Reporting Systems: Criminal Background Checks, Driving Records, and More

A criminal background check is one of the most common and popular public means of obtaining someone’s criminal history or record. However, did you know there are various ways to perform criminal background checks on individuals? Moreover, did you know that there is centralized agency that attempts to collect and maintain all criminal records reported to them from various states, agencies, and departments? Did you know that these records include more than just simple criminal background checks?

Here in Michigan there are multiple reporting systems. One of those reporting systems, which essentially is a complete and extensive criminal background check includes driving records, concealed pistol licenses, various certifications, death records, missing person reports, insurance information and more. This is a statewide computer system that allows the various agencies, courts, and departments to maintain and share information to each other. This system also allows for reporting to other various states throughout the US. The information that is reported to another state is limited and controlled by agreements, state reporting policy and other circumstances and considerations.

For example, an individual’s driving record is not always shared to another state. In fact, the sharing of an individuals driving history is based upon the state that is taking action against the driver, meaning it is that State that determines whether they report information and to whom. Michigan generally reports all driving information to other states, exception in some instances. Furthermore, it should be known that insurance companies are not cooperating with States and their individual reporting agencies or databases in order to provide up-to-date insurance information on individual motor vehicles. Michigan is now able to access and determine by a license plate whether the motor vehicle connected to that plate has appropriate car insurance.

Its always important to remember that a criminal background check does not necessarily mean a criminal background check. The information and discussion noted above does not include third party criminal background checks, which can incorporate much of the information that Michigan’s LEIN reporting system does. However, the accuracy of that information may not be on par. With that said, even Michigan’s LEIN system is not always accurate, and after performing an appropriate criminal background check it may be discovered that information is being mis-reported.

It always becomes essential that an individual charged with a criminal misdemeanor or felony or even cited for a traffic ticket should obtain a criminal defense attorney, such as Josh Jones. Having representation could afford you the unnecessary hassle of having issues with criminal background checks. Always lawyer-up.

Josh Jones Is Your Macomb County Criminal Lawyer

Whenever you are charged with a crime, issued a traffic ticket, violated for probation or need someone to assist in getting you your Michigan driver’s license back, you need a Macomb County Criminal Lawyer. Josh Jones is your Macomb County Criminal Lawyer because he is here for your 7-days a week and maintains a full service criminal defense law firm, specializing in marijuana defense. Did you know that a Macomb County Criminal Lawyer can drastically and dramatically assist you if you are ever charged within a crime or traffic ticket? Did you know that there are multiple courts found within Macomb County? Did you know that depending on the type of criminal citation or charge you could be having to proceed through two different courts within Macomb County? Did you know there are many Macomb County Criminal Lawyers that can assist you 7-days a week?

Josh Jones, a Macomb County Criminal Lawyer, is one that handles exclusively and entirely all criminal matters, including but not limited to the following:

• ALL Felonies & Misdemeanors

• ALL Attempted Criminal Conduct

• Aggravated Assault

• Assault or Assault & Battery

• Controlled Substances – Use or Possession

• Controlled Substances – Delivery or Manufacture

• Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) – All Degrees

• Maintaining A Drug Vehicle

• Maintaining A Drug House

• Delivery of Marijuana

• Manufacturing Marijuana

• Possession of Marijuana

• Delivery of marijuana without remuneration

• Use of marijuana

• Disorderly Conduct or Persons

• Disturbing the Peace

• Domestic Violence

• Drunk Driving [OWI/OWVI/OWPD/DUI]

• Drivers License Restoration

• Driving w/License Suspended/Revoked/other

• Criminal Expungements

• Home Invasion – All Degrees

• Larceny or Larceny in a Building

• Minor In Possession

• Nuisance Parties

• Probation Violations

• Prostitution or Solicitation

• Reckless Driving

• Retail Fraud  – All Degrees

• Traffic Tickets

• Implied Consent Hearing

• Traffic Citations

• CarelessDriving

• RecklessDriving

• Armed or Unarmed Robbery

• Drug Driving [OWI/OWVI/OWPD/DUI]

• Criminal Trespassing

• Improper Transport of Medical Marihuana

• Fleeing And Eluding

• No Operators License on Person

• Malicious Destruction of Property

 

If you have been charged with a crime or have a criminal or traffic matter that is not listed above, contact Josh Jones, Macomb County Criminal Lawyer in order to obtain information on his services. He can assist you with any criminal matter brought in a Michigan Circuit or District Court. Macomb County is broken up into on Circuit Court and multiple District Courts. Depending upon the criminal or traffic matter, your issue will be dealt with in one of the two courts. Generally, all misdemeanors are handled by Macomb County District Courts and felonies are handled by the Macomb County Circuit Court. Contact a Macomb County Criminal Lawyer today for your free consultation and understanding of your trial rights, options, and risks.

Never rely on any information when attempting to or wanting to represented yourself in a court of law. Always consult and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to assist you with your matter, whether criminal or civil. The information on this website is simply information and opinions, which does not replace competent and adequate legal representation. Always lawyer-up.

Teen Sexting In Michigan – Is It Child Pornography?

While reviewing some recent news articles, I stumbled across one discussing a hot topic or issue extending from Bay County, Michigan. The article was discussing teen sexting and the possible ramifications and implications of teenagers sending photos through text message. At first thought, my moralistic gut was screaming “wait, what?” But eventually, my legal brain started to process, and then the comments and suggestions began to make sense, criminally speaking.

Lets begin by first explaining and outlining the idea of teen sexting. Sexting in general is the use of a text message to engage in, discuss, and express sexual preferences, acts, desires, and opinions between individuals. Essentially, the term “sexting” has been invented over the years as there has been an increase in technological advancement. Teen sexting, therefore, involves individuals under the age of 18. This is where the predicament and issues of teen sexting lie. The words themselves may not be of legal consequence when examining teen sexting issues; however, when an individual teen begin to send photos, videos or other types of multimedia to another individual teen (or anyone for that matter) the individual sender (and even receiver) could have potentially committed a criminal and illegal act.

The reasoning there is possible criminal consequence behind photos, videos or other types of multimedia depicting a teen is due to the laws and protections on child pornography. Pornography itself, as you may know, is legal and can be possessed by individuals of legal age (which is 18 years old); however, the individual depicted or the individual in possession must also be at or over legal age. Therefore, it becomes apparent why criminal consequences, convictions, and charges can and do extend from individuals engaging in sexting, at least when one or both of the individuals are under the age of 18.

This brings about another issue and point that should be made while discussing this topic, which is that the legal age of consent to engage in sex is 16 years old. This means that individuals 16, 17, or 18 can engage in legal sexual acts between one another, except in situations that bring about a showing of authority, mental incapacity or otherwise found illegal by the criminal sexual conduct statutes here in Michigan. In the end, individual teens legally engaging in sex could potentially be found illegally creating, possessing or distributing child pornography due to teen sexting. This theory also holds true to individuals not legally allowed or of age to engage in sex, but are engaged in teen sexting that involves the use of multimedia (i.e. child pornography).

The reasoning teen sexting becomes such a huge issue and concern is partially due to the comments and opinions noted above; however, there is still the concern of sex entering into a child’s or teenager’s life too early. Bay County has recently taken an effort to educate and distribute some of the ideals discussed in this article, yet it remains with the children’s home and parents, teachers, relatives, etc. We must educate our young and reveal to them the possible consequences and repercussions if they are not acting appropriately within this new and fast pace digital world. Teen sexting can be a problem, and it can have major repercussions, so know the law, maintain your rights, and lawyer-up.

Possessing Reproduced or Forged Drivers License

Here in the State of Michigan there is a criminal misdemeanor charge for possessing reproduced or forged drivers license. In fact, the criminal charge includes possessing a reproduced, altered, counterfeit, forged or duplicate drivers license. MCL 257.310.

The statute states possessing reproduced or forged 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 possessing reproduced or forged drivers license 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 reproduced or forged 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 the offense. This is important because the drivers license or ability to operate a motor vehicle legally remains intact. 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 should not increase an individual’s rates. This is due to the fact that the conviction, again, is not reportable. In order for an increase in insurance rates there should be activity reported to the driving record. For example, a speeding ticket that has zero points is still a reportable infraction for insurance and driving record purposes. However, and similar to the reporting of possessing reproduced or forged drivers license, an impeding ticket is not reported to an individual’s driving record.

Anytime you are facing a criminal traffic or misdemeanor offense, 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.

After MSC Order Michigan Juvenile Lifers Resentenced

On April 25, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order effectively requiring Michigan Juvenile lifers resentenced after the United States Supreme Court issued its written opinion on the concerns of juveniles serving prison terms without the chance of parole for certain crimes and convictions. This Order issued by the Michigan Supreme Court has an impact on several individuals currently serving life sentences for criminal convictions committed while they were juveniles. Because of this order those cases will be reviewed and new sentences are possibly going to be handed down.

The Michigan Supreme Court in People v Carp is the case where the Order originated. The Court explained that it was following the mandate set out in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Montgomery v Louisiana, 577 US ___; 136 S Ct 718; 193 L Ed 2d 599 (2016), and Miller v Alabama, 567 US ___; 132 S Ct 2455; 183 L Ed 2d 407 (2012). Therefore, this could mean all Michigan Juvenile lifers resentenced could escape their life sentences that they are currently serving. The issue is whether the life sentence is appropriate for juveniles. It must be remembered that juveniles only face life sentences for certain crimes committed here in Michigan, such as murder. The United States Supreme Court decision has impacted future sentencing hearings for juveniles, but it seems that it will also not affect those already sentenced. Essentially, providing a sentence to a juvenile that includes a life sentence is ultimately cruel and unusual, and thus violates the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court did not say that juveniles could never receive a life sentence, yet the court limited those sentencings to special cases and circumstances.

In order to substantiate and obtain a life sentence for a juvenile offender, the court must find specific factors indicating that such a sentence is appropriate. This issue with juvenile life sentencings is apart of the current movement and change in criminal sentencings occurring throughout the United States. Sentencing reform is a major concern, which is bringing about the change in understanding and identifying proper and justifiable sentencings for all individuals, including juveniles.

Remember, never rely on these writings, ideas, and opinions or any other material on any website if attempting to represent yourself in a court of law or against a criminal matter (whether misdemeanor or felony) without first obtaining, hiring or seeking out proper and competent legal representation and advice. Always lawyer-up because it could and can make the difference when criminally charged.

Drunk Driving In Private Driveway – People v Rea

In People v Rea, the Michigan Court of Appeals was faced with a drunk driving case where a police officer saw an individual back up in his property about 25 feet, essentially whether an individual can be charged with drunk driving in private driveway. The police were originally called for a noise complaint, and numerous officers reported to the defendant’s residence. The last officer that arrived at the scene walked up the defendant’s driveway, which is when he saw the defendant back-up in a side lot or backyard about 25-feet before stopping his vehicle. Defendant concluded his “drive” by moving his vehicle back into his garage.

The key issue in the case was whether the individual defendant was operating a motor vehicle “on a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles.” MCL 257.625(1). The Court of Appeals looked at the statute and focused on the terms “generally accessible,” which it concluded that those terms did not include the circumstances of an individual operating a vehicle in his or her private driveway or yard. The court explained that reasonable minds would not defer on the idea that people would not assume or believe that such an area (as a personal driveway) would be included as an area generally accessible to motor vehicles.

This was the crux of the court’s argument and decision in upholding the lower court’s decision to dismiss the charges against the defendant. Essentially, the court concluded that since this was a private home, yard, and driveway it was not generally open to the public or accessible. The State attempted to argue that the home was not barricaded nor blocked by any material or gate; however, the court did not consider this necessary to divide the home from an area normally and generally accessible to motor vehicles. In essence, the statute, as explained by the court, does not allow for a motor vehicle to be any where in any place to fall within the confines of the definition for a conviction to be maintained under the drunk driving statute. The word “generally” modifies the word “accessible” by limiting the areas allowed to be used. If the legislature wanted to include all areas accessible, it could have used a different word, such as “any” or “all.”

Whenever you are or could be charged with a drunk driving offense, or any criminal matter, you should always consult or hire a criminal defense lawyer. Even if you choose to exercise your right to represent yourself within a court of law, never rely on or use information from this website or any other website. Contact and consult with a criminal lawyer within the proper jurisdiction of your issue.

Success In Michigan Ignition Interlock Program

Here in the State of Michigan, numerous courts throughout the state have been involved in a pilot program utilizing ignition interlock devices for drunk driving charges and conviction. The Michigan ignition interlock program places a device inside an individual’s motor vehicle, which then requires the individual to blow into the device in order for the vehicle to start. If the individual has been drinking or has alcohol in their breath or system the device attached to the motor vehicle will register a positive result and not allow the individual to use the vehicle.

MLive recently wrote an article detailing the success rate of the Michigan ignition interlock program, which shows less than four (4) percent of individuals who have been through the program have repeated their prior drunk driving behavior. It should be noted that the Michigan ignition interlock program was implemented in 2011, and since then it has been reported that individual recidivism has decreased in the counties instituting the interlock program. These areas include Oakland, Kent, Kalamazoo, Grand Traverse and Marquette.

If the individual is found to be in violation of the Michigan ignition interlock program they could potentially lose their ability to drive altogether. Typically, individuals in these programs have the ability to drive on a restricted license. A violation of the Michigan ignition interlock program would consist of an individual blowing a positive alcohol sample into the device prior to starting or during operation of their motor vehicle. Again, the purpose of the device is for the vehicle to remain inoperable unless the individual owner is alcohol free. Moreover, it should also be noted that the individual convicted of drunk driving will be the one responsible for the expense of the interlock device.

Drunk driving charges and convictions have a serious and long lasting impact on an individual’s life, which is touched on by the information above. The Michigan ignition interlock program is only part of the repercussions, penalties and possibilities attached to a drunk driving charge. Whenever you face or potentially face a drunk driving charge, you should and must contact a criminal defense attorney. It is never advisable to represent yourself based upon information on this website or any other website without the assistance of adequate legal counsel. Always lawyer-up.

Cellphone Tower Data Is Not Constitutionally Protected

Recently in 2016, a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that there was no 4th Amendment protection for cellphone tower data because it was determined that there is no expectation of privacy for the information exchanged between a cellphone and a cellphone tower when an individual is accessing that particular tower(s). The original article discussing this opinion was published by The Wall Street Journal. The opinion is not the first of its kind, and in fact, various courts throughout the United States vary on whether cellphone tower data, specifically the location data that is being transmitted when placing a phone call, is protected by the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Apparently, the Court of Appeals in this recent opinion out of Ohio compared the issue of cellphone tower data to that of a letter mailed through traditional post. They stated that the cellphone tower data was similar to the information that is placed on the outside of the letter (such as the mailing or return addresses). This means that the information on the outside of the envelope is considered revealed and exposed to the public, which goes to show there is no expectation of privacy for such information. The court went on to explain that cellphone tower data is also being exposed to the public since the individual user is providing the information freely to his or her cellphone provider. They then explained that it would not consider the cellphone tower data as business records, which would in fact diminish the expectation of privacy even more.

In the end, the court followed a similar ideal and ruling from 1979 when the U.S. Supreme Court held that phone calls made from a landline were not protected by the 4th Amendment. In that particular situation, similarly as with cellphone tower data, the individual using the landline is providing that information openly and directly to a third party, which is the phone company. Under this reasoning, the individual using the phone is not expecting privacy within the location of the landline, just as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled with cellphone tower data.

This is a very interesting and important issue that was being discussed by the 6th Circuit and The Wall Street Journal because as technology continues its advancement in sophistication more questions will be raised as to what requires constitutional protection. Logically, it would seem that a landline phone would not be subject to an expectation of privacy, just as an individual’s home residence, address or location is not necessarily protected. The reason it’s not protected is because the very location and address is generally open for public display. This may not be true for all residences, but you see the logical perspective. Now when turning to cellphone tower data, or simple cellphone use, the ability to be anywhere at anytime is a very real possibility since the cellphone can be carried on our person and in our pocket. One would think that we as individuals would expect more privacy with such a device because of the ability to keep the device close to their person and within their pocket; however, this ability does not or may not mean that constitutional privacy is found within a situation where it is being used.

The U.S. Constitution can be very particular in its interpretation, especially in regards to the 4th Amendment and privacy interests, yet when they are deemed appropriate by the Constitution they become fully implicated within the situation.  It will be interesting to see this case, and others like it, develop. Cellphone tower data is simply one of the few technological advancements that have had and will continue to have an impact on Constitutional law and our ability to maintain privacy within specific areas of our lives.

As always, never rely on this article or any information on this website or any other internet, electronic, or other website when attempting to or wanting to represent yourself in a court of law within Michigan or the United States without first seeking and obtaining advice from adequate counsel specializing within the area of law that is in question.

UPDATED: What Is An Obstructed License Plate?

The Michigan Court of Appeals, on September 9, 2014, issued an opinion in People v Dunbar explaining that individual trucks (or motor vehicles) that had factory installed trailer-ball hitches were not in violation of MCL 257.225(2) (i.e. in violation of an obstructed license plate). This means that when the vehicle’s registration is obstructed (or cannot be viewed by the officer) because of the trailer-ball hitch, the officer cannot write an individual a traffic citation for obstructed license plate or registration. HOWEVER, on March 29, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, reversed the Court of Appeals decision in People v Dunbar and explained that the license plate and the area around the plate much be configured in a way that does not wholly or partially cover the license plate.

If found responsible for an obstructed license plate (per MCL 257.225(2)), the individual will face a non-abstractable civil infraction, which attaches a fine and zero points on the driving record. Therefore, the outcome of an obstructed license plate or registration is not very severe; however, one must always remember that traffic violations can and will lead to criminal charges. The traffic infraction or violation provides officer’s a reason to stop a particular vehicle.

Moreover, we must remember that if there is no violation (or probable cause of criminal activity) an individual officer is not allowed to pull a vehicle over. However, when returning to the issue in People v Dunbar, MSC’s opinion allows for a trailer-ball hitch to be considered obstructing a license plate, and thus the officer (or an officer for that matter) can make a valid traffic stop because it is a sufficient civil infraction or violation. Furthermore, as in Dunbar’s case, since the traffic stop was valid, the Officer was able to then continue with his or her investigation upon the smell of burn marijuana. The main issue here and legal question addressed by the court is based upon, as noted above, the fact of whether the initial traffic stop was valid. If the traffic stop was not valid then there would be an argument that the remaining facts and evidence discovered after the stop could be suppressed or withheld from prosecutorial use.

Remember, traffic violations can bring about criminal charges. This is true because the traffic violation, as explained above, allows the officer to stop you, collect more facts about what is occurring in the vehicle, and perhaps arrest or cite you for something more than the simple violation he originally pulled you over for.

It is always important and imperative to understand and know the law. It can assist you during times where you are confronted with police officers and law enforcement personnel, such as for an obstructed license plate or other civil infraction or criminal misdemeanor or felony. Whenever you are facing traffic or criminal charges, contact counsel, such as Josh Jones, to assist and protect your rights.

DO NOT RELY ON THESE LEGAL OPINIONS AND OBSERVATIONS WHEN REPRESENTING YOURSELF IN COURT. THESE ARTICLES ARE NOT MEANT TO COMPENSATE OR EFFECUATE LEGAL REPRESENTATION. YOU SHOULD AND MUST CONTACT AN ATTORNEY AND DISCUSS WITH HIM OR HER THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANY AND ALL IDEAS, STATEMENTS, OPINIONS, EXPRESSIONS OR OTHERWISE STATED ON THIS SITE. 

Careless Driving In Michigan Analyzed

Here in the State of Michigan, like many other states, there is a traffic infraction known as careless driving. If an individual is found responsible for careless driving, her or she will face a civil infraction, attaching other possible risks and repercussions. Because careless driving is a civil infraction this means that this type of infraction is not criminal, and thus your criminal record will not be tarnished if found responsible for careless driving. Therefore, the next question becomes: what constitutes careless driving here in Michigan?

Careless driving is controlled and defined by statute. MCL § 257.626b delineates and explains that “[a] person who operates a vehicle upon a highway or a frozen public lake, stream, or pond or other place open to the general public including an area designated for the parking of vehicles in a careless or negligent manner likely to endanger any person or property, but without wantonness or recklessness” is responsible for careless driving. I would like to point out at this time that the last phrase “wantonness or recklessness”  is the fine line that differentiates careless driving between reckless driving. It is important to make this distinction due to the fact that an individual convicted of reckless driving will have a misdemeanor placed on his or her criminal record along with repercussions to his or her driving record. As noted earlier, the careless driving infraction is a civil infraction, and again not a criminal misdemeanor or charge.

Moving back to the issue of careless driving, if an individual is found responsible for the civil infraction her or she will be ordered to pay a civil fine. The amount of the civil fine will be dependent on the District Court the individual is in at the time that they admit responsibility. Moreover, the fine can also be determinate on the type of resolution that the individual came too with the prosecutor, if the situation and circumstances call for such a situation and resolution. The other concern individuals should be aware of is the accumulation of points on an individual’s driving record if they admit responsibility to the infraction of careless driving. The total amount of points that can be attributed to an individual who has admitted responsibility to careless driving is three (3) points, which means that those points will be placed on the individual’s driving record. Again, remember that this is not a criminal charge, but admission does bring about an impact to the driving record. Once the driving record is impacted, an individual’s insurance coverage and premiums will also likely be influenced.

At the end of the day, even when you are issued a civil infraction, such as careless driving, it is imperative to know the possible repercussions and risks associated with admitting responsible for such an offense or infraction. This is why it is always advisable to contact and even hire counsel. Civil infractions can and do add up, which can then impact your ability to drive.

DO NOT RELY ON THESE LEGAL OPINIONS AND OBSERVATIONS WHEN REPRESENTING YOURSELF IN COURT. THESE ARTICLES ARE NOT MEANT TO COMPENSATE OR EFFECUATE LEGAL REPRESENTATION. YOU SHOULD AND MUST CONTACT AN ATTORNEY AND DISCUSS WITH HIM OR HER THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANY AND ALL IDEAS, STATEMENTS, OPINIONS, EXPRESSIONS OR OTHERWISE STATED ON THIS SITE. HOPE TO SPEAK WITH YOU SOON.