How to Get Evidence Suppressed Due to Illegal Search and Seizure

By | Illegal Search and Seizure | No Comments

Police officers who conduct “knock and talk” procedures in early morning hours are trespassing and a defense request to have all evidence suppressed due to illegal search and seizure must be granted.

The notoriously conservative Michigan Supreme Court recently decided two cases and upheld basic 4th Amendment protections for Michigan citizens. In each of the cases, police conducting a criminal investigation regarding marijuana butter. Marijuana butter is a healthier alternative to smoking or vaporizing medical marijuana. The officers approached the homes of the defendants at 4:00 a.m. in one case and at 5:30 a.m. in the second case. It appeared to the officers in both cases that the residents of the homes were sleeping. The residents were surprised and alarmed by the early morning contact with police. Both defendants consented to the searches of their homes by law enforcement at the request of the officers during these early morning interactions. The procedure where an officer knocks on a door without a warrant and requests consent to search is commonly called a “knock and talk“.

Evidence Suppressed Due to Illegal Search and Seizure

At the trial court level, the attorneys for both defendants argued that the time of the early morning confrontations was unreasonable and coercive. Additionally, the attorneys argued that the officers were essentially trespassing because no person would reasonably be on the property of these defendants at these early morning hours, especially when it appeared the residents of the homes were sleeping. The trial judges in each case denied the defense Motions to get the evidence suppressed due to illegal search and seizure.

Searches Found to be in Violation of the 4th Amendment

In analyzing these cases, the Supreme Court justices found that the officers were trespassing when they approached the defendants’ homes in the predawn hours because they exceeded the scope of the implied permission given by homeowners for other people to approach their homes. The court found people should only reasonably expect visitors during reasonable hours. Because the officers came to the houses in the middle of the night, they were trespassing. The court found that because the “knock and talk” procedures were performed while the officers were trespassing, the subsequent searches of the homes violated the 4th Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The court is further examining whether the fact that both homeowners consented to the searches removes the illegality of the searches.

Why did the Michigan Supreme Court rule that the searches were unconstitutional? Great lawyering!

Defendants are wrongfully convicted every day in Michigan and illegally seized evidence is routinely relied upon by prosecutors and courts in seeking convictions and sentencing defendants. It takes a fearless, intelligent and aggressive lawyer to advocate for and get a court to suppress illegally seized evidence. If you are charged with a crime in Michigan and want to make sure you are treated fairly and given every possible evidence opportunity to get the best result, you need top lawyers by your side. Call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer will promptly contact you.

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Major Change to Michigan Schools’ Zero-Tolerance Policies Goes Into Effect

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

Major Change to Michigan Schools’ Zero-Tolerance Policies Goes Into Effect

For years, Michigan schools have been restrained by “zero-tolerance” policies, orders from the government to expel any students involved in certain activities, including the possession of “dangerous weapons.” For years, the State of Michigan placed restrictions on the discretion with which schools could handle their affairs. A new law, signed by the governor in December, changes that. Beginning this August, Michigan schools are no longer bound by the heavily restrictive “zero-tolerance” policies of the past and now have the authority to judge each student’s behavior individually.

The Old Way

Until passage of this new law, immediate expulsion was required if a student brought a dangerous weapon to school, committed arson, assaulted a volunteer or member of the school’s staff, or engaged in any criminal sexual conduct. For those students found responsible for any of the allegations above, there was little recourse against the policy. School administrators’ hands were tied and they didn’t have the power to use their judgment on a case-by-case basis.

The New Law

According to new legislation, much more control is placed back in the hands of the schools. Before expelling or suspending a student, the school must evaluate his or her circumstances based on seven factors:

  1. The student’s age.
  2. The student’s disciplinary history.
  3. Any disability from which the student suffers.
  4. The seriousness of the student’s behavior.
  5. Whether or not the activity in question presented a risk to anyone’s safety.
  6. Whether or not restorative practices have been used.
  7. Whether some action less than expulsion or suspension would correct the behavior.

What This Means For Your Child

This change in policy is good news for those students facing disciplinary action from their schools. It is, however, wise to bring legal counsel to assist in these matters. Because the change in the law is so recent, it’s important to have a first-rate attorney with you to explain to the school administrators two key points. First, that they are now allowed to look at the bigger picture, to take into consideration the totality of your child’s circumstances when deciding the best way to handle his or her case. Second, once the school understands the discretion they have, you need someone to help convince them why some punishment less than expulsion will achieve all the school’s objectives and prevent against any future behavioral problems.

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, you need to protect your child from any unnecessary blemishes on his or her record. An expulsion or suspension can wreak on havoc on a child’s future, and studies show that expulsions and suspensions tend to lead young people down the wrong road. The “prison to pipeline” phenomenon is one of the main reasons this new law has been enacted. You and your child deserve an advocate who will both educate the educators and fight to ensure your child receives fair results. To speak with an attorney who has experience dealing with Michigan schools and fighting against expulsions, call (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form. One of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.’s top defense lawyers will consult with you regarding your options. Expulsion is justified in only the most extreme cases. We can help your child start off a life free from the disadvantaging impact of an inappropriate and unnecessary expulsion.

OWI in Michigan on Private Property

By | OWI | No Comments

The game has changed in Michigan and now the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that a person driving a car while intoxicated, even on private property, can still be charged with Operating While Intoxicated if the area “capable of being reached by a motor vehicle”. This is a stark difference between the state of the law prior to this truly expansive decision.

The law regarding OWI in Michigan, according to the statute, is that the area where the suspect’s vehicle was traveling must have been “generally accessible” to motor vehicles. Multiple court decisions found that a vehicle on private property was not being driven on an area “generally accessible” to motor vehicles.

MCL 257.625(1) provides in relevant part:

A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person is operating while intoxicated.

In the recent case before the Michigan Supreme Court, the defendant was observed by the police to back out of his detached garage, drive back for 25 feet and then pull back into the garage. The vehicle backed up only to a point that was in line with his house, still on his private property. There was no allegation that he drove the car on a public road or over an easement or sidewalk readily accessible to the public. The Court of Appeals found that the general public is not permitted to access the upper portion of a person’s driveway and thus, the area was not “generally accessible.”

OWI Defense - Michigan

In reversing the Court of Appeals, the MI Supreme Court changed the rules and now the test is whether the area is capable of being reached by a vehicle. In looking toward the future, the question becomes “what area is inaccessible for an OWI in Michigan?” It is difficult to imagine how any area on private land could be inaccessible given that if the defendant is operating a motor vehicle, he or she had to access that area. So, unless a motor vehicle is delivered to an inaccessible area via helicopter, we can now count on the fact that all private land is not fair game for an OWI charge.

OWI Charges in Michigan

If you are charged with DUI or OWI in Michigan on private property or public property, you need aggressive and effective defense lawyers to stand a chance of being treated fairly. Courts, like the Michigan Supreme Court, bend over backwards to help prosecutors secure convictions. Only an elite group of OWI defense lawyers in Michigan have the knowledge, reputation and tenacity to stand up to tough judges and prosecutors and secure dismissals and extraordinary charge reductions.

The defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has a reputation built on decades of successfully defending DUI, OWI, Impaired Driving and Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances. We have exceptionally achieved a multitude of dismissals and reductions to non-alcohol related offenses. Additionally, our firm has achieved multiple acquittals at trial. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and an experienced defense lawyer will promptly contact you.

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What Will Happen To Me if I’m Convicted

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI, Criminal Defense Help Southfield MI | No Comments

One of the most frequently asked questions by those charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses is, “what will happen to me if I’m convicted?”  This question is surprisingly more complicated than you may think.  As it relates to a conviction, there are direct and indirect (commonly referred to as collateral) consequences.  Direct consequences are those potential penalties provided for by law in the criminal statute.  Jail, prison, probation and fines are examples of direct consequences. Generally, direct consequences are imposed by the judge at the time of sentencing.  Indirect or collateral consequences are often far worse than the potential direct consequences and include those things that generally make a person’s future more difficult and success in life more challenging.  Indirect consequences are sometimes ordered by a judge and sometimes simply unavoidable.

What will happen to me if I’m convicted

An understanding of collateral consequences

The reason it is important to have an understanding of collateral consequences is that recent cases have held that it is proper for judges to consider these indirect consequences when fashioning a fair sentence.  A highly experienced and effective criminal defense lawyer can use his or her knowledge and understanding of collateral consequences to persuade a prosecutor to offer a better plea bargain or a judge to impose a less harsh sentence.

Some collateral consequences are more obvious than others.  For example, difficulty in obtaining employment or obtain promotions are well-known and often discussed indirect or collateral consequence of having a criminal conviction. Years ago, a conviction was difficult to discover by a potential or current employer but this is no longer the case.  Many websites now offer a complete record of a person’s felony and misdemeanor convictions for only $10.00 and some website keep track of mug shots and other public information and publish it on the internet for free.  This can present an impossible burden for many job applicants or those trying to work up the ladder in their career.  For professionals, a criminal conviction can make securing desirable employment virtually impossible.

Other collateral consequences

Other collateral consequences are not self-evident, or are at least, less likely to be considered.  Unfortunately for many defendants, lawyers infrequently discuss collateral consequences or even think about them when advising a client to accept a plea bargain or take a case to trial.  This is a colossal failure in legal representation because, as stated earlier, the indirect or collateral consequences are often far worse than the direct consequences (potential jail, probation or fines).

Collateral consequences are sometimes offense specific and sometimes universal.  This means that some of them can impact a defendant convicted of only one particular type of crime and other collateral consequences are potentially experienced with any crime.  For example, a person convicted of domestic violence may not be able thereafter to possess a firearm. This would not be the case with many other offenses.   Another example would be criminal sexual conduct.  A person convicted of a CSC offense may not be able to live near a school or park.  This would not be the case with most other types of felony offenses.  An example of a collateral consequence that follows from any felony conviction is the prohibition against possessing firearms.

Examples of collateral consequences include (again, some of these may be applicable to certain offenses and others are not):

  • Loss of employment
  • Damage to reputation
  • Inability to be promoted
  • Inability to get hired for a job
  • Inability to get or keep a professional license
  • Loss of the right to be in a shopping mail or retail establishment
  • Loss of the right to possess firearms
  • Loss of ability to vote
  • Loss of ability to sit on a jury
  • Deportation
  • Inability to re-enter the United States
  • Inability to achieve US citizenship
  • Inability to get admitted to a university or college
  • Removal from a university or college
  • Inability to qualify for a student loan
  • Inability to obtain public housing
  • Decreased credit score
  • Sex offender registration
  • Loss of a driver’s license
  • Restricted driver’s license
  • Driver’s responsibility fees
  • Removal from or inability to volunteer for certain charitable organizations
  • Loss of custody or reduction in child visitation
  • Legal prohibition against working in certain fields
  • Inability to attend school functions or be on school property
  • Inability to live near a school or other place where children frequently congregate
  • Loss of the right to be in a bar or other place where alcohol is served
  • Inability to leave the state and travel freely
  • Entry on the child abuse registry

According to Frederick Block, senior United States District Judge, because the effects of collateral consequences of a conviction can be “devastating,” judges should consider them when imposing a sentence.  Professor Michelle Alexander has explained, “a myriad of laws, rules and regulations operate to discriminate against ex-offenders and effectively prevent their reintegration in the mainstream society and economy.  These restrictions amount to a form of ‘civil death’ “.

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Avoid Needless Consequences of Criminal Convictions

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is widely respected for being abreast of the latest and most persuasive arguments that can be made to mitigate, reduce or get charges dismissed by prosecutors and also influence judges to order reduced sentences.  If there is no way to avoid a conviction and the client needs to get the best deal possible, our lawyers are in the best position possible to help.  Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a Free Consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and a highly experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer will promptly contact you.

 

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Changes in Civil Asset Forfeiture Law & Policy

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

Changes in Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws & Policy

As prescribed by recent changes to civil asset forfeiture law in Michigan, law enforcement agencies were required to report all 2016 forfeitures by February of this year. That documentation has recently been made available to the public and the results are shocking. Of 5,290 civil asset forfeitures in 2016 (amounting to more than $15 million in cash and property), 196 people were charged but never convicted. In an additional 523 cases, an astounding 10% of all forfeitures, no one was ever charged. As bad as this is, directions from the new United States Attorney General could only exacerbate the situation.

Reforms Are Not Strong Enough

Large court houseIn 2015, Michigan passed a law that changed the standard by which law enforcement could take cash and property as forfeited. The old standard was that the government only needed to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a crime had been committed. This is a much lower standard than the one required for criminal convictions, where proof beyond a reasonable doubt is needed. Under the old Michigan standard for forfeiture, the government only needed to show that it was more likely than not that a crime had been committed in order to justify seizure of the assets. Under the new law, there must be clear and convincing evidence of wrongdoing. This is not as high as reasonable doubt, though it is a step in the right direction. The 2016 reporting numbers demonstrate, however, that Michigan has not gone far enough to correct abuses within the system.

New Policy From Washington

Now come changes from the federal government. The new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recently announced the reversal of an Obama-era rule that discouraged the use of forfeiture. According to the attorney general, state and local police can pursue seizure of assets if they suspect there has been a violation of federal law. The standard used in pursuing forfeitures stemming from suspected violations of federal law is probable cause, an even lower threshold than even Michigan’s previous “preponderance of the evidence” standard.

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It is clear that there is much work that needs to be done on both the federal and state levels regarding civil asset forfeiture policy. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., Michigan’s premier criminal defense law firm, are committed to protecting citizens’ rights against unjust forfeiture claims, fighting for decades to ensure that the government is held to the highest standards. If you have been the victim of an unjust civil asset forfeiture, call (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form. One of the firm’s experienced attorneys will discuss your case and help determine the the best strategy moving forward. When the government fails to meet its burden of proof, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., will be there to stand up in court and see that justice is served.

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Video Recording the Police is Legal

Video Recording the Police is Legal

By | Video Recording Police | No Comments

In order for the criminal justice system in America to work, police and prosecutors must do their jobs in an ethical and legal way. If an officer is acting lawfully and responsibly, why would he or she object to video recording the police?

Police officers, like anyone else, are probably very uncomfortable with being photographed or video recorded while at work. This being said, police officers are public servants, charged with performing official duties, and they have a responsibility to perform their jobs in a lawful way. Some police officers break the law and violate the civil rights of citizens and on the other hand, some defendants lie and falsely claim that officers have acted improperly or illegally. If every investigation was videotaped, there would be little doubt as to the credibility of an investigation or an officer’s observations of criminal activity. Despite the repeated use of video recordings being utilized as evidence to secure convictions, police organizations and unions strongly object to people photographing or video recording the police.

Constitutional Right Protected by the First Amendment

In two recent cases that were decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, the court made it clear that photographing and filming police officers in public is a constitutional right protected by the First Amendment. In the first case, a woman who was recording the police during a protest was restrained by police and forced to stop recording. In the second case, a man was arrested, prosecuted and convicted for filming police officers who were breaking up a house party.

In each of the cases, the United States District Court judges ruled against the man and women. The courts ruled that they were engaging in “conduct” and not “expressive conduct.” Essentially, the judge found that the act of photographing or videotaping is not, in and of itself, expressive so it is not protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause. The Federal Court of Appeals disagreed.

In its ruling, the Court of Appeals found that the First Amendment protects photographs and video recordings and that protection would have little meaning if the constitution did not also protect the production or creation of the photographs or videos.

The appeals court went on to say how important the functions of the police are and that their role in the protection of the community is critical and irreplaceable; however, they are carrying out public functions and they have no alternative but to accept when bystanders are recording their actions. The court also noted that the recordings stand to benefit not just the citizens but also the officers themselves.

This decision by the 3rd circuit is critical to both the protection of civil liberties and also to the proper administration of justice. The defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have achieved dismissals, acquittals and charge reductions for countless clients over the past several decades based on audio and video recordings.

If you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense and you want the best possible legal representation, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and an highly experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer will promptly contact you.

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Drug possession charges in Novi Michigan

Drug Possession Charges in Novi Michigan

By | Drug Possession Charges, Novi Michigan Criminal Attorney | No Comments

Since 1995, LEWIS AND DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has provided top quality legal counsel to clients facing a variety of charges. We have represented clients facing everything from domestic violence to retail theft to sexual assault to homicide. We have defended countless clients on charges for possession of narcotics and other controlled substances and have helped clients receive less severe punishments and acquittals in some cases. Drug possession charges in Novi, Michigan should be taken seriously, since the Novi District Court judges are very tough and jail time is always an option for these offenses.

I am currently facing drug charges. Will I go to jail?

In the State of Michigan, a first offense possession of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor, which carries up to one year in jail, up to two years of probation, loss of driver’s license, and $2,000 in fines as punishment. The severity of your punishment for possession of marijuana will change depending on how much you had in your possession and many other facts like your prior record, employment history, and much more. A second offense of possession of marijuana carries a possible sentence of up to 2 years in prison. The maximum sentence for felony drug possession is 4 years. In reality, few individuals facing charges for possession of narcotics receive the maximum jail sentence; however, long terms of probation with burdensome terms, conditions and costs are very common. The most common drug found on a person is marijuana. Anyone convicted of drug charges will have their license suspended for 6 months. The bottom line is that a great drug crimes defense attorney gives you the best chance of avoiding jail or prison and a term of probation that sets you up for failure.

This is my first possession charge – Do I need an experienced lawyer?

While some courts tend to “go easier” on individuals facing possession charges for the first time, others are known for going overboard in either punishment or severe probation conditions. Either way, the consequences remain severe. Even in first offense drug possession cases, if you are convicted, you face a mandatory 6 month suspension of your driving privileges if you are convicted. Under the care of an experienced and tenacious attorney who has represented thousands in your situation, the likelihood of you being able to keep your license and avoid a conviction is higher. After 30 days of suspension, the defense attorney can request restricted driving privileges which allows the convicted person to drive to work or school or court-mandated activities only.

Other consequences if found guilty of drug possession includes the possibility of the federal government denying financial aid and federal housing assistance. The individual must carry around a conviction on his or her criminal record, which will slow down and even ruin any chance of obtaining future employment, getting a promotion or a professional license. The consequences of a possession charge are serious, which is why you need a top drug crime lawyer to represent you.

I have heard of 7411. What is it?

Michigan law allows for the possibility that those facing first time possession charges can enter a guilty plea and have their cases taken under advisement so that there is no public record or loss of driver’s license. Getting a judge to agree to 7411 can sometimes be a challenge and the defense attorney plays a vital role in the process of persuading the judge to grant this special status. If you are granted 7411, the judge may require alcohol and drug education courses along with random drug/alcohol testing, but if you fulfill the terms of agreement, then no conviction will appear on your criminal record.

Drug Crimes Defense Attorney in Novi

Please call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 to learn more about how we can help defend and protect you from felony or misdemeanor drug charges in Novi, Michigan. Complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you. We will find a way to help you.

DUI in Wayne County Michigan

DUI in Wayne County Michigan

By | DUI in Wayne County Michigan | No Comments

The punishment for a DUI in Wayne County, Michigan will depend on a few different factors. The number of DUI offenses on your record, the blood alcohol content found in your system, and your compliance or perhaps non-compliance during arrest will all determine the penalty of a potential DUI conviction. DUI charges are taken seriously by the state of Michigan, which is why you need experienced and aggressive attorneys to fight for your freedom.

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is a Michigan-based law firm founded in 1995 that has since helped thousands of clients face DUI charges often times resulting in lessened sentences or dropped charges all together.

What is considered drunk driving in the state of Michigan?

In Michigan, as well as most other states, a driver is considered to be drunk driving with a blood or breath alcohol content of .08% or higher. The state not only cracks down on drivers under the influence of alcohol, but illegal drugs as well. The legal limit for a person under the age of 21 is much lower. Drivers under 21-years-old have a legal limit of .02%. At a BAC of .17% or greater, a driver risks a charge of “Super Drunk Driving”, which is also known as OWI with a High BAC and this offense carries a maximum jail sentence of up to 180 days. The bottom line is that no matter what your age or walk of life, a DUI of any type can have a devastating impact on your life.

How can an experienced attorney help me?

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C have decades of experience representing clients facing felony and misdemeanor DUI charges and know how to walk you through what is a vulnerable and scary situation for most people. We review the night of the arrest with our clients to make sure there was no wrongdoing by police. In the event that proper protocols were not followed, charges can be and have been dropped in the past. Defenses in DUI cases can be scientific, medical, constitutional, factual or legal. Regretfully, many court appointed attorneys, general practice lawyers and even an experienced defense attorneys often do not explore these avenues with their clients. An attorney with years of experience and a reputation for winning, as well as a rapport built with the judges and personnel in the Wayne County court system, will have a greater chance negotiating a lesser charge, a reduced sentence or even an outright dismissal of all charges for their client.

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C are ready to protect you from misdemeanor or felony DUI charges. Please give us a call at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our DUI criminal defense attorneys will contact you.

Violation of the 4th Amendment

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

Delaying a Traffic Stop for a Drug Dog is a Violation of the 4th Amendment

Here is the scenario… Defendant gets pulled over for a traffic infraction. During the course of the stop, the officer gets a hunch that there is an illegal drug in the car and asks for consent to search. The defendant declines. The officer calls for a drug dog and briefly detains the driver pending the outcome of the search by the dog. The dog detects the scent of a controlled substance and the officers search the car finding evidence of a crime. Is the evidence admissible in court? The answer under Michigan and Federal law is NO!

In a recent decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals, People v. Kavanaugh, the Court of Appeals examined a situation where the driver was stopped by a Michigan State Police trooper based on two civil infractions. The driver recently purchased the car and did not have a registration. The officer directed the driver to come back to the patrol car and sit in the passenger seat while the officer verified his ownership of the car. The officer confirmed the driver’s ownership and then asked for consent to search the car. The driver declined. The officer told the driver to stay where he was and he called a drug dog for a contraband sniff. The dog arrived after 15 minutes, alerted at the trunk, and the officers found a large amount of marijuana.

The trial court denied the Defendant’s Motion to Suppress and the defendant was convicted. On appeal, he challenged the constitutionality of his detention by the officer after the point where it was verified that he owned the car. He argued that the search was illegal because there was not a reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity at the point when he declined the trooper’s request to search the car. Articulable means capable of being explained with words.

The government argued there were various things that gave the officer a reasonable suspicion but the Court of Appeals found to the contrary. In the ruling, the court noted that a violation of a traffic law justifies a brief detention for addressing the traffic violation. If during the course of the stop, additional evidence becomes known that causes the officer to have a reasonable and articulable basis that a crime is being committed, the detention can be extended; however, the duration of the stop cannot be extended for the officer to investigate a hunch that criminal activity is afoot.

Any detention beyond that which is necessary to address the traffic issue is a seizure.

In making its ruling, the court found that any detention beyond that which is necessary to address the traffic issue is a seizure under the 4th Amendment. A seizure of a person occurs when a reasonable person would not feel free to leave. In Kavanaugh’s case, he was told to sit and wait for the drug dog and this constituted a seizure. If by the time the officer concludes resolving the traffic infraction, there is not a reasonable and articulable basis to suspect a crime is being committed, the suspect must be released. If the suspect is not released, any evidence found as a result of that continued detention is in violation of the 4th Amendment and must be suppressed.

Refusing to consent to a search CANNOT form the basis for reasonable suspicion. Courts are clear that any consideration of the suspect’s refusal or lack of consent is a violation of the 4th Amendment. Other things that cannot form the basis of reasonable suspicion include the driver acting nervous or statements of the suspect that do not make sense, unless the statements are about criminal activity.

So why is Kavanaugh not in prison and why was his conviction reversed?

The answer is…great lawyering! Legal representation that is not aggressive, effective and zealous results in wrongful convictions and unnecessary jail sentences. When a person is charged with any criminal offense, a felony or misdemeanor, having a top criminal defense attorney is critical and can make all the difference.

Your Best Defense for Felony and Misdemeanor Charges

If you or a loved one is charged with a state or federal criminal offense and you are looking to hire a lawyer who will provide the best possible legal representation, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation. When the result matters and there is no room for error, you need the defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.  If you complete a Request for Assistance Form, a highly experienced Michigan Criminal Defense lawyer will promptly contact you.

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OWI Defense Attorney in Novi Michigan

By | OWI Defense | No Comments

I am facing OWI charge in Novi, Michigan. Should I be worried?

The State of Michigan does not treat OWI cases lightly. Each year, thousands of individuals are left disabled and some lose their lives because of another’s choice to drive while intoxicated. The attorneys at LEWIS AND DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have represented thousands of clients who have faced OWI in Novi and other cities in Michigan and realize how a responsible, upstanding citizens can find themselves facing an OWI charge. A conviction can change every aspect of a person’s life, and we will walk you through this scary and vulnerable time without judgement.

OWI defense attorney in Novi Michigan

Will I lose my driver’s license? What will happen to me?

This is one of the first questions that clients facing OWI charges will ask. An individual found guilty of an OWI charge will most likely lose driving privileges. The length of suspension will depend on several factors, including the amount of blood alcohol content in your bloodstream and the number of offenses you have faced in the past. A full loss of driving privileges may be avoidable through a reduction of or dismissal of the charges. The punishment may be more severe in the case that a minor was in the vehicle during the incident or if any involved party experienced injury. In addition to losing one’s driver’s license, we sometimes see judges hand down heavy fines, jail time, mandated community service, therapy, and required alcohol education courses. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.’s attorneys are well versed in providing OWI defense in Novi and are seasoned in knowing how to lessen the punishment for each individual client.

Do I really need an attorney to represent me for OWI?

Yes, you do! In Michigan, a defendant facing an OWI charge can bargain down criminal charges. Few lawyers are seasoned enough or skilled enough to know how to fight for a reduced charge in an effective way. Our attorneys explore every avenue. For example, we may discover that the tests administered during arrest were unreliable. If it is appropriate for your case and there is a good chance you can be acquitted, we will take your case to trial and seek an acquittal. Most lawyers are known to plea all of their OWI cases and are not a credible threat to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor knows your lawyer is going to get you to plea, there is no incentive to give an extraordinary resolution.

Whether you face a misdemeanor OWI or a felony OWI charge, it is important to enlist the help of the qualified, seasoned and respected attorneys at LEWIS AND DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. The likelihood that you can receive a plea bargain, maybe even to a non-alcohol related charge, will improve if you receive thorough and aggressive legal representation.

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