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What is the Punishment for Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct?

Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct, commonly referred to as CSC, is the unlawful sexual assault or touching or penetration of another. In Michigan, there are four separate offenses each defined by the acts of behaviors of the alleged offender. Each level of offense is called a “degree.” Within each of these degrees are multiple variables or legal theories that the state must prove in order to support the allegation.  Such variables may include the age of the victim, the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim, and whether force or coercion was used in the commission of the alleged crime.

Punishment for Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct

Because the various degrees of criminal sexual conduct are thought of as more or less serious, they also carry different penalties.

CSC 1st Degree is the most serious offense. The potential penalty includes a maximum sentence of up to life in prison and often would require a mandatory 25-year minimum prison sentence in the Michigan Department of Corrections. It also may include lifetime electronic monitoring, which is a tether required to be worn and monitored. In addition to punishment, it would require registration on the sex offender registry, SORA.

With the advent of the novel covid 19 virus many officers who arrest suspected Michigan DUI drivers are now worried about the contamination risks associated with a breath test. Obtaining a breath sample places an officer directly at risk for exposure because the officer must do all of the following:

  • Be very near to a DUI suspect as they exhale into the breathalyzer.
  • Look directly into and inspect a DUI suspect’s mouth prior to the blow.

Benefits of Having a Domestic Violence Lawyer

There are many benefits of hiring a domestic violence lawyer immediately upon hearing of being charged or potentially being charged with domestic violence. First, and foremost, a good attorney will give you your best chance at minimizing the consequences of a domestic violence charge. The consequences of a first offense domestic violence charge include a misdemeanor on your permanent record, up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, probation including drug and alcohol testing, and being banned from purchasing and possessing firearms. A good attorney will request all evidence, look for defenses and procedural issues, explore diversion programs, and try to get the best result, whether through pre-trial negotiations or trial.

Second, there are things that happen when someone is arrested for domestic violence that create very urgent concerns. Many times, the accused lives with the accuser. The court will place immediate conditions on the accused when released. The court will order the accused not to contact the accuser and, if they live together, not to reside in the home with the accuser. Even if the accuser tries not to press charges, this order may stick. An attorney can try to convince the court to lift the no-contact order. The attorney can also ask the court to allow the accused and accuser to live together again, especially if they share children together. If that’s not possible, the attorney can help their client get belongings from the home needed to live a normal life while the no-contact order is in place.

Lastly, in cases in which the evidence is stacked against the accused, the attorney can explore a Michigan domestic violence diversion program. This program requires people to admit guilt and complete counseling and probation. The advantage of going through the program is that the admission of guilt is kept under seal and never put on public record. Therefore, it will never show up on a criminal record and the person would never have to admit on a job application that they’ve been found guilty of domestic violence. Call right away to get in touch with our dedicated legal team.

On May 6th, 2020, Secretary of Education and Michigan native, Betsy Devos, issued new rules under Title IX of the United State’s Federal Laws. Title IX is the section of the laws that prescribe more generally any form of discrimination on the basis of sex for any program receive federal funding. The rules and procedures set out under this section of Title IX also apply to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. The new rules govern when and under what circumstances colleges and universities may deal with alleged instances of sexual misconduct among students.

When is Sexual Activity Among Students Misconduct?

Devos’s new rules define sexual harassment as unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive. This new definition is narrower than that under the Obama administration’s rules. The previous rule required conduct to be severe or pervasive as opposed to severe and pervasive. That one-word difference can be crucial. For example, one instance of sexual harassment may not be enough to trigger a school’s requirement to investigate the claim.  Victim’s advocate groups are not happy with this change and believe that it effectively denies some victims access to the school’s programs.

What Happens When Arrested for a Sex Crime?

When a person is arrested for criminal sexual conduct, they are taken to jail to be fingerprinted, booked, and in most jurisdictions, held until arraignment. The person may, depending on whether the jail officers feel like it, be given a phone call. Next, that person will be taken in front of a judge to be arraigned. At the arraignment, that person will have an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty and the judge will order bond conditions.

Bond conditions typically include an amount of money the person must pay to be released, no contact with the accuser, and no travel outside the state. The amount of cash bond someone must pay is a significant issue. The bond amount for the most serious sex crimes can be in the tens and thousands of dollars. It can be the difference between never spending more than a few hours in jail versus spending months in jail waiting for a trial because their client or client’s family could not pay the bond.

If a good sex crimes lawyer is at the arraignment the lawyer will try to convince the judge that a minimal bond amount is appropriate and therefore give their client a better chance of being released.

Why is Hiring an Attorney Early in the Process of a Sex Crimes Case Important?

Hiring an attorney early in the process is important for several reasons.

    1. First, if you haven’t been formally charged with a sex crime or, as Michigan calls it, criminal sexual conduct, a good attorney can intervene and try to prevent charges from ever being filed. We call this part of the situation in the pre-charge phase. In this phase, someone has been informed by somebody, possibly the alleged victim, that the alleged victim or the family intends on filing a police report. In some cases, we’ve helped people in the pre-charge phase avoid the stress and embarrassment of long and public proceedings in court because we could show detectives and prosecutors that there is not enough evidence to even charge our client with criminal sexual conduct.
    2.  Hiring an attorney early in a Criminal Sexual Conduct case is important because in most sex crimes cases, police will try to interview the accused person. In this interview, the investigator will ask questions that can be designed to elicit incriminating responses. Even though the person may be innocent of a sex crime, that person may give an answer that can incriminate him or her. One should NEVER speak to the police about a criminal situation, ESPECIALLY a criminal sexual conduct crime, without an attorney because an attorney can spot these issues in the interview and advise innocent clients not to respond.
    3. Finally, if the police collect enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, they can arrest that person, usually at their home or work. This obviously would be extremely embarrassing, especially if the arrest happened in front of children, neighbors, or co-workers. A good attorney would try to prevent this from happening by arranging with police or the prosecutor for their client to walk into court or the police department to be arraigned or booked without having to be hauled in without notice.

Call a dedicated attorney right away to start working on your defense.

Can I be Charged for OWI in Michigan After Smoking Pot?

Yes, if you smoke enough marijuana to become impaired, and drive after, you can be charged and eventually convicted for intoxicated driving in Michigan. In fact, every month, more of Michigan’s drivers are being arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. There are many reasons for this increase in DUI marijuana charges.

Increasing numbers of Michigan’s citizens are using marijuana now that it is legal in the State for both recreational and medicinal use. This includes previous “illegal” users of the drug but also includes new users of the drug, or those who last used sometimes decades ago. Now that the drug is legal, the stigma of its use is largely gone, and those in the 40s, 50s, and 60s and even 70s+ are returning to its use.
Many of these new or newer marijuana users are unfamiliar with how much things have changed in the past decades. Nearly all marijuana on the market today, recreationally or medicinally, have far higher percentages of THC, the psychoactive ingredient, then in years past. Even the “lower” ranges of the marijuana available at dispensaries have THC levels of 13-15%, which is way higher than anything available in decades past. It’s not uncommon for dispensaries to sell strains of marijuana flowers that are above 20% THC. Edibles can be far higher than that. This all means that even a single dose/hit of marijuana packs a far greater “punch” than many historical smokers remember.
Then there is an increase in detection. Police officers are on the lookout for the tell-tale signs of marijuana use, first among them being odor of marijuana. Police officers also have tools available to them that didn’t exist in the past, such as roadside testing (still in beta stages in Michigan) as well as advanced training such as ARIDE and DRE training.

What’s important to know in all of this is that the penalties for this crime of operating under the influence of marijuana are exactly the same as being arrested and convicted of drunk driving. This is because in Michigan, the statute for both crimes, which in MCL 257.625, defines OWI to mean operating while intoxicated by virtually any substance. This means that the intoxication element can be based on – meaning caused by – alcohol, and pretty much any other drug, legal or not. In other words, the intoxication in OWI can be caused by any illegal drug, as well as any prescription drug.
So if you smoke pot, become intoxicated, and drive in Michigan, you can be charged just as if you were drunk driving, which means charged with OWI, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail , carrying with it a 180-day driver license suspension with no driving whatsoever permitted for the first 30 days.

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For many people, finding a top Michigan DUI lawyer can be a confusing and difficult task. A task made no easier by the multitude of available choices. For example, a Google search for “top Michigan DUI Lawyer” returns over ten million hits. When including lawyer directories such as Justia and AVVO, there are many dozens of so-called top Michigan DUI lawyers on the first page alone. How is it possible to pick the right lawyer?

To begin with, there is no substitute for a professional referral. If you have used a lawyer in the past for something like drafting a will or the sale or purchase or your home, then you might think about contacting them for a referral. Even though you might be embarrassed, remember that everything you discuss with your lawyer will be held in strict confidence. Once your referral source has provided you with one or more names, you can then cross-check them by looking on Google. The DUI lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm obtain most of their clients from referrals.

If you’re not able to obtain a professional referral, then after doing your initial Google search, and narrowing it down to a few names, be sure to cross-check the lawyer’s names on the various lawyer review sites. The most reliable lawyer review site is AVVO, and this is partly because they carefully inspect all reviews before they are posted to confirm they are legitimate.  Also, AVVO allows anonymous lawyer reviews, which increases the likelihood that a DUI client will post a review for their lawyer. However, AVVO reviews are only anonymous on one side. A person must provide identifying information to AVVO before they are allowed to post a review.  This way AVVO can vet the review and determine if the person was a “real” client before they will allow the post.

What are the Michigan Laws for Drunk Driving Causing Death?

In Michigan, Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) cases that lead to death usually fall into three categories:

  1. Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Causing Death
  2. Manslaughter with a Motor Vehicle
  3. Second-Degree Murder

OWI Causing Death

To convict a defendant of Operating While Intoxicated, leading to death, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The defendant was operating his motor vehicle in violation of MCL 257.625 (1), (3), or (8);
  2. The defendant voluntarily decided to drive, knowing that they had consumed liquor and/or a controlled substance and might be intoxicated; and
  3. The defendant’s operation of the motor vehicle caused the victim’s death.

People v. Schaefer, 473 Mich. 418 (2005).

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With marijuana use on the rise in Michigan more and more drivers are found to have marijuana in their system or to even be intoxicated from using marijuana containing products. This is exactly what happened in a causing death case recently decided by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The name of the case is People v. Baase.  In this case, the driver was not intoxicated but was he was driving on a suspended license.  The victim on the other hand had THC in her system.  The defense attorney argued that the accident would not have happened but-for the victim’s diminished capacity to “react to the world around her.”

The Michigan Court of Appeals did not agree with the defense attorney’s arguments and found that the victim’s THC was not relevant.  It is not clear from the opinion if the victim had used recreational or medical marijuana. And while this case did not involve an intoxicated driver, the ruling would likely have been the same whether a DUI driver who caused death or serious injury was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or both.

What were the Facts of this Suspended License Causing Death Case?

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