What is a Preliminary Examination?

A preliminary examination is a step in the criminal process in which the district court determines whether a defendant may be charged with a felony. A felony is a crime for which the potential punishment is over one year in prison, as opposed to a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail. The preliminary examination, generally referred to as a prelim, involves a hearing in which the district court will determine two […]

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What is an Implied Consent Hearing?

Michigan’s Implied Consent Act requires that motorists who are arrested for drunk driving submit to a chemical test. Motorists in essence give “implied consent” to submit to a chemical test when afforded the privilege to drive in Michigan. A chemical test usually involves a person breathing into a machine called a DataMaster, which measures blood alcohol content. Refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in the confiscation and destruction of your driver’s license by the arresting […]

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Getting Drunk on a Train

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Drunkenness on Trains or Interurban Cars law. This law makes it illegal to be on a train while “in an offensive state of intoxication.” A conductor can arrest a drunk passenger and deliver him or her to a police officer at the nearest station. Although passengers may not bring their own booze on a train they can purchase it on board. The conductor may take any alcohol brought on the train. […]

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Michigan Methamphetamine Law

Earlier this month, several defendants were sentenced to federal prison as a result of the largest ever methamphetamine seizure in Michigan. The police seized about 20 pounds of pure meth stashed in hidden compartments in the defendants’ vehicle during a traffic stop in the town of Paw Paw. The meth was estimated to have a street value of half a million dollars.  The use of methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal meth, or ice, has increased dramatically over […]

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Fleeing and Eluding

When you see the flashing red and blue lights in the rear-view mirror that means it’s time to pull over to the side of the road at the earliest opportunity. Increasing your speed, turning off your lights, or otherwise trying to escape a police or conservation officer lawfully directing you to stop is a felony in Michigan. This law applies to boats as well as motor vehicles. Read: Information on Criminal Charges in Michigan There are four degrees of […]

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What is Uttering & Publishing?

A look at a criminal court docket in Michigan will show at least several defendants charged with the crime of uttering & publishing. But what does this odd sounding crime involve? Uttering and publishing means to falsify a document in order to cheat someone. Often times this involves the passing of bad checks. The ‘intent’ to injure or defraud is a crucial element in the case against the defendant, and may be hard to prove beyond a reasonable […]

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Michigan Drunk Driving Arrests by County in 2012

Today the Michigan State Police released its annual report of drunk driving statistics in Michigan. Here is a list of drunk driving arrests by county in 2012: Wayne: 5,203 Oakland: 4,776 Macomb: 2,376 Kent: 2,187 Genesee: 1,493 Ingham: 1,218 Kalamazoo: 1,087 Ottawa: 941 Jackson: 907 Saginaw: 812 Washtenaw: 774 Berrien: 720 Livingston: 706 Calhoun: 693 Allegan: 613 Muskegon 588 Saint Clair 582 Lapeer 539 Van Buren 526 Monroe 457 Lenawee 455 Bay 449 Statewide Average 448 Isabella 428 Grand […]

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Michigan Fireworks Law

Michigan Fireworks Law July 4th is almost here and that means it’s time for fireworks. Last year the Michigan legislature legalized the sale of fireworks in the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act. The law originally did not allow cities to ban the use of fireworks the day before, the day of, and the day after a national holiday, such as the Fourth of July. After last summer’s heavy use of fireworks, however, the legislature updated the law to enable cities […]

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Salinas v. Texas: Claiming the Right Against Self-Incrimination

The Supreme Court today ruled that a witness who wishes to use the protection of the Fifth Amendment privilege must claim it explicitly at the time he relies on it. In the case of Salinas v. Texas, Salinas voluntarily went to the police station to answer questions regarding a murder. During questioning Salinas did not respond when asked if he thought that the shotgun shells found at the scene of the crime would match the shotgun he owned. […]

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Maryland v. King: Police May Take DNA Samples from People Arrested for Serious Crimes

The Supreme Court in Maryland v. King ruled that taking DNA samples from individuals arrested for serious crimes does not violate the Fourth Amendment, reasoning that the procedure was no different than photographing and fingerprinting. Justice Scalia authored a scathing dissent, writing that, “Today’s judgment will, to be sure, have the beneficial effect of solving more crimes; then again, so would the taking of DNA samples from anyone who flies on an airplane (surely the Transportation Security Administration […]

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