CRIMINAL LAW

Drunk Driving
Michigan has three basic levels of drunk driving offenses. Impaired driving can be any driving that is visibly affected by alcohol. Michigan law presumes that driving is impaired once the driver reaches a blood alcohol level greater than 0.07. However, a person can be convicted of impaired driving with virtually any amount of alcohol in their blood stream. Similarly, OUIL (Operating Under the Influence of Liquor) requires that a driver's ability to operate a vehicle be visibly and substantially impaired or that the driver’s blood alcohol level is above 0.08. Michigan has added a new offense for Operating with a Blood Alcohol content above 0.17, this is a 6 month misdemeanor for a first offense. Operating with a High BAC also requires the defendant to install an ignition interlock on their vehicle for 6 months. Operating while Impaired or Operating while intoxicated  are a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.


Second offense drunk driving. Michigan law makes a second offense drunk driving charge  within Seven (7) years, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, whether the conviction is for OUIL, UBAL or Impaired Driving. Also, any second offense conviction will bring about a suspension of your driving privileges for a minimum of one year. You will also want to discuss vehicle immobilization issues with your attorney.


Any third offense within your lifetime is a felony. As of January 3, 2007, the legislature amended the law to say that if you have a third offense drunk driving in your lifetime it is now a felony. (Previously it was a third offense within a 10 year period). Under revisions made by the Michigan Legislature in October of 1998, it no longer matters what your prior offense were. (Impaired, OUIL, UBAL, etc...) Under Michigan law, all current and prior and alcohol offenses are treated the same. If you are facing a third offense, the possible penalty is five years in prison. Also, any alcohol conviction for a person charged with third offense drunk driving would result in a total loss of driving privileges for at least five years.


Serious injury or death. Michigan has severe penalties for drunk driving cases where a person has been seriously injured or has died as a result. These crimes are treated very seriously by Michigan courts and by the Michigan legislature. Michigan sentencing guidelines require substantial prison time for convictions of these offenses. If you are facing a serious injury or death case, it is vital that you begin immediately to work with a skilled and experienced lawyer.


Sex Crimes
In Michigan, rape or sexual assault crimes are referred to as criminal sexual conduct or CSC.   These charges range between first and fourth degree. Typically, first and third degree CSC involves penetration, while second and fourth degree CSC result from some other form of contact.  With charges involving minor children, this is an area of the law where false allegations, distortions, and witness manipulation often affect the results of the case.  One form of Criminal Sexual Conduct charge is what is commonly referred to as 'statutory rape'.  This is the situation where the sexual encounter involves a person who is less than 16 years of age and therefore not legally able to give consent.   Statutory rape charges are just as serious as any other rape charge and need to be handled correctly. The charges brought against you will depend on the allegations made, as well as by the discretionary decisions of the prosecuting attorney.   
The possible penalties for Criminal Sexual Conduct, Rape, or Child Molestation are severe.
  Jail time for sexual assault crimes can last for decades, with some offenses carrying possible life sentences.  Even for convictions of a lesser degree of CSC, the penalties are severe.  With few exceptions, anyone convicted of sex related crimes in Michigan will be registered and listed on Michigan's Sex Offender Registry (MSOR) for at least 25 years. A second or subsequent offense will require that an offender register on the MSOR for life. This includes juvenile offenders as well, although they generally do not join the public registry until they reach the age of eighteen.  Some convicted sex offenders are now subject to mandatory GPS (global positioning satellite) monitoring once they get out of prison.  Registered sex offenders are now required to post their pictures on the internet and are therefore subject to considerable harassment.  Note: The Michigan Sex Offender Registry has been reinstated pending further judicial review.  
The contents of your computer are also subject to search.   Consider carefully the material you allow to show up on your computer, or in your home. In a large number of CSC investigations, police are obtaining search warrants and seizing personal computers and sexually explicit materials. The computer is then sent to the FBI or Michigan State Police crime lab to have the hard drive examined. Much of what is available on the internet can form the basis of a criminal charge if it shows up on your computer. Also, some courts will allow evidence of pornography on a home computer to be admitted even though the allegations have little to do with pornography.


Drug Charges
Michigan has some of the toughest drug laws in the United States. In Michigan the possession of only 650 grams of cocaine is a life offense. However, possession of even small amounts of cocaine, marijuana, methanphedamines and other controlled substances can seriously affect your future. Michigan also has strict laws concerning the illegal possession of otherwise legal prescription drugs.


Theft Charges
Michigan law has numerous theft and property crimes. In many cases, the same charge could be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the dollar amount involved. Generally, the prosecution must prove that property or money was taken with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of property.