David G. Moore Attorney At Law
Former DA Prosecutor Now Fights for Your Rights
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(Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan)

Kalamazoo Michigan Criminal Defense Law Blog

Should police departments engage in photo-shaming via Facebook?

When a woman allegedly struck six separate mailboxes before crashing onto a lawn and coming to rest among some trees, local police were on the case. When she turned out to have a live lizard inside her bra, they were amused. They posted a flippant account of the arrest on the departmental Facebook page.

Many people were highly amused. "Great job (getting drunks off the road and entertaining us)," wrote one of the department's followers.

Roadside sobriety tests are designed to be failed

Try this: Stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and remain as still as possible for 30 seconds. Did you have any trouble keeping your balance?

Next, walk slowly in a straight line, putting one foot in front of the other, touching your heel to your toe with each step. Any wobbling going on?

Criminal defense services are available to those facing felonies

Last week, this Kalamazoo criminal defense legal blog discussed criminal sexual conduct and how certain sex crime charges may arise to the level of felonies, depending on the conduct the defendant is alleged to have committed. Many factors can influence whether a charge is elevated to the level of a felony, including, but not limited to, the age of the alleged victim, the alleged use of a weapon and if any other crimes were alleged to have been committed during the events giving rise to the criminal sexual conduct charge.

There is no question that any criminal sexual conduct charge can be detrimental to an individual's life, but a felony charge can be particularly damaging due to the serious consequences and criminal sanctions that may be imposed, if the individual is found guilty. A person can literally lose their freedom if they are sentenced and may have to live with the stigma of being a known sex offender for the rest of their life, once they are released.

Is rape a felony in Michigan?

Under Michigan law, specific crimes, such as rape, sexual assault and sexual battery, are contained in the general category of criminal sexual conduct. There are different levels of criminal sexual conduct that the state recognizes, and some of those different levels rise to the level of felony charges.

For example, first-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony. It occurs when the alleged penetration occurs with an alleged victim under the age of 13, with a victim between the ages of 13 and 15 and who is related to or lives in the home of the alleged perpetrator. Or, when force or coercion are used to compel a victim to act.

Punishments can vary for drunk driving and DUI convictions

Michigan law dictates the serious punishments that individuals may face if they are found guilty of DUI and alcohol-based driving charges. This post will generally discuss some of the penalties that they may be required to comply with in the wake of their convictions. But, those readers with case-specific questions are asked to discuss their inquiries with criminal defense attorneys. This post is not intended to provide legal advice.

Depending on a person's criminal history and the charges they were convicted, punishments can include fines and jail time. Beyond these, individuals can lose their driving privileges through license suspensions and revocations, which can span from several months to more than a year.

Criminal defense strategies can protect your freedom

When a Michigan prosecutor chooses to file criminal charges against a person, they must prove the elements of the crimes they allege the suspect committed. In most cases, a prosecutor must show that a criminal defendant committed some prohibited act and did so with the requisite mindset. They must provide evidence to make these proofs, and they must satisfy either the judge or jury on their case to an established degree of proof that the accused is guilty of the alleged crimes.

In other words, it takes a lot to prove that person committed a crime. When a person finds himself or herself on the accusatory end of a criminal allegation, they may not know exactly what they can do to prevent a conviction.

Tougher drunk driving laws are not the most effective deterrent

When a drunk driver causes a fatal accident or one that results in life-changing injuries, it often ignites demands for tougher drunk driving laws. However, recent studies indicate that tougher drunk driving laws may not be the best deterrent to drunk driving. A survey indicates that increasing the likelihood of arrest and apprehension of drunk drivers is more effective than tougher penalties in lowering drunk driving rates.

The report from the Research Society on Alcoholism is based on data collected in eight cities from drivers, police and lawyers who specialize in defending drunk drivers. They compared the threat of being arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) to harsher penalties for OWI.

Dozens of sex offenders facing charges after registry sweep

Conviction on a sex crime can leave a person with significant restrictions on their rights and little privacy when they return to their post-sentencing lives. In Michigan, convicted sex offenders are required to register with the state's sex offender registry and are subject to home checks and other administrative requirements. If during a check, they are found to be out of compliance with a requirement, then they may face serious consequences that can include imprisonment.

Recently, a Michigan community undertook a significant sex-offender registry check by visiting nearly 400 residences where sex offenders were registered to live. During those numerous checks, 94 percent of the convicted sex offenders were found to be in compliance, which generally, meant that they were living at the home that they noted on the state's registry. However, 23 individuals moved or left their registered residences and as a result, may face criminal charges for their registry-address discrepancies.

What is the Michigan Sex Offender Registry?

When a person is convicted of committing certain sex crimes, they may be required to register their address with the state of Michigan. That registry is a database and is searchable by others, who can find out if convicted sex offenders are living within their neighborhoods and communities. Depending on the crime, if the individual is convicted, their name and address may remain on the registry for a period of 15 years, 25 years or the rest of their life.

Individuals who must register with the sex offender registry must abide by strict reporting rules. They maintain a current address with the state, and they must periodically check in with law enforcement officials to ensure their compliance with the many regulations that apply to them due to their sex offender status.

Understanding Michigan's murder statute

The law recognizes different types of murder and upon conviction, punish them in different ways. This post will generally discuss first degree murder and second degree murder, under the state's statutes. Readers who require specific information about homicide or murder charges, currently pending in Michigan, should speak with criminal defense attorneys about their cases and options.

A person may be charged with first degree murder under several different circumstances. First, this charge may apply if the individual is accused of premeditating or planning a murder before committing or attempting. For example, murder by poisoning or murdering a person after lying in wait may arise to the level of first degree charges.

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