Criminal Insanity: Mental Illness & Criminal Prosecutions

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

Criminal Insanity: Mental Illness & Criminal Prosecutions

In working in criminal defense, the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have assisted scores of clients suffering from all manner of mental illness. Our laws take into account the effects these ailments can have on a person, and there are legal mechanisms to protect the vulnerable, but these procedures are not always followed. It is common for the mentally ill to be prosecuted and even imprisoned despite safeguards to prevent such outcomes.

If you or someone you love lives with mental illness and has been accused of a crime, it is crucial that you speak with an attorney. There is a lot of nuance in the way the justice system handles these situations. You need the counsel of someone with experience.

A defendant’s mental health is relevant at two distinct points: at the time of the offense and at the beginning of court proceedings.

Criminal Responsibility – State of Mind at the Time of the Offense

For prosecution of many crimes, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant intended to commit the crime for which he is charged. For example, a conviction for assault and battery requires that the defendant intended to commit a violent act. When one accidentally bumps into another person, the action lacks the requirement of intent and therefore fails to constitute the crime

Similarly, a person must have the capacity for criminal responsibility to be found guilty. This standard goes beyond mere knowledge of the law and mandates that the defendant must have the mental state to be aware he committed a crime. The defendant must also be able to recognize that the action was wrong or be unable to conform to legal conduct. Should sanity be an issue at the time of the offense and the prosecution insists upon pursuing its case, a defendant may plead not guilty by reason of insanity OR guilty but mentally ill. It is important, if considering a plea of not guilty by reason of sanity, to consider that such an outcome could result in forced hospitalization if the court finds the defendant to be a danger to himself or others. For this, and many other reasons, it is important to speak with an attorney.

Competency – State of Mind at the Time of Trial

As opposed to criminal responsibility, competency involves the defendant’s competence to stand trial and assist in his own defense. A person cannot be prosecuted for a crime if he suffers from a mental condition that would prevent him from understanding what is going on with the case and/or coordinating with his attorney.

A person who is found to be incompetent may be ordered by the court for treatment to return him to competence, if possible. The opinion of the court and prosecutors is often that treatment should involve confinement to a state-funded medical facility. The rules here are complicated…one more reason it is important to work with an attorney. You or your loved one should not be held somewhere pending rehabilitation unless there is clear evidence that confinement is necessary.

If you or someone you know suffers from mental illness and has been charged with a crime, call one of the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We have decades of experience dealing with competency, criminal responsibility, and a range of other mental health issues that can affect criminal litigation. You cannot rely on an already overburdened and prosecution-biased system to do the right thing. You need a champion to ensure that you or the person you love is treated fairly and compassionately by prosecutors and courts.

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The Rules have changed in the United States District Court in Michigan

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

On May 10, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions changed the policy of the United States Attorney’s Office regarding charging federal offenses and the position Assistant United States Attorney must take going forward relative to sentencing. The rules have changed for the worst in the United States District Court in Michigan and throughout the United States.

Why have the rules changed for the worst?

Any time discretion is removed and replaced with policy, dissimilar cases and dissimilar defendants all start being treated the same. This is seriously bad policy on a federal level relative to criminal prosecutions because all defendants are not alike and every case is unique. The attorneys who charge federal offenses are not simpletons, they are intelligent, aggressive prosecutors and they have the ability to competently exercise discretion so that the charges and plea negotiations are done fairly. Having a policy that basically forces prosecutors to charge the most sever charge possible and seek mandatory minimum sentences strips the discretion from US Attorneys to modify charges and plea bargains when appropriate. The memorandum purports to give discretion but only if approved by a supervisor and only in extraordinary cases. This exception is toothless and will rarely, if ever, be used.

MIchigan District Court Changes

Practical and Tragic Example of a Mandatory Minimum Sentence

In a case recently published on CNN Politics, a federal judge was very upset that he had no alternative but to send a grandmother who was a drug addict to prison for 5 years over an amount of drugs equal in size to a packet of sugar. United States District Judge Mark Bennett made is crystal clear that he thought the 5 year mandatory minimum sentence for an elderly defendant, Susan Rice, who got caught up in a drug conspiracy in Sioux City, Iowa. The judge made it clear that his opinion of Ms. Rice was that she was a “low-level addict”. According to the article, “It is not the first time he has felt this way. Bennett says 80% of the mandatory sentences he hands down are unjust — but that he is handcuffed by the law, which leaves no room for judicial discretion to consider a sentence based on individual circumstances of the defendant.”

The judge made his feelings clear when he stated from the bench, “too often, low-level nonviolent drug addicts dealing to feed their habit end up being sentenced like drug kingpins.” In the end, his feeling is that the mandatory minimum in some cases results in a “miscarriage of justice.”

What can be done about mandatory minimum sentences in the United States District Court in Michigan?

The United States Attorney’s Office in Detroit is widely known to be aggressive and zealous in the prosecution of those charged with federal, criminal offenses within the jurisdiction of that office. Given the new position of the Attorney General on charging and sentencing, the stakes are higher than ever when there is an ongoing federal investigation. An aggressive, proactive and effective criminal defense lawyer gives a person under investigation or charge their best possible chance of facing the lowest reasonable charge and avoiding a mandatory minimum when possible.

If you are under investigation by law enforcement or charged with a federal crime in the United States District Court in Michigan, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and an highly experienced lawyer will promptly contact you.

What To Do if You Have a Personal Protection Order (PPO)

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI | No Comments

What To Do if You Have a Personal Protection Order (PPO)

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are often called upon to help people who have had personal protection orders (PPOs) entered against them. These court orders, sometimes referred to as restraining orders, are court-issued directives compelling a person to not threaten or harm another. The severe ramifications for someone who is the subject of a PPO are little known among the public but they can haunt someone for the rest of his or her life.

What is a PPO?

A personal protection order (PPO) is a court order to stop threats or violence made by one person against another. They are intended to protect from people from threats, harm, or harassment. PPOs will be granted a petitioner convinces a court that he or she has a reasonable fear for his or her personal liberty or safety.

The three types of PPO’s are: domestic relations PPOs; non-domestic (stalking) PPOs, and non-domestic (sexual assault) PPOs.

Note: although the issuance of a PPO creates an inference that there is abuse, we prefer to use the technical terms petitioner (the person who asked for the PPO) and respondent (the person against whom the PPO was entered) to describe the parties. Respondents are not defendants and many PPOs are the result of false allegations made by petitioners.

What Should I Do If I Have a PPO Against Me?

This is one of the most important questions, one that people either forget to ask or ask too late. If someone petitions for and has a PPO against you, you have 14 days FROM THE TIME YOUR ARE SERVED or you have actual notice of the order to file a Motion to Terminate. If you do not act within 14 days, the PPO will stay in effect and you will not have a right to a hearing to dispute the accusations.

Why Should I Care About a PPO if I Don’t Want to See that Person Either?

People commonly believe that PPOs don’t make any difference if they are not interested in making contact. There are two problems with that line of thought:

First, the PPO is entered into the Michigan State Police’s Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN), essentially meaning that it is on your record. When someone searches the network for your name, the PPO will come up, suggesting that you are a dangerous person.

Second, if the petitioner comes to court and alleges a violation of the order, the burden of proof is substantially lower than in criminal matters. If you are charged with a crime, the prosecution must demonstrate that you committed the crime BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. In PPO violations, however, the court will rule based on a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it will hear from both sides and weigh the evidence equally. Though that may sound fair, it means that the chances of you being found culpable are higher. The petitioner may make accusations that you violated the PPO, the court may find you in contempt of the order, and you may be imprisoned for up to 93 days and fined up to $500. Once out, the petitioner could make the same accusations again, leading to more and more jail time and fines as long as the PPO stands.

You Need An Advocate

If you believe someone has obtained a personal protection order against you, call one of the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We have decades of experience dealing with personal protection orders in Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, and throughout Michigan. If you believe someone has a PPO order against you, it is in your best interest to hire a tenacious attorney to fight the allegations made against you. Contact us immediately because time may be ticking!

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Shoplifting Defense in Rochester Hills Michigan

By | Criminal Defense Detroit MI, Shoplifting Defense in Rochester Hills | No Comments

The very best shoplifting defense in Rochester Hills, Michigan can be found with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C, one of the top legal firms in the area. Since 1995 we have represented thousands of clients facing everything from domestic violence to DUI to shoplifting charges. We stand apart from other law firms in that we take the time to develop strong relationships of trust and understanding with our clients. If you are in need of a shoplifting defense in Michigan, know that we will work tirelessly to protect your rights, fighting for charges to be dropped or a lessened sentence.

Shoplifting Defense in Rochester Hills Michigan

Non-judgmental representation can be hard to find

The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C not only understand Michigan law and the various strategies for defending clients, but they also understand what drives a person to commit a crime of this nature. Psychological studies on shoplifting and kleptomania show that most shoplifters are rarely motivated by greed or poverty. Depression and anxiety are the driving factors in most cases. Our attorneys fight to keep repeat offenders out of prison, since we do not feel that individuals struggling with feelings of depression belong behind bars.

What consequences do I face if convicted?

Under Michigan Penal Code, shoplifters face varying degrees of punishment, faced on the degree of the crime. First degree retail fraud is considered a felony and includes up to 5 years of prison and up to 5 years of probation. A second degree retail fraud conviction is considered a misdemeanor and can include up to 1 year of jail time and up to 2 years of probation. A third degree retail fraud, also a misdemeanor, can carry up to 93 days in jail and up to 2 years of probation. For previous convictions and co-occurring criminal offenses, the accused is looking at even more serious consequences. Probation for a retail fraud conviction will include drug and alcohol testing (even if drugs and alcohol played no part in the offense), mental health therapy, an educational program, reporting to a probation officer, community service and more. Although many defendants are sentenced to jail terms, incarceration is not mandatory for any retail fraud conviction and a good lawyer gives you the best chance of avoiding jail or prison.

The Retail Fraud Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C

With care and empathy, we personalize a defense strategy for each individual client. The defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience successfully defending and protecting individuals charged with retail fraud in Rochester Hills, Michigan. For the best representation Michigan has to offer, please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We look forward to helping 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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What Do I Do If I’m Falsely Accused of a Crime?

By | Accused of a Crime | No Comments

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

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

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

Falsely accused of a crime michigan

What else can a lawyer do to help you?

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

Your Best Hope for a Solid Defense

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

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

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Probation Violation in Michigan

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If you stand in violation of probation, enlist the representation of a qualified, seasoned, and reputable attorney immediately. Failing to complete a court-ordered activity or relocating without authorization from your probation officer may seem like small, insignificant choices, the consequences are taken seriously in the state of Michigan. Without the representation of a trusted, seasoned attorney, your probation may be revoked and you will instead be ordered to jail time.

Know the Terms of Your Probation

A large percentage of probation violators fail to carry out a requirement of their probation unknowingly, which is why it is important to be well versed and to fully understand what the court expects from you. Terms of probation are all different, tailored personally to each individual. For example, it may be a term of the probation that the individual must keep a job or be able to pass a drug test. Missing appointments with the probation officer and/or missing a court appearance are common probation violations. We all have moments of forgetfulness and lapses in judgment but even the smallest infraction can have huge ramifications. In an attempt at leniency, the state of Michigan grants probation, and once the trust is broken, it can be difficult to avoid a heavier sentence without a great criminal defense lawyer.

Charged with probation violation michigan

Penalty for Probation Violation

If you are convicted of violating probation for a felony or misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is the same as the maximum penalty for the original offense. For example, if you are on probation for a first offense Domestic Violence, OWI or Retail Fraud, the maximum possible sentence is 93 days in jail. For a felony, the same rule applies.

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C Can Help You Avoid Jail Time

Hiring an aggressive, reputable lawyer is paramount to staying out of jail if you have violated or are being accused of violating probation. We have successfully represented clients in Oakland county, Macomb County, Wayne County, Livingston County, Washtenaw County, and many other counties throughout Southeastern Michigan. We have a strong history with the judges and court staff in these counties and have had success keeping our clients out of jail after probation violations. After decades of defending clients in these counties, we know how to best protect our clients and minimize potential life altering consequences.

If you are currently in violation of probation or have already violated the terms of your probation, please call now. We can help! Please give us a call at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our criminal defense attorneys will promptly contact you.

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Retail Fraud Charges in the State of Michigan

By | Retail Fraud Charges | No Comments

Retail fraud charges are more complicated and involved than most people realize and you, need a reputable and ruthless legal team with years of experience representing you. Your best hope of avoiding jail and the damage a conviction can do to your life is with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. by your side.

Retail Fraud in the State of Michigan

How does the state of Michigan define retail fraud? Shoplifting is when an individual steals or attempts to steal property from a retail store or removes or alters price tags in anyway while in the store. An individual attempting to exchange merchandise with the intent to defraud the merchant falls under the definition of shoplifting.

Retail fraud charges in the state of michigan

Mistakes and Thoughtless Errors Happen

We have all been in stores when we are rushing or we have stressful things on our minds.  It is not uncommon for someone to inadvertently fail to pay for an item when they are under stress or otherwise distracted.  Although some people intentionally take an item from a store for one reason or another, other people make an honest mistake and are wrongfully accused of having the intent to defraud to the store.  Many clients who hire LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. to defend them from retail fraud charges have no prior record and are professionally educated and employed.

Penalties for Retail Fraud in the State of Michigan

The Michigan Penal Code breaks down the different degrees of retail fraud and each crime is punished differently depending on the specifics of the case. The estimated value of stolen goods, the defendant’s prior record, and whether there are co-occurring criminal offenses against the accused will impact the judge’s sentence. Felony retail fraud charges can result in up to 5 years of jail time with a fine of $10,000 or three times the value of stolen property. Consequences are severe, which is why it is absolutely necessary you hire a reputable attorney to defend you.

An experienced lawyer will know how to fight for a lesser sentence than what is typical for your crime or dismissal of the retail fraud charges all together. At least for misdemeanor retail fraud, many times jail can be avoided; however, the collateral consequences of a retail fraud conviction can be worse than jail.  For example, a retail fraud conviction can result in of or inability to obtain employment, damaged credit, deportation for immigrants, damage to reputation, or removal from college or post-graduate school. For felony retail fraud, an experienced defense lawyer can usually help you avoid jail or prison.

We can help!

While shoplifting is not a crime that directly harms another’s well being, compared with other crimes like assault and battery or domestic violence, judges and prosecutors are concerned with the indirect harm to the community and increased prices for retail goods.  In other words, retail fraud is taken seriously in the state of Michigan. With empathy and understanding, we do not judge our clients and instead understand the factors that may drive an individual to make a mistake or commit such a crime. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will fight tirelessly to have charges dropped or lessened. We are among the most aggressive and successful attorneys and one of the only teams of shoplifting lawyers in the state. We have helped clients avoid jail and, in many cases, convictions for retail fraud for decades. Contact us today by calling 248.263.6800, or fill out our contact form to let us know how we can help.

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Variance Below Guidelines at Sentencing

By | Guidelines to Sentencing in Michigan | No Comments

The ruling by the United States Supreme Court that the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) are unconstitutional has opened the door for judges to use their discretion to hand out sentences that are meaningfully tailored to weigh the defendant’s individual circumstances with the interests of society and justice. The guidelines are still used by judges, but they are no longer mandatory. The 2017 SCOTUS case of Beckles v. United States will likely have a significant impact on how judges impose sentences going forward.

Very, very basically, the Supreme Court ruled that part of the sentencing guidelines, called the Residual Clause, is sufficiently defined to be constitutionally valid. In making this ruling, the court pointed out that some vagueness can be excused because the guidelines are not mandatory. The Residual Clause is contained in a part of the guidelines frequently referred to as the career offender guideline. Under this provision, a guideline range for a defendant with certain prior convictions for “crimes of violence” would be arbitrarily increased to be at or near the maximum sentence authorized by law.

Variance Below Guidelines at Sentencing

As federal criminal defense attorneys, the lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., have a track-record of routinely and successfully making arguments for sentence variances below the guidelines. By following the logic of the Beckles decision, increased support is given to arguments that a prior conviction should not trigger the Residual Clause.

An example of an argument that can be made at the time of sentencing is that a sentence at or near the bottom of the ordinary guidelines is sufficient but not greater than necessary. The USSG’s provide that a sentence imposed by a judge should be sufficient, but not greater than necessary. The guidelines were designed to provide sentence ranges that take into account a defendant’s likelihood of recidivism or reoffending. Because the Residual Clause does not take any such data or factors into account, an argument can be made that the ordinary guidelines are a better measure of what sentence is sufficient but not greater than necessary.

The Residual Clause requires that the prior offense contain an element of force. This is not as simple as it may seem and given the holding in Beckles, the sentencing court should feel more empowered to reject a prior offense based on this requirement. The phrase physical force means that it must violent or strong physical force capable of causing pain or injury. The force must be intentional. By closely examining the elements of the prior crime, a defense lawyer may be able to argue that the law does not fulfill this requirement.

To determine if a prior offense qualifies as a “crime of violence” courts have routinely looked to see if the elements of the prior offense match the generic definition of an offense enumerated in the Residual Clause. By closely examining what actions would be a crime under the original law and then comparing that to generic definition, a defense lawyer may find a discrepency. If there is a difference, the defense lawyer can argue that the prior should not be used to trigger the Residual Clause.

Does all of this sound complicated? If you think it does, you’re right. Most criminal defense lawyers struggle with understanding these complex laws and have a difficult time persuasively arguing for sentences below the sentencing guidelines. So why should you consult with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.? Over the course of decades of practicing criminal defense, we have developed an in-depth knowledge of the law that allows us to be highly effective when advocating for a reduced sentence. If you are charged with a felony and want a lawyer who gives you the best chance of getting a variance below guidelines at sentencing, you should call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request or Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you. We will find a way to help you!

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Circuit Court Restoration of Driving Privileges

By | Circuit Court Restoration of Driving Privileges | No Comments

As of August 15, 2016, a person who loses an appeal for restoration with the DLAD (Michigan Driver’s License Appeal Division) could only appeal to Circuit Court and argue that the hearing officer abused his or her discretion or that the decision was not supported by the law. Many people who attempt to appeal on their own or with an inexperienced lawyer lose. The greatest problem with this, in the past, is that there would often be no hope for reversing the DLAD denial on appeal because the record at the DLAD hearing was not sufficient to win an abuse of discretion argument. In other words, an appeal was limited to whatever evidence was admitted at the DLAD hearing. Because the evidence could not be improved in circuit court, the judge was often helpless to order reinstatement of the driver’s license. The change in the law changes this entire process and makes the chances of winning on appeal much greater.

Restoration of Driving Privileges

Under the August 2016 amendment, the person seeking reinstatement of his or her driver’s license can now admit new evidence in the circuit court. The judge must agree to allow for the introduction of the new evidence. The new evidence can be either testimony or physical evidence like letters, expert opinions, documents and substance abuse evaluations.

Now just admitting more evidence is not enough for a win. In fact, winning is generally not about how much evidence the petitioner can provide, it is more about the quality of the evidence. To win, the judge (or DLAD hearing officer) must be convinced by “clear and convincing evidence” the person can adhere to the rules of the road, that any alcohol or drug problem is under control and likely to stay under control, and that he or she is not a danger to themselves or others. Because petitioners in these cases generally have two or more alcohol related driving convictions, there is a starting presumption that he or she is a danger.

Why not try a DLAD appeal without a lawyer or with a budget lawyer?

Client’s now ask whether they should just try a DLAD hearing on their own or with a discount lawyer first and then, if they lose, spend the money to hire a good lawyer for the appeal. This would be a dire mistake. Just because new evidence can now be admitted on appeal, does not make the old evidence disappear. The Driver’s License Restoration Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. sees that even experienced lawyers inadvertently admit evidence that is harmful to the client’s case; for example, letters that do not use the correct language needed for a win or a substance abuse evaluation that uses unpersuasive terms to describe a diagnosis or prognosis. Frequently, this evidence is so poor that it is difficult to overcome, even with the introduction of new evidence. There is no substitute for good, experienced lawyers who have a track record of winning.

Winning Driver’s License Restoration Attorneys

The goal of handling a driver’s license restoration case is to win and win early. While most people lose when they represent themselves or have ineffective lawyers, our attorneys have developed a system that is proven and wins on a consistent basis. We will work with you to make sure that your evidence is in order, effective, and admissible before it goes to the Michigan Department of State and that you are totally prepared to testify effectively on your own behalf. If you’ve lost at the DLAD, we can accurately identify the weaknesses in your evidence and make sure that on appeal to Circuit Court you are in the best possible position to win! For Circuit Court restoration of driving privileges, our team is your best hope of winning.

If you are interested in having your driving privileges restored at the DLAD or Circuit Court, call us at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. If you would prefer, complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.

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