge Kimberly Small presided over the sentencing in the 48th District Court in Oakland County, Michigan. To skilled Michigan DUI attorneys, she is known for being tough on people who drink and drive. Judge Small told Rose at his sentencing, “I don’t care if you want to get drunk — have at it. I do mind when you get behind the wheel of a vehicle and use it in a way that can kill all of us.”

In Michigan, the most common drunk driving crimes are called Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI), and Operating With the Presence of Drugs (OWPD). If there is a minor in the vehicle at the time of the violation, the driver will most likely also receive Child Endangerment charges in Michigan. Depending on whether this is a person’s first, second, third, or subsequent drunk driving offense, the penalties vary. For Jalen Rose, this was his first drunk driving offense, and it would have been quite possible for Rose to be given a sentence that included no jail time. Rose’s lawyers have publicly stated that they feel Judge Small abused her discretion by making an example out of such a public figure.

If you have been charged with a DUI crime in Michigan, you need to hire an attorney who is skilled at defending such cases. Fortunately, the attorneys at Kronzek and Cronkright have over 80 years of combined experience practicing criminal defense in Michigan, which includes drunk driving defense. We have delivered very favorable results for our clients all over the state of Michigan.

MI Drunk Driving – Fourth of July Brings Increased Police Patrols and MI DUI Arrests

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Annual Fourth of July celebrations are highly-anticipated events every year. Warm weather brings people together throughout the state of Michigan for family, fireworks, food, and fun. However, with all the excitement also comes an increase in alcohol consumption among residents statewide. Those that choose to drive this year, experienced Michigan drunk driving lawyers warn you: law enforcement officials will be stepping up patrols throughout the holiday weekend, on the look out for intoxicated drivers on the roads.

Being pulled over for any traffic stop is an aggravating experience, especially over the holiday weekend. However, if the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that you have been drinking, you could have far bigger problems. Law enforcement officials will likely administer a number of field sobriety tests and ask the suspected drunk driver to submit to a breathalyzer test, measuring the person’s blood alcohol content. If the number registers over 0.08, the legal limit, the motorist is considered legally intoxicated and will be charged with Michigan drunk driving charges.

Those faced with their first Michigan DUI arrest face harsh and life-changing consequences. A drunk driving conviction is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and fees. Additionally, the motorist will lose their driving privileges for at least a year, spend up to a year in jail, or be required to complete community service or alcohol rehabilitation.
Because of the serious consequences that accompany Michigan DUI charges, here are a few preventive tips that can help you, family, and friends avoid any unpleasant run-ins with police this Fourth of July:

  • Before the party begins, figure out a means that you can arrive at home safely. Designate a sober driver first, and choose to leave your keys at home so no temptations to drive will be present.
  • If somehow your designated driver cannot take you home, have a back-up plan–whether you must walk, take public transport, or a taxi cab.
  • If a participant of your party is trying to drive drunk, take their keys. They may not be happy with you then, but given the serious consequences that can befall convicted drunk drivers, they will thank you later.
  • Just because you are operating a boat, does not mean you cannot be arrested for drinking and driving. Law enforcement patrols will also be increased on Michigan waterways as well.

Following these simple, but important tips can not only keep everyone safe this holiday weekend, but help avoid the serious and permanent consequences that accompany a Michigan DUI arrest. As seen by the information provided above, being suspected of drunk driving can significantly compromise many of your personal liberties and freedoms, including driving privileges and even resulting in jail time. If suspected of driving while intoxicated, it is important to be proactive in securing the best defense for your case, to ensure that this does not happen to you. Contacting aggressive Michigan drunk driving attorneys will provide superior legal advice from knowledgeable trial lawyers, who have years of experience fighting for the accused in the court room. Acting quickly can help make sure that you stay spend your holiday at home, not at the police station.

MI State Law – Michigan Boaters Could Be Subject to Harsher Alcohol Laws This Summer

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Anytime a law enforcement officer has sufficient reason to believe a motorist is driving under the influence of alcohol, the driver is susceptible to arrest for a DUI. This summer, experienced Michigan drunk driving lawyers want to remind all residents that this rule applies not only to those driving a motor vehicle, but to those operating a boat as well. In fact, legislation is being proposed that would create stricter alcohol laws for boaters throughout the state – - not only to battle drunk driving, but also severe boating accidents.

According to the Detroit News, the Michigan Sheriffs Association is backing a proposal that would decrease the legal limit allowed for boaters. Currently, a lake-goer can avoid a Michigan DUI arrest if their blood alcohol content registers to 0.1 or lower–a higher level than is permissible for motor vehicle drivers. Supporters of the legislation want to decrease the number, aligning it with highway traffic laws. They reason that boats travel at higher speeds and there has been a significant increase in water traffic compared to previous years.

Legislators in Michigan changed the legal driving limit for motorists in 2003, lowering it to 0.08. Despite this change, the rule regarding drunk boating did not change, remaining at 0.1. The legislation requesting the change has been pending in the House Judiciary Committee since last summer, but is also included in a series of boating safety bills yet to be introduced. Should the legislation become law, the intoxication level for Michigan boaters would put the state on the same level as many other states who have also lowered their BAC limits.

Being accused of driving while intoxicated is a difficult experience for anyone to go through, regardless if the person is operating a motor vehicle or a boat. The consequences for a DUI conviction will be severe, almost certainly resulting in the loss of driving privileges or employment, or fines and/or jail time. To protect yourself from these harsh punishments, it is important to be pro-active in securing the best legal defense for your case. Contacting knowledgeable Michigan drunk driving attorneys can ensure tactical legal representation, designed to keep you on the roads, water, and at home–not behind bars.

MI DUI Charges – DUI Arrest of Detroit Lions President Could Also Bring NFL Discipline

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Experienced Michigan drunk driving attorneys can commiserate–being pulled over for a routine traffic stop is an aggravating experience for anyone to go through. However, should the law enforcement official suspect that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, the experience becomes more than aggravating. Suddenly, you are facing a much larger problem. While the consequences are severe for any person in this situation, recognizable public figures are subject to more scrutiny with such charges, including discipline within their profession as well as criticism from the media. The president of the Detroit Lions finds himself in just this type of predicament as he finds himself now facing potential sanctions by the National Football League after being arrested for drunk driving.

Although Roscommon County sheriff’s officials have declined to comment on the specific details of the case, a spokesperson for the professional football team confirmed that President Tom Lewand was arrested last Friday on Michigan DUI charges. The 41 year-old University of Michigan graduate was reportedly in the area attending a charity golf outing hosted by a former Lion player. Although his blood alcohol content has not been released, it must have exceeded 0.08 (the legal limit in Michigan) to warrant arrest.

In addition to the legal consequences that Lewand will almost certainly face for his Michigan DUI arrest, it is possible that he may be punished by the National Football League as well. On Sunday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello announced that the team president is subject to the league’s strict personal conduct policy, which could include a fine, suspension, or even a loss of job.

Fortunately for Lewand, Detroit Lions owner William Ford still wants him involved with the team. In a statement released by the team, Ford not only expressed his support for Lewand, but also confirmed that he would continue to serve as team president. “Tom made a very serious mistake and he appropriately owned up to that mistake… I continue to have full confidence that Tom will positively lead our organization as he has since assuming his current role of team president. He has all my support,” Ford stated.

Even though Tom Lewand was lucky enough to maintain his livelihood despite DWI charges, many in his situation are not as fortunate. Almost always, conviction for drunk driving will have profound consequences for a person including the loss of driving privileges or job, fines, and jail time. If accused of driving while intoxicated, it is essential to be pro-active in securing the highest quality legal defense to protect yourself. Contacting hard-working and aggressive Michigan drunk driving lawyers immediately will provide sound legal advice and representation, as well as the preservation of your beloved personal liberties and freedoms.

MI State Law – Previous Ruling Overturned by Michigan Surpeme Court on “Stoned Driving”

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Much to the dismay of experienced Michigan criminal defense attorneys, the state Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that marijuana metabolites are a controlled substance. Following the decision, the mere presence of the metabolites serves as evidence that police are justified in citing motorists for “drugged driving.” However, the Michigan Supreme Court recently overturned its own decision, completely destroying the precedent set by the 2006 ruling.

While driving late at night, George Feezel struck a severely intoxicated pedestrian walking in the middle of the five-lane road. Law enforcement officials responding to the scene administered sobriety tests and registered Feezel’s blood alcohol content at 0.09, slightly higher than the legal limit. Test lab results also showed that marijuana metabolites were also found in his system, which will remain in a persons body long after the pot high has gone. Although Feezel was found not guilty of Michigan drunk driving charges causing death, the court convicted him of second-offense drunk driving, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and driving under the influence of marijuana.

Although the Michigan Supreme Court referred this case back to a Washtenaw County Circuit Court, they also ruled that marijuana metabolites are not a controlled substance under state law. As Michigan is now a state with legal medical marijuana, permitting the 2006 decision to stand would negatively impact those patients. In regard to the previous Supreme Court ruling, Justice Corrigan explained that people “who use marijuana for medical purposes will be prohibited from driving long after the person is no longer impaired. Indeed, in this case, experts testified that, on average, the metabolite could remain in a person’s blood for 18 hours and in a person’s urine for up to four weeks.” The majority opinion also suggested that the previous ruling was impractical, with “tremendous potential for arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”

The case of George Feezel and others similar exemplify the delicate nature of implementing the Michigan Medical Marijuana Law. While in past years driving under the influence of marijuana has been treated like drunk driving, the new ruling by the Supreme Court clarifies that the two are in fact, very different. Passed relatively recently, courts across the state are still learning and debating how to properly enforce the law, ultimately making room for precedent-changing decisions. Navigating an ever-evolving legal system is a complex process for anyone to go through, that can pin serious consequences on a person. Therefore, it is essential to be proactive in securing a superior advocate for your case. Contacting hard-working and knowledgeable Michigan drunk driving lawyers immediately will not only provide tactical legal advice and representation, but also the best defense of your personal freedoms and rights.

MI DUI Charges – Courts Allow Sober Driver Accused of DUI to Sue for Traffic Stop

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Being pulled over for a routine traffic stop is never an enjoyable experience for motorists, particularly for those suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if a person performs well on sobriety tests and has a blood alcohol content registering under 0.08 (the legal limit in Michigan), it is possible to be arrested on drunk driving charges, if the officer has reasonable cause to believe the driver is intoxicated. While such cases are similar to others handled by experienced Michigan drunk driving lawyers, in one unique case, a falsely accused motorist is fighting back against the officer who stopped him.

In the evening hours of February 19th, 2006, Paul Miller was driving home from a demolition derby through frigid weather. Due to ice on the roads, Miller was unable to stop at a stop sign and drove through it. Unfortunately, Deputy Sheriff Jim Wagester spotted the traffic violation, and pulled the motorist over.

Wagester claimed that the defendant was traveling over 60 miles per hour unrestrained by a seat belt, and did not immediately pull to the side of the road. When in conversation with Miller, the officer claimed that the driver’s eyes were “glassy” and that a slight smell of alcohol was coming from the car and his breath. Upon running his information within the police database, Wagester discovered that Miller had a previous conviction for Michigan drunk driving charges. This prompted him to administer five field sobriety tests, claiming that the suspect failed four of them.

Although individuals suspected of drunk driving have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, Wagester did not take Miller’s request lightly. The sheriff’s deputy threw the motorist against his patrol car violently and handcuffed him. According to numerous media sources, Miller was charged with a laundry list of infractions including: failure to use a seatbelt, no proof of registration or insurance, reckless driving, refusal to submit to a breath test, minor in possession, and 0.02 percent blood-alcohol-content no-tolerance violation.

Wagester took the suspect to the hospital to perform a blood test. Despite his accusations that Miller was driving while intoxicated, the test lab registered his blood alcohol content as 0.00 and no narcotics were in his system.

Although this evidence was sufficient for police to drop the charges against Miller, the falsely suspected motorist took matters into his own hands. For the unnecessary altercation and fabricated accusations, he is suing the Sanlic County Sheriff’s Department for excessive force, false arrest, and malicious intent. While some of these points against the officer were dropped, a 6th District Circuit Court of Appeals upheld others, deeming them fit for Bing decided by a jury.

According to the decision handed down by the majority, Miller’s blood alcohol content of 0.00 percent casts a great deal of doubt on the legitimacy of Deputy Wagester’s claims that the the driver was intoxicated and failed sobriety tests. “Although Wagester’s claims, if believed, would constitute probable cause to arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, a jury could reasonably conclude that Wagester was being untruthful generally about his observations and did not have probable cause to believe Miller was drinking,” stated Judge Gilbert S Merritt Jr. “In light of the conflict in the evidence, the jury could conclude that Wagester was lying.”

Clearly seen by the example of Paul Miller, even when sober it is possible to be accused of driving while intoxicated, if an officer even believes that the suspect is drunk. While it is important to cooperate with law enforcement officials at the scene, it is also to be proactive in fighting the serious charges against you–especially as conviction of drunk driving can have life-changing consequences including the loss of driving privileges, fines, or jail time. Securing aggressive Michigan drunk driving attorneys will provide knowledgeable legal advice and tactical legal representation designed to defend motorists against untruthful charges. Acting quickly helps ensure that your personal freedoms are protected, keeping you at work, at home, and on the roads.

Lansing OWI Charges – Scope of Medical Marijuana Law Tested After Michigan OWI Arrest

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

An arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the state of Michigan is a big deal. Experienced Michigan drunk driving attorneys see it often–conviction of operating while intoxicated will not only affect a person’s driving privileges, but also their livelihood and beloved freedoms. Routine traffic stops can often turn unpleasant in these circumstances, as seen by the recent case of a Michigan man who was arrested on DUI charges is also being held for marijuana possession, even though he is a registered card-holder.

In March 2010, Marshall resident Aaron Katz, 37, was pulled over by Meridian Township police officers for a traffic stop. On further investigation, the law enforcement officials concluded that Katz was not only driving while intoxicated, but also was in possession of marijuana. Therefore, not only is the suspect facing Michigan drunk driving charges, but also drug charges–ultimately increasing the severity of the counts against him.

The suspect maintains that he uses marijuana for medicinal reasons. Court documents state that Katz suffers from severe nausea, chronic pain, and persistent spasms.  According to his Michigan criminal defense attorney, the marijuana possession charge against the defendant should be dropped.

Ingham County Prosecutors argue that Katz did not have a “bona fide” relationship with the physician that gave him a referral for the medical marijuana program. Additionally, they find the suspect liable for the narcotics possession because he became a card-holder after arrest. However, counsel for the defense criticizes the prosecution for their attack on the delicate relationship between doctors and their patients. “The issue is whether (the) Department of Community Health checked it out, endorsed the application and granted the card. It’s nobody’s business how long (the doctor) spent with that person and what (he or she) did to analyze their case,” Katz’s attorney explained.

Additionally, while it is recognized that Katz received his state-issued clearance card police took him into custody, defense lawyers in this case maintain that he should be allowed to qualify because his medical conditions and symptoms existed prior to arrest. Should Katz be convicted of these crimes, he will almost certainly lose his driver’s license and may even face time behind bars.

While both sides debate the case, it is clear that this case could further clarify the hotly-debated Michigan Medical Marijuana Act passed in 2008. Currently, there is nothing in the public health code that clearly outlines what defines a “bona fide” relationship between a patient and their medical practitioner.

As seen by the example of Aaron Katz, the consequences of a drunk driving or marijuana possession arrest can be severe–even if one is cleared by the state to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Conviction of such a crime will have severe repercussions for a person, seriously limiting personal freedoms and liberties. To protect yourself and your rights, it is essential to contact hard-working Michigan drunk driving lawyers immediately for assistance. Acting quickly can not only ensure superior legal advice and legal representation, but can help keep you at home with your family and not behind bars.

MI Motor Vehicle Charges – After Fatal Hit-and-Run, Police Charge Woman with Two Felonies

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Getting into a car accident is never a good situation for anyone to be in, particularly if you may be at-fault. Depending on the circumstances, such a situation can result in criminal charges, or potentially arrest. In such a situation, experienced Michigan criminal defense attorneys would recommend to stay put and wait for the police to arrive. Leaving the scene of an accident will instantly increase the legal challenges in front of a motorist, just like in the recent case of a Muskegon woman has recently been charged with two felonies after leaving the scene of a fatal crash with a pedestrian.

According to a Muskegon Township police report, Chrisantha Harris was driving eastbound on Apple Avenue when she struck Douglas Wezeman, who was walking along the side of the road. Although she continued driving after colliding into Wezeman, she shortly afterward lost control of her vehicle and crashed her vehicle into a ditch. While Harris did not sustain any personal injury in this accident, the impact of the car killed Wezeman.

Law enforcement officials arrested Harris on Michigan motor vehicle charges, including leaving the scene of an accident. Upon bringing her into the Muskegon County Jail, officers discovered that she was severely intoxicated–her blood alcohol content reportedly registered as 0.136 percent. As a result, Harris was arraigned on June 2nd for fatal Michigan drunk driving charge, as well as neglecting to stop at the scene of a fatal accident. If convicted of the maximum sentence, she would spend 15 years behind bars for her involvement in this case.

As seen by the example of Chrisantha Harris, being involved in a car accident can be a life-changing experience. Not only could personal injury result to either party, but serious criminal charges could follow as a result. Because conviction of these violations can bring significant consequences upon a person, it is important to be proactive in securing the best defense for your legal defense. Acting quickly to contact aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyers can not only ensure superior legal advice and legal representation, but also will help keep you home with family–not behind bars.

MI State Law – New Michigan DUI Legislation Defines “Super Drunk” and Its Added Consequences

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Anytime a person is caught driving with a blood alcohol content over 0.08, they are immediately subjected to drunk driving charges. As these violations can instantly increase for a variety of reasons, it is important for experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyers to update all  citizens on the latest legislation that could potentially affect them. The most recent efforts of the state to curb intoxicated driving resulted in the “Super Drunk” bill, creating extra punishments for those who drive under the influence of excessive alcohol.

The new bill, effective on Halloween 2010, add criminal penalties for those convicted of Michigan drunk driving charges with a blood alcohol content registering 0.17 or more.  In other words, it instantly turns a 93-day misdemeanor into a 180-day misdemeanor, requiring successful completion of a year-long  rehabilitation and treatment program to ensure sobriety behind the wheel.

All motorists convicted of drunk driving are subject to losing their license for a period of time, regardless of how many offenses they have been accused of. Those who have no prior criminal history will almost certainly have their driving privileges suspended for at least a year. Additionally, while the motorist may be granted a restricted license after 45 days, they must install an interlock system in their vehicle and keep it there until the Secretary of State issues an order for its removal.

As seen by the new legislation put into place, being convicted of driving under the influence can change a person’s life forever. Not only will the suspect face numerous legal challenges, their reputation will almost certainly be compromised as well. Because of the significant impact these charges can have on your life, it is essential to be proactive in securing the best defense for your case. By contacting hard-working and aggressive Michigan drunk driving lawyers, you will not only receive superior legal advice and legal representation, but the chance to stay at home with your family, and not behind bars.

MI OWI Charges – Michigan Man May Escape Criminal Charges After Fatal Crash Under Unclear Marijuana Laws

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

If any person gets behind the wheel while intoxicated and crashes, causing injury to others, that individual will almost certainly be accused of criminal charges. Generally, this has included drivers that are under the influence of alcohol, as well as drugs, including marijuana. However, experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyers have seen this fine line become quite blurred over recent years, particularly with the implementation of statewide medical marijuana laws. The changes in policy could affect charges against people accused with operating while intoxicated, much like the recent case of a Michigan man who is facing vehicular manslaughter after crashing his vehicle after using marijuana, resulting in the death of a passenger.

On February 11th, Timothy Conant, 49, was driving on 20 mile road in Spencer Township when he struck a patch of ice, lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree. Unfortunately, the accident resulted in the death of Conant’s friend and passenger in the vehicle, Richard Wallington. Following the tragic incident, residual traces of THC were found in Conant’s system but he his blood alcohol content did not register as exceeded 0.08. Nonetheless, as a result Conant was arrested for Michigan drunk driving charges, as well as vehicular manslaughter.

However, the Michigan criminal defense attorney for Conant argues that neither of the charges against him fit the crime at hand. The unclear applicability of state marijuana laws, as well as previous decisions made by the state Court of Appeals indicates that Conant has a fighting chance of beating the charges against him. The argument for the defense is that the sheer presence of marijuana in a suspect’s system is not sufficient to guarantee impairment.

In the possibly precedent setting case, Justin Malik accidentally turned in front of an off-duty police officer in October 2008. Unfortunately, the impact of the crash killed the sheriff’s deputy, Christopher Yonkers. Following the incident, Malik’s blood alcohol content registered to 0.01 and he admitted to smoking marijuana prior to the collision. Despite this, neither the officers at the scene nor medical practitioners noted any signs of intoxication or impairment.

However, Barry County Circuit Court Judge James Fisher disregarded the claim that marijuana caused Malik to be impaired at the time of the accident. In his ruling, he stated that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act directly conflicts with state law regarding the drug as medically useless. “The presence of marijuana may be detected for days, but the impairment lasts only a few hours. (The law) criminalizes driving a motor vehicle days or weeks after consuming marijuana, long after any impairment has vanished,” Fisher explained. Especially considering the significant jail time awarded to anyone convicted of a driving case involving death, Fisher also emphasized that it is the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.

Because this case closely resembles Conant’s, his legal counsel believes defeating the charges against him is possible. At this time, Conant is released on a $5,000 bond, and is scheduled to attend a probable-cause hearing on May 25th.

Being accused of operating while intoxicated can be a scary experience for anyone to go through, even if the person is legally allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes. As seen by the case of Timothy Conant, the consequences can be severe and will almost certainly include jail time. However, it is important to use the case of Justin Malik as an example—sound legal advice and superior legal defense provided by Michigan criminal defense attorneys can not only clear your name, but also help prevent any jail time from being assigned.