Articles Posted in Criminal Penalties

What to Know About the Sex Offender Registry in Michigan

When Is SORA Registration Necessary in Michigan?

In the past, many violations that would trigger sex offender registration were prosecuted under the old Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) even when the violation was a result of a mistake, ignorance, or unintended violations. If this has happened to you, then you’ll definitely want to hire a Michigan sex crimes attorney to help. Here is some more useful information for you to know about SORA:

How Can a Sex Crimes Lawyer Near Me Help Avoid SORA?

A top sex assault lawyer can help you avoid the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) in many different ways. Before we get to that, let’s first talk about SORA, particularly the newest version of SORA in Michigan.

SORA, which is also known as the sex offender registration act, applies to most forms of criminal sexual conduct. If you are facing a sex crime allegation, then you are also facing possibly being listed on SORA. This is also sometimes called sex abuse. If you are facing the kinds of allegations, indecent exposure, you will need a criminal defense attorney well versed in this complex area of law to assist you minimize or avoid the consequences.

A recent news report outlines some of the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Michigan Democratic state Rep. Mary Cavanagh of Redford, and as true with many media outlet stories it seeks more shock than substance.  To help elaborate on substance, and dispel some myths and misunderstandings about drunk driving laws, this article addresses the following three topic:

  1. A second DUI arrest does not necessarily mean enhanced DUI penalties, driver license sanctions or conviction,
  2. Being unable to stand on one leg is only a part of standard field sobriety tests, and;

Now that you understand the plea bargaining process in Michigan and how to prepare for court when pleading guilty, let’s now consider exactly what happens in court when you plead guilty. During the plea taking process the court will be concerned with two things. First that you understand the constitutional rights that you are giving up by pleading guilty, and second, that you are freely, knowingly and understandingly admitting to and acknowledging that you have committed the crime to which you are pleading guilty.

To confirm that you are fully aware that by pleading guilty you are giving up all your constitutional rights associated with trial, the judge will ask you a series of questions almost all of which are answered by the single word “yes”. So, for example, the judge will ask you if you understand that you have an absolute right to trial, to which of course your answer is “yes.” The judge will ask you if you understand that pleading guilty you are giving up your right to remain silent, to which again, the answer is “yes.” There are sometimes a few “no” questions as well, such as “have any promises been made other than those stated on the record, to get you to plead guilty.” The answer to the question so certainty be “no.” Another no question might be “have there been any threats, compulsion or duress used to get you to plead guilty.” Again, the answer should definitely be no. Once the court is satisfied that you are freely knowingly and understandingly giving up or waiving all your constitutional trial rights, and that no promises or threats have been made to induce the plea, then the court will move on to a establishing the factual basis for plea.

What Is a Factual Basis for a Plea?

Soon after you are found guilty or plead guilty to a federal crime you will meet with a United States Probation Officer who will complete a presentence investigation and then prepare a report (PSIR) for the judge’s use at sentencing. If the judge sentences you to prison, then the PSIR will also be used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in making housing and other relevant determinations. Consequently, it is essential that the PSIR be accurate and complete. What follows is a description of the kind of information the probation officer will collect during your interview as well as how to be well prepared for this important process.

Why Is the Federal Presentence Report Prepared?

federal criminal lawyerThe purpose of the presentence investigation and report is to provide comprehensive information about the offender that is both objective and accurate.  This information and report will be used by the court in making the appropriate sentencing decision. The report also will assist the Bureau of Prisons in making proper determinations relative to the management of the inmates under their supervision.

Whenever you pull out your firearm in Michigan, you are placing your future in the hands of others.  Unlike some states, Michigan does not prohibit an arrest or prosecution for the use of fatal or not-fatal force in self-defense.  This means that the police will investigate the incident, which can include questioning, collecting evidence, and possibly an arrest.  Whether criminal charges are authorized is a decision made by the Prosecutor, but most people are unprepared for what happens after the use of self-defense.  This lack of preparedness is dangerous, since any misstep or incorrect statement could jeopardize your legitimate self-defense claim and possibly lead to not only loss of 2nd amendment rights but your personal freedom and a lengthy prison term.

When can I lawfully use force or lethal force in self-defense?

Michigan has two laws that cover various self-defense scenarios. The first is the Castle Doctrine, and this law applies to the use of force inside your home or your place of business. It also covers the use of force to prevent a carjacking. Another self-defense law that applies inside your home if the Castle Doctrine is not available, as well as anywhere else you have a lawful right to be, is the Stand your Ground law. The Gun Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm have written extensively on this topic, and readers are advised to look up these articles also. But just because the law says you can use self-defense in certain circumstances this does not mean you won’t be prosecuted.  This is because Michigan’s self defense laws provide a defense they do not bar prosecution. This means you could be charged with Homicide even if you think you properly acted in self defense within the bounds of Michigan law.

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Early Discharge on OWI Probation in Michigan

The Michigan DUI Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm have be advising our clients in Oakland County and throughout the State of Michigan, that if you are convicted of operating while intoxicated (OWI) then you should expect to be placed on a term of probation.

While on probation, you will have a variety of conditions of probation and these will be based in part on whatever “rehabilitative goals” are set by the Judge.

In a criminal case, after your arrest but before your conviction or acquittal, you will be on bond. There are several mandatory and many discretionary terms and conditions of bond, and these have been previously discussed. A show cause is what happens when someone does something on bond contrary to what’s been ordered.

The most common allegations of a bond violation that we see at the Barone Defense Firm related to alcohol and drug testing. Often, a client will miss a drug or alcohol test, which is the most common alleged bond violation, followed by a positive drug or alcohol test.

A bond violation is a serious matter because it is considered a contempt of court. After the court receives notice from the monitoring agency that there’s been an alleged violation, the court will issue a show cause order. The purpose of a show cause order is to require you to appear in court to show cause why you should not be held in contempt of court for violating a court order. Because the judge has ordered you to do something (test according to a set schedule), and it is alleged that you violated that order, unless you have a defense to the allegations, you will be found in contempt of court. See, e.g.,  People v Mysliwiec, 315 Mich App 414, 417 (2016).

House Bill 5767 was introduced by Michigan Representative David LaGrand on February 17, 2022. A House Bill does not equate to a law that must be followed, at least not yet. The fact that this Bill was crafted is a clear indication that efforts are being made and will likely continue to be made until it does become law.

The motivation in House 5767 is a ripped from the Headlines of Michigan Politics due to the allegations of Criminal Sexual Conduct of the Michigan House Speaker.  The Representative from Grand Rapids submits that there is hole that needs to be filled in Michigan Criminal Procedure and admissibility of certain evidence, specifically Grooming.

What is Grooming?

Being charged with a crime is most certainly one of the most traumatic events you can experience, and then attempting to retain the right attorney or law firm might also feel like a daunting task. The Criminal Defense Trial Attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm understand that difficulty and that trauma, therefore we want to address some important factors in hiring the right trial attorney for your case.

Trial is an Endangered Species

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) recently published a report that 3% of all criminal cases in State and Federal Court are resolved through Trial compared to 20% of cases from 30 years ago. A related article lists that some of the reasons for this decrease include fear of what is known as a trial penalty or trial tax, meaning a worse sentence after a loss at trial. This is balanced against the fact that a lesser sentence can be arranged as part of a plea agreements. Certainly, another reason is the lack of ability or lack of experience of the trial attorney themselves.  The very fact fewer cases reach trial every year is reason enough to seek an attorney that does not have significant trial experience, and who will not be afraid to go to trial.

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