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

Can Drunk Driving be Charged as Murder in Michigan Where Death Occurs?

Whenever a death occurs at the hands of another, a prosecutor must decide how to charge the wrongdoer. In several Michigan cases involving intoxicated drivers where a death has occurred prosecutors have successfully charged murder. Generally, the appropriate charge is OWI causing death, which is punishable by up 15 years in prison. See MCL Sec. 257.625, et. seq. However, if a prosecutor can show that a driver had the appropriate mindset, then this charge can be raised to second degree murder, which is punishable by up to life in prison. See MCL Sec. 750.317.

Each crime is made up of elements, and an important element in a murder charge relates to the element of criminal intent. Consequently, in a murder case, the prosecutor will be focused on evaluating any evidence suggesting the wrongdoer’s state of mind, or what we lawyer’s call “mens rea.”

After a Michigan drunk driving arrest, the first thing on many people’s minds is: will I lose my job?  A recent story in the Detroit Free Press details how for many, the unfortunate answer is yes.

As the article explains, a public safety director for a city in Michigan was placed on leave because of an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge. Even though the case hasn’t concluded, the officer is already facing consequences for the OWI charge. The final “verdict” on this officer’s job status could depend not just on the result of the case but also how the officer handles himself before the case is finalized.

The Michigan DUI lawyers are the Barone Defense Firm always discuss this issue with clients immediately after they have retained the Firm. It is important to address this issue at the beginning rather than at the end of a case because getting ahead of the issue can help our client’s save their jobs. There are several things to consider including:

Recently, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency completed a sweep that lead to arrests of 24 people in Michigan convicted of various crimes. It is no secret that the Trump administration has taken a tough stance on immigration. As a result, there has been a focus by the Trump administration on deporting non-citizens with certain kinds of criminal convictions.

What kinds of convictions can lead to deportation?

Federal law says that a non-citizen can be deported for conviction of a “crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony.” A crime of moral turpitude is one that involves a depraved or immoral act, or a violation of the basic duties owed to fellow man, or a “reprehensible act” with a mens rea of at least recklessness. In practice, this means crimes involving fraud, intentional serious injury, intentional death, destruction of property, malicious destruction of property, and intentional permanent taking of valuable property are deportable. This, of course, encompasses many possible crimes.

WWMT reporter Sam Knef recently contacted Patrick Barone, Michigan Gun Crimes lawyer at the Barone Defense Firm, to discuss Michigan’s self-defense laws. These laws are complicated and often misunderstood by the public, and Mr. Knef wanted to help his audience understand what is and is not legal in the State of Michigan.

In these tumultuous and chaotic times of pandemic and protest, the topic of self-defense is on people’s minds today more than ever. People around the Country are wondering what their right to self defense is if a protestor or anyone breaks into their home.  And what happens if you’re driving and you’re suddenly surrounded by angry protestors?  To address these concerns, Mr. Barone explains Michigan’s self defense laws, including the castle doctrine and the stand your ground law.  The title of Mr. Knef’s article is Lawyer explains Michigan’s castle doctrine law: When you can and can’t shoot an intruder.

The self-defense laws in Michigan consist of protections covering what happens both inside and outside a person’s residence, business or car. When dealing with self-defense in all places other than a person’s home business or motor vehicle, Michigan’s Stand your Ground law applies.  Based on this law, a person may use deadly force if they honestly and reasonably believe that they or another person are in imminent danger of death, serious bodily injury or sexual assault.  There is no duty to retreat, but an ability to retreat may impact on how the determination of reasonableness is made by a police officer, prosecutor, judge or jury.

Michigan law provides that anytime a firearm is inside a motor vehicle it is considered a concealed weapon.  See Michigan Complied Laws Sec. 750.227.  This crime is often abbreviated as “CCW,” and is applicable even when the pistol is in plain sight, and therefore not literally concealed.

The only exception to this rule is when you have a valid concealed pistol license (CPL) in your possession.  Only a person with a valid CPL may carry and/or possess a pistol inside the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. Michigan very broadly honors concealed permits from other states, so if you are from out-of-town, and have a valid concealed carry permit from your home state, then the exception will probably apply to you as well. To be sure check on one of the many sites that list reciprocal states, or contact one of the Michigan Gun Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm. Keep in mind that this protection does not apply to long guns. It is never permissible in Michigan to have a rifle inside the passenger compartment of your motor vehicle.

If you are carrying a pistol inside your car, and are stopped by the police, Michigan law requires you to disclose to the officer that you are carrying a pistol.  You must also provide a copy of your concealed permit and your state ID to the police officer.  If you don’t have your concealed permit or ID in your possession at the time you are stopped by the police, or don’t provide both to the officer, and it’s your first offense, then you may be issued a civil infraction ticket punishable by a $100.00 fine. See Michigan Compiled Laws Sec. 28.425(f).

It is common knowledge that driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated is against the law in Michigan. But, what if you’re on an off-road vehicle (ORV) on a trail? What if you’re on an ORV on a roadway intended for motor vehicles? Well, a recent case in Michigan reminds us that, if you drive an off-road vehicle on a road intended for motor vehicles, you can be charged with the standard drunk driving charge typically reserved for traditional motor vehicles.

The case mentioned above arose out of an incident that occurred in early May. The story reported on MLive indicates that a DNR officer observed an ORV on a “public highway.”  The vehicle was swerving, and the officer observed several empty beer cans as well as an open one in the vehicle’s cup holder.  Additionally, the driver failed the standard field tasks, and a roadside preliminary breath test came back at .163, or more than twice the legal limit.

In this case, the defendant was charged with felony Operating While Intoxicated because it was his third DUI offense.  To raise a new DUI arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony, Michigan law requires two prior DUI offenses. If you get caught driving your ORV on a public road while intoxicated without prior offenses, it will typically be a misdemeanor Operating While Intoxicated charge.

Posted In: and
Published on:
Updated:

Doctor Roger D. Beyer recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. In a complaint filed on May 8, 2020, the US Attorney assigned to the case set out several allegations.

Regarding healthcare fraud, the complaint alleged that Dr. Beyer’s office improperly coded procedures reported to Medicare. The complaint alleged that Dr. Beyer directed his staff to perform a rectal diagnostic procedure repeatedly, beyond the initial diagnostic purpose of the procedure. Dr. Beyer’s offices then continuously billed Medicare for the diagnostic service even though they weren’t medically necessary. By continuously performing the diagnostic service, Dr. Beyer’s office could bill Medicare each time for that service even though it wasn’t medically necessary.

What are CPT codes?

The Criminal Defense Attorney Association of Michigan (CDAM) has asked Michigan DUI Lawyer Patrick Barone to present a 1-hour Webinar to criminal defense lawyers seeking to learn about recent changes to Michigan law impacting how intoxicated driving cases are investigated at the roadside.

The seminar, entitled Michigan Law Update: Roadside Drug Testing – What You Need to Know, will include a detailed analysis of Michigan’s roadside saliva drug testing program. In this workshop, Mr. Barone will teach other lawyers how to address these preliminary screening tests in court, and how to avoid defense traps that may befall the unwary.

In recent years, law enforcement at all levels of government, State and National, have begun focusing on the investigation and arrest of drivers intoxicated by drugs other than alcohol. Interest in drugged driving has increased with the advent of medical and recreational marijuana, and the saliva swab roadside testing program is designed to facilitate drugged driving arrests.

The Barone Defense Firm is pleased to announce that the 2020 Edition of Patrick Barone’s Defending Drinking Drivers is now available from the publisher, Amazon, and wherever fine books are sold. Known as “revision 36,” the current Edition contains many new sections and model defense motions.

Regarding the defense of a DUI with a blood test, the 2020 update contains sample cross-examination of the doctor, nurse, technician, or phlebotomist.  This model cross-examination includes sample questions relative to contamination and suggestions for how to approach and perhaps discredit the creditably of this important but often overlooked prosecution witness. Also, in Chapter Six, Trial, Mr. Barone sets forth a new way of approaching voir dire and the 2020 update also contains a samle motion requesting attorney conducted voir dire. Also, in his revision of Chapter 6, Mr. Barone provides a unique and compelling explanation for why seating arrangements are an important element of trial and why the court should consider allowing the defendant to sit next to the jury rather than always cede this seat to prosecutor by default.  A sample motion for requesting that the defendant be provided with the “best” seat is also included in this 2020 update.

Other updates in revision 36 include a 2019 case law update.  For example, Mr. Barone provides an evaluation of new case law regarding when an added charge of resisting and obstructing is appropriate after a DUI accused refuses to submit to a blood draw pursuant to warrant and when and why such blood test warrants might fail judicial muster.  Also, why being placed into a patrol vehicle is considered custody for Miranda purposes, how an arrest occurred when police took keys, and why it may be error for a prosecutor to comment on a defendant’s refusal to take a blood test.

Patrick Barone recently provided expert commentary for WUSA9 reporter Evan Koslof. On his Verify news series, Mr. Koslof seeks to shed light and truth on common questions, misconceptions and outright myths. After a video surfaced of a New York warrant’s division officer arresting a protestor off the street and stuffing her into a van, many on social media have questioned the validity of the police action. One contention on social media was that the police were wrong because they apparently did not the protestor her Miranda Rights before they arrested her.  Mr. Koslof wanted to know if the Miranda Rights are truly necessary and how a failure to read the Miranda advisement might impact the police action. To help him with these legal issues, Mr. Koslof sought out two experts, a seasoned criminal defense attorney and law school professor. The video and article can be viewed by clicking here.

The central question raised in Mr. Kaslof’s investigation was whether the police are required to read a person their Miranda rights when they are being arrested?  The answer by Mr. Barone? – A resounding “no.”

Annotation-2020-07-30-112302-300x148

Patrick Barone’s appearance on the WUSA9 news show Verify.

Contact Information