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Lansing Criminal Defense Law Blog

Can police 'follow' me by tracking my cellphone?

Wireless technology allows us to stay in touch with more ease and convenience than ever before. A smartphone about the size of a deck of cards gives you the power to make calls, text and update your social media from almost anywhere in Lansing.

One trade-off that many residents are likely unaware they are making for this service is their privacy is being eroded. The same cellphone that keeps you in constant touch with the world can be used by state and federal law enforcement to follow you -- often, without having to get a search warrant first.

Assault charge dropped against Flint man after more investigation

Michigan police must have probable cause that a person committed a crime before they can arrest him or her. Even then, “probable cause” is not the same thing as proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, the accused person’s defense attorney will conduct an independent investigation, and find evidence that the authorities missed that disproves the defendant’s guilt.

Criminal charges against a Michigan man in relation to a bar fight were expected to be dropped. MLive.com reports that new information has emerged that suggests the defendant was only defending himself against the alleged victim.

What happens if the police want to search my car?

Even the most prudent driver may be stopped by the police at one time or another.  However, being asked to exit the car, or to be asked if search the car may be searched may be questions that may catch you flat-footed and afraid for what may happen next.

As such, this post will briefly highlight your rights under the Fourth Amendment as they apply to roadside automobile searches.

Michigan couple alleges false prosecution in 2007 rape charges

A lawsuit against three former Michigan prosecutors accuses them of relying on dubious evidence to charge the parents of a severely disabled girl with sexually assaulting her. In her opening statements on Oct. 9, the couple’s attorney accused the defendants of allowing political ambition to interfere with their duty to serve the interests of justice.

Authorities arrested the couple late in 2007. They are the parents of a severely autistic daughter who cannot speak. The arrest and charges were largely based on a message that the then-14-year-old girl “typed” with the help of a school aide.

Consequences of a conviction can last long after official sentence

Being convicted of a crime can mean jail or prison time, fines and other consequences. Among these are subtler, societal penalties that may linger the rest of the defendant’s life, long after he or she has paid his or her legal debt.

First, there is getting arrested. Though an arrest is not the same thing as an indictment, let alone a conviction, being placed under arrest can be highly embarrassing for a suspect and his or her family. Depending on the circumstances, you may lose your job. Friends and relatives may turn away.

Connection between gambling addiction, embezzlement is common

There are many reasons why people who commit white collar crimes do what they do. Sometimes, embezzlement is the result of a person who has gotten into terrible financial trouble, has become desperate, and does something they would not normally do. They are not career criminals, but someone in the grip of an addiction or compulsion.

Gambling addiction is a serious problem in the U.S., according to Psych Central. Perhaps 2 to 4 percent of country is addicted to gambling. With millions of people potentially struggling with a compulsion to gamble, it is perhaps not surprising that some of them have been entrusted with money belonging to their employer, clients or other third party, and have found the temptation to take some of it too strong to resist.

Difference between DUI, impaired driving charges slight in MI

Michigan law enforcement continues to aggressively pursue those they suspect of driving under the influence. As we discussed in a recent article on our website, even if a motorist has just a trace amount of a drug in their system when they get pulled over, they could still face criminal charges -- possibly even if the drug is a legal prescription medication or over the counter medicine.

Michigan law creates a distinction between “operating while intoxicated,” commonly known as DUI or DWI, and “impaired driving.” A motorist is guilty of OWI when he or she is driving while “under the influence” of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a combination of the two. Police may test a suspect’s breath or blood for the presence of drugs and alcohol.

Michigan appeals court sides with defendant in drug case

Search and seizure of evidence is an important issue when it comes to criminal defense, especially cases involving drug charges. Police are bound by certain rules when investigating suspected criminal activity and failure to follow those rules can ultimately weaken prosecution’s case. A recent decision by a Michigan court of appeals highlights this fact.

The decision, which came on Wednesday, held that police who pulled over a driver because the tow ball on his vehicle blocked his license plate did not have probable cause to make that stop, and that therefore their subsequent search of the defendant’s vehicle was illegal. In the search, police had found marijuana and other drugs, but because the search was illegal, that evidence was tainted. 

New sexual assault kit deadline may improve accuracy

Generally, a major part of a modern police investigation into a sexual assault complaint includes forensic evidence. This includes the so-called “sexual assault kit” or “rape kit,” which tests for DNA evidence left behind by the perpetrator.

Back in 2009, it came to light that the Detroit Police Department had kept more than 11,000 of these kits in storage without ever testing them. In reaction to this incident, the Legislature passed a bill earlier this year that sets a time limit for law enforcement to retrieve the sexual assault kit from the medical facility where the victim had the testing conducted.

Michigan's Labor Day anti-DUI police campaign ended Sept. 1

Now that the Labor Day weekend is over, kids in Michigan are going back to school, while their parents are returning to work. People of all ages said an unofficial goodbye to summer. Others had a less-than-happy holiday weekend -- they were cited or arrested for suspicion of drinking and driving.

As in many other states, Michigan law enforcement agencies stepped up their efforts to make DUI arrests before and during the long weekend. Starting back on Aug. 15, and running until Sept. 1, state and local police participated in the national Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

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