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Lansing Criminal Defense Law Blog

Charges dropped in Michigan armed robbery for lack of evidence

As most of our readers know, in Michigan prosecutors have to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This high standard of proof is one reason prosecutors often try to extract a guilty plea from the accused, perhaps as part of a plea bargain. They often would rather not roll the dice on going to trial, especially when the evidence against the defendant is shakier than they would like to admit.

Sometimes, the prosecution will charge a person, continue investigating, then drop the charges for lack of evidence. That appears to be what happened in the case of a Michigan man accused of robbing a grocery store security guard.

Elements of Michigan's sexual assault statute

As with other serious crimes, Michigan’s criminal code divides different forms of sexual misconduct into four degrees of severity. Depending on what the prosecution claims the defendant did, he or she could face a relatively light prison sentence, up to a life sentence. Registration on the state sex offender list may also be at stake, based on what level of sex crime you are charged with.

The lowest level of criminal sexual conduct (CSC) in Michigan is fourth degree, which is a misdemeanor. This involves sexual contact that included force, coercion, victim incapacity, or the fact that the defendant works for the Department of Corrections and the victim is an inmate. The maximum penalty for fourth degree CSC is two years in prison and a fine of $500.

The impacts of having a drug offense on one's record

There are many different things that being charged with drug offenses has the potential to impact. One is a person's permanent record, as a person can end up with a significant stain on their record if they are ultimately convicted of drug crimes.

Does the condition of a person's permanent record really matter that much? The answer to this question is a big yes. It is very important to not underestimate how impactful having drug offenses on one's record can be. It can end up touching many aspects of a person's life.

How does the insanity defense work?

In our last post, we discussed a case where a man was found not guilty of a violent crime, after the jury found that he was acting in self-defense. In most states, self-defense is an affirmative defense to certain criminal charges.

An affirmative defense gives criminal defendants the right to acknowledge that they committed the acts the prosecutor claims they did, while also providing an explanation that excuses those actions. Affirmative defenses recognize that sometimes, a person is not in control of his or her actions.

Man who claimed self-defense not guilty of attempted murder

Though Michigan law punishes assault, manslaughter and other violent crimes very severely, it also recognizes that there are situations where violence is necessary. One such context is when the person accused of a violent crime had to use force to protect him- or herself from getting injured or killed by an attacker.

This is commonly known as self defense, and it is a valid defense to many criminal charges. Michigan’s self-defense statute allows individuals to use deadly force against someone else without being convicted of a crime, if the following applied to the situation:

What is embezzlement?

Have you been accused of embezzlement, or do you know someone who has? Embezzlement is a serious crime in Michigan, punishable by large fines and possibly time in jail or prison. But what exactly are the authorities saying a person did when they accuse him or her of embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a theft crime. Specifically, it refers to a person taking assets that belong to another party that had entrusted the person with. Think of an accountant for a business who has access to the company’s checkbook, and writes checks to him- or herself out of it.

New anti-human trafficking laws go into effect Jan. 14

Michigan has shifted its focus in regards to prostitution away from targeting sex workers for arrest and prosecution. Many sex workers are in fact victims of crime rather than criminals themselves. Realizing the reality of human trafficking, a series of new laws taking effect this week emphasize helping exploited sex workers escape their situation.

In October, Gov. Rick Snyder signed 21 bills related to combating human trafficking in Michigan. Eighteen of them officially go into effect on Jan. 14. One new law increases the potential penalties for a human trafficking conviction. Another provides state protection for juvenile sex workers.

6 common defenses to drug possession charges

The police say they found illegal drugs in your possession, or prescription drugs you don’t have the right to. They say they have you dead to rights, so you might as well confess.

Readers who ever find themselves in this situation someday should remember that police and prosecutors are interested in getting as many drug convictions as they can. Beyond the Miranda warning, it is not their job to inform you of your legal rights, or reveal where they may have violated those rights during the investigation or arrest process.

What is Medicare fraud?

Healthcare is one of the largest industries in the U.S., and the government is a part of it. Medicare provides health insurance for older Americans. Surely most of our readers are either on Medicare, or have relatives who do.

Because of the size and cost of this important program, the government is always on the lookout for what it describes as fraud. According to a website co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Justice Department, Medicare fraud occurs when the program is billed for healthcare services or supplies that were never received. The site says the government loses “billions of dollars” to Medicare fraud each year.

Michigan man reaches plea deal in federal child pornography case

Your sexual orientation and what turns you on is not the business of the police -- unless child pornography is involved. Because the government is so aggressive about stopping child pornography from being sent through the Internet, people who solicit photographs from teenagers may find themselves charged with serious felonies.

For example, a Lansing man has pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child, in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of child pornography. Authorities say the man and at least one female aged 15 to 17 shared fantasies of his being their “slave master” online, and that the girl sent him pictures of herself.

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