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Troy MI License Restoration Blog

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Typical Timeline of a Case in Michigan District Court

I am awaiting a resolution to my criminal matter in District Court. How long will it take, and what are the procedural milestones?

When facing criminal charges, the wait-time for a final resolution can seem like forever – particularly in the crowded Michigan district court system. If you are facing a misdemeanor criminal charge in Michigan district court, there is a general timeline your case will follow. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you can be thoroughly prepared for the steps your case will take, which may help ease at least some of your stress and anxiety.

The first step following arrest for a felony or misdemeanor is known as an “arraignment.” This is the first court appearance, and occurs promptly after the arrest is made. For misdemeanors, defendants are typically permitted to post bond immediately – and be scheduled for an arraignment at a later date. At this point, the judge will explain the specifics of the crime charged, and will discuss whether a court-appointed attorney needs to be made available.

During the next step, misdemeanor criminal defendants will attend a pretrial hearing known as the “pretrial examination.” At this stage, the accused will enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty,” and the judge may immediately enter a sentence against a defendant who opts to plead guilty. For those choosing to plead not guilty, a trial date will be set at this hearing.

Assuming the defendant has pleaded not guilty, both sides (prosecution and defense) will prepare for the upcoming trial. As time progresses, the prosecution may offer a plea bargain, which the defendant is under no obligation to accept. Once the trial date arrives, the prosecution will work to prove each element of the misdemeanor criminal charge, and the defense will combat these allegations with various defensive strategies depending on the unique facts of the case.

If you have been charged with a crime in any Michigan District Court, immediately call the Law Offices of Martin Lievois for crucial advice as to how to proceed.  In Troy Michigan at 248-419-1566.

http://michiganlicenserestorationlawyer.com/flint-mi-troy-mi-criminal-defense-lawyer_pa16797.htm


Monday, October 26, 2015

Driver's License Suspensions and Revocations in Michigan

What are the differences between driver's license suspensions and revocations?

Driving, while often considered a right by the general population, is actually a privilege which you have to earn and which can be taken away. There are a number of reasons that the state may deprive you of your driver's license, including certain serious traffic violations and/or your unwillingness to comply with certain recommendations or requirements.

Actions that may be taken against you for unsafe driving range from restrictions to revocations. The most serious action is a revocation -- the termination of your license and privilege to operate a motor vehicle. When your license is revoked, you are only eligible to reapply for license restoration after 1 year following a first revocation, and after 5 years for a subsequent revocation within 7 years of a prior revocation. Even after the appropriate time period has elapsed, there is no guarantee that your license will be returned. You must prove that you can be considered a safe driver based upon verifiable evidence and testimony.

A driver's license suspension, on the other hand, is for a shorter period of time and includes both a beginning and an end date. Instead of having to reapply for a license, as after a revocation, the driver is only required to appear at a branch office and pay the reinstatement fee in order to be relicensed. Of course, this presumes that the driver has not violated any driving laws during the period of suspension.

There are also, however, restrictions or suspensions that are considered "indefinite," meaning they will not terminate until so approved by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or by a court. An example of an "indefinite" suspension would be a suspension imposed for a medical reason. No end date for the suspension is established unless and until the driver provides medical data substantiating that he or she is again fit to drive.

If you, or a loved one, are threatened with license suspension or revocation in the state of Michigan, you should promptly engage the services of an experienced attorney like Martin T. Lievois, who can handle your case with skill and efficiency. He can be reached at 248-419-1566 or 810-250-4550.


Monday, October 26, 2015

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU PAY FOR A MICHIGAN DAAD (LICENSE RESTORATION) APPEAL??

For the most I put stock in the old saying, “You get what you pay for”. This is very true when it comes to the attorney/client relationship.

In light of the fact that, “you don’t know what you don’t know”, the petitioner’s case is only as good as the attorney’s preparation makes it. If the attorney misses a requirement of the statute or just plain does not prepare the client adequately, there is very little the client can do to rectify the situation.

And, for the client, they will be unaware of any problems until they get the denial of their petition and it is too late to do anything about it.

Having said that, what should a person pay for a license restoration hearing?? Since there is no “one size fits all” price out there, it really boils down to the difficulty of the particular case. Does the petitioner have many drinking/driving offenses? Does the petitioner have multiple DWLS charges after his license was revoked? Has the petitioner attempted a DAAD hearing already, and failed? How many hearings?

As you can see, there are numerous factors to consider when arriving at a fair price. Furthermore, the above list is only a scratching of the surface when one looks at the big picture.

Suffice it to say that the nuances are varied and the pitfalls are plentiful.

That brings the discussion to another point. Knowing the subject matter inside and out is absolutely necessary for the attorney and this goes without saying. However, an effective representation includes knowledge of not only the law but also of the procedural aspects of the hearing itself and also of the particular hearing officer and his/her idiosyncrasies.

Knowing the hearing officers by name, knowing how they “tick”, knowing the questions they are going to ask, knowing what they want to hear, knowing what the DAAD hearing officer thinks is important and knowing how not to waste the hearing officers time are all critical for the best odds of success.

In my mind,, I am a better attorney than I was 25 years ago. Many beat downs later and many hearings of learning the ropes and getting to know the hearing officers on a personal level, has made me the effective lawyer in this field that I am today.

Unfortunately, for lawyering there is a learning curve. Everyone has to start somewhere and everyone has to make the “rookie” mistakes. When you hire me, all those wrinkles have been ironed out many years ago, now the wrinkles are on my face but the experience is on my resume and for those who are fortunate enough to hire me are those who get the benefit of 26 years of experience.

I know how nerve racking driving without a license can be (in addition to being illegal). I also can imagine how difficult it must be trying to make ends meet without the privilege of being able to drive.

When having driving privileges is essential and losing a DAAD petition is not an option, call the Law Offices of Martin Lievois in Troy at 248-419-1566.

http://michiganlicenserestorationlawyer.com/flint-mi-troy-mi-license-restoration-lawyer_pa18131.htm


Thursday, October 15, 2015

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION DAAD HEARING OFFICERS WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO

DAAD hearings, although quasi-judicial in nature, are similar to court proceedings in the sense that they have “standards of proof” which must be met if the petitioner is to prevail. The standard of proof that applies to DAAD hearings is “clear and convincing” evidence.

This is a relatively high bar to clear but for good reason.

DAAD hearing officers (located in Lansing, Michigan for petitioners coming from the Genesee County area) are fully aware of relapse statistics. They know that these statistics are not favorable to the alcoholic. They are also aware that some petitioners are not above lying in order to get the relief they need. So it is not enough to merely suggest that you have stopped drinking (or drugging).

 Your “sobriety story” must be comprehensive, detailed and believable.

So the bottom line is time. Time must be spent developing the necessary proofs to be successful. Not only do the proofs need to be developed, they also need to be properly articulated. That is, they need to be orderly and understandable to the hearing officer. Being efficient so that the hearing officer does not have to ask a million follow up questions is good.

Michigan DAAD hearing officers have schedules and they are tight! They schedule hearings every half hour and they do not have time to waste. Not wasting their time is appreciated.

So getting to the crux of the matter is key. Establishing when, why and how the Michigan DAAD petitioner became sober and what measures he/she has put into effect in order to remain sober is number one in terms of importance.

For the client who has already gone through the appeal process unsuccessfully will see a sharp contrast in how I prepare my petitioners for a Michigan DAAD hearing compared to other attorneys.

This contrast is why I have a very high rate of success. My work ethic and holding preparation as my number one priority is why, in over 25 years of practice, I have lost only a handful of appeals (most of the losers are the result of the client saying something off the wall and really stupid….which is why I repeatedly tell my clients not to add lib).

Although the preparation phase takes a little time and effort on the clients part, it is completely doable and, when the petitioner is sitting in the hearing room, crazy nervous, he/she will be thankful for the effort and preparation prior to the hearing.

If your license has been revoked and you cannot risk going another year without driving privileges, call the Law offices of Martin Lievois in Flint at 810-232-3223. http://michiganlicenserestorationlawyer.com/flint-mi-troy-mi-license-restoration-lawyer_pa18131.htm

Monday, October 12, 2015

“Habitual Alcohol Offenders” under Michigan Law

What is a “habitual alcohol offender” and why does it matter?

Under Michigan law, a “habitual alcohol offender” is a designation given to a person who satisfies certain criteria. Once a person is labeled as a “habitual alcohol offender,” the individual's driver’s license must be revoked, and can only be reissued upon the satisfaction of certain conditions.

The designation is given to those who have two of the following convictions within 7 years, or three of the following within 10 years:

  1. Operation of a vehicle while intoxicated
  2. Operation of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both
  3. Operation of a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04 or greater
  4. Operation of a vehicle while under the age of 21 with any alcohol present in the body other than alcohol present due to a generally recognized religious ceremony

According to this definition, “intoxicated” means that one’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or greater. Note that only one conviction of the fourth type (4) can be counted. Also important to note is that a conviction under a local code or a similar code from another jurisdiction can be used to satisfy the combination.

The consequence of such a designation depends on whether the person has had their license revoked in the past. If this is the person’s first license revocation, the license is revoked for one year. If it's a subsequent revocation or denial within 7 years, the revocation lasts for a minimum of 5 years.

Once a person's license has been revoked under this provision, he or she must wait until the revocation period has expired before applying for reinstatement. In order to be considered for a driver’s license again, the person must attend a hearing in Michigan's Driver Appeal and Assessment Division of the Secretary of State. At the hearing, the habitual alcohol offender must prove to the hearing officer that she or he is no longer a threat to other drivers on the road. The Hearing Officer has the authority to issue a restricted driver’s license, or a full driver’s license, depending upon the proof offered. Restricted driver’s licenses are commonly used to allow the habitual alcohol offender to drive to and from the individual's place of employment, and to other strictly necessary destinations.

If you reside in Michigan and are concerned you may be a “habitual alcohol offender,” you should seek an experienced attorney to represent you. Call Martin T. Lievois, Attorney at Law, at either his Troy office: 248-419-1566 or his Flint office: 810-250-4550.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Understanding the Varying Degrees of Theft and Property Crimes in Michigan

What are the penalties for shoplifting in the state of Michigan?

Theft and property crimes can vary in severity and maximum sentence, depending on the nature of the item stolen and any extenuating factors present at the time of the incident. Generally, the more valuable the item(s) stolen, the greater the possible punishment. Likewise, the presence of any aggravating factors (e.g., force, injury, extensive damage) could increase the possible sentence as well. The following explains some of the most common Michigan property crimes, which are found in Chapter 750 of the Michigan Penal Code.

Larceny

Larceny is the legalistic term for theft, and is simply defined as the “stealing [of] any of the…. property of another person.” The severity of the larceny charge will depend on the value of the item stolen, and a defendant could face a felony larceny charge –punishable by up to 10 years in prison if the item is valued at $20,000 or more, or the person has a history of prior larceny charges. If the item is valued at between $1,000 and $19,999, the maximum felony larceny sentence is five years in prison. By contrast, if the item is valued at $ 200 or less than $1,000, the larceny crime is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than one year in prison.

Each larceny offense carries a significant financial penalty as well. For the highest felony larceny crime, the offender could face a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the value of the property stolen, whichever is greater.

Shoplifting

Known as “retail fraud,” there are three degrees of shoplifting crimes on the books in Michigan. Retail fraud in the first degree involves theft of retail items valued at $1,000 or more is considered a felony, and is punishable by imprisonment up to five years and a maximum fine of $10,000 or three times the value of the item stolen – whichever is greater.

Second degree retail fraud involves the theft of items valued between $200 and $1,000, and is considered a misdemeanor in Michigan, punishable by up to one year in jail  and a fine equal to or greater than $2000, or three times the value of the stolen goods. Lastly, third degree retail fraud of items less than $200 (also a misdemeanor) is punishable to up to 93 days of jail time and/or a fine equal to the $500 or three times the value of the stolen goods, whichever is greater.

There are a number of additional theft crimes under the Michigan Penal Code. If you are facing a charge of larceny, shoplifting, or any other property crime, please contact Martin T. Lievois 248-419-1566 or 810-250-4550 to obtain the most aggressive defense possible.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Changes in Michigan Drug Sentencing Laws Could Lead to New Sentence for Detroit’s Infamous ‘White Boy Rick’

Is there recourse for people wrongfully convicted of drug offenses, or unfairly sentenced because of convictions at a young age?

Over the past year, the U.S. Supreme Court, along with several state courts, renewed the constitutional debate over sentencing thresholds as pertaining to juveniles sentenced to life behind bars. On the federal level, the Supreme Court held in 2012 that judges could not sentence anyone under age 18 with an absolute sentence of life without the possibility of parole – even if convicted of first degree murder. Since then, however, it has been unclear whether the decision was to apply retroactively, and states like Michigan began making landmark strides to settle the issue.

In one historic case, a teenaged Detroit drug trafficker was sentenced to life without parole after being found with hundreds of pounds of cocaine nearly 27 years ago. Since then, the Supreme Court’s ruling has shed new light on the equality of such a sentence – especially when the defendant’s only crimes were drug-related and did not involve charges of homicide.

The former trafficker, known as ‘White Boy Rick’, was just 14 years old when he began pedaling major quantities of drugs throughout the Detroit area. Despite cooperating with federal authorities while in prison, he was denied parole in 2003, 2007, and 2012. Now, in 2015, the offender now known as Richard Wershe, Jr. has been granted an opportunity for a new sentence after a judge determined that recent changes to juvenile sentencing guidelines imposed the necessity of a new opportunity for Mr. Wershe.

According to data, there are approximately 50,000 Americans serving a sentence of life without parole – 2,500 of whom were sentenced as minors.

The defendant in this case has already served 27 years behind bars, and is now in his early forties. A statement by the nonprofit Sentencing Project , which works to reduce the imposition of life sentences without parole, reads as follows: “We do know there are many people who have changed substantially after a couple decades of incarceration and don’t present nearly the public safety risk they did at the time of their crime.”

If you are facing a recent drug charge  or feel you have been unfairly convicted or sentenced, and would like to help protect or regain your freedom, please contact Martin T. Lievois, Attorney at Law. Proudly serving clients in Troy, Flint, and surrounding areas of Michigan, he can be reached at : 248-419-1566 or 810-250-4550.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

LICENSE RESTORATION: ARE YOU WORTHY?

From the perspective of an attorney it is easy to forget that often times the client is basically clueless as to all aspects of a license restoration hearing.

This is true not only of the “procedural” aspect which is more obvious, but also of the “essence” of the hearing. In light of the fact that the lion’s share of my restoration petitions deal with alcohol abuse, the Hearing Officer’s main objective is to determine the petitioner’s sobriety and the likelihood that the petitioner will remain sober.

Although the petitioner, initially, must wait a period of time to become “eligible” to even be able to petition the Secretary of State and ask for privileges; this is something the petitioner has to be proactive about making happen. In other words, the mere passing of time satisfies the “elegibility” requirement, but that’s where the work starts.

And probably needless to say, that’s the easy part!!! If you have read any of my blog articles you probably know by now that a license restoration petition, or more accurately, the “preparation” for the hearing is, for the attorney and client, a proactive one. To be sure the guidance, actual preparation of the petition along with its submission and various other tasks are all on me… but.a good amount of leg work and effort is born by the client.

I think, in part, the elation and relief felt by the client at the hearings conclusion is because the payoff makes the arduous process worth it. And that is why I love this area of work so much. After 25 years of practicing law, I rarely see clients happier with a “result” as I do in this endeavor. It makes it worth it to me too.

That is why I like to separate myself from the pack so to speak by staying on top of every aspect of the procedure. Many unwitting petitioners hire attorneys who are not. My approach is to make sure the client never loses focus or goes off the reservation in preparing.

A large part of the prep is timing. As in, “we don’t have a lot of it”. From the date of the first testimonial letter we have ninety days to complete all necessary components of the proofs and have them submitted along with the petition and request for the hearing. Now I like to submit all proofs well before we approach the ninety day mark but some clients simply need more time for various reasons. Mostly, in my experience, it is the testimonial letters that causes the delay and that is because they have to be perfect. But whatever delay this causes it is worth it. Remember, we get one shot per year, so it’s worth it to do it right the first time.

For the client that is willing to “bite the bullet”, pony up the $$$ and then follow all my instructions is the client who gets his license privileges back because I refuse to lose!!!

If you are serious about getting back on the road “legally” give the law offices of Martin Lievois a call in Troy at 248-419-1566 or in Flint at 810-250-4550.

Monday, August 31, 2015

National Bipartisan Group Looking to De-escalate Overpopulation and Overcharging of Offenders in Michigan

What is the latest effort to control prison overpopulation in Michigan?

Prison overpopulation is a nationwide problem, and Michigan is, unfortunately, no exception. In many jurisdictions --, including the federal government – lawmakers have begun the process of re-evaluating the necessity of incarceration for certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenses. This is particularly true for offenders who are perceived likely to reap greater benefits from rehabilitative than punitive measures.

In August, 2015, the U.S. Justice Action Network opted to focus its national attention on Michigan, hoping to combine advocacy groups from both political parties to seek “sweeping” changes designed to control outrageous costs while benefiting society as a whole.

The group espouses several worthwhile goals within the Michigan Department of Corrections. First, it hopes to find ways to ease offenders back into society, particularly following lengthy prison sentences. In so doing, the group hopes to lower recidivism rates, boost employment, and overall to create a healthy transition from prison to the community.

Secondly, the group plans to examine the problems of overcrowding and “over-criminalization” by reviewing the effectiveness of current policies and penal procedures. To this end, the group plans to examine data concerning sentencing rates to determine whether criminalizing certain offenses is actually the best way to treat offenders in order to achieve long-term success.

According to Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder, the executive branch has already begun outlining plans and ideas for the legislature to consider – which it is slated to do beginning in the Fall of 2015.

As we reported earlier this summer, the Michigan Supreme Court has slowly begun re- examining low-level marijuana crimes, particularly in light of recent advancements in the state’s legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Most recently, the Court clarified uncertainties in the statute with regard to whether unlicensed disbursement of medicinal marijuana to legitimate users had the net effect of creating an illegal drug sale. The Court ruled it did not..

If you are concerned about a recent drug possession charge and would like to discuss your options with a criminal defense attorney, please contact Martin T. Lievois, Attorney at Law at 248-419-1566 or 810-250-4550.  We serve clients throughout the Troy and Flint, Michigan areas with skill and concern.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Supreme Court Ruling on Medical Marijuana Effectively Nullifies Hundreds of Pending Possession Charges

What is the impact of the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling on medical marijuana?

Legal medical marijuana laws – and their intersection with unlawful recreational possession – have caused something of a conundrum for Michigan residents, particularly with regard to several unsettled grey areas involving medicinal marijuana providers and legitimate therapeutic use.

In August, 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court was again faced with an appeal by a woman with a valid prescription from medical marijuana who nonetheless endured humiliation and hardship after her personal assets were seized and she endured the stigma of a pending narcotics charge. In this case, justices were required to determine the level of evidence necessary to allow a defendant the opportunity to invoke a medical marijuana defense to a possession with intent to distribute charge. After clarification of this threshold, dozens of Detroit-area cases were dismissed for lack of evidence – and presumably hundreds more statewide.

More specifically, the Michigan Supreme Court grappled with a scenario in which a professional provider was dispensing marijuana to patients but was not enrolled or connected through the state’s official provider network. At his trial, the doctor sought to introduce evidence that he is a valid medical provider dispensing much-needed therapy to patients with conditions like multiple sclerosis. His defense was overruled, however,  because he did not have the proper paperwork and had not followed the proper protocol for enrollment. In sum, the trial court held that, regardless of his actual status as a therapeutic provider, the lack of supporting documentation worked to trump any legitimate defense.

The Supreme Court contradicted the lower court's ruling, finding that while a provider may face sanctions or administrative reprimand (i.e., license suspension) for failing to properly enroll in the state’s therapeutic provider network, this fact alone is insufficient to render the provider guilty of marijuana possession. More specifically, the court held that “[compliant] conduct is not automatically tainted by the defendant’s improper conduct related to a different charged offense unless there is a nexus between the improper conduct and the otherwise proper conduct.”

If you are facing a difficult or complicated situation involving a marijuana possession charge and would like to speak an experienced attorney, please contact the Michigan offices of Martin T. Lievois today in Flint at 810-250-4550 or in Troy at 248-419-1566.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Effect of a Michigan DUI on Professional Healthcare Licensure

As a nurse, what could happen to my professional license if I received a DUI? 


For those in the healthcare field, a DUI arrest, charge, or conviction could mean more than mere fines and inconvenience. Under applicable Michigan regulations, authorities are required to report instances of DUI to the state licensing boards within a short period of time following arrest. From there, a licensee’s privilege to practice could be suspended or permanently revoked, depending on the facts surrounding the situation. Of course, if you are a medical professional facing this scenario, please do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Michigan DUI attorney right away. 

Timeline following a DUI arrest

When a medical professional is convicted of a DUI in Michigan, law enforcement must notify the State Licensing Authority within 21 days from the date the clerk enters the conviction on the court’s record. Under MCL 333.16101 to 333.18838, this reporting mandate covers the following medical professionals: 
• Acupuncturist
• Athletic trainer
• Audiologist
• Dentist
• Dental Hygienist or Assistant
• Marriage & Family Therapist
• Massage Therapist
• Nursing Home Administrator
• Pharmacist
• Physician
• Social Worker
• Social Service Technician
• Veterinarian
• Veterinary Technician

This same statute lists the various crimes and offenses that must be reported by law enforcement if the defendant is a healthcare professional. While DUI is not explicitly listed among the dozen or so included offenses, the list does include the requirement to report any “[c]onviction of a misdemeanor that is reasonably related to or that adversely affects the license’s ability to practice in a safe and competent manner….” – which has been historically interpreted to include a conviction of DUI. 

Once the State Licensing Authority has received the information, it will issue its own determination of the best way to handle the conviction against the professional, ranging from private sanctions to permanent license revocation. 

If you are a licensed professional facing a DUI charge, do not take a chance with your livelihood. For more information about how to avoid a career-ending conviction, please contact DUI/ DWI defense attorney Martin T. Lievois today in Flint at (810) 250-4550 or in Troy at (248) 419-1566. 


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