In July of this year, 71-year-old Charles Black was convicted of attempting to murder his then-wife in April of 2011 when he allegedly hit her in the head with a rock and pushed her off a cliff in Maine. Black tumbled over the cliff with his wife, Lisa Zahn, and both were hospitalized for a time. Both Black and Zahn were retired teachers from Kansas, according to the Huffington Post. hammer-1-1282167-m

Allegedly, the two got into an argument regarding a $4 million inheritance Zahn had received from her father, how Black was spending it, and his alleged affair with an Arizona woman. It was during this argument that Black allegedly tried to kill Zahn by pushing her over the cliff.

Black told police that while they were on the mountain top, he had collected two rocks thinking that he and Zahn would throw the rocks over the cliff, a symbol of freeing themselves of the baggage in their marriage and making a fresh start. Zahn, 55, testified at trial that Black hit her three times in the head with the rock before being pushed over the cliff, where she landed on a ledge before making her way to the bottom to get help.

In September, Black was sentenced to 10 years in prison. According to a news article at WCSH6, Black’s attorney has filed an appeal of the conviction and sentence on his behalf. News reports do not indicate the grounds for the appeal, or what arguments Black’s attorney will raise in the appeal.

Even the most experienced Michigan criminal appeals lawyers know that successfully appealing a conviction or sentence is not easy, and in fact is quite difficult. It is rare that someone who has been convicted of a serious criminal offense wins at appeal, although it does happen. The biggest factor in those cases in which a conviction is overturned by an appeals court is the quality of appellate attorney the defendant has.

If you have been wrongly convicted or have been sentenced in a way you feel is excessive in comparison to the crime, consult with a capable and skilled Michigan criminal appeals attorney who is well-versed in the appeals process, and what is needed to reach a successful outcome.

On Monday, 39-year-old Lycia Martinez was arrested on suspicion of DUI after adult passengers on board the school bus she was driving reported erratic driving behavior. According to a news article at the Huffington Post, Martinez was transporting 67 fifth and sixth graders on a field trip, and almost hit a car on a busy stretch of highway in Salt Lake City. school-rules-1141363-m

Police received reports after a parent aboard the bus and another motorist on the highway made 911 calls claiming the bus was swerving, that Martinez could not stay in the carpool lane, and that she was crossing double lines. Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Blaine Robbins said that it appeared Martinez had taken prescription anti-anxiety/muscle relaxer pills that were found in her handbag.

Martinez was pulled over by patrol officers approximately 40 miles from where the trip began, on an Interstate 15 off-ramp in Draper. Robbins said that “We really dodged a bullet,” as the interstate the bus had been traveling on had a speed limit of 75 mph and five lanes. A serious accident could easily have occurred, however no one was injured and the student on board were oblivious to what was happening.

According to Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams, Martinez is on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues. She was worked for the school district for six years, and has no known previous drug or DUI arrests.

Michigan DUI attorneys know that most people associate driving under the influence charges with the consumption of alcohol, however an individual may also be charged with DUI when under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs. Many drugs can affect a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, just as alcohol does. While Martinez did not appear to have been drunk, Michigan laws dictate that anyone who drives a commercial vehicle on a CDL license may be arrested for DUI with a BAC or blood alcohol concentration of .04%, which is half the legal limit of .08% for motorists driving ordinary cars or trucks.

Those who drive commercial vehicles are also under strict supervision in terms of drug use; federal law has a zero tolerance, and random testing of CDL operators are performed routinely for the use of certain drugs.

Whether you are a commercial driver of a school bus or 18-wheeler, or have been arrested for driving under the influence while in your car, it is vital that you work with a highly skilled Michigan DUI defense attorney. Driving under the influence is a serious charge, particularly for those whose livelihood depends on their jobs. Criminal penalties include jail time, fines, community service, license suspension, and more depending on the circumstances, and whether you have a previous DUI conviction. Your reputation, career, and freedom are at stake; speak with a dedicated criminal defense lawyer immediately.

On Monday, October 13, two Georgetown, DE residents were arrested and charged with various drug offenses after authorities discovered the man and woman were selling illicit drugs from a motel room. rolled-cigarette-733342-m

According to a news article at WMDT 47, Georgetown and Delaware State Police conducted a joint investigation in which it was found that 29-year-old Yolanda Oney and 21-year-old Oquindell Timmons Jr. were selling narcotic drugs from the Classic Inn Motel. Upon searching room 251, police allegedly discovered there were two juveniles present along with drug paraphernalia and 30 baggies that were said to contain marijuana and heroin following field testing.

Authorities also searched a vehicle that belonged to one of the suspects and found a .38 caliber revolver along with bullets. Timmons admitted to police that the handgun and heroin were his, and that the marijuana and drug paraphernalia belonged to Oney.

Oney was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, endangering the welfare of a child, and marijuana possession. Timmons was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, and possession of heroin with intent to deliver. At the time of news reports, Timmons was in custody at the Sussex Correctional Institute on a $10,000 secured bond.

When it comes to illegal or narcotic drugs, the criminal penalties in the state of Michigan are harsh whether an individual is convicted of possession, or a possession with intent to distribute/deliver charge. How severe the punishment will be depends on several factors, including the type and amount of drug involved, whether the defendant has a prior criminal conviction, where the alleged drug activity took place (in close proximity to a school, church, park, etc.) and more.

In Michigan, anyone who is found guilty of marijuana possession may face up to one year in jail along with fines of up to $2,000. Depending on the amount of marijuana involved, prosecutors may attempt to prove that the individual intended to sell or distribute the marijuana, which will result in even harsher penalties if proven.

Possession of heroin with intent to deliver is a far more serious charge, and depending on the amount of drug involved will result in a prison term of 20 years to life behind bars, along with fines ranging from $25,000 to $1 million.

Drug crimes are prosecuted vigorously across the nation as law makers continue their efforts to “crack down” on drug offenders. Whether you have been arrested for marijuana possession or are under investigation for distributing, manufacturing, or selling cocaine, heroin, meth, or other illegal drugs, it is vital to work with a capable and aggressive Michigan drug crimes defense attorney. You must take the first step to protect your legal rights, freedom, and future.

On October 6, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles that Mohamad Abduljaber, husband of Dr. Shannon Wiggins of Okemos, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison after being convicted in a healthcare fraud scheme in which Abduljaber and his wife received healthcare kickback payments. Abduljaber also signed a false tax return, according to the press release. medical-doctor-1314903-m

In sentencing Abduljaber to prison, U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell also ordered him to forfeit $550,000 and to pay more than $285,000 in restitution to the IRS and Medicaid.

Between January of 2004 and April of 2011, Abduljaber and Dr. Shannon Wiggins, his wife, conspired to receive kickbacks for referring patients for electrodiagnostic testing. According to the press release, Abduljaber worked at Dr. Wiggins’ medical practice in the position of office manager. He admittedly signed a fraudulent tax return in which he claimed income for the billing of medical marijuana certifications, however the amount of cash income disclosed on the return was inaccurate.

In September, Shannon Wiggins was sentenced by Judge Bell for the same crimes as her husband. She was sentenced to two years in prison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also collected forfeited vehicles and real property valued at approximately $400,000 from Dr. Wiggins.

The case against Dr. Wiggins and Abduljaber resulted from a joint collaborative effort of several law enforcement and other agencies who investigated the case including the IRS – Criminal Investigation, Lansing Police Department, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the DEA, Michigan Attorney General’s Office, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan investigative personnel.

Jarod Koopman, IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge, said this case clearly indicates that Dr. Wiggins and her husband placed their own greed before their patients’ health and safety.

Healthcare fraud, filing fraudulent tax returns with the IRS, money laundering – all of these white collar crimes should be considered extremely serious, as a conviction can result not only in substantial prison time, but tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution, forfeiture of property, and other punishment as indicated in this case.

If you have been accused of filing fraudulent income tax returns, embezzling, or any financial offense, it is vital to take action immediately to protect your freedom, reputation, and legal rights. Contact an aggressive Michigan white collar crimes attorney at once so that work can begin on your behalf.

On Sunday October 12, a Saratoga Springs, NY man was arrested just after 10:30 p.m. for allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol. According to a news article at WCAX, Stephen Jenkins was pulled over by police after he was noticed driving in an erratic manner on Interstate 87 in Queensbury. bottle-series-4-201960-m

The news article claims that Jenkins’ blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was more than twice the legal limit of .08%. Jenkins also had a child in the vehicle with him at the time, and was placed in police custody awaiting arraignment on charges of felony aggravated DWI and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.

In Michigan, anyone who operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .17% or higher will face a Super Drunk OWI charge, also referred to as high BAC. The Super Drunk law applies only to those who are first time offenders, or who have not been convicted of DUI within the previous seven years. If convicted of Super Drunk driving, the penalties an individual may face include fines of up to $700, driver’s license suspension for 45 days, followed by 320 days of restricted driving, up to 6 months (180 days) in jail, possible community service, and more.

Being arrested for DUI with a child in the vehicle is extremely serious. Child endangerment charges could result in up to one year in jail, driver’s license suspension, up to $1,000 in fines, vehicle immobilization, and other penalties.

The fact is, anyone who has been charged with DUI and child endangerment or Super Drunk driving should consult with a highly skilled and aggressive Michigan DUI defense attorney immediately. Your freedom, future, and driving privileges are at risk, not to mention your career and reputation. Take action now so that your attorney can begin work to protect your legal rights and freedom.

In the state of Michigan, the criminal penalties for driving under the influence or DUI are serious. However, for many people, losing their privilege to drive creates the biggest hardship. For a second DUI conviction within seven years of the first, your driver’s license will be suspended by the Secretary of State for one year. One year is a very long time to not be able to jump in the car to run an errand, go to a friend’s house, or simply go for a Sunday drive. For many, it is pure torture. Driving is a privilege, not a right. beer-251787-m

What could be worse? Your driver’s license could be suspended for two years if your refused to take a chemical test twice within seven years. In this case, you cannot even apply for a restricted license due to personal hardships, such as the fact that you cannot drive to and from work, school, or for other vital reasons. In order to have your license reinstated, you will have to apply for a hearing with the Michigan Driver’s License Appeal Division (DLAD), and this is only after the two-year suspension has come to an end. Even then, reinstatement of your driver’s license is not guaranteed.

Don’t be fooled by the popular myth that no one is able to have their driver’s license restored at a first hearing. It IS possible, but you must have a capable and experienced Michigan driver’s license reinstatement attorney on your side. You can certainly attempt the process on your own, but doing so is foolish. If your first attempt fails, you must wait an entire year before requesting another hearing.

The fact is, drinking and driving will get you into serious trouble with the law. Not only will you face possible jail time, community service, and steep fines if found guilty, your license will be suspended. A second offense incurs even harsher punishment, a fact you are painfully aware of if you have been convicted twice within a seven year time period.

To learn more about how to have your driver’s license restored, consult with a highly qualified Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer who can guide you regarding the process, and do everything possible to get you back on the road.

As this article indicates, even lawmakers can find themselves in trouble with the law. On Thursday, October 9, the criminal conviction and sentence for former U.S. Representative Rick Renzi were upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a news report at AZ Central. to-sign-a-contract-2-1221951-m

Renzi, a former Arizona Republican Congressman who served from 2003 to 2009, was found guilty in 2013 of money laundering, racketeering, conspiracy, and other felony offenses. He was given a three year prison sentence, but was not imprisoned pending his appeal of the conviction and sentence.

Renzi was convicted by the U.S. District Court on what were basically two criminal schemes. He reportedly funneled money into his own political campaign which were insurance premiums designated to be paid to his company, and was found guilty of extortion when he allegedly threatened to block a federal land exchange proposal unless the proposal included property a business associate friend of Renzi owned.

In appealing his convictions, Renzi’s attorneys argued about whether prosecutors violated legislative immunity in the case involving land-exchange, and whether “something of value” was involved in the extortion plot. The embezzlement convictions were also challenged by defense attorneys, who disputed whether what constitutes financial documents and an insurance business were property defined by the trial court. In the end, the panel of judges rejected every argument.

One of Renzi’s attorneys wrote that while they were disappointed in the outcome, they intend to seek further appellate review.

Michigan criminal appeals attorneys work with clients convicted of all types of crimes, whether armed robbery, carjacking, or other violent crimes, or “white collar” crimes such as embezzlement or money laundering. Regardless of the offense you have been convicted of, it may be worthwhile to appeal your conviction or sentence, particularly if you are innocent or feel that your rights were violated, or errors made in the criminal justice process.

One factor is critical in the outcome: the quality of attorney you choose. It is vital to choose an appellate attorney who is highly skilled and experienced in the appeals process for the best results.

On October 2, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade that 42-year-old Shane Bateman of Brownstown Township was sentenced for his role in a fraudulent tax scheme. Bateman, who pleaded guilty to the charges in May of this year, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. He will also pay restitution to the IRS of more than $185,000, and be on supervised release for two years once released from prison. paper-work-911375-m

According to the press release, Bateman and others participated in the scheme, with Bateman securing personal identification information and mailing addresses of innocent victims to give to the others who participated. The information was used to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS, and in total requested $1.7 million in refunds on the 180 fraudulent tax returns that were filed, many with stolen identities.

Bateman provided the stolen information to a “supervisor” of the scheme; the refunds were then loaded onto TurboTax Visa debit cards, which Bateman picked up and used at ATM machines to withdraw cash in the metropolitan Detroit area. Bateman gave a portion of the money to the supervisor, and kept the rest. According to court documents, Bateman was not aware of the full scope of the scheme, or that it involved $1.7 million in returns.

The case was investigated by special agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation including Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman, who said that the agency will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute identity theft and filing fake tax returns in order to obtain refunds. Koopman said that these schemes are serious, and cause harm to innocent taxpayers. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hiyama.

Tax fraud or any white collar crimes designed to illegally obtain money or attempt to cover up profits are extremely serious. Although these types of offenses do not typically involve violence, the penalties can be just as harsh as those handed down for violent or heinous crimes. If you have been accused of tax fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, or any similar offense, contact an experienced and capable Michigan white collar crime attorney immediately.

On Saturday, October 4, 25-year-old Chantel McCabe was charged with driving while impaired after she was stopped by police in the 1600 block of Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh, NC according to a news article at Newsobserver.com. McCabe is the sideline reporter for the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team, and hosts the pregame show on FOX Sports Carolinas. puck-filled-net-535934-m

In a brief statement issued on Tuesday, team president Don Waddell said, “In light of what happened this past weekend, we think it is best that Ms. McCabe take some time away from the team.” She was suspended for the month of October.

News reports do not indicate whether it was McCabe’s first offense, or what her blood alcohol content was. In North Carolina, the least serious DWI offense is considered “level five.” If found guilty, the defendant may face a minimum of 24 hours in jail and a maximum of 120 days behind bars, along with a $200 fine, community service, probation, and license suspension for one year.

Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are harsh all across the country, and differ by state. In Michigan, the penalties for a first-time DUI offender may include a maximum of 93 days in jail (although most first-time offenders will not serve jail time), maximum fines of $500, 360 hours of community service, completion of an alcohol education program in some cases, suspension of driver’s license for 30 days, followed by 150 days of restricted driving.

Unlike what was often the case decades ago, a charge of drunk driving will not get you a small fine and slap on the wrist. DUI is a very serious charge today, one that should not be taken lightly by those who are arrested. Not only will you face stiff penalties as mentioned above, you will have a permanent criminal record which can impact your life in ways you could never imagine.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan DUI attorney at once. An arrest does not necessarily mean you will be found guilty, especially if you have competent legal counsel in your corner.

Yesterday, it was announced at The New York Times that administrators at Branson School, a prestigious prep school in California, were attempting damage control after the headmaster and a 21-year-old woman who was not his wife had been arrested on felony drug charges at a local hotel. Thomas Woodrow Price, the 54-year-old headmaster, was arrested on Friday in Rancho Cordova after police found methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin in a hotel room where Price and the young woman, who was passed out on a bed, were found. chalkboard-at-university-516717-m

According to the news article, police found an amount of drugs large enough to charge Price and the 21-year-old woman, Brittney Hall, with possession of methamphetamine for sale. Branson School has one of the highest annual tuitions of any prestigious high schools in the nation, according to the article, at $40,000. Price’s annual salary was said to be approximately $500,000 per year. Price, who was known as “Woody” by friends and co-workers, posted bail on Saturday.

Price has been the school’s headmaster for eight years, appointed to the position in 2006.

Michigan drug crime lawyers know that anyone, regardless of their standing in the community, can find themselves in an unsavory situation such as the one described above. Drug crimes are particularly serious, as lawmakers continue in their efforts to crack down on the sale and distribution of addictive and abused substances.

In the state of Michigan, the criminal penalties an individual will face if convicted of possession of cocaine depends on the amount in his or her possession. In amounts greater than 50 grams but less than 450, a conviction could result in up to 20 years in prison. Possession of meth with intent to deliver or distribute will result in a maximum of 20 years in prison, fines of up to $25,000, or both.

Regardless of your standing in the community or reputation, it is imperative that you consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan drug crime attorney immediately, so that work can begin on mounting a solid defense and protecting your legal rights.