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How Can I Tell if a Lawyer is Any Good?

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Free Consultation – The First Step to in How to Tell if A Lawyer is Any Good

If you are facing criminal charges and are looking for legal representation, it may be difficult to ascertain which lawyers are best qualified and capable of defending you. The attorney you choose will heavily impact your current and future life.

Reputable attorneys typically offer an initial free consultation to allow you a chance to ask questions and establish a relationship before making a hiring decision. Feeling comfortable and understood is really important. A good lawyer is one who allows you to ask as many questions as necessary so that you can be comfortable in making your decision who to hire.

Lawyers are referred to as “Attorneys and Counselors at Law” for a reason. Your attorney is not being hired to simply fill out forms and stand next to you in court. He or she is also supposed to be your counselor and advisor. At any stage in the proceedings you should feel comfortable asking advice regarding any issue that comes to mind regarding the case. A good lawyer will make you feel comfortable asking questions and talking about the case.

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What questions should I ask my lawyer?

It is crucial that you hire a lawyer who has experience handling the type of criminal case you are facing and that he or she specializes in criminal cases. The last thing you want is a general practice lawyer or someone who handles various areas of the law (like divorce or real estate for example). Just as you would not want to have heart surgery performed by a general doctor, you do not want to hire a lawyer for a criminal case who handles cases in more than one area of the law.

You should ask the lawyer if he or she has practiced in the court where you are charged. Familiarity with the judges and court staff can only help in your case. Additionally, you will want to ask the lawyer about how many years of experience they have handling felony and misdemeanor charges. The lawyer’s experience and track-record should be important to your consideration.

How can I tell if a lawyer is any good?

A good clue to determining if a criminal lawyer is good at what he does is the percentage of his cases which are referrals from former clients. A former client will not refer someone to their former attorney if they were not happy with them. If a criminal lawyer gets a large percentage of his cases from former client referrals, that is a good sign that the lawyer did a good job on those cases, and very well may do a fine job on your case.

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One of the best ways to see if a lawyer is any good is to look for that person’s online reputation. Google the lawyer’s name and “client reviews” and see what previous clients have posted about him or her. You should also research the lawyer’s firm and see what the firm’s reputation is online.

What are the warning signs of a bad lawyer?

An attorney is ethically prohibited from promising you that he will get a certain resolution in a case. Any lawyer who makes guarantees regarding the outcome of your case is unethical and he or she understands they are doing something wrong. Promising you a certain outcome is not only unethical, it is actually a lie to you.

Another basic warning sign is if the lawyer appears distracted or disinterested in what you say to him or her, or focuses primarily on the fee and how and when you will pay it. You should have the lawyer’s absolute undivided attention.

If a lawyer is any good, he or she will be a great communicator.

Communication is key. Throughout this process, you will most likely have more contact with your lawyer than anyone else. A lawyer must be in close communication with you and your family. Ask at the beginning of the relationship by which means and how often he or she will communicate with you. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is one of Michigan’s most aggressive and relentless law firms with attorneys who work tirelessly on behalf of their clients and ensure strong communication and trust throughout the entire process.

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Great Criminal Defense Lawyers Will Have your Back

When you meet with a criminal defense attorney, make sure you ask all of the questions you have. Chances are, your instincts will tell you when you are talking to someone you can trust. Listen to your common-sense and follow the advice above, and chances are you will end up hiring the right lawyer for you.

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully defending clients charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses throughout Michigan. Please call us today to set up a free consultation at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you. We look forward to meeting with you and demonstrating for you what great criminal defense lawyers do to protect and defend their clients!

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


How Can I Avoid Jail Time in Michigan?

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If you stand accused of a crime, hiring an attorney is one of the best decisions you can make to increase your chances of staying out of jail. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. is one of Michigan’s most aggressive law firms with a track record of success defending clients who have faced charges for violent and nonviolent crimes. If your top concern is avoiding time in jail, hiring LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. to represent you is certainly worthwhile. While no lawyer can guarantee any particular outcome, our team of defense lawyers has decades of experience helping clients avoid jail, even when the odds were stacked against that extraordinary result. Every case is defensible, when the lawyer is willing to tirelessly and fearlessly fight for the client’s best interest.

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What can I expect from working with Lewis & Dickstein P.L.L.C.?

Our attorneys form close relationships of mutual trust and respect with each individual client, hearing your side of the story and acting as your voice. Together with our clients, we develop a strategy to get charges dropped or negotiate a plea bargain that will result in a lighter punishment. Standing accused of a crime is one of the most stressful situations an individual can find themselves in. Knowing you have one of Michigan’s most committed attorney teams representing you can put your mind at ease as you focus on your defense. Our unique team approach is second to none in keeping clients out of jail. Where most Michigan criminal defense lawyers work in solo or small practices, we have a law firm of highly experienced, seasoned veterans who will collaborate to get you the best possible outcome.

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Will I serve jail time?

There is no real way to answer this question without knowing more about your case. Every case is complex and every judge is different. Your past criminal record and the severity of the charge certainly have an impact on any potential sentence that may be imposed. If you are found guilty on a first offense misdemeanor charge, the chances of you staying out of jail are strong, seeing that Michigan’s jails are overcrowded and the state has made a concerted effort to reduce the number of individuals incarcerated. Your presentation in court is considered as well and we will work with you to make sure you make the best possible impression on the court.

If the crime was malicious, intentional and the judge determines that you pose a threat to society then jail time may be more likely; however, we have a track record of keeping clients out of jail even under the most extreme circumstances. If you are sentenced to serve time, the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN may be able to convince a judge to lessen the consequence to parole.

The bottom line is that every case and defendant is different and the approach at sentencing and plea-bargaining changes with every case. We will customize a plan specifically to fit you and the facts of your case to give you the best chance of avoiding the inside of a jail or prison cell.

How Much Time Will I Get

Lawyers for Avoiding Jail and Prison

Hiring an attorney with a proven track record of success is the most important step if you want to stay out of jail. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. has attorneys who are not afraid to win. Give us a call us 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!


Two Years AIOCLA’S 10 Best in Michigan For Client Satisfaction

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Mr. Loren M. Dickstein Has Been Nominated and Accepted as a Two Years AIOCLA’S 10 Best in Michigan For Client Satisfaction

AIOCLA's 10 Best Attorneys for Client SatisfactionThe American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys has recognized the exceptional performance of Michigan’s Criminal Law Attorney Mr. Loren M. Dickstein as Two Years 10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction.

The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Criminal Law attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the “10 Best” list must pass AIOCLA’s rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations, thorough research, and AIOCLA’s independent evaluation. AIOCLA’s annual list was created to be used as a resource for clients during the attorney selection process.

One of the most significant aspects of the selection process involves attorneys’ relationships and reputation among his or her clients. As clients should be an attorney’s top priority, AIOCLA places the utmost emphasis on selecting lawyers who have achieved significant success in the field of Criminal Law without sacrificing the service and support they provide. Selection criteria therefore focus on attorneys who demonstrate the highest standards of Client Satisfaction.

We congratulate Mr. Loren M. Dickstein on this achievement and we are
honored to have him as a Two Years AIOCLA Member.

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Finding an Attorney in Michigan

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Finding an Attorney in MichiganWhether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor criminal offense or you need to find out your legal rights because of a bad or difficult legal situation, sometimes you just need an attorney and you absolutely need one that knows the local laws and courts. Needing legal services can be extremely stressful, and when you look through the phone book or do a web search for attorney Michigan, you want to make sure you are getting someone who can do the job right the first time. In a criminal case, there are no second bites at the apple. When you go with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for your legal needs, you are going to get a team of attorneys that can help you through the entire process, counsel you through whatever challenges you face and achieve the best possible result.

Highest Possible Ratings in Michigan

While we specialize in criminal law, our staff has experience in literally dozens of areas of law. Whether you need help understanding some local land regulations, you need some advice in a divorce proceeding, or you have been charged with a crime, we know how to help. We set you up with one of the best attorneys Michigan has to offer, which really takes the stress out your experience with the legal system. Having someone close by who stays in constant contact with you about the details of your case that can answer questions and really take care of you makes a big difference.

Aggressive Attorney in Michigan – We are Here to Help

While no attorney can guarantee the outcome of a case, what we can promise you is that we will zealously represent you and make sure that all of your legal rights are taken care of. There truly is no better law firm to turn to when you have a legal problem. So if you are looking for legal representation, no matter what the reason, we are the folks to turn to when you need an attorney. Do not waste your time with out of state guys, when you need an attorney Michigan, simply go with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. We are happy to talk with you on the phone for free and find a way to help you.  Call us at (248) 263-6800.


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Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS)

COMPAS is program newly adopted by the Michigan Department of Corrections. It is a program that puts a computer between the offender and the Judge. The COMPAS program is an algorithm that predicts the likelihood an individual will commit another crime based on 137 questions. The program is currently being used in parole hearings. The MDOC will be adding COMPAS to pre-sentence investigations later this year. COMPAS was never intended to determine the length of a person’s sentence. The Criminal Defense Attorney will have to make sure COMPAS scoring is done correctly.

Individual considerations vs. statistics

COMPAS is based on a statistical analysis of traits like education and age as they correlate to criminal activity, and not based on the individual. Michigan has a long history of cases requiring sentencing to be based on the individual and not statistics. This could exclude the COMPAS program from consideration at sentencing.

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Is COMPAS accurate?

The COMPAS program has an average of 76% accuracy. Which means that 25% of the time it gets its evaluation wrong. A polygraph test is inadmissible because they are considered unreliable at a 10% error rate. COMPAS error rate is far greater than a polygraph test so it would seem doubtful that the results will be admissible in court.


MDOC has decided to add the COMPAS evaluation to pre-sentence investigations without the authority of the legislature or the courts.


Michigan law prohibits sentencing differences based on inherent traits, and past cases have struck down increased jail sentences based on poverty. However, COMPAS explicitly considers gender and age, and implicitly considers race and poverty. Additionally, the makers of COMPAS have created separate scales for men and women after finding women always scored lower than men. These issues could make the use of COMPAS unconstitutional at sentencing.

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Michigan criminal defense attorneys with experience in sentencing and with COMPAS

It is extremely important that you have expert legal assistance if you are faced with criminal charges and the possibility of losing your freedom. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience representing people charged with violations of the criminal law and facing sentencing. There are times that a well-made argument at a sentencing hearing can make the difference between incarceration or probation. LEWIS AND DICKSTEIN’s attorneys are in the state and federal courtroom around the State of Michigan every single day. Criminal law is all we do. If you have any questions, 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!


Can a Juror Follow the Constitutional Principle That He or She is Prohibited From Considering as Evidence Whether the Defendant Testifies at Trial

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I’m current in trial in an armed robbery case in the 6th Judicial Circuit Court in Oakland County, Michigan. As we picked the jury last Thursday, a process called voir dire, I delved into an issue that never fails to be an issue in a jury trial. Many people want to hear from the defendant, they want him to her to testify and profess their innocence. In fact, this desire on behalf of some jurors is so extreme that they will candidly admit that even if the judge gives them an instruction that the law prohibits them from considering whether the defendant testifies as evidence…they just cannot follow the law in that regard. I always preface my questions in that area with my truthful experience that I’ve never had a trial when at least one person doesn’t candidly admit that this is their strongly held opinion.

In this particular case, I asked whether this would be the case for any of the prospective jurors and there was a delay of several seconds with no response. I waited…and waited…and waited. Sure enough, as I knew would be the case, a woman in her mid-fifties slowly raised her hand. Thank God for her honesty. It is not easy proclaiming in an open courtroom that you cannot follow the law but it is the truth for more people than have the bravery to admit.

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The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States sets forth the following:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

As it relates to a bench or jury trial, the 5th Amendment stands for the proposition that if the defendant does not testify at trial, that fact, in and of itself, cannot be considered by the trier of fact as evidence of guilt. This is not just a law passed by a legislature or even a citizen’s initiative, this is the Constitution and it’s principle is at the heart of our country’s notion of what is fair and right. An American citizen does not have to prove his or her innocence or do anything at all in their defense. It is the government’s obligation, when it accuses a person of a criminal offense, to prove his or her guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Requiring a defendant to testify or even considering whether the defendant testified is an unconstitutional shifting of the burden that is squarely placed on the prosecutor’s shoulders.

Don’t feel sorry for the government just yet, the burden is not unduly burdensome

Despite the fundamental due process protections the founding fathers (and undoubtedly the founding mothers through the input of their husbands) gave to American citizens, the government still has the advantage…many times the unfair advantage. The truth of the matter is that most jurors assume the defendant is guilty despite the “presumption of innocence.” Notwithstanding the burden of proof being “beyond a reasonable doubt,” many jurors use the custom burden of “do I think he did it” or “does the victim deserve a conviction despite whether or not this particular defendant did it or not.” The less “desirable” or “likable” the defendant is seems to have a direct connection to how high or low the burden tends to be in a case. Needless to say, these are not the burdens that are required under Michigan or American constitutional law. Way too many people (thousands) are wrongfully convicted by juries in America and subsequently proven to be innocent for this not to be true. This is especially true in eye-witness cases because eye-witness testimony is historically unreliable.

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What does all this mean?

It means that honesty in the jury selection process is necessary for the system to work at its optimum level. Thank God for the juror in my case that admitted she could not follow the law. I don’t know how this case will work out but thanks to that particular juror who admitted her bias, my client is assured to get a trial that is more fair than he would have otherwise had.

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


If I Hire You, Can You Guarantee You Will Win?

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Promises and Guarantees are Unethical

It is unethical for a lawyer to promise a client certain results. In Michigan, the Rules of Professional Conduct govern a lawyer’s conduct. Making promises and/or guarantees with the purpose of fraudulently inducing a client to make a decision to hire a lawyer is strictly prohibited. These tactics are unethical and dishonest. Even giving specific odds is considered to be an unethical guarantee.

Representation by a Court-Appointed Attorney

The defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. often consult with prospective clients and our view of the case may be much brighter and more optimistic than they anticipated. But when a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney makes a promise, it is unethical, greedy, and harmful to the client. Unfortunately, criminal lawyers sometimes promise dismissals, acquittals, lenient sentences, no jail, or other specific results for the purpose of manipulating a potential client to hire that lawyer. Unfortunately, this type of deceptive practice is more common than it should be.

“But, another criminal defense lawyer guaranteed they would win!”

Many potential clients come meet with us and express that another lawyer made a promise or a guarantee of a particular result. When this happens, they will ask whether we can match the promise or guarantee. For example, the client may ask, “If I hire you do you guarantee a dismissal?” This practice of making such promises is unethical and the sign that the lawyer is either dishonest or just plain greedy. The fact is that anything can happen in a case and even the best lawyer can only maximize a client’s chances of obtaining a great result. Facts often develop of the course of representation that makes achieving a particular result more or less likely. A great, highly experienced lawyer will have the ability to size up a case and give a reliable range of probable results; however, no lawyer has a crystal ball or can predict the future. Making promises or guarantees of particular results is strictly prohibited and any lawyer that engages in this behavior should be avoided at all costs.

Why are probabilities so unreliable?

The fact is that every single case – drunk driving (DUI or OWI), marijuana possession, felonies, misdemeanors, domestic violence, or any other type of offense is unique. No two situations are identical. Each alleged crime has a set of facts and has its own unique nuances. There’s also the unpredictability of humans such as prosecutors, judges, complainants, witnesses and not least of all – jurors. When you consider the individual facts of cases with the multitude of different prosecutors, judges, witnesses, etc…, no case will ever be exactly like another.

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A doctor also can’t predict how the human body will react to treatment with 100% certainty – and a lawyer can’t predict how the human judicial process will react with 100% certainty. If a particular medicine will work with 95% of patients, 5% will not benefit or will have an adverse reaction. Good Michigan criminal defense lawyers recognize the variables and do their best to put those variables in perspective. The most informed potential client will know that the lawyer to hire is the one that is smart, fearless, zealous and will fight for them no matter how the case progresses or what challenges develop.

The only guarantee should be to tirelessly and fearlessly fight for you!

Lawyers take an oath to zealously represent their clients. Any lawyer you hire should be willing to fight for you and defend your case aggressively and to the best of that person’s ability. A guarantee isn’t part of the equation and is a reason to seek another attorney.

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Another thing to consider about a lawyer that promises results – is that it’s not smart from the lawyer’s perspective! Even if that lawyer can deliver on their guarantee often – they’re breaking their pledge probably just as often. These tactics are frequently used by lawyers in Oakland County, Wayne County, and Macomb County. If a lawyer does something unethical in order to convince you to hire him or her, how can you trust anything that person tells you? Find a lawyer who guarantees he or she will do everything possible to fight for the best possible outcome in your case but shy away from someone who promises something for the sole purpose of manipulating you into hiring them.

Trustworthy, Fearless and Zealous Criminal Defense

The lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience successfully defending clients and have an unparalleled track record for success. We will not make false promises to get your money and you can count on us to be straight with you for both good news and bad. If you want an honest assessment of your case, call us for a Free Consultation 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!


Indecent Exposure Conviction Violates Double Jeopardy Rights

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Why You Need A Lawyer For an Indecent Exposure Charge

Having the right Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer can prevent a conviction that violates double jeopardy.  A case heard before the Michigan Court of Appeals regarding double jeopardy and a sexually delinquent person was decided on July 3, 2012.  The case involves a defendant who was convicted of one count of indecent exposure and one count of aggravated indecent exposure.  The defendant was sentenced to a term of 34 months to 15 years on the aggravated indecent exposure charge and one day to life for the indecent exposure under sexual deviant status.

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The court of appeals found that the circuit erred in sentencing the defendant as a sexually delinquent person without holding a hearing to determine if the defendant was sexually delinquent.  When adjudicating a defendant as a sexually delinquent person is an issue, the court shall conduct an examination of witnesses relative to the sexual delinquency of such person before sentencing.  In the instant case, this hearing was never conducted.

The court further vacated the conviction for indecent exposure.  Both the United States Constitution and the Michigan Constitution protect an individual from being placed twice in jeopardy for the same offense.  Aggravated indecent exposure and indecent exposure for the purpose of double jeopardy are the same offense.  The court stated, “The offense of indecent exposure does not contain any elements that are distinct from the offense of aggravated indecent exposure.  Therefore, because the legislature has not expressed a clear intent to permit multiple punishments for the same conduct, this defendant cannot be convicted of both offenses.”

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Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Who Have Decades of Experience

If you find yourself in need of a good Michigan criminal defense attorney, take time to research each one.  Our attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are experienced criminal defense lawyers who have decades of experience in successfully handling criminal cases. 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!


Critical Information Regarding Retail Fraud Charges

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Critical Information Regarding Retail Fraud Charges

In Michigan, one of the most commonly charged offenses is Retail Fraud. Retail Fraud can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. Retail Fraud is commonly referred to as shoplifting. A conviction for retail fraud, even the misdemeanor variety, will likely have a serious impact on a person’s ability to obtain employment, licensing, ability to get financing, professional employment, custody, likelihood of achieving U.S. citizenship, and possible deportation (retail fraud is a crime of moral turpitude for immigration purposes). Like any other criminal offense, a sentence for retail fraud can include probation, incarceration (jail or prison), heavy fines and costs, drug/alcohol testing, community service, therapy, economic crimes classes, and much more. The damage to a person’s reputation after a conviction for stealing is often irreversible. It is for these reasons that if a person is charged with retail fraud, felony or misdemeanor, a Michigan retail fraud defense attorney must do everything humanly possible to get the charge dismissed or reduced.

The crime of retail fraud or shoplifting always involves an allegation of attempted theft or theft from a store that is open to the public for business at the time of the offense. The business is almost always a retail establishment where goods are offered to sale to the general pubic. Theft of an item is not required for a charge or conviction of retail fraud. A charge can be brought against a person who merely moves an item offered for sale or conceals such an item if there is an intent to steal. Altering or removing a price tag with the intent to defraud is also considered retail fraud.

“A great criminal defense attorney can work with you and the prosecutor and likely find a way to keep any conviction off your record.”

Types of Retail Fraud

First Degree Retail Fraud

Felony – Maximum of 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A charge of First Degree Retail Fraud is usually the result of the alleged theft being over $1,000, or if the person has a prior theft related conviction and the amount in controversy is over $200 for the instant offense. Maximum of 5-years probation.

Second Degree Retail Fraud

Misdemeanor – Maximum of 1 year in jail plus fines and costs. A charge of Second Degree Retail Fraud is usually the result of an alleged theft being between $200 and $1000, or if the theft is under $200 and the person has a prior theft related conviction. Maximum of 2-years probation.

Third Degree Retail Fraud

Misdemeanor – Maximum of to 93 days in jail plus fines and costs. This offense occurs when the theft or attempted theft from the store involves merchandise under $200. Maximum of 2-years probation.

More Useful Information

Counties that are known as the toughest on retail fraud cases: Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Livingston County and Washtenaw County.

Michigan Criminal Defense Atorney - Superb RatingYou may ask, “do I need a retail fraud lawyer or a retail fraud attorney?” Absolutely! As mentioned earlier, a conviction for a retail fraud case can be life changing in a tragic way. Those that chose to represent themselves or hire a bargain lawyer inevitably live to deeply regret not taking the matter more seriously. What are the possible consequences? The loss of a job opportunity. The loss of your children in a custody dispute. Deportation? Inability to get a loan? Inability to get a professional license? The cost of hiring a great Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney is high but the cost of not hiring one is higher.

Note: A habitual notice can result in the maximum possible sentence for a felony retail fraud being increased to maximum and one-half, double or even a maximum of life in prison for a Fourth Degree Habitual.

What Happens if I Refuse a Breath Test How Can I Get to Work

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If you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, the officer generally requests that you participate in some field sobriety tests, including in a preliminary breath test (PBT). A PBT is a small device you blow into and it checks your breath for alcohol content and estimates a level. The field sobriety tests are designed to give the officer probable cause to arrest you. In most cases, as soon as you are asked to exit your car, you are going to be arrested at some point. Because the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) are designed to make you fail, it is generally better to respectfully decline to participate in these tests.

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If you are perceived to “fail” the field sobriety tests, the PBT level is estimated at .08 or above, or the officer believes you are under the influence based upon his experience, he or she will arrest you and take you to do a more formal breath or blood alcohol test. This is either done at the police station with a Breathalyzer called a Datamaster, or they draw blood and send it in for testing.

If you do not wish to take the PBT or blow into the Datamaster, or allow blood to be drawn, the officer will then attempt to get a search warrant from the judge to allow him to have your blood drawn and checked.

What you might not be aware of is that there are driving penalties associated with refusing to take the PBT, Datamaster or allow your blood to be drawn. The Secretary of State has its own penalties associated refusing these procedures. In Michigan there is an Implied Consent law. Which means that as a driver, in order to drive, you are consenting to these tests should an officer reasonable ask for them.

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If you refuse a chemical test, Breathalyzer or blood, the Secretary of State will then suspend your license for a full year, with no restricted license available, in addition to 6 points being added to your license. This is mainly independent from the criminal charges, if your blood alcohol level was .08 or above.

You do have an opportunity to fight this by appealing and having a hearing on the matter in front of a Secretary of State hearing administrator. There are four things that will be looked at:

  1. If the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you had committed a crime of operating a vehicle while intoxicated,
  2. Whether you were placed under arrest for this crime,
  3. If your refusal was reasonable, and
  4. Whether you were advised of your implied consent rights.

The burden is on the Government, in most cases the arresting officer, to prove that you violated the implied consent rule. The level of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence, which means anything over 50% sure that the implied consent rule was violated.

If you the hearing officer at the Secretary of State rules against you, you still have the opportunity to appeal to the Circuit Court where the offense took place. You can also appeal to the Circuit Court for what is commonly referred to as a “hardship license” based upon need. These appeals are very complex and are best handled by only the most experienced Michigan criminal defense attorneys who have a sub-specialty in driver license restoration cases.

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