On Monday, a Marianna, FL man who members of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office had been looking for was captured after receiving information on where the suspect was located. The suspect, 29-year-old Robert Lee Garrett, had a felony warrant for Violation of State Probation. iStock_000009692291XSmall

The sheriff’s office had attempted to capture Garrett on previous occasions, but had failed in their attempts to locate him. Acting on the information they received regarding his whereabouts, members of patrol set up in the area, along with K-9 and investigation divisions. Tracking K-9 units from the Apalachee Correctional Institution and Jackson Correctional Institution also participated in the efforts to capture Garrett.

Garrett was said to be a passenger in a specific vehicle, so members of the patrol waited for the vehicle which was supposed to be in the area of Dean and Panhandle Roads. When the vehicle did arrive, deputies attempted to make contact with Garrett, however he fled on foot after exiting the vehicle. Officers pursued the suspect, and took him into custody after a short time.

The passenger area of the vehicle where Garrett had been was searched; officers recovered several pieces of crack cocaine, a small amount of marijuana, and digital scales. Garrett was charged with possession of marijuana (less than 20g), violation of state probation, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting an officer without violence, and warrant possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

Although the article did not say how much cocaine Garrett had in his possession, possession with intent to sell is an extremely serious charge. In Florida, the criminal penalties depend on whether the defendant is charged with a first-, second-, or third-degree felony. A second-degree felony conviction may result in 15 years in prison, while a third-degree felony conviction will result in a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Cocaine is a Schedule 2 illegal drug. In the state of Michigan, anyone who is found guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver will face extremely harsh penalties; how harsh those penalties are depend on the amount of cocaine involved, criminal history, whether the offense took place within close proximity of a school, park, or church, and other factors. Possession of less than 50 grams is a felony offense that could land the accused in prison for up to 20 years.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with possession of cocaine, heroin, meth, or any illegal drug, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately. Your future, freedom, and reputation are at risk. Contact a skilled and aggressive Michigan drug crime attorney right away, so that work can begin to protect your legal rights and freedom.

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear George Toca’s appeal of a life prison sentence without parole he was given when he was just 17 years old; that was 30 years ago. Toca was found guilty of killing a friend during a botched robbery, although the killing was said to be accidental. The Ultimate Tool For Acing Your Law Exam Pic

At issue is a ruling the U.S. Supreme Court made two years ago, which banned those who were under the age of 18 from being sentenced to life without parole. The court determined in 2012 that such a sentence for juveniles was “cruel and unusual punishment.” Now, the court will decide whether to apply the rule to Toca’s case retroactively.

Toca has maintained his innocence, and another person has claimed responsibility in the killing; regardless, innocence is not the issue before the court. Other state supreme courts, including those in Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, have refused requests for resentencing finding the 2012 rule procedural.

While Toca’s attorney maintain their client’s innocence in the killing of Eric Batiste, the 2012 decision made by the Supreme Court did not mean that inmates should be released, but that they have the opportunity to seek parole. A ruling in the case, Toca v. Louisiana, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-6381 is due by the end of June 2015.

In June of 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that in the case of juveniles convicted of homicide, the death penalty or a sentence of life without parole were unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

While Toca is appealing the “without the possibility of parole” portion of his sentence, many people are wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit, or sentenced in a way that is overly harsh in comparison to the crime committed. Those found guilty of a criminal offense such as homicide, robbery, carjacking, or even sexual assault or a drug crime may wish to appeal their conviction or sentence. However, it is important to note that the appeals process is not always successful, and in fact rarely changes the outcome.

In order to reach the results you hope for in appealing a conviction or sentence, it is vital to work with a highly skilled and experienced Michigan criminal appeals lawyer with a proven track record for success in the appeals process.

On Monday morning, December 15, 51-year-old Allan Charles McTavish was stopped after a Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy witnessed McTavish’s Chevrolet HHR run a red light, according to a news article at Tampabay.com. McTavish has been with the St. Petersburg Police Department since 1984. traffic-lights-1227798-m

Upon stopping McTavish, the deputy noticed an odor of alcohol, that McTavish’s eyes were bloodshot, and his speech slurred. When asked to get out of his vehicle, McTavish allegedly stumbled and fell against the side of his vehicle. He refused a breath and field sobriety tests, and was arrested before being taken to the county jail.

Police spokesman Mike Puetz said that until an internal investigation is completed, McTavish will remain on desk duty. The article claims that McTavish has had positive evaluations over the years he has been with the police department, and that his personnel file includes numerous thank-you notes from residents in the local area.

This story is a prime example of how anyone can get caught driving under the influence, regardless of his or her standing in the community. McTavish has been with the St. Petersburg Police Department for 30 years, and was apparently an exemplary employee. No one expects to get caught when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol, but it does happen. Had McTavish’s judgment not been impaired causing him to run a red light, he may have escaped arrest.

While the article did not indicate whether it was McTavish’s first DUI offense, we assume it was. In the state of Michigan, a first DUI conviction will result in driver’s license suspension, possible jail time, fines, community service, and more. Those who are convicted also have a criminal record, which will have a negative impact on employment opportunities and more.

If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to fight the charge. Protect your reputation and freedom by working with a capable Michigan DUI defense attorney who will protect your legal rights and help you determine how best to proceed.

Recently it was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade and Special Agent in Charge of the IRS, Criminal Investigation Jarod J. Koopman that Antonio Lundy had pleaded guilty to involvement in a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. Lundy, who is 43 years old, pleaded guilty to access device fraud after working with others to prepare and file false income tax returns with the IRS. The History of Criminal Law Pic

In essence, Lundy committed identity theft as he worked to gather the personal identification information and addresses of other individuals and supplying this information to others participating in the scheme who would then prepare and file fraudulent income tax returns. According to the announcement, this scheme began in September of 2011 and continued through April of the next year. In all, there were about 180 fraudulent returns filed which resulted in refunds totaling $1.7 million. The IRS paid out the refunds, which were then loaded onto Turbo Tax Visa debit cards, then picked up by Lundy at the addresses he had provided to others who participated in the scheme. Those whose names were on the cards were not aware that they were the victims of identity theft.

Lundy withdrew cash using the debit cards at several ATM machines in the Detroit area, withdrawing cash in the amount of $251,990. His sentencing is scheduled for April of next year. He will face potential fines of $250,000 and a maximum of ten years in prison; in addition, Lundy will pay restitution of the $251,990 withdrawn at ATMs to the IRS.

IRS-Criminal Investigation special agents investigated the case.

Identity theft and defrauding the IRS are very serious crimes that will leave those convicted facing harsh criminal penalties. Although these types of offenses are white collar crimes and typically involve no violence, they are prosecuted vigorously as lawmakers attempt to crack down on identity theft and fraud schemes that hurt innocent individuals.

Anyone who is under investigation for fraud, embezzling, money laundering, or any white collar crime or who has been arrested must work with a skilled and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney who is dedicated to obtaining good results and protecting your freedom.

If your driver’s license has been suspended due to DUI, you may have a “little” knowledge about the restoration process and believe that with this basic understanding, you can win at a DAAD/DLAD hearing. As experienced Michigan driver’s license reinstatement attorneys, we want to clear up a few common myths regarding license restoration. highway-of-bliss-51154-m

You can do it on your own, and don’t need a skilled lawyer. Of course anyone can get lucky and win at a DAAD hearing, however it is highly unusual. The fact is, in Michigan the denial rate at these hearings is high – and if you lose, you still do not have the privilege to drive. Why risk something as important as being able to drive? In addition, you will have to wait another year to file for another hearing.

If you do not win your DAAD hearing, you can simply appeal the decision. Michigan gives Hearing Officers an incredible amount of discretion, so appealing in the Circuit Court will likely not result in a full reversal of the officer’s decision. You may be able to get another hearing before the one year time period has passed, however the more times you go back for a DAAD hearing, the worse your chances of getting your license reinstated may be, due to problem evidence or inconsistencies/conflicts in the information/documentation you provide each time. Why not do it the first time with a highly qualified attorney, and not have to go through it again?

You can get a license by moving out of the state. This is a myth many people believe. Today, there is a National Driver Index that allows for other states to see any issues with your driver’s license. In most states, you must clear up the suspension or revocation issue in Michigan before the other state will issue a license.

Most people are not successful in their first attempt at a DAAD hearing. This is a surprisingly common myth, and one that is far from the truth. With an experienced Michigan driver’s license restoration attorney, your case will be handled the way it should be – and your chance of having your license reinstated will be excellent.

Any attorney can successfully handle your case. Having a lawyer is better than going it on your own, right? Not necessarily. Attorneys who are highly familiar with DLAD hearings and who have hands-on experience are aware of every potential problem, and the importance of properly submitting all documentation/evidence. Your attorney should be aware of the fact that past issues can affect your chances of winning, including probation for a past crime, psychological issues, pending court cases, drug or alcohol relapse history, credibility issues, and more. The more familiar your attorney is with what is required at these hearings and the better his/her track record in these types of cases, the better your chances of winning.

These are just a few of the many myths surrounding driver’s license restoration in Michigan. If your license has been suspended or revoked, work with a qualified lawyer who has substantial experience and is dedicated to a good outcome.

Last week, a Thermalito, California woman who is employed as a school bus driver in the Thermalito Union School District was arrested while on her way for her morning bus route, according to a news article at Action News Now. school-bus-793842-m

Kimberly Oxley was reportedly on her way to work in her personal vehicle when an anonymous citizen alerted the Oroville Police and reported Oxley was drunk. According to Assistant Police Chief Al Byers, she has no prior criminal history with the Oroville Police Department. He also added that in addition to being arrested for drunk driving, the department was looking into additional charges in connection with Oxley attempting to drive a school bus that day, considering police suspect she was consuming alcohol as recently as two hours prior to being arrested at the bus yard.

While the school district said in the report that it would not determine her employment fate until Oxley had an opportunity to state her case through a Skelly hearing, Byers said his department filed the paperwork to hopefully prevent Oxley from getting her bus license back.

Drunk driving is a serious offense for anyone, but particularly for those who possess a CDL or bus license for employment purposes. Not only may an individual lose the license he/she needs to work, but criminal penalties are serious as well and may include steep fines, possible jail time, community service, and more.

In the state of Michigan, individuals who hold CDL licenses may be arrested for driving under the influence with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .04%, which is half of the .08% legal limit for other drivers. In addition, refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in license suspension up to one year, according to the state’s implied consent law.

Drivers of school buses, commercial trucks, cabs, and other commercial vehicles are subject to amplified penalties when charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Essentially, your freedom, employment, and reputation are at great risk. If you have been arrested or charged with a DUI offense, consult with an experienced Michigan DUI attorney who will work not only to protect you from serious criminal penalties, but your CDL license as well.

Robert Ray, a 28-year-old Denver man who is on death row for a crime he was convicted of in 2009, is appealing his conviction in an earlier criminal case, requesting a new trial in a case he was convicted of in 2004 for allegedly attempting to murder two men at an Aurora Park. An Attorney's Guide to a Career in Law Pic

Ray was convicted of attempted murder in the 2004 shooting of Javad Marshall-Fields and another man; Marshall-Fields was the son of state Representative Rhonda Fields. Ray allegedly ordered the shooting of Marshall-Fields when he agreed to testify against Ray in the case. According to a news report at abc7 in Denver, Marshall-Ray and his fiancée were murdered a day prior to Marshall-Ray’s scheduled testimony in June of 2005; they were gunned down in a car. Because he was convicted in the attempted park murders, prosecutors felt that Ray should face the death penalty for the murder of Marshall-Ray and his fiancée, Vivianne Wolfe.

Ray is appealing his earlier conviction and hoping to get a new trial based on possible procedural errors.

Essentially, Ray is hoping that in getting a new trial for the attempted murder charges, the outcome will be different, thereby possibly changing his death sentence in his most recent conviction since prosecutors used the first case in obtaining a death penalty sentence in the second.

Murder is the most serious offense a person can be charged with, however there are innocent people behind bars today for all types of crimes, including sex crimes, burglary, drug crimes, attempted murder, carjacking, and other offenses. Regardless of the circumstances, if you have been wrongfully convicted or feel that errors in the legal process resulted in your conviction, consult with a highly experienced Michigan criminal appeals attorney immediately. The appeals process is not easy, and it is rare that the judges overturn a conviction – however with a capable lawyer, the odds are tipped more in your favor.

More and more each year, respected, hard-working citizens in our country are becoming “criminals,” mostly due to our over-zealous government. No where in the U.S. is this more true than in Michigan, where there are more than 3,100 crimes with the majority of those felony and misdemeanor offenses falling outside of the penal code. What is truly unfortunate is that today, an individual can commit a crime and not even be aware of it – often in the act of trying to do something nice or helpful for someone else. Michigan Department of Corrections Struggles With Budget Challenges Pic

America’s government has gained too much control over our lives. In fact, expansive government has seemingly fought to take away our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, millions of dollars are spent by U.S. states imprisoning individuals who are in no way a threat to society, even for crimes that prosecutors never for an instant thought were illegal.

One example of innocent individuals in Michigan who were put into legal jeopardy unknowingly in recent years includes a business owner who expanded his parking lot in an effort to accommodate his growing business. The land was later deemed a “wetland” by state regulators. Should the man be labeled a criminal? Of course not. This is one example of how ridiculously out of control criminal law is becoming.

Over criminalization is defined as the “brisk and untethered growth in both the size and scope of criminal law.” While much of the problem stems from our expansive and increasingly controlling federal government, over criminalization is also a problem at the state level. On example of this is in New York, where a 12-year-old girl was arrested and handcuffed for doodling “I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here 2/1/10″ on her school desk. Really? Is this necessary in our country?

Those reading this are probably not aware of it, but the state of Michigan has a higher incarceration rate than Cuba, Iran, and Russia. This is certainly not something to be proud of, but is in part due to the fact that like federal government and other states, our state law has gone too far in making activities that are not inherently wrong crimes. Michigan has created or “manufactured” about 45 new criminal offenses every year in the past six years, nearly half of those new “crimes” considered felonies. Why are state and federal lawmakers trying to make the citizens of our country into criminals?

Not only does over criminalization put hard working, honest individuals and businesses at risk of incarceration or other penalties, it also has a huge impact on our economy. Honest people make honest mistakes; no human is perfect. Who pays for the process of prosecuting these “criminals” who pose no danger to society, and who never intended to commit a crime? The taxpayers, every one of us. When it comes to what should be considered a crime and what shouldn’t be, it seems our government has far overreached its boundaries.

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On Saturday, December 6, two individuals from Brandon, MS were arrested following a traffic stop in Rankin County. According to a news article at Fox5Vegas, 30-year-old Tracie Burt and 37-year-old Thomas Allen Jr. were in the vehicle which was pulled over at approximately 9 p.m. by Rankin County police. A five-month-old baby was also inside the vehicle. with-a-church-and-buses-3-185443-m

Upon pulling the car over, police found 80 grams of methamphetamine inside the vehicle. Burt and Allen were charged with child endangerment, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of more than 30 grams of meth ice, and five counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. The two also face additional charges, Burt with disorderly conduct, open container, and introducing contraband into a correctional facility, and Allen with DUI, DUI child endangerment, tampering with evidence, careless driving, and more.

The article claimed the street value of the methamphetamine found in the vehicle to be about $8,000. Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said that this was a “large amount of street level dope,” and that it was destined toward the young men and women of Rankin County.

Possession of large amounts of illegal drugs or substances is a serious crime in any state, resulting in harsh criminal penalties for those convicted. In the state of Michigan, possession of any amount of meth will result in a maximum of 10 years in prison along with fines of up to $15,000. The penalties a person will face if found guilty depend on the type and amount of drug involved, the individual’s criminal history, whether weapons were involved, and other factors. If someone is convicted a second time for possession of more than 50 grams of any Schedule I or II drug, including methamphetamines, it could result in life in prison according to Michigan Penal Code 333.7413.

Being charged with possession of any illicit substance, whether meth, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs is a serious matter. Depending on the amount a person has in his or her possession, charges could be ‘trumped up’ by prosecutors to possession with intent to deliver charges, which leads to even harsher punishment. Whether you have been arrested or are under investigation, it is vital that you consult with a skilled and aggressive Michigan drug crime attorney immediately.

On Thursday, December 4, 56-year-old Patricia Ann Robertson, a third grade teacher at Earl Warren Elementary School in Sacramento, was on her way to school when she missed a turn which resulted in her Mustang crashing into several vehicles and damaging two homes. alcohol-1342726-m

According to a news article at News10, Robertson has been placed on administrative leave from the school as an investigation begins into the crash, which police believe was a result of DUI. California Highway Police Officer Rick Turner said that a preliminary alcohol test performed on the teacher resulted in a reading that was three times the legal limit of .08 percent. At the time of the news report, Robertson’s blood test results were still pending.

Robertson told the officers that she attempted to make a right turn as she was driving westbound on Deddington Way, however she missed the turn and continued straight. This resulted in her Mustang sideswiping one car and striking another in a driveway, which pushed the car in the driveway into a home. Robertson’s Mustang continued forward before veering to the right and eventually crashing into the home next door to the one that had already been struck. John Sandu, the owner of the home Robertson struck, said that she had been speeding through the neighborhood for years, and that he had yelled at her on several occasions to slow down because there were children in the vicinity.

There were no injuries. According to court records, Robertson was arrested for driving under the influence in January of 2011; she pleaded no contest to the charge. She was arrested on DUI charges and booked into the Sacramento County Jail.

This was Robertson’s second DUI offense within four years, if the charges stand. In the state of Michigan, anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence for a second time within seven years of a first conviction will face enhanced penalties. An individual’s driver’s license will be suspended for one year if convicted of DUI for a second time in a seven year time span. In addition, the minimum jail time to be served is five days, and as much as one year. Fines of up to $1,000 are also possible, along with 30 to 90 days of community service, and possibly the requirement to attend a DUI school.

As you can see, the administrative and criminal penalties for a second DUI conviction are extremely serious. If you are facing charges for driving under the influence, whether for a first time or subsequent offense, work with a skilled and capable Michigan DUI attorney who will fight to help prevent loss of your freedom and damaging criminal penalties.