Unlawful Use Driving Away – Motor Vehicle (MCL § 750.413, 750.414)

Here in Michigan Unlawful Use Driving Away of a Motor Vehicle is handled by two separate statutes that provide different maximum punishments under statute or law. Unlawful use is the lesser of the two evils, providing for a possible maximum 2 years in jail. Unlawful driving away carries a possible maximum 5 years in jail. Both of the felonies provide drivers licensing sanctions and will see an individual convicted of the crime lose his or her license. The other extreme difference between the two crimes is that unlawful driving away provides that the individual does not have permission or authority to possess the vehicle. Whereas unlawful use calls for the individual to exceed the owner’s permission or authority to use or possess the vehicle while also never having the intent to steal or permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle.

A subtly such as the one discussed above are the primary reasons that a criminal defense attorney is needed whenever you face a criminal charge in a Michigan or Federal court. Unlawful use driving away of a motor vehicle can impact an individuals life long term. A conviction can bring about licensing issues in the present and the future. It can also bring about fines, costs, and license restoration, which only increases the headache and expense. These particular criminal charges can very slightly, but have varying degrees of punishments.

Whenever you face a criminal charge, contact Josh Jones. He handles all criminal felonies and misdemeanors, including the ones noted above. He has handled numerous unlawful use driving away of a motor vehicle cases throughout Michigan, and he understands the necessary underpinnings of the individual charge. Josh Jones is here to assist you now as you face criminal justice system and in the future when you are asking for your license back. Lawyer-up today with Josh Jones because he has your back.

Why Do I Need A Michigan Criminal Lawyer?

Michigan criminal lawyers can be essential to your case for numerous reasons and circumstances. The most important aspect that a Michigan criminal lawyer can offer a criminal defendant is the understanding of the ins and outs of the individual matter. Criminal lawyers will have the specialized understanding of the criminal court, process and charge that an individual faces. The reasoning behind this is due to their knowledge and background in the legal industry. Many individual lawyers will specialize in specific crimes or crime classes, i.e. drug crimes, CSC crimes, Homicide, etc. A Michigan criminal lawyer specializing in a specific crime class can provide a unique perspective on the matter. They may also be more up-to-date on the various laws and defenses that are involved in that particular class of crime.

However, Michigan criminal lawyers generally handle all types of criminal charges or acts, regardless of a specific speciality. Moreover, a lawyer specializing in a specific crime may not always have the better footing, depending upon the individual case or matter at hand. This is the concluding issue when obtaining any kind of lawyer, criminal or civil, the facts, circumstances and individuality will always be the leading factor in determining which individual lawyer is best for you and your case. You must be comfortable with any Michigan criminal lawyer that you decide to employ or hire. At the end of the day, they must ensure that your rights are protected and that you understand the matter fully. You must be able to make informed decisions and present your best defense or case possible. The Michigan criminal lawyer that provides these basic aspects for you and your case will ensure that you have the best outcome.

Every criminal matter is different, and thus they are resolved differently. Every criminal matter will have some type of plea offer (even if a terrible one), which will be accompanied by trial and constitutional rights that can always be enforced. You, the defendant (if you are criminally charged), decide how to ultimately handle your criminal case, which means that your Michigan criminal lawyer needs to be able to advise and handle your decision(s). Ensure that you have the right Michigan criminal lawyer for you and your case. Contact Josh Jones today. He maintains a full-service criminal defense firm, specializing in drug and marijuana defense.

Michigan Recreational Marijuana Law

Generally speaking, Michigan Residents 21 and over will be allowed to possess, consume, sell, and grow or cultivate marijuana here in the State of Michigan. However, there will be some limitations on some of these activities. The sale of marijuana will be limited to those possessing a proper license. These will be provided through the State Licensing Department. Moreover, the Department will establish rules and guidelines for the sale of marijuana, which will include the maximum THC content for products sold under the Michigan Recreational Marijuana law. The law also allows for the sale and production of industrial hemp, which will be controlled and regulated by the State Licensing Department.

Individuals, in their own personal homes, will be able to possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants under the new Michigan Recreational marijuana law. However, anything in excess of 2.5 ounces of that marijuana must be stored in a container or other area that can lock or has security devices. There will also be limits on the amount of marijuana concentrate that an individual will be allowed to possess, purchase or transport.

There will also be protections for individuals with children. Those who follow the guidelines of the act will not be denied custody unless there is some unreasonable danger being created towards the minor. These will be very fact specific, and it is advisable to always obtain a family lawyer if custody of your child ever becomes an issue because of marijuana use, as allowed by the Michigan Recreational Marijuana Law.

Marijuana Violations

If an individual is found in violation of the Michigan Recreational Marijuana Law, he or she will typically receive a civil infraction for such violation. There are also enhancements for repeat offenders and specific violators found selling will receive a misdemeanor conviction. The division between the various fines and convictions depend upon the act, amount and who is involved in the incident, generally speaking. Moreover, individuals, as mentioned above, will be somewhat limited in their ability to use or possess marijuana since the Michigan Recreational Marijuana law forbids such in public places and places such as schools k-12, preschools, correctional facilities, etc. It is also important to note that the law will still allow for the arrest and conviction of an individual driving a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

Even though marijuana will be legal here in Michigan, it does not mean you should not consult with a lawyer whenever you have questions about acts involving marijuana. Under the Michigan Recreational Marijuana law, the legal issues will forever change; however, they will not be eliminated.



Canada Legalized Marijuana – Effects On Michigan

Michigan residents may have noticed that Canada legalized marijuana in Oct. 2018 throughout its country. The various laws and regulations will vary from area to area. It is advisable to consult with a Canadian lawyer if there are specific questions or issues that arise with the substance while within their country. Therefore, it should be noted that this is not an article on the laws and regulations of marijuana within Canada, but instead how it impacts Michigan Residents.

Now that Canada legalized marijuana, it does impact Michigan, and others within the United States. What this means is that technically individuals within the United States and found traveling in Canada can partake in their laws or ability to legally use and possess marijuana. However, individuals should determine if there are special regulations within certain areas that do now apply to all individuals, i.e. only Canadians can use or possess marijuana in a specific territory or location. Generally, US citizens will be legally allowed to use while in Canada, yet they will be limited to Canada. Meaning, even though Canada legalized marijuana it does not allow for US citizens to bring the substance back to the United States, and thus they are limited to only when they are in Canada.

This is an interesting time for the US since Canada legalized marijuana and many States here in the US are also legalizing the substance. It will be more interesting to see how the legalized states and Canada begin to interact on a commercial level and on a immigration level, if at all. It is also important to note that medical marijuana cardholders will also likely not be able to transport or possess marijuana when crossing the border, even though Canada legalized marijuana. The issues with Federal law are always in play when in the US, which includes the border area and crossing. Again, these are interesting times are marijuana begins to be more acceptable.

Oct. 1, 2018 Begins the Elimination of Michigan Responsibility Fees

For many years, drivers have had to deal with Michigan Responsibility Fees when being a resident of this state. However, as of Oct. 1, 2018, the accumulation of Michigan Responsibility fees by the state’s residents have been eliminated. What this means for individual Michigan drivers is that if your driver’s license has been held up or withheld by the Michigan SOS because of responsibility fees, you will be able to now re obtain your driver’s license.

It is important to know that there are some details that individuals must know prior to going and re-obtaining your driver’s license here in Michigan. First, this will only apply to Michigan Driver’s responsibility fees, meaning that you will still need to pay any reinstatement fees that are due and owing prior to obtaining your driver’s license. Second, the elimination of Michigan responsibility fees does not negate or take away from those individuals who are denied or revoked for other reasons or because of prior driving habits or behavior. For example, those individuals who have been denied or revoked because of numerous drunk driving convictions will need to petition the Michigan SOS prior to obtaining their privilege to drive. However, the Michigan responsibility fees owed because of those convictions have been eliminated, and thus one of the primary hurdles that many individuals face has been taken down. Lastly, if you have not had a valid driver’s license in the last 4 years, you will need to take vision and eye examine prior to being issued a license, which could then require corrective lenses.

This move of eliminating Michigan responsibility fees for driver’s should allow many individuals that have been placed in a financial hardship, due to these fees, room to breathe and obtain a license that they may have so longed for. It is important to contact counsel in order to be fully advised on what, if anything, you may need to do in order to re-obtain your ability to driver here in Michigan. Again, as mentioned above, some individual will see one of the hurdles removed when trying to get their license back; however, they may still have to go through the formal restoration process. This is all dependent on why the individual was originally suspended and what it is that is truly keeping them from the roadway. Josh Jones is here for all of your driver’s license restorations questions, issues and services. Contact him today and begin the journey of legal driving.

Usable Marihuana Definition Again Limited In People v Mansour

In the summer of 2018, the Court of Appeal issued an opinion in People v Mansour, that limited the definition of usable marihuana here in Michigan for medical marijuana patients and caregivers. The court looked at a case where the individual was growing marihuana and drying marihuana when the police executed a search on his residence. The defendant in the case raised an immunity defense in the trial court and presented an expert witness on the subject of the drying marihuana that was found. In the case, defense was arguing that the drying marihuana was not defined as usable marihuana, which in turn would not be countable for the weight restrictions enforced by the MMMA.

However, the Court of Appeals did not agree with the defendant entirely. It opined that usable marihuana is not the same as drying marihuana, and thus the amount of drying marihuana could not be used when determining the weight of usable marihuana the defendant had in his possession at the time of the search on his residence. The court went on to explain that even though the usable marihuana weight restriction is not influenced by the amount of marihuana that the defendant had in his possession, since it was drying, the defendant still did not have a valid claim to immunity or an affirmative defense under the MMMA. The court’s reasoning behind the opinion was that since the MMMA does not identify that drying marihuana is allowed under the act, and since it was not usable marihuana, the defendant was in violation of state law as he was not able to afford himself of the MMMA. Essentially, the court bifurcated the multiple variations of marihuana, as it grows from plant to buds, but it then excluded it from the MMMA. In the end, this opinion essentially makes the harvesting or drying of marihuana a complete violation of the MMMA, which becomes a problem for many patients and caregivers attempting to obtain a final product consisting of usable marihuana.

This was an interesting, and sadly disappointing, opinion by the Michigan Court of Appeals. I assume that the defense in the case will attempt to appeal the decision; however, whether the Michigan Supreme Court decides to hear the issue will be left for the future to decide. At the time of writing this article, the author is unaware if an appeal has been filed on the matter. With that said, it is so highly important to consult and contact counsel when attempting or wanting to act under the MMMA. Even though the act has now been around for a decade, the issues and fog created by the act have not lifted. The limiting of what constitutes usable marihuana has only become more convoluted with this opinion.

Michigan Criminal Sentencing Explained

Here in the State of Michigan, many criminal sentencing hearings will be based upon the type of criminal charge and the jurisdiction where the sentencing will occur. Whether the criminal charge is a misdemeanor or felony will be the heaviest weighing factor for a criminal sentencing. The reason for this is due the statutory limitation set upon misdemeanors and felonies.

Remember, criminal misdemeanors are statutory limited by a maximum 1-year in jail. Ultimately, the criminal sentencing will be affected due to the maximum punishment a judge can impose for a misdemeanor. A felony is also statutorily controlled; however, since the maximum jail punishment is over one year (and again varies on the crime charged) the criminal sentencing can maintain a wide range of possibilities. In the end, there are numerous requirements that an individual can face in any criminal sentencing. Jail time is usually the biggest worries when an individual faces a criminal charge.

The type of punishment an individual will face during a criminal sentencing will be dependent on numerous factors. These will include, but not limited to: criminal record, rehabilitation status, injuries to victim, type of crime convicted of or pled to, employment status, substance abuse history or treatment status, jail credit already accrued, probation or pretrial recommendation or assessment, mental health status or treatment, bond status or violations, and any other possibly relevant information, acts, or facts known or made known to the court prior to or at the time of sentencing. There can be so many factors, facts and issues that are involved in a sentencing that an appropriate list cannot truly be constructed in such a setting. Moreover, not every criminal sentencing will be the same, and thus some of the above situations will not apply to every individual.

Finally, it is worth noting that a sentencing can also be influenced based on the jurisdiction or court that an individual is in for the particular sentencing. There are particular district and circuit court here in Michigan that are more difficult to navigate as compared to others. This includes the sentencing that is involved in a criminal matter. These difficult courts have a tendency to sentence more severely than others, which makes a criminal sentencing even more important when an individual has a case pending in one of these jurisdictions.

An individual should always obtain representation whenever they are facing any criminal misdemeanor or felony. A criminal sentencing is one of the many reasons that supports the claim that an individual is better off when they lawyer-up. So whenever you need a criminal defense attorney, call Josh Jones 7-days a week.

Outline Drug & Alcohol Testing While On Bond/Probation

An individual will see drug & alcohol testing involved in their criminal matter during probation or while on bond. When an individual is charged with a criminal misdemeanor or felony, they are originally placed on bond. When on bond, an individual will have certain conditions and requirements that they must follow in order to comply with his or her bond. If the individual fails to comply with those terms and conditions, the court may look to revoke, increase or forfeit the bond. This means the individual may be incarcerated while their criminal matter is pending. The ability to obtain bond allows them to remain free from incarceration during that time.  When an individual is placed on probation, similar conditions and requirements as found during the bond period are also placed on the individual.

These requirements and conditions during bond or probation can and usually include no illegal substance or alcohol use. The court oversees the compliance of not using these substances by drug & alcohol testing. The drug & alcohol testing can range daily to monthly. Testing is almost always performed randomly. The purpose of random drug & alcohol testing to ensure that the individual is not aware of when he or she tests. This makes it more difficult to cheat the test. Moreover, courts do not like an individuals providing diluted samples, failing to provide a sample, or failing to appear to test. Drug & alcohol testing issues are common reasons for individuals to violate bond and probation terms.

Call Josh Jones today for your free initial consultation.

Whenever you are charged with a criminal misdemeanor or felony, it is important to remember that drug & alcohol testing can be sought by the court. This will even occur when the individual is of legal drinking age, meaning that the individual must sustain from alcohol during those periods. Drug testing also becomes an issue for individual with medical marihuana cards while navigating through the justice system. These are just some classic reasons why you should always obtain a criminal defense attorney whenever you are facing such a matter. You always want to put yourself in the best situation you can be when heading into a court of law.

Michigan DWLS Explained & Outlined

If you are found driving on a suspended, denied or revoked drivers license, you may find yourself in a position where you are issued a Michigan DWLS ticket. This type of ticket is a criminal misdemeanor, generally carrying a possible maximum punishment of 93-days in jail, plus a possible fine, costs and probation. See MCL § 257.904.  There are multiple situations and scenarios that can bring about a suspension, revocation or denial for an individual’s drivers license here in Michigan.

A very common situation that will allow for the issuance of a driving on suspension charge is when an individual fails to pay a traffic infraction ticket or citation in the identified timeframe. When an individual fails to pay one or more of those tickets, the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) will suspended the drivers license, bringing about the ability to be issued a Michigan DWLS. Of course, a Michigan DWLS ticket cannot be issued without first being stopped by an officer; however, it does allow for the ability for an officer to issue and charge an individual for such a thing. It is also important to note that because a Michigan DWLS is a criminal offense, an officer is allowed and able to arrest an individual who is caught or found driving on a suspended, revoked or denied license. With that said, even a jail sanction or punishment can ensue if an individual is found or pleads guilty to the offense of driving while license suspended. The reasoning, again, rests on the fact that a DWLS is a traffic misdemeanor, and thus it is punishable, if chosen, by a term of incarceration or jail.

Moreover, it is also important to note that an individual with a prior conviction of a DWLS and then receives another DWLS charge, he or she will be looking at an enhanced criminal misdemeanor. When an individual is facing his or her second driving on suspended, they will be looking at an enhanced 1-year criminal misdemeanor, meaning the maximum punishment by jail 1-year and/or a fine. As compared to its lesser counterpart, a DWLS first is simply a 93-day misdemeanor, as indicated previously. It is also important to note that regardless of the charge (DWLS 1st or 2nd) possible driver’s license sanctions can also ensue upon a conviction. The type of sanction will be dependent on the specific individual charged with driving while on a suspended license and what their drivers record looks like, meaning some individuals will not automatically be suspended upon a conviction of a DWLS. You may also be in need of drivers license restoration.

It becomes highly important to contact and obtain the assistance of a criminal defense attorney whenever you have been issued or charged with driving while on a suspended license. You should not treat a DWLS charge like traditional traffic offense, such as speeding. There could and will likely be larger repercussions that you are unaware of or may not understand. Always lawyer-up!

Question Presented: What is Circumstantial Evidence?

Typically circumstantial evidence is defined as evidence that is not direct evidence. Two commonly presented hypotheticals used  to differentiate the terms is as follows: Direct Evidence would be looking outside the window and seeing the rain or actual act of it raining; while circumstantial evidence would be seeing someone walking into a building and his or her jacket or shirt is wet. Circumstantial evidence brings about a logic and reasonable assumption or inference based upon the fact presented.

Circumstantial is generally admissible or allowed within criminal trials or charges faced by individual defendants. Moreover, circumstantial evidence can be sufficient enough to maintain a guilty verdict against an individual criminal defendant. However, this does not negate or take away from the burden of proof that must be substantiated, but it does mean that quality and sufficient circumstantial evidence can and will satisfy the beyond a reasonable standard needed by a prosecuting attorney in a criminal case. This mean that an individual does not need to be seen stealing from the cookie jar in order to be found that he did in fact take a cookie. If there are facts showing that he had or has cookies in his possession he can be found to have taken said cookie from the jar. This is a very scaled back version of a criminal offense; however, it does not negate or take away from the objective with circumstantial evidence.

This idea becomes important when reviewing or looking at any given criminal case, whether felony or misdemeanor. Due to the ability of circumstantial evidence being used to substantiate or support a prosecutor’s burden of proof it becomes necessary to attack all areas of such evidence, even more importantly than when attempting to rebut direct evidence. Moreover, the nature of circumstantial evidence can be ambiguous since in some situations the use of such evidence can be a benefit for both the prosecution or the defense, depending on how an individual frames that particular piece of evidence. For example, the lack of fingerprints found at a crime scene connected to a hypothetical defendant would be a key argument for the defense; however, the prosecutor could also argue effectively that the hypothetical defendant would not leave prints when wearing gloves, if such were able to be articulated in such a case. The point of the matter is that any criminal matter fixated or containing circumstantial evidence should be closely reviewed by an experienced criminal defense lawyer.