Michigan’s “Pay or Stay” Practices Are Improper
Here in Michigan, it was common for individuals to receive a “pay or stay” sentence by a court when they faced punishment for a crime. The idea behind “pay or stay” sentencings focused on collecting the enforced fines and costs that were levied by the court at the time of sentencing. If an individual was unable to pay the fines and costs ordered by the court, the individual would be subject to incarceration, hence the “pay or stay” phrase used to describe the practice. Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court essentially outlawed this “pay or stay” practice by requiring courts to hold a hearing to determine whether the individual could afford the fines and costs or made good-faith efforts to pay such ordered monies. The reasoning behind enforcing the required hearing was to maintain constitutionality for those who are determined or found to be indigent and unable to pay the fines and costs.
Let’s explain this with example: Defendant is found responsible or guilty for a criminal act or traffic infraction of some kind, and at sentencing the judge orders the Defendant to pay a specific amount of fines and costs. This particular Defendant has a low income job and numerous bills and responsibilities that essentially make it difficult for him to live day by day. He has ever want and intent to pay the fines and costs ordered by the court; however, he literally is unable to financially afford those monies because of his debt to income ratio. Under a “pay or stay” scheme this individual would be going to jail for his failure to pay the monies ordered. Under the Michigan Supreme Court change, the Court must determine whether this Defendant is indigent, and if he is found to be indigent the Court necessarily cannot just throw him in jail. This is especially true when the individual has made good-faith efforts to pay the ordered monies, and thus the “pay or stay” policy is no longer valid procedure here in Michigan.
Even though the “pay or stay” practice cannot be followed without first making some determination on the individual’s ability to pay, Courts still seem to be attempting to enforce and use such practices. Because of this, it is vital to always obtain counsel and representation, even if court appointed, in order ensure that your rights are being protected. The “pay or stay” policy puts individual in a very sticky and difficult situation, which is why you must do all that you can to protect your freedom. Those in a financially difficult position cannot risk losing employment, so instead of being alone lawyer-up so you have someone standing and fighting with you. Remember, never rely on this website or any information found on the internet or any other website when wanting or intending to represent yourself before any court, legal body or otherwise here in Michigan or throughout the United States. Always obtain adequate and legal representation.
What Is Criminal Conspiracy Here In Michigan?
MCL 750.157a states that “[a]ny individual who conspires together with 1 or more persons to commit an offense prohibited by law, or to commit a legal act in an illegal manner is guilty of the crime of conspiracy.” A conspiracy charge will incorporate an underlying criminal charge, but what is criminal conspiracy exactly?
In order to be found guilty of a conspiracy charge, “the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: [f]irst, that the [individual] and someone else knowingly agreed to commit a crime[; s]econd, that the [individual] specifically intended to commit or help commit that crime[; and t]hird, that this agreement took place or continued during” a specified period. And fourth, the prosecutor must prove the elements of the underlying (or attached) criminal charge; i.e. prove the element of delivering a controlled substance if charged with a conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.
What is Criminal Conspiracy And It’s Punishment . . . ?
If the underlying offense “is punishable by imprisonment for 1 year or more, the person convicted . . . shall be punished by a penalty equal to” the penalty of the underlying offense, “and in the discretion of the court an additional penalty of a fine of $10,000.00 may be imposed.” MCL 750.157a(a). Now that we understand what is criminal conspiracy, it becomes essential to know what the possible punishment is if convicted of such a crime.
If an individual is “conspiring to violate any provision of this act relative to illegal gambling or wagering or any other acts or ordinances relative to illegal gambling or wagering shall be punished by imprisonment . . . for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.” MCL 750.157a(b). If the underlying offense “is punishable by imprisonment for less than 1 year . . . the person convicted . . . shall be imprisoned for not more than 1 year nor fined more than $1,000.00, or both.” MCL 750.157a(c). If an individual is “convicted of conspiring to commit a legal act in an illegal manner [then they] shall be punished by imprisonment . . . for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.” MCL 750.57a(d).
It is essential to know what you are facing when you are charged with ANY criminal offense here in the State of Michigan, even when trying to understand what is criminal conspiracy. Never rely on information provided in this website or any other website on the internet when wanting, attempting or actually defending yourself before any court or body of law. Always consult legal counsel. Contact Josh Jones 7-days a week. He always has your back! For more information on aiding and abetting charges, please visit click here.
Possessing Forged License or Reproduced Drivers License
Here in the State of Michigan there is a criminal misdemeanor charge for possessing forged licenses or a reproduced drivers license. In fact, the charge includes the possession of a reproduced, altered, counterfeit, forged or duplicate drivers license, and thus much more expansive than simply possessing forged licenses. MCL 257.310.The statute states possessing forged licenses or a reproduced drivers license photograph, negative of the photograph, image, license, or electronic data contained on a license or part of a license is guilty of a misdemeanor.” MCL 257.310(10). If an individual is found guilty of the crime of possessing forged licenses or reproduced drivers license he or she will not only be found guilty of a misdemeanor, but they will also face a possible punishment of imprisonment for not more than 1 year and/or a fine of not more than $2,000.00. MCL 257.310(7)(c).
There is, however, an exception to the general rule of possessing forged licenses or a reproduced drivers license. The general rules does “not apply to a person who is in possession of 1 or more photocopies, reproductions, or duplications of a license to document the identity of the licensee for a legitimate business purpose.” MCL 257.310(16). Moreover, it should be noted that if an individual is convicted of possessing reproduced or forged drivers license there is no licensing sanction imposed for this offense. This is important because the drivers license or ability to operate a motor vehicle legally remains intact if convicted of possessing forged licenses or a reproduced drivers license. Therefore, a conviction is not and will not be reported to the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS). MCL 257.732(16)(b).
It is important to understand the difference between those crimes that impact or can influence an individuals driving record and drivers license. For instance, because this is not reported to the SOS an individual’s car insurance company will also not increase an individual’s rates. However, criminal sanctions and the criminal record can and will be influenced depending upon the disposition or ending result of the criminal matter, such as possessing forged license or a reproduced drivers license. Anytime you are facing a criminal offense (whether a felony, misdemeanor or citation), do not represent yourself and rely on information on this website, blog or any other website or information on the internet without the assistance and advice of a criminal defense attorney. Always lawyer-up.
How to clear-up defaulted traffic tickets in Michigan:
Having a defaulted traffic ticket in the State of Michigan can have serious repercussions to an individual’s ability to drive a motor vehicle. The reason for this is due to the suspension that is generally issued when an individual has a defaulted traffic ticket outstanding within a court here in Michigan. I have seen an individual have a suspended driver’s license for a parking violated that defaulted. She had forgotten to pay the ticket, and thus the traffic ticket defaulted. When a defaulted traffic ticket is abstracted over to the Secretary of State (SOS) by the court, the SOS generally then suspends the individual’s drivers license. The SOS is supposed to notify the individual of the suspension. Until the individual has taken care of the outstanding defaulted ticket, his or her license will remain suspended. A clearance fee is usually assessed and must also be paid prior to the reinstatement of the drivers license.
It should also be said that in some situations a reinstatement fee must also be paid to the SOS prior to the issuance of a new valid license. Whenever an individual has a defaulted traffic ticket he or she must and should obtain assistance, or at least advice, from legal counsel. Depending upon the circumstances an individual clearing defaulted traffic tickets can be complicated, time consuming, and financially costly. In many situations, to have the best outcome for your individual case a bond must be posted with the court in order to have an opportunity to contest or reduce the impact of the defaulted traffic ticket. In other situations, defaulted traffic tickets that are considered criminal, likely misdemeanors, an individual will likely be required to appear in court in order to be arraigned on the matter.
Defaulted traffic tickets vary from situation to situation, and thus only after a review of an individual’s case can counsel properly and adequately provide advice on the necessary course an individual must take to cleared their defaults. If an individual is ever unsure about the number or location of their defaulted traffic tickets, the best thing to do is obtain your driving record from the SOS. By obtaining the record, an attorney will be able to see where the court’s holding each defaulted traffic ticket, and likely the specific citation, charge or violation for each default. It’s also important to note that the defaulted traffic tickets may not be the only issue or circumstance suspending an individual’s drivers license. With that said, it is important to consider obtaining advice and assistance with drivers license restoration. Again, there can be multiple reasons for a suspended drivers license, and only after proper consult can a true and full answer be provided. NEVER rely on information on this website or any other website on the internet when attempting, wanting or when representing yourself in or before any court of law, administrator, officer, or otherwise wanting to present or claim a legal defense, idea, opinion, interpretation, or otherwise here in Michigan or other body of law or representation.
Michigan Distracted Driving Law Explained
Under MCL § 257.602b, also known as Michigan’s distracted driving law, essentially makes it improper for someone operating a motor vehicle to use, text or look at their cellphone. The language of the distracted driving law focuses on texting on a cellphone or mobile device, but when reading the entire statute, it becomes clear that the distracted driving law actually forbids more than just texting while driving. Section 1 of MCL § 257.602b specifically states:
“a person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in the person’s lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state. As used in this subsection, a wireless 2-way communication device does not include a global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the motor vehicle.”
Commercial and school bus drivers have an added layer applied to them under the distracted driving law. Under Section 3 of MCL § 257.602b, commercial and school bus drivers are also not allowed to “use a hand-held mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication while operating a commercial motor vehicle or a school bus on a highway, including while temporarily stationary due to traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays.” This “use of a hand-held mobile telephone” or cellphone includes “[u]sing at least 1 hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication; [d]ialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button; [and r]eaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt.”
There are also exceptions to the general distracted driving law, which allows for individuals to not be found responsible for distracted driving. With that said, there are many situations and circumstances where an individual could be seen acting as if they are violating the distracted driving law; however, the language of the distracted driving law is very specific. Because of its specificity individuals cited under the distracted driving law may or may not have defenses for such a citation. Whenever you are cited for a traffic offense or a criminal misdemeanor you should also consult and seek the assistance of legal counsel to ensure that you matter is handled appropriately. You never want to rely on this information or any information found on the internet when wanting, attempting or pursuing a legal argument in any court here in Michigan or throughout the United States without first seeking legal advice.
How Does Someone Reinstate Driving Privileges in Michigan Explained
How would someone reinstate driving privileges here in the State of Michigan? The answer to that broad question can be simple or complex, depending upon why or how the individual needs to reinstate driving privileges. The why or how provides insight to the reasoning behind the suspension, and thus the proper process to reinstate driving privileges is then sought. Without knowing the how or why an individual needs to reinstate his or her license, an attorney is unable to determine exactly what is the proper course of action. In order to best determine the extent of an individuals suspension and the how or why an individual needs to reinstate his license, an individual should seek out and obtain his or her master driving record from the Michigan Secretary of State. This is generally the national registry for driving license suspensions, at least those suspensions and reasonings affecting the Michigan drivers license.
Once the driving record is reviewed, an attorney, such as myself, will then begin talking and reaching out to the various courts or agencies to begin handling and correcting the record. It is essential to mention at this point that the complexity of any case is determined, meaning once the record has been reviewed and it has been determine why the suspension is occurring, an attorney must then begin the process to reinstate driving privileges. In order to reinstate driving privileges the attorney may have to contact and schedule multiple hearings before multiple courts to correct or clear-up the outstanding suspensions, depending on what they are. Moreover, once the suspensions or issues creating the suspension have been cleared, and attorney may have to then schedule and petition for a hearing before the Secretary of State. There are so many different reasons for an individual having issues on being able to reinstate deriving privileges that no online article can truly answer all of the questions and concerns with the process. The best thing to do whenever you want to reinstate driving privileges in Michigan is to begin with the driving record. The second state to reinstate driving privileges is to contact and obtain assistance from an attorney handling driving license restoration.
An individual who wants to reinstate driving privileges wants to begin the process on the right foot, so that when they do go to officially reinstate their license they will have no issue or concern as the SOS hands them their license back. Also be safe rather than sorry, and remember to lawyer-up. Never rely on this website or any other information attempting or wanting to convey some legal idea or opinion when you are wanting, attempting or have the desire to represent yourself before any legal court, body or other without the proper assistance of legal representation and counsel.
Michigan Sobriety Courts Explained
Here in the State of Michigan, numerous district and circuit court maintain and develop Michigan Sobriety Courts, which assist individuals in combating their issues with substance and alcohol abuse and dependency. Michigan Sobriety Courts are generally an intensive program or probationary period where the individual will enter into an agreement with the court and probation to ensure that they plan to live by the terms and conditions set by the individualized court. Moreover, Michigan Sobriety Courts are generally referred to one particular judge within the court, and thus the judge will over see the progress of the individual with the assistance of probation and possibly other 3rd party programs that the individual defendant will work with while in the Michigan Sobriety Court.
Each individual Michigan Sobriety Court will operate differently, meaning the protocols, procedure and requirements will vary depending on the area and court overseeing the individual. Also, it is highly worth noting that not all courts have a Michigan Sobriety Court. Another concern and issue many individuals face are the qualifications for entering the program. To enter a Michigan Sobriety Court, an individual must meet a certain NEEDS score after a proper and thorough assessment of the individual’s substance and alcohol past, issues and pitfalls. Essentially, the individual must have an addiction that requires the intensive assistance offered through Michigan Sobriety Courts.
The positives to Michigan Sobriety Courts also vary, but not on the court, rather they vary depending upon the individual. For example, many drunk driving offense (2nd subsequent conviction primarily) see individual enter into Michigan Sobriety Courts. Those individuals, if meeting certain requirements, are allowed to obtain restricted licensing earlier than mandated by the Michigan legislator and Secretary of State. Other benefits include substance abuse treatment, community oversight rather than jail time, and other possible reductions and benefits obtained through the program. Michigan Sobriety Courts were created specifically for those suffering from substance and alcohol abuse, and they attempt to assist individuals in correcting and overcoming their previous behavior and dependence on those substances.
Whenever you are charged with any criminal matter here in Michigan, or any other state, you should always obtain the assistance of legal counsel. They are here to assist and provide you with avenues to ensure that your matter is handled appropriately and properly, providing the best possible outcome. Never rely on this website or any other information or statement on the internet when wanting or attempting to defend yourself within or before any court or legal body.
Police Encounters Discussed & Outlined
An individual that has involved in police encounters knows that the situations are never easy or comforting, at least when you’re the individual being questioned about the possibility of a crime occurring or have already occurred. Police encounters are considered special situations due the U.S. Constitution, which provides certain rights to individuals confronted by the government, i.e. police officers. These rights are generally held to the highest standard and attach to the person no matter where the location of the individual; however, certain locales will provide high degrees of constitutional protection.
For example, individual involved in police encounters that take place at their individual home or abode will maintain a high degree of constitutional protection than if that same individual is involved police encounters that occur while he or she is driving his or her motor vehicle. Regardless of the police encounter, an individual always has the absolute right not to speak to or answer questions asserted by a police officer. This is known as your right as incrimination, and it attaches at any police encounter where you have the potential of incriminating yourself for a crime or criminal acts. The right must be asserted; however, it does not negate the fact that whenever an individual is involved in a police encounter and they may have or believe or think they have committed a criminal offense (whether traffic, misdemeanor or felony) they should never make any statement attempting to defend or explain their actions or conduct.
Police encounters provide police officer a unique situation to use their questioning and fact-finding ability to obtain information easily and without very little effort. Police officers are fact-finders. This is their primary and essential job as investigators. By speaking, answering questions, providing facts, and essentially confessing police encounters become the easiest way for any individual police officer to obtain the evidence necessary to convict an individual for a criminal offense. Police encounters can be limited and ineffective in a legal and proper way, but only when the individual involved in the police encounter maintains his or her constitutional rights. These rights not only involve the right to remain silent, but also the right to have counsel present. Therefore, whenever any individual is involved in a police encounter it is best to always be safe and invoke both of those constitutional rights and safeguards.
You want to make sure that whenever you are involved in or with a criminal matter (felony, traffic or misdemeanor) that you obtain proper legal counsel. You never want to rely on this information or any other information on the internet, in any form, when wanting or attempting to represent, defend or explain yourself before any legal court or body. In fact, you should always lawyer-up.
Michigan Moving Violations and Nonmoving Violations Outlined
Here in the State of Michigan there is a difference between moving violations and nonmoving violations. Both types of violations are civil tickets; however, the most common moving violations are speeding tickets. Speeding tickets are not the only type of moving violations that exist in Michigan, even though they may be the most common. Another common ticket that is issued is a seatbelt violation, which is generally a nonmoving violation. The difference between a nonmoving and moving violation are indicated and controlled by the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. There is a list available, via the internet, that coordinates each individual traffic infraction by driving code. This list also identifies whether the ticket is a moving violation or nonmoving violation.
In reality, the term moving violation is more a term of art. It is used in the legal realm to differentiate between those ticket infractions that abstract or are sent over to the Michigan Secretary of State, and thus those infractions that are placed on an individual’s driving record. Moving violations are placed on the driver’s record regardless of the amount of points that are attributable to that particular infraction. You read the statement correctly; traffic tickets can be zero points, but still be placed on the driver’s record. Nonmoving violations are not placed on the record. The fact that a traffic ticket is placed on someone’s record means that their insurance will also be influenced. So in the end, if there is nothing placed on the individual’s record there will be no influence on their insurance. As one can see, this is an important difference between moving violations and nonmoving violations and why counsel is always important before admitting responsibility to any traffic ticket.
To sit here and list or identify each individual moving infraction would take hours, but it is again important to know that there is a difference between each individual traffic ticket that may or could be issued against you. This is another reason to contact counsel to see if it is a nonmoving or moving violation. You must always remember to never rely on this website or any other website on the internet when wanting or attempting to defend yourself before any court or legal body without the proper assistance of counsel or legal representation.
Michigan Medical Marijuana Compliance Checks Reviewed & Explained
Michigan’s medical marijuana program has seen many changes over the years, which has brought about an increase in medical marijuana compliance checks. These medical marijuana compliance checks have seemingly increased since the medical marijuana program here in Michigan has provided grants to numerous counties through the State. To begin this discussion on medical marijuana compliance checks, it is worth noting that there is no State statute or law requiring these compliance checks to occur, except for those falling under the medical marihuana facilities act. However, there have been numerous local municipalities that have been attempting to or are passing local laws that require individuals (patients and caregivers) to submit to these medical marijuana compliance checks. Again, the issue I am discussing right now does not include the new State law requiring checks for those falling under the Medical Marihuana Licensing Act, but instead this conversation focuses on normal medical marijuana patients and caregivers.
If an individual patient or caregiver is ever approached by law enforcement and asked to submit to a medical marijuana compliance check, the individual must remember they are not required to consent that request. You are allowed to tell the officer “no.” This even applies in those areas where local laws have attempted to enact an ordinance requiring medical marijuana compliance checks to take place. State law, generally, trumps local laws when they are in conflict with one another. Therefore, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act would take precedent, and the individual again is not required under the Act to submit or consent to a medical marihuana compliance check. Generally, the only time an individual is required to consent to a check or a search (which is what a medical marihuana compliance check is), is when an officer has a valid search warrant for the particular place, person or thing they are requesting to look at or search.
So the question then becomes, what does an individual patient or caregiver do when they are approached and asked to submit to a medical marijuana compliance check? The answer: stand your ground, continue to indicate that you are not consenting to the medical marijuana compliance check, that you will not allow them to enter, and then attempt to end the interaction between yourself and the officer. The result of standing your ground can vary depending on the situation and the circumstances of the individual incident. You could be arrested, the police could force their way into your home, the could simply leave, or other things could occur. The most important thing to do is to maintain your innocence or silence, ensure that they know you are a valid medical marijuana cardholder, and that you have not consented to their medical marijuana compliance check. If you are arrested or a search ensues, it is imperative to contact counsel immediately thereafter. The mere fact that officers do what they believe is legal does not negate that fact that you may or could have a defense later in a court of law. However, if you consent or allow them to perform their compliance check (meaning you agreed for them to) then you will be in a completely different situation than if you maintain your ground and denied consent.
Whenever you are involved or believe to be involved in these types of situations you want to never rely on the opinions and statements on this website or any other site on the internet. Instead, you want to obtain counsel and seek their professional opinion and assistance. They can and will be able to help once they have been able to obtain necessary facts about your case.