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Accused of a Crime

What Should I Do if I’m Falsely Accused?

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Being accused of a crime when you are innocent is one of the most agonizing and life-disrupting experiences a person can go through. Most people who have never been through a criminal case would be completely unsure as to what should be done first. What should you do when wrongfully accused?

Arrested for a Crime in Michigan

Falsely Accused of a Crime

If you find out that you have been or are about to be wrongfully charged with a crime there are several things you can do immediately to protect yourself. First, do not speak to anyone other than a lawyer. Only a lawyer cannot be compelled to testify against you. Remember, anything you say “can and will be used against you.” Whatever you do, NEVER talk to the police under any circumstances without an attorney present and protecting you. They are not your friends and are not there to help you, their only function is to build a case against you.

Secondly, do not wait to see what happens or if you will be charged, be proactive. In many cases, a good defense lawyer can prevent you from being charged if he or she acts quickly on your behalf. In those cases where charges are unavoidable, a lawyer might be able to convince the police or prosecutor to charge a less serious offense.

You will not have the option of speaking to a court-appointed attorney before you are charged. By the time a court-appointed attorney is appointed, many critical events will have already taken place. Retaining an experienced lawyer immediately may help prevent you from ever going to court.

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Do not talk to the police under any circumstances.

Any comments you make to the police may be interpreted a number of different ways. Things that you believe will help you, and establish your innocence, may in fact land you in a jail cell awaiting a bail hearing. The police will twist anything you say to use it against you. For example, if you profess your innocence, the police will claim you were nervous, you were evasive, that you did not maintain eye contact, or that you acted or spoke suspiciously.

A privately retained, reputable attorney with a very good reputation with the police, such as the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., will be able to place himself or herself between you and the police, and fend off the attack. And make no mistake, it is an attack. Police do not take lightly contacting citizens and insinuating they have committed a crime. If they have contacted you, you are in grave danger and you need to take steps to help yourself immediately.

Can a retained attorney help me before I’m charged?

Yes, absolutely. You attorney can do things you cannot. For instance, your attorney speaks on your behalf and what he or she says cannot be used against you. Another thing an attorney can do is get the police to inform him or her if a charge is actually obtained. By doing this, the lawyer can walk you into court if there is a warrant and prevent you from being arrested at home, work or while driving.

If you hire the right attorney, he or she will sit down with you and get information and witnesses together to present to the police before you’re charged. Your attorney will know what information should be given to the police and what should not be. Your attorney may be able to get the police to not seek a warrant for prosecution. There are many steps that can be taken by a skilled lawyer to protect you.

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What can my attorney do if I’m falsely charged with a crime?

If the police have given you no warning that an investigation has been on-going and you have had no reason to retain an attorney, they may simply find you and arrest you wherever you are. The police sometimes will arrest someone without warning to catch him or her emotionally off guard and without a lawyer. They believe they will get a shot at asking you questions without an attorney present, and while you are in a weakened, highly emotional state.

If you are arrested without warning you should immediately tell the police you want to speak to an attorney. It will be your natural impulse to want to try to explain that the police are making a mistake. Don’t do it. Let your attorney do the talking. You attorney is a professional, just as the police are professionals. The defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have handled thousands of cases and are experts at dealing with the police before or after a charge is filed.

How can my attorney prove I’ve been falsely charged?

Your privately retained attorney knows the elements of crimes. He or she knows what the prosecutor has to prove. He or she knows what to say and not to say. Your attorney knows how to get ahold of the evidence in the possession of the police and prosecutor. Your attorney will be able to assess alibi witnesses, physical evidence, and your account of things. If you have been falsely charged, an astute, passionate, retained attorney may be able to dismantle the prosecution’s case in a logical, legal way.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense Attorneys Representing the Wrongfully Accused

A top retained attorney is absolutely essential to protecting yourself and vindicate you if you have been falsely charged. A good lawyer will not judge you. Your attorney will be your advisor, counsellor, and best defender in the face of a false charge. The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients in the state of Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the extraordinary, high quality, aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

What Do I Do If I’m Falsely Accused of a Crime?

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Facing charges for a crime you did not commit is stressful and scary. Too often, individuals in this situation fail to hire aggressive legal representation, figuring that since they are innocent, charges will inevitably be dropped. Unfortunately, this idealistic approach has caused many innocent citizens to pay for crimes they did not commit. We all read in the news each week about someone who was found to be innocent after spending decades in prison. Each of these individuals was found to be guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” despite the fact that they were 100% innocent of the charges.

How you choose to proceed immediately following a criminal charge or allegation is vital. Ask any attorney and he or she will advise you not to speak to police without a lawyer, even if you are innocent and have nothing to hide. Often time innocent individuals feel pressured to defend themselves or prove their innocence by cooperating with police. When the finger of blame is pointed at you, your first inclination is to explain what happened or proclaim your innocence to the police. We advise against it. Any perceived inconsistencies in your story will be used against you in a court of law later on down the road. Even a facial expression or movement of your body can be interpreted by a detective or agent as a sign of guilt.

You have a constitutional right to remain silent. Use it! Talking to law enforcement is a lose-lose proposition. There is nothing to be gained. As the saying goes, “anything you say can and will be used against you.” Because you run the risk of innocently incriminating yourself, hire a lawyer.

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What else can a lawyer do to help you?

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can start building your defense before you are charged. In fact, a really good lawyer may be able to prevent you from being charged with early and proactive intervention. Even if you are responsible for committing a criminal offense, the prosecution may charge you with a more serious crime than is justified by the truthful facts. Criminal allegations are frequently dramatized and exaggerated by purported victims. A great deal can be done by a criminal defense attorney before charges are issued to improve your situation and limit the damage that may be done in court.

Your Best Hope for a Solid Defense

The counsel and experience of a trusting, competent attorney can make all the difference. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., one of Michigan’s top legal firms, has helped thousands of clients through every step of the process. Too many individuals do not even know when they are being asked illegal questions or when they are falling prey to unfair interrogation techniques. We protect you. We fight for you.

Innocent people are accused of crimes, such as assault and battery, domestic violence, OWI, financial crimes and rape, every day. These crimes carry the potential for jail or prison time if you are found guilty. Even when the accuser comes forward and admits to the lie or an exaggeration, prosecutors are generally unwilling to dismiss charges. A mere arrest can cause the accused to experience a lost job or damaged reputation. The Criminal Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C can help you avoid a potential loss of freedom and financially devastating consequences of charges or a conviction.

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Hate Crimes Legislation

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The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 created a new federal criminal law which criminalizes the willful causing of bodily injury for, or attempting to do so, with fire, firearm, or other dangerous weapon, when: (1) the crime was committed because of an actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin of any person, or (2) the crime was committed because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person and the crime affected interstate or foreign commerce or occurred within federal special maritime or territorial jurisdiction.

Matthew Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming in 1998. He did die 6 days later from severe head injuries. Two men were arrested shortly after the attack. During the trial of one of his killers, it was widely reported that Shepard was targeted because he was gay; a Laramie police officer testified at a pretrial hearing that the violence against Shepard was triggered by how the attacker “[felt] about gays”, per an interview of the attacker’s girlfriend.

James Byrd Jr. was an African-American who was murdered Texas by three men in 1998. At least two of the men were white supremacists. Shawn Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and John King dragged Byrd for three miles behind a pick-up truck along an asphalt road. The heinous acts that killed Mr. Shepard and Mr. Byrd also led to the passage of many state hate crime laws.

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Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Act

Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Act (MCL 750.147b) provides that a person is guilty of ethnic intimidation if that person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of the person’s race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, does any of the following: (a) causes physical contact with another person. (b) damages, destroys, or defaces real or personal property of another person. (c) threatens, by word or act, to do one of the acts described above, of there is reasonable cause to believe that an act will occur. Violation of this act is a felony punishable by no more than 2 years in prison or by a fine of not more than $5,000 or both. There is also the possibility of civil damages.

It is important to note that Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Act does not specifically protect sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

Michigan criminal defense attorneys experienced in defense of hate crime prosecutions

Hate crimes are “regular” crimes with the inclusion of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. as an element. If you are charged with the commission of a crime and the government has wrongfully made the charge a “hate crime” you must have expert legal representation to protect your interests and to assure that you are not charged improperly. Also, there is a very real possibility that there will be media coverage. You do not want to face media scrutiny without the assistance of attorneys who are experts in dealing with the defense of people charged with commission of a crime. You need someone to protect you and who will stand between you and the media spotlight and the government.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are recognized experts in the field of defending people charged with violations of the criminal law. Our attorneys have decades of experience practicing exclusively criminal law. If you, or someone you know, is facing felony or misdemeanor criminal charges, please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

Defenses to Murder Charges in Michigan

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Finding defenses to murder charges is one of the most challenging things for a criminal defense attorney. In the recent case of People v Blue, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that duress is not a defense to murder charges or assault to commit murder. Ms. Blue argued that she should have been allowed a jury instruction on the defense of duress because her allegedly abusive boyfriend told her to commit the crimes. The Court of Appeals disagreed.

Duress is Not a Defense to Murder Charges

Duress is an affirmative defense based on the idea that, as a matter of policy, it is better for a person to choose to violate the criminal law in order to avoid the greater danger threatened by the other person. In order to use this defense, a defendant has to produce some evidence of all of the following: (1) that the threats were sufficient for a reasonable person to fear death or serious bodily harm; (2) that the threats, in fact, did cause such fear in the mind of the defendant; (3) the fear or duress was operating upon the mind of the defendant at the time of the alleged crime; and the defendant committed the act to avoid the threatened harm. Additionally, the threats must be impending; a threat of future harm is not sufficient.

It is well established in Michigan law that duress is not a valid defense to murder because, “one cannot submit to coercion to take the life of a third person, but should risk or sacrifice his own life instead”. People v Dittis, 157 Mich App, 38l 403 NW2d 94 (1987); People v Gimotty, 216 Mich App 254; 549 NW2d 39 (1996).

Duress remains a valid defense to countless other felony and misdemeanor offenses in Michigan.

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The best michigan criminal defense lawyer is experienced, creative and aggressive

A tenacious criminal defense attorney who can come up with an idea that causes courts and prosecutors to rethink old ideas, policies and decisions has the power to achieve a more favorable result for their clients. When you are faced with criminal charges and a possible loss of freedom, you should have legal representation that is not afraid to push the envelope relative to defending you, the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are those attorneys.

Criminal defense specialists – creative, new and cutting edge defense techniques

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are creative and forward-thinking in their representation of their clients. They are not afraid to shake up the status quo and introduce new and innovative ideas to prosecutors and courts in order to zealously represent their clients. If you are charged with a crime and facing possible loss of freedom, you should have legal representation that is always considering if there is a better way of handling a matter to benefit you. The defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is always considering new and better ways of defending their clients. If you need help, please contact us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

I Am Innocent. Why do I Need an Attorney?

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If you are innocent and being accused of a crime, you need a great lawyer to protect and defend you. Jails and prisons in the US have countless inmates who were wrongfully convicted as a result of ineffective lawyers and false or exaggerated allegations. Do not talk to the police and do not take a “wait and see” approach! Your best defense to false allegations is a proactive and strong defense lawyer.

Why do I need an Attorney

The Innocent Project, a group of attorneys headquartered in New York City, is responsible for dozens of people having been proven innocent and exonerated by DNA testing in the United States after serving time on death row. These people were convicted in states across the United States and convicted beyond a reasonable doubt for crimes they did not commit.

For example, on September 2, 2014, two North Carolina death row inmates, who are brothers, were freed after three decades in prison after another man’s DNA was discovered on a cigarette butt left near the body of the girl the brothers were convicted of killing.

The defendant’s attorneys never gave up on attempting to exonerate the brothers. When faced with the DNA evidence, the district attorney agreed that the state did not have a case against the defendants. The participation of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission (a state agency) gave much-needed assistance to the defense in the convictions being overturned. The Commission was created by statute and is responsible for reviewing cases and determining if there is sufficient evidence to merit judicial review.

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Have you been wrongfully accused of committing a crime?

A common question the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. get asked is, “why should I have to pay for an attorney when I did nothing wrong?” That way of thinking is “pennywise and pound foolish”. If those people who were wrongfully sent to death row did not get the help of expert criminal defense lawyers, where would they be? They would still be on death row. Don’t forget, these are people who were convicted “beyond a reasonable doubt” even though they were 100% innocent. Why? Among a multitude of reasons, there may be been police or prosecutor misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, bad scientific evidence, a twisted judge or some other reason. A great attorney, who will undoubtedly require payment of a fair fee, gives anyone the best chance of avoiding criminal charges or a wrongful conviction.

The United States Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system in the United States is the greatest on earth, but it is not without flaws. It is unfortunate but true, that innocent people can be and are wrongfully convicted in this country. Even people who may be responsible for some offense may be unfairly charged or convicted of a wrongful, higher charge. This is why you must have expert legal help to keep that from happening to you. It is foolish to try and defend yourself or use an inadequate or bargain defense attorney when you are up against the unlimited resources of the police and prosecutors. You need help and you need the experienced attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. that are recognized experts in the area of defending people charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses in state and federal court.

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Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys Who Are Recognized as Experts in Defending People Accused of Committing a Crime

If you, or someone you know, is charged with having committed a crime and you are innocent. Do not try and handle the situation with a bargain lawyer or a general practice attorney who is more concerned with the quantity of their practice and not the quality of their results. You must have the best possible legal representation to help you navigate the system and protect your interests. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience practicing exclusively criminal law. We are in state and federal courtrooms around the State of Michigan on a daily basis. Our attorneys are respected for their professionalism and expertise by other attorneys, the courts, and our clients. Please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. with any questions you may have at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

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Walking Away from the Police is Not a Crime

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The police may not like when someone exercises their constitutional rights; however walking away from the police is not a crime. In United States v. Beauchamp, No. 10-5102 (Oct. 25, 2011), the court ordered the suppression of physical evidence discovered when police officers illegally seized the defendant on the street and obtained his involuntary consent to search. The police initiated the seizure because when they approached the defendant, he “hurriedly walked away without making eye contact.” The officers deemed this conduct to be “suspicious.” The defendant was walking around a fence when a police officer again approached him and exited the patrol car. When the officer requested that the defendant to stop and walk around the fence toward him, the defendant complied, appearing nervous.

A frisk uncovered no weapons, but when the officer obtained permission to conduct a more thorough search he found crack cocaine inside the defendant’s underwear and between his butt cheeks. Under these circumstances, the court found that the defendant was seized when he complied with the police order to stop walking, turn around, and approach the officer, explaining, “the fact that Beauchamp first walked away from police before the officers located him and pulled up next to him would suggest to a reasonable person that the officers were targeting Beauchamp and therefore he would not feel free to leave,” and that “a reasonable person in Beauchamp’s position would perceive that the officer’s instructions required compliance and restricted his ability to walk away.”

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The court found that the seizure was not supported by reasonable suspicion: “Beauchamp’s exercise of his right to walk away—even if the walk was made hurriedly, briskly, or snappily—does not turn his otherwise innocuous behavior into the conduct of a ‘suspicious suspect.’”

Lastly, the court found that the defendant’s consent to search was not voluntary because “Beauchamp gave his “consent” immediately after an officer had placed his hands inside Beauchamp’s butt to conduct the frisk. A scared, defenseless man is not in a position to say “no” to a police officer whose hands are still on or just removed from his body while another officer is standing just a few feet away.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has an unparalleled track record of successfully defending clients in state and federal court who are charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses.  If you or a loved one is charged with or being accused of committing a crime in Michigan, do not hesitate to call us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and a highly qualified defense lawyer will promptly contact you.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

Will I Be Deported if I’m Convicted of Retail Fraud

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Many times when a new client calls me for a free consultation, they ask, “if I’m charged with retail fraud, will I face deportation?”

On August 18, 2011, the Obama administration declared that it would grant an indefinite reprieve to thousands of immigrants facing deportation, allowing them to stay and work legally so officials can more quickly deport convicted criminals and other serious cases.

Federal officials said they are launching a review of each of the roughly 300,000 cases in the nation’s immigration courts to ensure that new and existing ones reflect the administration’s priorities to detain and deport criminals and threats to public safety.

Retail Fraud and Shoplifting Defense

Following is a list of some of the crimes that can be immediate grounds for deportation:

  • Selling of a controlled substance with the intention of distribution;
  • Rape or sexual assault;
  • Sexual abuse of a minor;
  • Drug trafficking;
  • Fraud causing a loss of more than $10,000;
  • Theft resulting in a jail sentence of more than 12 months;
  • Most violent crimes;
  • Certain child pornography crimes;
  • Some perjury, bribery, or obstruction of justice crimes;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Falsely claiming that you are a U.S. citizen.

An “aggravated felony” crime includes many different types of crimes and can include both felonies and misdemeanors. Another type of crime – one called a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) – involves acts of baseness, vileness or depravity that is considered contrary to community standards. These are the 2 significant types of crimes that can render someone deportable (removable).

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Offenses Deemed CIMTs

The following offenses have been deemed CIMTs:

1. Crimes against the person:

  • Involving moral turpitude: murder; voluntary or reckless manslaughter, kidnapping, attempted murder and assault with intent to rob or kill or to commit abortion or rape
  • Not involving moral turpitude: involuntary manslaughter; simple assault and battery; attempted suicide and libel
  • Immigration law also considers the following offenses against the person as CIMTs: Domestic violence; stalking; child abuse; child neglect; child abandonment and violation of a protection order against credible threats of violence, repeated harassment or bodily injury

2. Sexual offenses:

  • Involving moral turpitude: rape, whether common law or statutory; adultery; bigamy; prostitution; lewdness; sodomy; abortion; gross indecency and possession of child pornography
  • Not involving moral turpitude: bastardy, mailing an obscene letter, fornication, incest and indecent exposure.

3. Crimes against property:

  • Burglary is a CIMT only if the intended offense involves moral turpitude, since unlawful entry and remaining unlawfully on a property by themselves are not CIMTs. Breaking and entering also is not a CIMT. However, breaking and entering to commit larceny is.
  • If the underlying offense is a CIMT, then a conviction for aiding in the commission of the crime or acting as an accessory before the fact is also a CIMT.
  • A theft offense (including receipt of stolen property), which may be both a CIMT and an aggravated felony, includes aiding and abetting the theft offense.
  • Trafficking in counterfeit goods is a CIMT.

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4. Crimes against the government:

  • Involving moral turpitude: counterfeiting, perjury, willful tax evasion, bribery, using mails to defraud, misprision of a felony, harboring a fugitive, conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, making false statements to avoid being drafted and draft evasion
  • Not involving moral turpitude: failure to report for induction and desertion

5. Crimes involving fraud:

  • Any crime involving fraud is almost always a crime of moral turpitude, whether against government or individuals, except for false statements not amounting to perjury.
  • Involving moral turpitude: making false statements to obtain a passport or for naturalization, making false statements to obtain a driver’s license, making a false statement on a firearm application, passing bad checks, false representation of a Social Security number, money laundering, and conspiracy to affect a public market in securities
  • Not involving moral turpitude: structuring financial transactions in order to avoid currency reports

6. Violations of regulatory laws:

  • Violations of regulatory laws generally are not crimes of moral turpitude. Among other offenses, this category includes gambling and drunk driving.

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Retail fraud, even a first-offense misdemeanor, is considered a crime of moral turpitude. If you are charged with a domestic violence misdemeanor and you are facing the possibility of deportation or removal, you need to call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation. If you fill out a Request for Assistance Form if you would like someone to promptly contact you. We have extensive experience representing clients facing the possibility of deportation for a variety of offenses and we have a clear understanding of how critical it is that we find a way to keep the offense off your record so that any possibility of deportation or removal is minimized. Sometimes, keeping an offense off your record isn’t enough and more must be done to protect you. No matter what needs to be done, we will find a way to help you!

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.