Domestic Violence Charge Dismissed
Sexual Assault Charges Dropped
Felony Heroin Possession Case Dismissed
DUI Case Dismissed
Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
Best Lawyers
The Best Lawyers in America
Avvo Clients' Choice
Avvo Rating 10.0
National College for DUI Defense
National Collage for DUI Defense
American Council Of Second Amendment Lawyers

US News and World Report has once again included the Barone Defense Firm as among the region’s Best Law Firms for DUI/DWI Defense. The Firm has been so listed since 2010.

US News and World Report ranks lawyers based on a variety of criteria. While the award is granted by the publication, it is essentially based on peer review. For a law firm to be ranked by US News and World Report a lawyer in the subject firm must first be among those lawyers who have previously received a “Best Lawyers” award by US News and World Report. These lawyers have passed peer review, meaning that other lawyers in the region, or nationally if applicable, have indicated that the lawyer possesses sufficient subject matter expertise, is known to possess and execute a high level of responsiveness to the rigors and demands of the profession, including things such as decorum with the courts, timely filing of pleadings and papers, responding to clients and opposing counsel, and many other professional demands. Peers are also asked whether they would refer a matter to a firm and whether they consider a firm a worthy competitor. On this basis, the Barone Defense Firm has a tier one regional ranking for the area of DUI/DWI.

For more than 20 years the Barone Defense Firm has developed its pristine reputation for DUI/DWI defense and distinguished itself among its peers for excellence in this challenging area of criminal law. However, for the later portion of the past 20-year period the Barone Defense Firm has expanded its practice to include other areas of criminal defense at both the State and Federal level and has developed expertise in such disparate areas as firearms law, criminal sexual conduct including the possession manufacture and distribution of child pornography (at the Federal level) and CSAM (child sexually abuse material) and other CSC cases at the state level, and many areas of white collar criminal including health care fraud, prescription fraud, complex financial crimes and RICO.

If you were arrested for DUI in Michigan, then you were likely given either a breath or blood test. The purpose of this test is to determine if you had a bodily alcohol level at or above Michigan’s legal limit of .08. Because a breath test above the legal limit is all the prosecutor needs to prove your guilt, a successful trial defense requires a successful breath test defense.

Many lawyers see DUI cases with breath tests as not defensible. While there is little question that juries tend to give breath test results a great deal of “weight” in deciding their verdicts, all breath test cases are defensible at trial. For example, the Michigan DUI lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm have successfully used all eleven of the following defenses:

  1. Breath Test Operator Mistakes – the typical DUI officer in Michigan has only attended a single one-day course after which they become certified class II operators of the breath test machine, in Michigan called the DataMaster DMT. Only a couple hours of this one-day training actually covers the administration of the breath test. The rest of the training relates to things like how the machine works, how to fill out paperwork and other related administrative tasks and functions. There is a written test given after the training, and officers only need to score a 70% to pass.  If they don’t pass a second time, they can retake the training, after which they get two more tries. Basically, this means everyone passes. Making matters worse, after this “training” there is almost no oversight in the field to confirm that the officer is properly administering the test, and the training does not include a practicum. Because the training is so inadequate, officers often make mistakes in administering the breath test, mistakes they may be totally unaware they are making. Some of these mistakes can lead to false and unreliable test results. These mistakes can be uncovered through a careful review of the breath test being administered and/or through cross-examination at trial.

Never has the security of our electronic information been more important. Phones and other electronic devices now have the capacity to store our life’s most important information to be accessed in an instant. Nearly everyone’s phone contains tons of information we’d prefer remain private. From passwords to pictures, Google search history, websites visited, images and files accessed, downloaded or shared, places we’ve traveled, with whom we’ve associated or communicated, social media posts made and reviewed, emails and text messages, banking and financial information, even our love interests – it’s all a touch away from the Government’s prying eyes.

Consider this hypothetical

Imagine for a moment that you’re driving on your local main road. You’re going slightly over the speed limit but nothing crazy. Suddenly, an officer starts following you. The officer turns on the patrol car’s sirens and you pull over. You’re told you were pulled over for speeding, but something seems off. You can tell the officer suspects something more than just speeding.

According to science, breath alcohol tests in DUI cases can be as much as 230 percent higher than corresponding blood tests. Because blood transports consumed beverage alcohol from the stomach to the brain where it can reach sufficient levels to cause impairment, a person’s blood alcohol level is what really matters. Therefore, in the context of a DUI case, breath alcohol only relevant  to the extent that it accurately reflects blood alcohol content. This is true because breath alcohol does not have the capacity to cause intoxication.

To understand just how significant this fact is, consider a hypothetical case where a driver’s breath test comes back at .18. This would likely result in the driver being charged with an enhanced DUI, or what Michigan calls “super drunk driving,” a charge applicable to drivers with a BAC of .17 or above. While this breath test evidence might look bad for the driver, it is well within the realm of scientific possibility that this same driver has corresponding or simultaneous blood alcohol level of .063, or well below the legal limit of .08. Understanding why this is so, and why breath testing can be so pernicious, requires a basic understanding of alcohol metabolism.

Pharmacokinetics and the Absorption, Distribution and Elimination of Alcohol

Dealing with any criminal charge can be a daunting task. This is especially true when facing Federal criminal charges because most people feel more frightened and intimidated when the criminal charges are brought in the Federal courts as opposed to the State courts.  If you are facing Federal charges you may wonder why you are not in State court. Or, in the worst-case scenario, you may wonder why you are being prosecuted in both courts. There are many reasons for this decision, and these are discussed below.

Being Prosecuted in Both State and Federal Court

To begin with, all courts handling criminal cases are in either the Federal or the State court system, but the criminal cases they are empowered to hear, also called their “jurisdiction” differs significantly. Federal court judges have the power to preside over matters involving the U.S. Constitution and over all Federal Laws, which are those passed by the U.S. Congress. State court judges are empowered to preside over cases involving the State Constitution, and over all State laws, meaning those passed by a State or Municipal governing body. State courts can therefore preside over traffic tickets and state misdemeanor and felony cases. The court of primary jurisdiction in the Federal system is called the “district court” whereas the court of primary jurisdiction in the State system is the circuit court.  In the State system, the district court is a lower court, below the circuit court, and is the place all state criminal charges begin.  State felonies must be handled in the circuit court however.

The Barone Defense Firm is pleased to announce that Patrick Barone, the Firm’s founding member, has been admitted to practice before the Federal District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Mr. Barone has been admitted to practice before the Federal District Court for the Eastern District since 1993.

Mr. Barone was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1991. He was admitted to the State Bar of Illinois in 1993.  However, being admitted to the state bar in one or more states does not authorize a lawyer to practice before any Federal Court.  This is because the rules applicable to Federal Courts differ from State Courts in several ways.  First, simply being admitted to a state bar is necessary but insufficient. Admission before a specific Federal Court requires that the attorney seeking admission prepare a petition to be filed with the Federal Court.  This petition must be supported by a sponsoring attorney who vouches for the attorney seeking admission.  The sponsoring attorney must already be a member of Federal Court where the petitioning lawyer is seeking admission.

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Federal Criminal Defense Team

Pornography has never been easier to access. Anyone with a smart phone can readily obtain all kinds of pornography. While porn sites are often clearly named, such as Pornhub, other platforms containing pornographic images are less obvious and include many kinds of social media, such as such common apps like Tumblr and Instagram, various chat groups like Kik, and video sharing sites like BitTorrent.  Regardless of the means used to access pornography one thing remains constant. No matter how careful a person in when trying to cover up their digital footprint, chances are a good forensic analyst will be able to uncover that which is meant to stay private.

Child pornography is always illegal to receive, possess, distribute, or manufacture.  Many people believe that if they delete images on their phone or computer, these images are really deleted. However, simply hitting delete rarely actually destroys the evidence. If this were true, then nearly all child pornography cases would be based on destroyed evidence.  One place such deleted images may reside is in a computer’s cache or temporary memory.

What is a cache?

Attorney and Practice Magazine recently invited Patrick Barone “membership” as one of Michigan’s Top 10 Attorneys. The bar to entry?  Payment of either $295 for 2020, $295 for 2021 or $590 for both years. Subsequent to payment, Mr. Barone would have available to him a host of impressive materials, from a nice looking website badge to a all plaque to be proudly displayed on the office wall.

Lawyer Ratings Have Become Big Business

In the last decade lawyer ratings have become big business. Most of them consist of a few lawyers getting together and deciding they can get rich by offering paid-for credentials to other lawyers. Several times per month at the criminal defense lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm receive solicitations to be listed on this “top 10 list,” or that “nation’s best list,” usually with the only bar to entry a small payment of usually about $300-$500.

Sex crime allegations in Michigan are taken very seriously by law enforcement. Due to the specialized nature of these cases many police departments have officers and detectives with in depth training specific to the investigation of sex crime cases. The same is true for lawyers who work with the police departs to prosecute sex crime cases. In fact, many of the larger counties have specific teams of prosecutors who exclusively handle sex crimes cases. For example, the Wayne County Prosecutor has the Sexual Assault Team, and the Oakland County Prosecutor has the Special Victim Section (SVS).

On the west side of Michigan, Kent County does not have a specially named division in the prosecutor’s office, but that office does designate a few attorneys within the office to handle most of the sex crimes cases in the county.

To combat these highly specialized sex crime teams at the various prosecuting attorney’s offices throughout the State of Michigan, the Barone Defense Firm has assembled a team of sex crimes lawyers to go head to head with the prosecutors.

Michigan doctors are under heightened risk of prosecution for prescription fraud.  This is because Michigan, and specifically the Eastern District of Michigan, has been identified as one of the top 12 places in the Country for opioid fraud and abuse. For this reason alone it’s important for Michigan doctors to be aware of how prescription fraud cases are identified and prosecuted.

Broadly speaking, prescription fraud is committed when someone fraudulently obtains prescription drugs. The fraud can be committed in various ways. For example, there have been cases in which doctors wrote fake prescriptions for pain killers and gave the scripts to a “runner.” The runner then takes the scripts to a knowing or unknowing pharmacy for the prescription to be filled. In these cases, the drugs are typically re-sold on the street at a very high markup. The funds are then distributed back up the chain.

Another example comes from a recent prescription fraud case in Michigan. In this case, two men worked together. One would impersonate a doctor and call a prescription into a pharmacy. The two men then drove to the pharmacy and the other would go in and try to obtain the prescription drugs.

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