How to Get an Ignition Interlock Device Removed

How to Get an Ignition Interlock Device Removed

By | Drivers License Restoration | No Comments

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

A Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device, commonly referred to as an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a computerized device attached to a vehicle which requires the operator to blow into it and establish that they do not have too much alcohol in their system. It is similar to a Preliminary Breath Test except that the IID is electronic and connected to the car’s ignition so that if someone tries to start the car and they have more than .025 blood alcohol content, the car will not start. Of course, for anyone on probation for a drinking and driving offense, any amount of alcohol in their system is too much, as this would be a violation of the typical terms of probation.

When is Such a Device Required to be Attached to a Car?

Ignition Interlock Devices are required to be added to a car if the owner or lessee of the car has 2 or more drunk (or drugged) driving convictions within 7 years, or 3 within 10 years. Some may wonder how the IID can be effective, as a friend or anyone else can blow into the machine and the drinking person will be able to drive. Not so. As of 2016, a camera must be attached to the IID so that it can be determined if someone is trying to trick the machine. Some may also wonder why not blow into the IID, start the car, then start drinking. Again, the law has anticipated such a maneuver, as the IID can prompt the driver to blow into the IID at any time while the car is running or being driven (known as a “rolling retest”). Basically, if you can think of a way to trick the IID, you can assume the law has already thought of that trick too.

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If the IID detects 3 failures at the attempted start-up of the vehicle, or 1 “rolling retest” failure while the car is being driven, or if there is any indication of tampering with the IID, the vehicle must be immediately turned in to a State of Michigan authorized IID service center. It the vehicle is not turned in, the IID will “turn off” the vehicle and it will not be able to be started again until the vehicle and IID are examined. Of course, if test failures or tampering are established, there are consequences, such as an extension of the license suspension or revocation (3 months to 1 year), court fines and costs, and potential jail time, as the person failing or tampering has violated a court order. The IID service centers are required to report any violations (tampering, failures) to the Secretary of State in order to maintain their service center license.

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How Long Must an IID be Attached to a Car?

The IID will be attached to a car for at least 1 full year after the date the DLAD grants you a restricted license. Driving a car, even sober, is not a right, and is legally defined as a privilege granted by the state. You can drive because you have been granted the privilege to do so. That is why your card is called a “license,” not an “identification card,” and that is why no one has the same driver license number. It should go without saying that driving with an IID attached is even more of a privilege because you have already abused your original privilege to drive by driving impaired. The long length of time required to keep the IID installed is due to the fact that the state wants to make sure the person convicted of intoxicated or drugged driving is controlled and monitored for a substantial period of time.

How Can a Top-Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Getting the IID Removed?

People convicted of OWI or who’s license has been reinstated on a restricted basis by the Driver’s License Appeal Division can petition to have the IID removed after 1 year from the date the restricted license was granted, assuming they have not violated the terms of their driving restrictions. This can be complicated, and a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer should be retained to handle the petition. There are no court-appointed attorneys for this process. An attorney will assemble the required reports from the IID service center that the driver reports to, and submit them to the Secretary of State Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight along with a properly prepared request to remove the IID. If an Order Authorizing BAIID Removal is granted, you can take that Order to a Secretary of State branch office and regain full driving privileges, assuming all restrictions have expired.

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Call the Right Attorneys, Get the Best Results

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented hundreds of clients in driver license restoration proceedings of all types. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation and an unparalleled track-record of winning! 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

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

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

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

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

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

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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Hiring a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

If I Hire a Lawyer, Does That Make Me Look Guilty?

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Would a judge and law enforcement believe I must be guilty if I hire a criminal defense lawyer?

No. There may be a small percentage of people in the public at large who assume you are guilty if you hire a lawyer, but anyone involved in the criminal justice community will believe you are doing the smart thing. If a police officer found out his or her child was suspected of a crime, rest assured their first phone call would be to the best criminal defense lawyer they know. The same goes for prosecutors, judges, and lawyers. Anyone who faces an investigation should be represented by well-known, reputable, and highly respected counsel. There are many naïve and hypocritical people in the world, their misleading myths and beliefs should not prevent you from doing what needs to be done to be protected.

Hiring a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Will the officer in charge of my case be mad at me for hiring a lawyer?

Evidence is evidence. Evidence does not know you have hired a lawyer. The fact is that any police officer who genuinely believes you must be guilty because you hired a lawyer is probably not well-suited to be a police officer, because they would be being naïve, petty, and ignorant; and yes, hypocritical. In all practicality, no one in law enforcement believes this to be true. Would a police officer who honestly believes a person is responsible for a crime be a bit irked that he or she could not easily steam roll over an unprotected suspect? Perhaps. But they would certainly not blame you for hiring a lawyer. Secretly, they would think you were being foolish if you didn’t hire a lawyer.

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Importantly, the fact that you hired a lawyer will in no way enable the police to seek more charges against you or “hammer” you harder. The case does not get stronger against you if you hire a lawyer, and it very well may get stronger if you don’t. You may make statements that you believe will exonerate you but which actually hurt you. Many unrepresented suspects have thought they could “explain” to the police their side of the story, and lived to regret it when they later see how their comments were twisted out of context or were misinterpreted. Remember, what you say “can and will” be used against you, not “may” be used against you.

Here is an example: “Officer, I swear the Vicodin pill you found in my pocket wasn’t mine. It was my friend’s. I was going to give it back to him but just haven’t had the chance to do so yet.” Summary? You have just confessed to possession with intent to deliver controlled substances.

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If I am innocent, why would I need an attorney?

It would be great if we lived in a utopia with perfect justice, police officers that never make mistakes, evidence that is never misinterpreted, and where people never lie or exaggerate. Anyone and everyone know that even in the great American judicial system, mistakes are regularly made, innocent people are sometimes charged, people are sentenced to cruel and excessive punishments, and prosecutors and police handle every case with a bias and interest in securing a conviction, rather than administering justice.

If you are innocent, it is critical that you have a top lawyer to protect and defend you. Although anything you say “can and will” be used against you, your attorney can speak for you without a risk that someone will misinterpret something that is said and later use it as evidence against you. Additionally, a proactive and intelligent attorney will take measures to procure, secure, and preserve evidence that may be favorable or corroborate your claim of innocence.

If charges are being considered against someone who is wrongfully accused, a skilled, adept attorney can sometimes turn things around with the government and prevent felony or misdemeanor charges from ever going to court.

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The bottom line…

You cannot be concerned with how it may look if you hire a lawyer. If you face a criminal investigation it is no time to be proud or worry about what anyone thinks. It is no time to attempt to be friendly, forthcoming, and cooperative with the police. It also is no time to attempt to explain your side of the story. The bottom line is this: You can’t be bothered with what a very small minority of naïve and hypocritical people think. You must protect yourself by hiring the right criminal defense firm. Would you rather have some ignorant person think you may have done something wrong or, in the alternative, would you rather face a wrongful charge that could have been prevented? It is an easy choice.

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LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., the right criminal defense firm

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients who were being investigated for state and federal, felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and in federal courts 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 are unsure whether you need an attorney or if a lawyer can help you, call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly. Being too proud to take responsible measures to protect yourself can have devastating, lifelong consequences. Don’t take chances with your freedom and future.

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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.

Substance Abuse Treatment Instead of Jail

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An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know how to persuade a judge to consider alternative sentencing options instead of jail or prison time. Even when it seems unavoidable, a top defense lawyer gives you or best hope of avoiding jail time.

Substance Abuse Treatment Instead of Jail

Can My Criminal Defense Attorney Get Me into a Substance Abuse Treatment Program Instead of Jail If I’m Convicted?

Each year, thousands of people in Michigan are sentenced to jail or prison for felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions. It is estimated by the Michigan Department of Corrections that approximately two thirds of all defendants have some form of substance abuse issue. Some judge’s understand that drug and alcohol addictions play a significant role in people committing crimes, and that without treatment, they will return to court for another case in the future. Other judges, either ignore this undeniable truth or just don’t care.

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If you do not have private insurance to cover drug treatment or a private in-patient stay, you will have to wait to be “placed” at a facility by court order. The vast majority of defendants do not have such insurance, and therefore it is up to your attorney to make sure you get placed into a facility by the judge.

In an effort to fix the old “revolving door” system where addictions were essentially ignored (or simply punished) and jail without treatment was the norm, virtually every court in the state now has alternatives available for people convicted of crimes to either get treatment while in jail or while they are on probation or at an in-patient facility. It is up to the lawyer to convince the judge to consider one of these alternatives instead of incarceration.

How Would My Criminal Defense Attorney Get Me into a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility?

It is important that if you face a criminal charge that in some way stems from an addiction, your attorney understands what the procedure is to get you into a residential treatment program. Although some judges and prosecutors understand the need for residential treatment, they often will not volunteer the possibility of outpatient drug treatment or a residential treatment program. Usually, your attorney must request such treatment, and if they do not, you will simply go to jail.

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An astute, top-rated criminal defense attorney will know that he or she must bring up the subject outpatient drug treatment or placement in a residential program with the prosecutor and judge before first court date. If an attorney does not put the issue on the table and give a heads up to the probation department and the judge early on, then a defendant may find himself sitting in jail after sentencing while they await a placement at a residential treatment program. It sometimes takes a number of weeks to get a placement. If you have a great criminal defense attorney, you will most likely get into a residential program immediately upon sentencing or as soon thereafter as possible. Courts in Michigan typically have their own particular procedure for placing people in drug treatment programs, and an astute attorney will find out exactly what needs to be done to save you from jail and get you the treatment you need.

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Top-Rated Defense Attorneys to Keep You Out of Jail and Get You the Treatment you Need

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 know exactly what to do to get you into a treatment program and maximize your chances of avoid time in jail. 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 for a free initial consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

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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.

Felony First Steps and District Court Hearings

Felony – First Steps and District Court Hearings

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I. The Criminal Activity and Police Investigation

The first step in a case is the investigation by the police. They will begin collecting evidence and questioning potential witnesses. After the police have collected as much information as possible about a crime, they will analyze the evidence and determine if, in their judgment, they should present their evidentiary package to a prosecutor. It should be noted, however, that the police may arrest anyone at any time if they can articulate facts amounting to probable cause, and of course they can arrest anyone they see commit a crime.

Felony First Steps and District Court Hearings

II. The Prosecutor’s Decision

The police do not choose who to charge; the prosecutor does. If a prosecutor believes the police evidentiary package establishes probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, the prosecutor determines whether they have enough admissible evidence to charge someone. If so, the prosecutor authorizes a warrant against the defendant.

III. The “Swear To,” Authorization, and Arrest

Once the prosecutor authorizes a warrant, a police officer takes the warrant to a district court judge or magistrate and “swears to” the warrant. The officer must make a record establishing probable cause for an arrest. If satisfied, the judge then grants the warrant and then the police are entitled to make an arrest. If a case is not of great seriousness, the police may send a letter to the defendant or call him or her on the phone. If the police believe the defendant is a danger to the public, they will immediately find the defendant and arrest him or her.

IV. Booking

After an arrest is made, the police take the defendant to the police station in the city where the crime took place and “book” them. This means the defendant is photographed, finger printed and personal information is gathered about the defendant, assuming the defendant agrees to provide any information. When the defendant has been booked, if court is in session the defendant is brought before a judge. If not, the defendant is lodged in a jail until a judge is available.

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V. Arraignment

When the defendant is brought before a judge, the judge tells the defendant exactly what he or she has been charged with. The judge then asks the defendant how he or she pleads to the charge. If a defendant refuses to say anything, a “not guilty” plea will be entered. In the vast majority of cases, the defendant pleads not guilty. A not guilty plea is similar to a starting gun: it starts the legal adversarial process.

It is at this time that the judge addresses bond. Frequently, the police will be questioned by the judge so the judge can assess what kind of bond to put in place. In particularly important and serious cases, the prosecutor will be present to attempt to ensure a bond is set which will ensure the defendant stays in jail or will return to court when ordered. It is at this stage also that the defendant is asked if he or she wants a court-appointed attorney or if they will retain an attorney.

A defendant charged with a felony may plead guilty to a felony in district court (city or municipal courts). However, a circuit judge (county judge) must sentence the defendant on the conviction. District courts do not have authority to sentence a defendant for a crime that carries a potential penalty of over 1 year in jail.

 

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VI. Probable Cause Conference

A probable cause conference (PCC) is a court date where the prosecution and defense meet and discuss possible plea bargains, procedural matters, discovery, and bond issues. The PCC is required to take place 7-14 days after arraignment.

VII. Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examination is a hearing whereat the prosecution must elicit testimony and produce evidence establishing that a crime was committed, and probable cause to believe the defendant committed it. The preliminary exam must take place within 5-7 days of the PCC.

The prosecution does not need to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt at preliminary exam. If the judge is satisfied that the prosecution has met its burden of proof, the case will be “bound over” to circuit court in the county where the crime took place.

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Felony and Misdemeanor Criminal Defense

If you are a suspect in a criminal investigation or if you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, your situation is serious and you must seek to protect yourself in the best way possible. A criminal conviction will likely affect all aspects of your life for years and should be avoided if possible. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has been successfully defending clients in Michigan for decades and we provide a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. Do not get railroaded! Call us today at (248) 263-6800 and get the protection and defense you deserve. If you complete a Request for Assistance Form, 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.

Surrendering Yourself for an Old Charge

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You realize you have an old charge pending in court… now what?

You may know that you had a charge filed against you in the past, or you may have just discovered that you were charged, perhaps years ago, and you never knew about it until now. What do you do now? What if there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest?

Sometimes, for whatever reasons they may have, people who were charged with a crime decide not to face the case, and they do not appear for court when ordered. And sometimes, people move, maybe out of state, and actually never know that a charge is pending against them. Whatever the case may be, neither a felony or a misdemeanor charge will never go away by itself, no matter how old it is.

Surrendering Yourself for an Old Charge

The problem with having an outstanding charge is that if you are ever stopped by the police for a traffic ticket, or if you apply for certain jobs, or if you apply for certain licenses, you can be arrested at any time on the spot. You may even be arrested at the point of entry or departure at an airport or border crossing. If the charge is serious enough, even if you are in another state or country, you may be extradited back to where the charge arose. The appropriate and smart way to deal with an old case is to hire an attorney and have the attorney make arrangements to turn yourself in, and deal with it. In some cases, the lawyer can get the warrant set aside and resolve a case without you having to personally appear.

Why do I need an attorney if I cooperate and turn myself in?

The fact of the matter is that if you face any criminal charge, you need an attorney. You especially need an attorney for an old outstanding case because when you get to court the judge will be deciding what your bond will be, and the fact that you were an absconder for a long time will lead the judge to believe he or she should set a high bond to make sure you stay in jail or you will show up when ordered. Even if you did not know the charge was out there, often times judges and prosecutors assume you did know about it and treat you like a person who deliberately ignored court orders. This is particularly true if you are picked up rather than turning yourself in.

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An experienced, smart attorney will know how to explain to the judge your circumstances so that a personal or low bond may be imposed. A top-rated attorney knows what is important to a judge as reasons for failure to appear, and can organize evidence that may exist to explain your failure to appear. Throwing yourself upon the mercy of the court is often a bad idea. You want to have a hand in how such mercy may be dealt out, and it should be your attorney who plays a role in how it is dealt, not you. Having a retained attorney alone will say volumes about your sincerity.

What are the steps involved in surrendering myself?

Once you have retained a reputable, top-rated attorney, the attorney will arrange everything. The attorney will first identify and contact the officer currently in charge of your case and inform the officer that you are represented and you intend to surrender. This action is critical because it will prevent you from being arrested anywhere anytime, and it will go a long way to get a recommendation from the officer of a personal or low bond, depending on the nature of the charge, of course. At very least, the officer may leave bond up to the discretion of the judge, which will greatly impress the judge. Why would the officer help in this way? Because you have made the officer’s life easier, and you have done the honorable thing by attempting to address the case. In some cases, it may be possible to post a sum of money to get a warrant set aside. If a bond gets posted in cash, it is generally returned at the end of the case.

The next step will be a court date where the prosecutor decides if he still has enough evidence to proceed in the case. With old cases, evidence sometimes gets lost and witnesses sometimes disappear or forget things. All of this will often help get the case dismissed or lead to a very favorable, amicable resolution.

A power law firm to lead you successfully through the process

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are widely known and respected by prosecutors and judges alike as being prepared and aggressive, yet honorable and reputable: precisely who you want by your side when you surrender.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

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 Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. We also have strong relationships and are well respected by officers, prosecutors and judges throughout Michigan, This helps us get the best possible results for our clients. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

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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.

Weapons Crimes (Carrying Concealed Weapon for example)

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Some of the most serious criminal offenses in Michigan are weapons crimes. Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW), Felonious Assault (FA), Felony Firearm, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Armed Robbery are some examples of offenses that routinely result in lifelong convictions and serious jail time. Your best defense is a seriously experienced and effective criminal defense attorney.

Weapons Crimes Defense AttorneyWhat is Defined as a Weapon?

Many things can be defined as a weapon, and it can be based on the inherent design (gun, knife, brass knuckles) or on the circumstances of their use, meaning used as a weapon against another person in combat or in furtherance of an assault or defense to an assault. In one Michigan case, a glass mug was found to be a weapon because of the way it was used. The persuasiveness of the defense attorney frequently makes the difference between a finding that an object is or is not a weapon.

Types of Weapons Crimes

  1. Carrying a Concealed Weapon: This law covers both knives and pistols. This law forbids carrying any dagger, dirk, stiletto, double-edged stabbing instrument or any other dangerous weapon concealed on your person or in your car. It also forbids carrying a pistol concealed on your person or in a car. Violating this law is a felony and carries a penalty of 5 years in prison. BB guns and pellet guns are not firearms according to the statute.
  2. Felony Firearm: If you are found to have possessed a gun during the commission of a felony, you may be charged with Felony Firearm, which carries a 2- year jail sentence for a first offense. Importantly, if convicted of this offense, the 2-year sentence starts after you finish serving the underlying felony jail term. In these cases, a BB or pellet gun, if used to commit a felony, will be treated as seriously as an actual firearm.
  3. Felon in Possession of a Firearm: If you have been convicted of a felony, you may not possess a firearm. If you are found to possess a firearm, you can be convicted of this crime. The penalty is up to 5 years in prison. It does not matter if the gun is actually operational, as long as it can be “readily converted’ to being able to fire or if it was originally designed and intended to propel a dangerous projectile. This means that even if the gun is broken and wont fire or taken apart, you can still be charged. This law also applies to possession of ammunition.
  4. Transporting a Stolen Firearm: If you are found to have transported a stolen firearm or ammunition, you may be charged with a 10-year felony.
  5. Felonious Assault: Assault is the placing someone in fear of an imminent battery. Assault is the threat. Battery is the actual physical touching. Pointing a gun at someone is clearly an assault. In many of these cases, the prosecutor charges defendants who possessed ordinary items because of how they were used during an alleged assault. This crime carries a 4-year prison term. Items that are often considered “weapons” include baseball bats, tire irons, belts, bricks or rocks, cars and any other object that can possibly cause serious bodily injury or death.
  6. Brandishing a Firearm: Brandishing means waving a gun around in a threatening manner. You do not have to point the gun at someone to be charged with this 90-day misdemeanor.
  7. Possessing a Firearm in Prohibited Places: There are some places where you cannot possess a firearm even if you have a concealed pistol license. These places include: a bank, church, court of law, theater, sports arena, day care center, hospital, and places with liquor licenses such as bars. Violation of this law is a misdemeanor and carries a 90-day penalty.
  8. Reckless Use of a Firearm: This offense occurs when someone handles or discharges a firearm in wanton disregard for the safety of others. This is often the charge prosecutors use when people fire off guns on the 4th of July or New Year’s Eve. This crime is a misdemeanor.
  9. Possession of a Firearm While Under the Influence: If you have more than .08 blood-alcohol level or are under the influence of drugs, you may not possess a gun. The reason why is obvious. This crime carries a 93-day penalty. If use of the gun under the influence causes a serious injury to someone, you may be charged with a 5-year felony.
  10. Illegal Transportation of a Firearm: In Michigan, a firearm that is transported in a vehicle, other than a pistol, mu7st be unloaded and be taken down, enclosed in a case, carried in the truck, or at least inaccessible from the interior of the car. A violation of this statute can result in a jail sentence up to 90 days.

Weapons Crimes Defense Attorneys

Federal Firearms Charges

The crimes listed above are all Michigan crimes. Of course, federal law also covers weapons of all kinds. The gun control Act of 1968 Title 18, United States Code, Chapter 44 is the federal law covering firearms. Federal crimes involving firearms almost always result in prison sentences unless the defense is particularly strong. If you are accused or charged with a federal firearms charge, hiring a top defense attorney is your best hope!

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., The Weapons Crimes Defense Attorneys

As can be seen above, the laws regarding weapons can be confusing if a person is not familiar with them. Actions that one may assume are legal may actually be illegal. When someone is charged with a crime involving a firearm, the stakes are high and everything possible must be done by a defense attorney to help the client avoid a conviction and/or a jail sentence if possible.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have an unparalleled track record of successfully defending clients on misdemeanor and felony firearms related 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.

Get Help Now

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

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

Federal Drug Charges Defense Attorneys

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Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys who have an unparalleled track record of successful representation in the United States District Courts in Michigan. We are not afraid to win!

Federal Drug Charges Defense Attorneys

Can Any Defense Attorney Handle a Federal Drug Case?

Yes and no. Any lawyer admitted to practice before the federal bar may represent a client on a federal drug case. Simply being represented is far different than being represented well. For the best results, persons facing federal drug charges need a top-rated, effective attorney who has had extensive experience in federal court and experience dealing with federal prosecutors, judges, and court procedure. Many attorneys who handle state drug cases are not familiar with federal procedures and this can result in terrible consequences for a client.

Federal Drug Prosecutors and Judges

Federal defense is a highly specialized practice and drug charges carry heavy penalties. And unlike the state court system, there is no parole in the federal system. The Assistant United States Attorneys who routinely handle drug prosecutions in the US District Court are highly trained, aggressive, and will do everything within their power to secure a conviction and stern sentence. The judges in federal court are generally conservative and used to handing out lengthy prison terms. Is there hope? Yes! The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has been effectively and aggressively defended clients in federal felony and misdemeanor drug cases for decades and they are ready, willing and able to help you or your loved one today.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Types of Controlled Drugs

Federal law divides drugs into 5 “schedules,” depending upon the dangerousness and medical usefulness of the drugs. An attorney must be aware of the schedules and the penalty their use or manufacture or sale carries.

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs are those that the law has determined have no legitimate medical use, and which are highly dangerous and/or highly addictive. Virtually all of them are illegal to possess or use. Examples of such drugs are Heroin, Ecstasy, LSD, and Marijuana. It should be noted here that although many states have legalized the use of marijuana to some degree, federal law does not permit the use, possession, manufacture, or sale of marijuana. A medical marijuana card carries no weight in a federal court. Convictions for the sale or distribution of Schedule I controlled substances can result in long prison sentences.

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs are similarly dangerous and highly addictive, but they are still in use in the medical field. Examples of such drugs are Methamphetamine, Methadone, Dilaudid, Oxycodone, Morphine, and Codeine. A prescription is required for use of these drugs, or they are administered in person by a doctor or nurse. Prescriptions may not be refilled, and a doctor must prescribe these drugs to you one prescription at a time, due to the danger they pose. Like Schedule I cases, judges and prosecutors frequently seek to impose harsh penalties for cases involving Schedule II controlled substances.

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs are potentially habit-forming. Examples are Ketamine and Flunitrazepam (commonly referred to as the “date-rape” drugs), anabolic steroids, and Tylenol with Codeine. A prescription is required for use and possession of these drugs.

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs are drugs commonly prescribed as part of a mental health treatment program for things such as anxiety and depression, and include drugs such as Lorazepam, Diazepam, Halcion, and Xanax. A prescription is required for possession and use of these drugs.

Schedule V

Schedule V drugs are drugs considered relatively safe and have a low potential for dependence, such as cough medicine with low does of Codeine. A prescription is required for possession and use of these drugs. Although cases involving the sale or distribution of Schedule III, IV and V substances are less serious than Schedule I and II cases, the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southeastern District of Michigan is notoriously tough on all controlled substance cases.

What Are the Penalties for the Sale or Distribution of Controlled “Scheduled” Drugs?

The penalties for drug convictions are very complex, and depend on the amounts and types of drugs involved. Suffice it to say that the penalties are harsh, even for first offenders. For instance, a first offense for possession with intent to sell or distribution of cocaine carries a penalty of 5-40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. If a death or serious injury is involved, the mandatory minimum is 20 years up to life, and a $4 million fine. The penalties rise rapidly when larger amounts are involved.

The penalties for drug offenses typically are more severe in the federal system, and as stated above, the is no parole. A state sentence is often less severe and prison terms end up being less. If you are looking for a federal drug defense attorney, you had better find a great one. Your life, for all practical purposes, depends on it. A federal defense attorney must know what the penalties are and be familiar with the federal prosecutor and judge who are on the case. It takes decades of experience for an attorney to achieve consistent and reliable results in federal court.

Federal Firearms and Drug Attorney

Federal Drug Charges Involving Firearms

The most serious drug offenses are those involving or connected to firearms. Federal firearms laws provide severe penalties for firearms use by the violent offender or drug trafficker. For example, possession of firearms by convicted felons or drug users can provide punishments of up to ten years imprisonment. If such possession occurs after one is convicted of three violent felonies or serious drug trafficking offenses, the violator must serve a minimum of fifteen years in prison.

Whenever a firearm is allegedly used or carried during the course of a violent offense or drug trafficking crime, this is called a “924 violation” and a conviction will result in mandatory prison time. The use of a shotgun or assault weapon adds 10 years and if an automatic weapon, silencer or destructive device is used, 30 years imprisonment is added to the underlying charges.

It goes without saying that the right representation in these cases can make the difference between decades or years in prison. In some cases, an experienced, respected and supremely effective lawyer can get this charges reduced or dismissed.

How Can I Tell if an Attorney is Experienced with Federal Cases?

You can start by asking an attorney about his or her experience in federal court. There is no reason to be shy in a conversation with an attorney because you need to know that the attorney is trustworthy, zealous, and effective. You can also go to www.avvo.com to research the attorney and see if and how they have been rated.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney - Ratings & Awards

In times of unexpected legal trouble, too many people panic, and call an attorney they happen to know, such as a divorce lawyer, probate lawyer, or business lawyer, for example. This is a huge mistake. If you face a criminal drug case, especially in federal court, you absolutely must hire a top lawyer that exclusively handles criminal cases. Many lawyers occasionally handle criminal cases and also practice in other areas of the law. These lawyers are not doing you any favors. It’s this simple: you don’t hire a heart surgeon if you need brain surgery.

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. – Federal Drug Case Defense Attorneys

The dedicated, experienced and zealous criminal defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented numerous clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in federal court. We are well-known and well-respected by federal judges and prosecutors, and have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

Get Help Now

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

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.