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Criminal Defense Detroit MI

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. Wins Preliminary Exam in Felonious Assault Case

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This week, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. secured a complete dismissal of a felonious assault case in an Oakland County district court. Senior trial attorney George MacAvoy Brown handled the case and won the dismissal at the preliminary exam in an historic victory that exonerated the client and saved him from having to defend himself at trial in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Background

The firm’s client (here called Clint), was accused of pointing a pistol at his wife’s brother (here called Lyle), thereby committing the crime of felonious assault. In reality, the event began with a verbal argument, Lyle punched Clint in the face, and Clint legally drew his firearm and pointed it at Lyle in self-defense. Clint then went to his car, secured the weapon, and called the police to report that he was assaulted.

George M. Brown

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, Clint and Lyle each wrote statements. Clint did not want to cause further family drama so he signed a waiver telling police that he did not want to see Lyle prosecuted. Lyle, however, indicated that he did want Clint prosecuted. Despite being the victim, Clint was arrested by the police and the county prosecutor brought a felony charge against him that could have subjected him to up to four years in prison.

Clint knew he was in serious trouble. He needed someone to fight for him. He called LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

What is a Preliminary Exam?

In Michigan, felony cases always begin in district courts where a defendant has a right to a preliminary exam. The purpose of the exam is to force the prosecution to show that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that the defendant was the person who committed the crime. Probable cause means that there is enough evidence to cause a regular person to conscientiously entertain a reasonable belief of the defendant’s guilt. It is a low standard of proof and prosecutors rarely have trouble meeting it. If probable cause exists, the case is bound over to the circuit court for trial. An exam is a hearing, something like a mini-trial, where the prosecutor calls witnesses to testify.

For a variety of reasons, defendants often waive their right to the exam. When exams are held in district courts, the district court judge almost always finds that probable cause exists. It is almost perfunctory because the charges have already been approved by police and a prosecutor. Those determinations alone suggest to many judges that probable cause already exists. Demonstrating that it does not, therefore, requires an extraordinary amount of effort and skill.

Clint’s Exam

Here, the defendant maintained his innocence. He was legally justified in drawing his weapon because Lyle punched him. Clint did not want to take a plea. He wanted a preliminary exam. He wanted justice.

As the hearing began, the county prosecutor called Lyle to the stand. He was placed under oath. Lyle stated that Clint had come to the house and the two began arguing about a family matter. He said that, unprovoked, Clint pulled out his pistol and pointed it at Lyle’s head. The prosecutor ended direct examination, taking the position that she had established probable cause that Clint committed a felonious assault on Lyle.

Defense attorney George Brown then took the opportunity to cross-examine Lyle. Mr. Brown pointed to a number of inconsistencies in the police report. For example, the report stated that Lyle told one deputy Clint pointed the firearm only once but also that Lyle told another deputy Clint pointed the firearm twice. Lyle insisted that he only said Clint pointed the gun once and stated, when prompted, that the other deputy must have been lying if he wrote in the police report that Lyle said “twice.”

Mr. Brown then asked Lyle if he would ever hit someone. Lyle denied that he would. Unknowingly, Lyle had just opened to the door to the introduction of character evidence by claiming that his character was such that he would not hit someone. Mr. Brown was prepared and knew that Lyle had recently been charged with assault and battery for punching another person. Mr. Brown asked if Lyle had hit that man, and if he was charged and convicted of a crime. Lyle admitted that, yes, he did hit someone else but again denied that he ever hit Clint.

Mr. Brown then asked Lyle if having a gun pointed at him was a big deal, something that would have a profound effect on a person. Lyle agreed. Mr. Brown then handed Lyle a copy of his written statement and asked him to direct the court to any reference of a gun. Lyle could not because he never mentioned the gun in his written statement! Mr. Brown pressed Lyle, asking him if he had forgotten to write about the gun because he was too busy lying about hitting Clint. Lyle angrily denied this but his credibility was already in tatters.

The Ruling

The district court judge had a determination to make. In nearly every case where there is a factual dispute raised at exam, district court judges bind the cases over to circuit court because questions of fact are best left for trial. The district court judge does not need to believe the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to find probable cause and judges almost always find probable cause.

The judge here ruled that no probable cause existed. For the first time in her 20-year tenure on the bench, she found a witness to be so lacking in credibility that she could not entertain a reasonable belief that Clint was guilty. Without Clint ever opening his mouth in court, Clint’s defense attorney was able to prove his innocence.

Lawyers Who Will Fight

The dedicated, experienced and zealous criminal defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. fight for their clients at every step of every case when handling felony and misdemeanor charges in federal court or in state courts in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. George Brown and the rest of the Defense Team have well-earned reputations for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, making prosecutors defend the charges they bring against our clients. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions

Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions

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Permanent or Conditional Residents, Immigrants, Visa Holders, and Undocumented Aliens face potentially serious consequences when charged with felony or misdemeanor offenses and are in great need of zealous, effective and highly respected legal counsel.

Deportation and Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions

Aside from the usual criminal punishments that convictions carry, some crimes carry the additional punishment of having deportation consequences. With regard to the term “conviction,” this means a person has been found guilty by a judge or jury, or has pleaded or admitted guilt, and the judge has imposed some type of punishment.

A pending appeal will not stop a deportation proceeding. A person can be deported even if an appeal is pending. However, if the conviction is reversed on appeal, the defendant may file a petition to reopen the immigration case.

Some kinds of agreements are considered convictions. These include plea agreements entered into by the government and the defendant. Even if the sentence has been suspended (not entered), if the agreement includes defendant acknowledging guilt, it counts as a conviction. The whole point of trying to arrange a deferred sentence is to shield a defendant from some of the consequences of the case. However, for immigrants, even a deferred conviction or sentence counts as a “conviction” for immigration purposes, this includes HYTA, MCR 771.1, MCL 769.4a, and MCL 333.4711. In fact, even cases that were expunged can be used as the basis for a deportation action.

Agreements which are not used as a deportation basis are juvenile adjudications, convictions requiring less than beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof, and accelerated rehabilitation diversion programs (although admissions of guilt in such agreements may be used as a basis for deportation, even where the conviction itself does not).

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A great criminal defense attorney may be able to prevent immigration consequences.

A highly experienced, knowledgeable and effective criminal defense lawyer will know all the ways he or she can help a client avoid possible immigration consequences. A highly persuasive attorney may be able to convince a prosecutor to change charges to an offense that will not have an immigration related consequence. This is commonly called a plea bargain. The best way to avoid the collateral consequences of a conviction is for the lawyer to arrange for an outright dismissal of all charges or achieve an acquittal at trial.

Cases that Carry Deportation as a Consequence of Conviction

There are 5 types of cases that can lead to deportation: crimes involving moral turpitude, firearms offenses, drug offenses, and domestic violence.

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT):

Turpitude means depravity or wickedness. Some examples include fraud, theft, aggravated assault, receiving stolen property, perjury, murder, and kidnapping. If the CIMT was committed within 5 years of admission to the United States and the maximum potential jail term is 1 year and 6 months or more were imposed, deportation may be effectuated. If a defendant is convicted of 2 or more CIMT’s, he or she is deportable regardless of the potential jail penalty. CIMT’s include serious aggravated felonies (AF’s) such as murder, child pornography, money laundering, to name just a few. Any offense becomes an AF when an element of the felony is a crime of violence. A defendant can be convicted of a CIMT and avoid deportation if the particular crime is deemed a “petty offense exception.” These cases are where the maximum penalty does not exceed 1 year in jail and the actual sentence imposed was less than 6 months.

Aggravated Felonies

These are serious offenses which endanger the public to a high degree. They include espionage, sabotage, treason, murder, kidnapping, and more. Common sense dictates that these crimes merit deportation in the eyes of the government.

Firearm Crimes

Conviction of a firearm offense will lead to deportation. The acts underlying these offenses are possessing, selling, exchanging, owning, carrying firearms or attempting to do any of the above. If you are a non-citizen, having any involvement with firearms is strictly forbidden.

Drug Offenses

A non-citizen is deportable for any drug conviction. This includes conspiracies or attempts to violate drug laws. Paraphernalia is also included, so non-citizens should not have any drug involvement at all to be safe. There is one exception to this rule, which is a non-citizen can have 30 grams or less of marijuana for their own use, and have only one such offense on their record.

Domestic violence (crime of domestic violence COV)

A COV includes domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, child neglect and child abandonment. A COV is any crime that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another. Violation of a protective order, such as a personal protection order, will result in deportation proceedings.

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Legal proceedings

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (the right to counsel) requires defense attorneys to explain to a defendant the possible immigration consequence of any guilty plea. If the attorney fails to do so, it can be used as grounds to appeal a conviction on ineffective assistance of counsel grounds. But remember, the deportation will proceed despite an appeal based on a poorly-skilled attorney’s mistakes.

Additionally, according to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, federal judges are also required to warn defendants of potential deportation consequences of certain guilty pleas. But you need an attorney who does not have to be reminded by the judge.

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The best firm for fighting deportable charges

The dedicated, experienced and zealous criminal defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented numerous clients who are not United States Citizens and who are in jeopardy of deportation because of felony and misdemeanor charges in federal court or in state courts in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and 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 contact you promptly.


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

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How Do I Find Out if Charges Were Filed Against Me?

By | Charged with a Crime, Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

Protect Yourself Before You Are Charged

If you were involved in an incident which you believe may lead to charges against you, you must not let it go and hope for the best. Chances are, if you are honest with yourself, you will have a pretty good idea if you are in danger of being charged. If you have been charged, the charges will never go away until they are dealt with in court. If you have not been charged…yet, it is a perfect time to have an experienced, respected, and top-rated criminal defense attorney enter the picture and do the inquiring for you, and perhaps talk the police or prosecutor into not charging you. An experienced lawyer may also be able to prevent you from being arrested on new charges.

Charged with a Crime

Can I find out if there are charges without a lawyer?

The answer is maybe yes and maybe no. If the charge is already filed, a court may tell you there is a pending charge. Many courts will not release this information until the defendant is arraigned on open felony or misdemeanor charges. If your charges are still being investigated and charges are not issued, the court will not be able to provide you any information whatsoever.

If you decide to first look into the matter yourself, you can check the district court website in the city where the incident occurred. You log on to the court website and if it has a case search function available you can enter your name and see if there is an outstanding case against you. This is a convenient and anonymous way to look into the matter.

If you call the court, you would ask the criminal clerk if there is a case pending against you. Again, they may or may not answer your question. If a clerk sees that there are charges against you (a warrant), the clerk may tell you you must come in to court or police department and present identification before they will give you an answer. When you show up, you will likely be taken into custody and brought before a magistrate for arraignment. You should never, never go to court without a lawyer. If you are told you must appear in court or the police department for any reason, it is highly advisable that you end your self-help efforts at that point.

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You can also call the local police station, the sheriff, or the State Police and ask them if there is a case pending. This can quickly become problematic, however, because if there is an investigation or if charges have already been filed, you will immediately be pressed by the officer you are speaking to to either come in to the station or answer some probing questions. You will most likely be intimidated and nervous, and will be reluctant to end the conversation, at the risk of offending the officer. This is a common and completely human reaction to being in such position. In the worst-case scenario, the officer will misinterpret something you say and then use it against you at after charges are issued. A lawyer can contact the police on your behalf without fear that something will be said or done that can be used against you in court or in an investigation.

If you do have any contact with law enforcement or a police officer, you should immediately invoke your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney. You should know is that the officer will not be offended and he or she will know you are only exercising a constitutional right.

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What can a lawyer do for me?

Everything. An astute, reputable criminal defense attorney will know exactly how to deal with the situation. He or she will contact the court and ask if you are in the court system. Clerks usually will tell an attorney. An attorney can also call the police and ask if they have a case on you. Sometimes they will not tell the attorney if a case is still under investigation, but the best attorneys know how to get information out of law enforcement politely and professionally. Even if charges haven’t been obtained your attorney can contact the officer in charge and tell him or that they do not need to come out and arrest you if there is a warrant. Police like the idea of not having to track people down. If a known and respected attorney tells them he or she will walk you in voluntarily at a convenient time, the police know they can rely upon that statement.

If a case is simply being investigated, sometimes the police will actually want to discuss the case with a retained attorney. If so, it is the attorney’s perfect opportunity to attempt to dissuade the police from seeking a warrant. There are countless ways a top-rated attorney can do this and they are too many to mention here. Knowing how to do this is what divides the best attorneys from the less than best. If you wait until you have been charged or wait for a court-appointed attorney, the opportunity to stop or reduce charges is lost forever.

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The best attorneys to have in your corner…

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients under investigation for possible felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. If you want your best chance at stopping or reducing potential charges, call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.


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

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Seeking Suppression When the Government Claims the Good Faith Exception

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Getting evidence suppressed and charges dismissed is something that only the most successful and persuasive criminal defense attorneys can accomplish. This information is what you need to know if your rights have been violated.

Seeking Suppression of Evidence

The Exclusionary Rule

The Exclusionary Rule is a judge-made rule which states that when evidence is obtained by law enforcement in violation of a suspect’s constitutional rights, that evidence may not be used against that suspect in court. The exclusionary rule was initially born in the United States Supreme Court. All states have since adopted it in one form or another, because all states must follow constitutional holdings of the United States Supreme Court. A state court may provide more constitutional protection than the US Supreme Court, but no state may provide less protection. Any evidence obtained through a constitutional violation is potentially and likely to be suppressed. Any evidence derived from a violation of constitutional rights has come to be known as “the fruit of the poisonous tree.” The violation itself is the poisonous tree and this evidence must be suppressed as well.

If your constitutional rights have been violated, your criminal defense attorney needs to have the experience to successfully challenge the admission of such tainted evidence, get a dismissal of all charges, and have the case thrown out of court. If no challenge is made, or if an attorney is not astute enough to spot that a constitutional violation or strong enough to fight for suppression, the evidence can and will come in. A judge will not step in and tell a defendant he or she should challenge evidence, and neither, of course, will the prosecutor.

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Purpose of the Exclusionary Rule

The purpose intended by keeping unconstitutionally obtained evidence out of court is to deter unconstitutional police conduct. If police know evidence will be kept out if they violate rights, then the theory is that they will probably try not to violate rights. At least, that’s the idea. The idea is a good one, and has had a very significant effect on criminal cases in the United States. This being said, police are not perfect and there are bad apples in every bunch. There are plenty of police officers that can and will violate a suspect’s right believing that the ends justify the means.

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Good Faith Exception to the Exclusionary Rule

As is the case with almost everything in life, things are not usually black and white. Most things exist in a gray area. Therefore, exceptions to the exclusionary rule have developed. One primary exception to the exclusionary rule is the so-called “good faith exception.” The good faith exception exists where police or any law enforcement personnel rely, in objective actual good faith, upon a search warrant issued by a detached and neutral magistrate or judge, but the warrant is ultimately determined not to be supported by probable cause. The reason that evidence can come in despite a defect in a search warrant is that excluding evidence when police were mistaken but “behaved honorably” will not serve a deterrent effect on bad police conduct. Remember, deterrence is the reason for the exclusionary rule. It would be like punishing a child for eating someone else’s cookies when the child actually had good reason to believe they were his cookies.

The Procedure for Suppression of Evidence

When an experienced, perceptive defense attorney spots a potential ground for dismissal based upon an illegal search, he or she should file a Motion to Suppress. If the motion is successful, he or she should then move for a dismissal of all charges based upon insufficient remaining evidence. The government will assuredly always argue the good faith exception, but courts are arenas for the combat of ideas. A great boxer would never step into the ring, look at his opponent, and say, “Wow, I can’t beat this opponent.” He would simply fight with all his heart, like we do on a daily basis.

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The right firm to fight for you and suppress evidence

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully fought to suppress tainted evidence and get charges dismissed in state and federal cases in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and 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 contact you promptly.


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

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I Haven’t Been Charged for a Crime, Yet

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If you are accused of committed an act that may be a crime, you need to hire a top-rated criminal defense attorney immediately. Waiting for the police or prosecutor to decide if you will be charged may be one of the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made.

You have good reason to believe you may be charged with a crime. Now what?

Many people believe that they may get lucky and a criminal act will either not be discovered or the police will give it a “pass.” Such people are fooling themselves. It is exceedingly rare that the police will not follow up on a case they believe exists. It is just a matter of time before there is a knock on your door, or police car lights in your rear-view mirror, or you get a visit by several police at your place of employment. You will be handcuffed in front of whoever is around, put into the back of a police car, and taken to jail. If you get arrested at work, it is most likely you will not be returning to that job.

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Because of the fact that hiring an attorney costs money, many people believing they are going to be charged decide to wait until they have been charged. They even go so far as to speak to the police who are investigating the case without the advice and protection of an attorney. This is a terrible mistake. If the police consider you a suspect, you will not be able to “talk your way out of it” with the police. All that will happen is the police will gain information they can use against you that they didn’t have before. You may think you can explain things to the police and say the right things, but this, again, is a huge mistake. Remember that anything you say to the police “can and will” be used against you, not “may” be used against you.

If you are innocent and being falsely accused there is even more of a reason to hire a lawyer right away. An aggressive, respected and proactive attorney may be able to stop you from being charged, even when a charge seems inevitable. Avoiding a charge is always better than defending a charge.

The Pre-Charge Stage

If you believe you are a suspect and have a strong belief you may be questioned or arrested, it is absolutely critical that you hire an attorney. The attorney can call, meet with, and send a letter to the police and tell them you have a retained attorney, and all contacts must be through the attorney. The police will not have any access to you; you will be shielded. An experienced, savvy defense attorney will not allow the police to talk to you.

The pre-charge stage is very critical because in some cases an astute attorney can actually convince the police not to charge you. This is because a talented attorney will know how to address each piece of evidence the police claim to have against you, and show the police their case is weak and not worthy of being charged.

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Another reason to have an attorney before you are charged is because the attorney will communicate with the police and ensure them that you do not have to be arrested on the street. You will walk in to court and booking when they request you to do so. And of course, you will have your attorney by your side. Once in court, your attorney will argue for a personal bond or low bond.

If you think you can wait until you are charged and then get a court appointed attorney to help you, think again. You may sit in jail for quite a while (sometimes weeks) until you see your court-appointed attorney, probably at the first court date. Court-appointed attorneys do not come into the picture until after you have been charged. And very frequently, if not usually, you will not see your court-appointed attorney until you get to court. If any attorney tells you to wait and call them back if you get charged, you do not want to hire that attorney; they are leaving you totally unprotected. Top-rated, astute criminal defense attorneys know that you need to be protected even before you are charged.

In many cases, evidence that can be used in defense of an allegation can be lost if not properly preserved. When the police wait days, weeks, or even months to bring charges, evidence favorable to the accused may get destroyed, erased, altered, or otherwise become inadmissible. An experienced, retained lawyer that is hired early on in an investigation will have the best chance of preserving evidence helpful to the defense. As mentioned before, the lawyer can sometimes use this evidence to help their client avoid being charged in the first place.

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LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., The Pre-Charge Criminal Defense Expert Attorneys

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients who were being investigation for possible felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation. If charges in your case can be avoided, we will do everything possible to make that happen. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.


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

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Surveillance and Distribution of Images of Nude or Partially Nude People

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The expectation of Privacy in Intimate or Vulnerable Situations

Under Michigan law, “Surveillance” means to secretly observe the activities of another person for the purpose of spying upon and invading the privacy of the person observed. In addition to secretly observing someone, it is also illegal to capture images of what is being observed. The potential penalties substantially increase for distribution of these images.

Michigan has enacted laws punishing intrusions into the privacy of others. Judges and prosecutors take privacy very seriously. Laws cover secretly “surveilling,” and/or capturing images of a private nature without the knowledge of the person being surveilled are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sentences frequently include jail or prison time. Just because jail might be common, doesn’t mean that there is no hope. There are great lawyers that have a track-record and reputation for defending these charges zealously and successfully.

Surveillance and Distribution of Images

What, specifically, is prohibited?

I. Observation: A person my not secretly observe another who is:

“clad only in his or her undergarments, the unclad genitalia or buttocks of another individual, or the unclad breasts of a female individual under circumstances in which the individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

The key to criminality here is whether the person observed has an expectation of privacy. In other words, as an extreme example, if someone is walking down the street naked, they of course should not expect that they have any privacy. In those cases, anyone could legally observe them.

II. Capturing images: A person may not secretly capture images (pictures or video) of:

“the undergarments worn by another individual, the unclad genitalia or buttocks of another individual, or the unclad breasts of a female individual under circumstances in which the individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Again, the key is whether the person photographed or videoed has a reasonable expectation of privacy. If not, as in the example above, anyone may photograph or video them legally. A minor cannot be photographed for sexual purposes under any circumstances. Images of minors under these circumstances would be even more serious.

III. Distributing images: A person may not:

“Distribute, disseminate, or transmit for access by any other person a recording, photograph, or visual image the person knows or has reason to know was obtained in violation” of the rules above.

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that downloading and saving a video is “distribution” under Michigan law. Although criminal courts bend over backwards to help prosecutor’s get convictions in these cases, a strong and zealous defense lawyer can take measures to protect you.

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What are the penalties for illegally observing someone who is naked?

First offense: If someone is convicted of surveilling another for the first time, it is a 2-year felony, a $2,000.00 fine, or both.

Second or further offense: A second offense is a 5-year felony, a $5,000.00 fine, or both.

What is the penalty for illegally capturing images or distributing images?

The penalty for capturing images or distributing images, first offense, or even attempting to do it for the first time, is 5 years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine, or both.

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A Defendant May Face Additional Charges

The law makes it clear that if you have been charged with surveilling, capturing or distributing, you can also be charged with other offenses as well. Probably most importantly, if the activity above involves minors, you may be subject to child sexually abusive activity charges. The penalties for involving a minor in this activity are treated significantly more seriously, and carry potential prison terms up to 20-years in jail.

In many of these cases, the government will charge an additional felony called Using a Computer to Commit a Crime. This is a felony with a potentially long prison term that depends on the severity of the underlying crime. A phone, computer, tablet, or other electronic device is considered a “computer” under this law.

Exceptions to the Rules

Private security cameras, as long as they are not used for a lewd or lascivious reason, which happen to surveil individuals or capture otherwise prohibited images, and law enforcement officers acting in the legitimate performance of their duties, are exempt from criminal liability even if the surveilling or capturing images would otherwise be illegal. There are many other defenses to these charges as well and it will take a seasoned lawyer to figure out what strategy is best for your defense or to mitigate any sentence that might be imposed if you are convicted.

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What to do if you are charged with violating the rules on illegal surveillance or capturing or distributing images

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully defended many people charged with the offenses discussed above, both federal cases in the United States District Court and state charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and 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 contact you promptly.


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

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What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?

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What Makes a Highly Respected, Great Criminal Defense Lawyer?

The role of a defense lawyer is to protect the legal interests of his or her client and to advise and counsel a client during a pending case. This role encompasses all aspects of a client’s interests. A defense lawyer must step in between the government and the client and make sure the government acts properly and follows the rules and does not trample on a defendant’s rights. A defense lawyer should never shrink from a fight with the government, and must have the guts to go to bat for a client who is virtually helpless against the government without the lawyer. The government has almost unlimited resources, and without a fearless lawyer by his or her side, the government would be able to easily overwhelm a defendant. In short, the defense lawyer’s job is obtain the best possible result for the client including getting all charges dismissed if possible and doing what ever is necessary to help the client avoid jail or prison.

I’m Accused of Doing Something Pretty Bad. Will my Lawyer Still Do His or Her Best?

It is natural and human for a defense attorney to sometimes have an aversion to the alleged crime committed by a client. But the best lawyers know how to put that aside and do their best even for a client that may have done something wrong. In fact, the putting aside personal feelings comes naturally to the best lawyers, and they really don’t even have to think about it. Everyone has heard the familiar question put to attorneys: How can you defend someone like that? The answer hopefully given by a reputable and top-rated attorney is: That’s my job, and I have no problem with it. The best attorneys never internalize the alleged crime or harbor resentment against a client.

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A seasoned defense attorney has seen clients who have made terrible mistake. On the other hand, any experienced defense lawyer knows that prosecutor’s frequently try to gain an unfair advantage in court, police officers often exaggerate evidence or hide favorable facts, and judge often take sentences to the extreme and ignore mitigating facts. In any case, a great lawyer can find a way to fight for and protect each and every client, regardless of the allegations.

Why Are Lawyers Called Attorneys and Counselors?

Attorneys are more than people who fill out forms and file documents with the court. Of course, this is part of it, but as the title indicates, attorneys are also supposed to be the most trusted counselor and advisor a defendant can have. The best attorneys give moral support and comfort to people who are in perhaps the most difficult time of their lives, possibly facing jail and a loss of their reputation and their employment; maybe more. Doing a good job in court and fending off the government is what the public sees. What is unseen are the after-hours telephone calls, and the conversations giving comfort, hope, and advice on a personal level before and after the time in court. The attorney may communicate with the client’s family when the client can not communicate, and the attorney affirms the client’s humanity when the client feels the entire world is against them.

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Are Court-Appointed Attorneys as Good as Retained Attorneys?

There are many very good attorneys who take court-appointed cases. The question is whether they will spend the time and effort needed to do everything possible to defend a client in court and to counsel a client outside of court to the extent the client needs it. The answer is very often “no.” The attorney handling a court-appointed case has diminished resources compared to a retained attorney. They typically are not paid for many efforts they should be doing, such as doing thorough research on issues in the case, interviewing witnesses, and obtaining expert witnesses when they are needed, to name a few. Failure to do all that is necessary is a recipe for a bad result in court. Faced with a lack of funds and not being paid to do many critical tasks, a court-appointed attorney will naturally be tempted to arrange a plea bargain and wrap up the case quickly. This is not to say a court-appointed attorney will always “sell you down the river,” but it is true that they will be tempted to try to end the case as quickly as possible. This can never be in the client’s best interest. One thing is clear, the only way to chose the best lawyer for you is to hire someone privately.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys and Counselors

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Southeastern Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and 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.

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!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

How much time will I get for violating probation? (HOW ABOUT NONE!)

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Just because you’ve violated probation does not mean you have to do any time in jail or prison. There are ways to convince the judge to give you a second chance.

Normally, you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. This is how life works, right? Not while you are on probation and depending on the court, a probation violation can possibly have disastrous consequences. So, what can be done to help you if you make a mistake and violate probation? A lot! If you proactively take steps to get on the right track and make a plan that is credible and reliable, a judge might be convinced to give you another chance without a harsh consequence.

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What is the best way to get out of a violation of probation (VOP)?

Every case is different and there is no “cookie-cutter” formula for fixing a felony or misdemeanor violation of probation. Someone must carefully look at your situation and weigh a multitude of factors to come up with a plan that will work. Things to consider include your criminal history, previous performance on probation, the facts of the original offense, the proclivities of the judge and prosecutor, and your general life circumstances. Coming up with a winning plan takes extensive experience and knowledge of the system. Most experience violation of probation lawyers fail and then watch the client get hauled off to jail.

Who is the best attorney for a violation of probation?

There are many lawyers and someone for every price range. For those without financial resources, there is always the option of a court appointed attorney. The biggest problem with an appointed lawyer is that you cannot pick who you want, and you will not have any time to plan or prepare. As for retained violation of probation attorneys in Michigan, you should consider the Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. They have an unparalleled track-record of helping clients successfully win violation of probation hearings and avoid jail and prison. Although no lawyer can guarantee anything, a great lawyer gives you the best chance of getting out of a rough spot with a tough judge.

What is the sentence for violation of probation?

The maximum sentence for violation of probation is whatever the maximum sentence was for the original felony or misdemeanor offense. A violation of probation is not a new crime and doesn’t result in a separate conviction. A VOP is a continuation of the same, original offense and any sentence goes to the original conviction. For a misdemeanor, the maximum is most likely up to 93 days or 1 year and you would get credit for any time that was previously served. For a felony, the maximum sentence is the statutory maximum prison sentence for the original offense.

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Examples of violation of probation maximum sentences:

What alternatives are there for violation of probation?

Judges have broad discretion when determining a sentence for a probation violation. With or without more jail time, they can extend probation, order additional fines and costs, order community service, jail alternative programs, boot camp, therapy, education, tether, additional or new alcohol or drug testing, home confinement, and much more. In many cases, a judge can be convinced to impose some other consequence beside incarceration. Again, different judges handle these matters in a variety of ways, it is critical to have a lawyer who knows how to best proceed with your case.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Michigan Violation of Probation Lawyers

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has extensive experience with successfully representing clients who are accused of violating probation. If there is a way to beat the violation, we will find it. If a plea to the violation is the best option, we can help you avoid incarceration or get the lowest amount of jail possible. We will do everything that can be done to help you avoid jail or prison and we are very good at getting favorable results. If you want the best representation for you, call us today for a 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!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

Miranda Rights - Michigan Criminal Defense

What if I’m not given Miranda Rights?

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“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a Court of Law.” Many of us recognize this statement as the beginning of the “Miranda Rights.” As established in the United States Supreme Court case Miranda v Arizona. The Miranda Rights must be read to someone before being questioned by the police. The court case established that statements made by a suspect are admissible in a court of law only if the suspect was made aware of their legal rights while in custody.

If you were recently arrested and were not read your Miranda Rights, it is vital that you share this information with your attorney. If the arresting officer did not recite your Miranda Rights during arrest, your lawyer can attempt to keep any incriminating statements you made out of the courtroom. If you are currently facing charges on a misdemeanor or felony offense, you should have the best legal representation possible. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is one of the most trusted legal teams in Michigan, with a proven track record of success.

What are my Miranda rights?

The Miranda Right can be broken down into four parts; the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in court, you have the right to an attorney during questioning, and the right to a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford one. Many citizens are unaware of their rights. Individuals who are familiar with their legal rights are often times caught up with the emotional distress of being arrested that they either don’t remember if they were read their Miranda Rights, under what circumstances, and at what time throughout the arrest process. Hiring a seasoned attorney will help you form a pragmatic, methodic defense.

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Police officers often take shortcuts when it comes to informing suspects of their rights. In a recent case, a suspect was advised he had the right to an attorney but the officer did advise the defendant that he had the right to an attorney “during questioning.” The Supreme Court found the Miranda warning to be invalid and suppressed the incriminating statement. Without a top criminal defense lawyer, this small nuance would have been missed and this defendant would be in prison.

What is the law concerning Miranda Rights?

When are you supposed to be read your miranda rights? Under the law, “Miranda Rights” must be read if you are to be asked any questions by police while in custody. If an officer has approached you on the street and engages you in conversation or pulls you over for a routine traffic stop, Miranda Rights will not be read. The moment you are handcuffed by an officer and/or placed in a cop car, you should be read “Miranda Rights” if the officer intends to question you. If you are in custody and a detective attempts to ask questions, he has to give Miranda Rights or any answers given will not be admissible in court. There are scenarios where Miranda Rights do not apply.

What should I do if asked questions by the police?

You should immediately invoke your right to remain silent and demand an opportunity to hire a lawyer. If there is any reason to talk to the police, that is a decision that can be made at a later time and with expert legal counsel. There is no rush to talk to the police! In the event an officer makes a threat to keep someone in jail unless they talk, this is even more of a reason not to trust the officer and to demand a lawyer. If you are read Miranda Rights, the best course of action is to not speak to police.

Should you talk to the police if you are not guilty?

No! The sad reality is that police are not seeking to find the truth, they are attempting to build a case. In addition to the words you might use when answering questions, ever gesture, eye movement, nod of your head, and the tone of your voice will be scrutinized. Even though you may deny involvement in a crime, the officer may say you acted suspicious or nervous or that you made inconsistent statements. In many cases, an officer can misinterpret an innocent answer or, worse, lie about something a suspect said while in custody. Think about it, the Miranda warning is that anything you say, “can and will” be used against you. Never talk to the police alone!

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Protecting and Defending the Accused

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is one of the top legal defense teams in Michigan and stands ready to defend your freedom in state and/or federal court. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you. 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.