On Saturday, October 18, Scott County Sheriff’s Department deputies went to the Benton, Missouri residence of a couple for a follow-up investigation on a domestic disturbance, according to a news article at the Southeast Missourian. What they found at the home of Russell and Connie Turner were drugs and drug paraphernalia, which resulted in both of the Turners’ arrest for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. krankenhaus-1303353-m

Connie Turner, 40, signed a consent-to-search form presented by the deputies; Russell Turner, who is 50, was asked to give consent to search the residence and did so. In the search of the home, deputies discovered drug paraphernalia. Methamphetamine residue was also detected when a field test was performed on the items. Connie Turner admitted to using meth, although her husband denied it. A urine test that Russell Turner later submitted to indicated the presence of methamphetamine in his system. Both of the Turners were taken to the Scott County Jail, where each was given a $750 cash only bond.

In Missouri, the maximum sentence for a conviction of possession of methamphetamine is 7 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. Even possession of illegal drugs is serious, and may leave those accused facing harsh criminal penalties.

With every criminal case, the penalties for those convicted will depend on certain factors including the defendant’s criminal history. In Michigan, possession of meth will leave the accused facing fines of up to $15,000 and a maximum of 10 years in prison if found guilty. In drug cases, the amount of drug involved is often a factor in determining the punishment. It is important to note than when a significant amount of a substance such as meth, cocaine, or heroin is found by investigators, prosecutors may attempt to charge you with possession with intent to distribute, a more serious charge.

Regardless of your situation, the most important step you can take is to contact a skilled Michigan drug crime attorney. No matter what the circumstances of your case are, you are innocent until proven guilty. Your lawyer will work to protect your legal rights and freedom, and obtain positive results.

Recently, a 10-year-old boy lost his life in a crash in which the driver of one of the vehicles involved was believed to be under the influence. A multi-vehicle crash occurred in Anaheim after a pickup truck plowed into the back of a Toyota Camry that was stopped at a red light. The impact of the crash caused the Camry to strike a third vehicle. crash-car-748825-m

10-year-old Rafael Ramirez lost his life in the crash, while four of his family members were reportedly in critical condition. The crash, which happened on Saturday evening just before midnight, left five people injured and one dead all total, including the driver of the third vehicle. Gary S. Hunt, driver of the pickup truck that crashed into the back of the Camry, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Hunt was apparently not injured in the crash, as he was transported away in a police cruiser after officers placed him in handcuffs.

Michigan DUI defense attorneys know that many people operate their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; fortunately, most are not involved in accidents that take the lives of innocent young children.

Driving under the influence is a serious offense, however we are all human and we make mistakes. There are some situations in which an innocent individual may be charged with DUI, because of a malfunction of equipment used in breath tests, or even a police officer’s opinion on whether the accused passed the field sobriety test. Certain medications may cause a breath test to register above the legal limit of .08 when in fact, the driver has not consumed alcohol.

Regardless of your situation, if you have been arrested or charged with driving under the influence it is critical you take action right away to protect your freedom and legal rights. The criminal penalties for DUI in Michigan are severe, and may include jail time, fines, community service, license suspension, and more. Contact an aggressive Michigan DUI lawyer immediately so that work can begin on your case.

It is an unfortunate fact that the number one cause of death for teens is car accidents. This week brings teen driver safety into the national spotlight, increasing awareness of the dangers for teen drivers and their passengers, as well as other motorists who may be victims in accidents involving teenage drivers. shutterstock_110214911

According to TeenDriverSource.org, the riskiest period for teen drivers in regards to becoming involved in a crash occurs in the six months immediately after a teen gets his or her driver’s license.

The theme for this year’s NTDSW is ‘Support Older Novice Drivers: Build Awareness of the Trend in Delayed Licensure.’ Many teenagers today are not getting their driver’s licenses until the age of 18 or even older, partly due to economic reasons. In lower income families, teens are often 19, 20, or even older before they obtain a license.

Not too many years ago, many states allowed for teens who were 16 years old to obtain a full driver’s license without going through a GDL, or graduated driver license program. As long as the teen passed the written exam and demonstrated his/her ability to navigate turns, parking, and driving around the block, he/she could get a license. Today, many states have implemented GDL programs in an effort to reduce the risks of accidents in teen drivers.

Why are teens at an increased risk for accidents when compared to older drivers? While seasoned drivers certainly get involved in accidents, teens are particularly vulnerable. Some of the dangers and risks with teenage drivers include:

  • Texting/talking on cell phones. Like many adult drivers, teens often believe there is no risk in texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.
  • Critical driving errors. The three major factors in serious accidents involving teen drivers include:
  • Driving at speeds too fast for road conditions – for instance, going into a curve at speeds to high to navigate the curve, driving too fast on wet/slick roads, etc.

Distractions inside or outside of the vehicle. Inside a vehicle there can be countless distractions. As already mentioned, texting or talking on a cell phone. However, other distractions can include teenage passengers, eating while driving, changing out music CD’s, driving with the music too loud, applying makeup, etc. Teens are also more apt to look at someone driving beside them or pay attention to outside distractions, taking their attention from the road.

Not paying attention to potential hazards. In order to avoid accidents, it is important for teens to scan the roadway in front of them so that they are aware of drivers in front of them, or even deer or other animals darting across the roadway or Interstate. Detecting hazards so that they can be quickly responded to is essential to safe driving.

How can you help educate older novice teen drivers in your community?

Perhaps DMV licensing centers could provide older novice drivers with educational materials targeted to these drivers. Including a Driver’s Education course as a credit in order to obtain a GED may be beneficial. Employers who employ a significant number of teens may consider hosting classes regarding the basics of navigating their GDL, or Driver Education classes. There are countless ways that each individual state in the U.S. could boost their own state’s GDL.

If you are a parent who engages in distracted behavior or “multi-tasks” while driving your own children, consider the example you are setting. This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week; at Grabel & Associates, we urge all parents, teachers, and others in positions of authority to work together to educate teens about GDL programs and the risks of distracted driving.

Posted in: Legal

Recently it was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade that two Detroit residents pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in the use of false identification, and wire fraud. Jarod Koopman, Acting Special Agent in Charge IRS Criminal Investigation joined McQuade in the announcement. iStock_000004337124

According to the press release, McAllen Jackson Knight and Renita Adams worked with others in filing hundreds of fraudulent tax returns for the year 2010, using the social security numbers and names of individuals who were recently deceased. Those involved in the scheme used various credits including education and earned income credits, and Making American Work credits in order to obtain refunds. Adams and Knight worked in conjunction with the others to establish bank accounts for the receipt of the fraudulent refunds, and to distribute the refunds among participants.

According to court documents, Knight, Adams, and two other defendants used the information from decedents who had passed away across the U.S. between September 1 of 2010 and March 13 of 2011.

The press release indicated that the court will set a sentencing hearing for Knight and Adams. Wire fraud is a serious offense, with maximum penalties including fines of up to $250,000, a maximum prison term of 20 years, or both. Using fraudulent identification to intentionally defraud the IRS or federal government will result in the same fine, and a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Those involved in investigating this case include IRS Criminal Investigation special agents. The defendants were prosecuted by Kenneth Vert, Trial Attorney with the DOJ Tax Division, and Assistant U.S.. Attorney Ross MacKenzie.

Michigan white collar crime attorneys understand the seriousness of filing fraudulent tax claims with the IRS. As indicated above, the criminal penalties are extremely harsh. In addition to the $250,000 fine, it is likely Adams, Knight, and other participants involved will be required to pay restitution.

If you have been accused of filing fraudulent returns with the IRS or any financial crime, consult with a skilled and capable Michigan criminal defense lawyer who will work to protect your freedom, reputation, and career.

On Saturday, October 18, Robert E. Murphy of Ashland, Massachusetts was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, his third DUI offense according to a news article at ABC News. Murphy was also charged with operating a motor vehicle to endanger, as he was carrying 25 members of a cross country running team. school-bus-793842-m

According to the article, one of the coaches on board the bus became concerned that the driver, who is 59 years old, was intoxicated. Murphy was bringing the cross country team with Hopkinton High School back from a meet when the incident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. A police officer met the bus when it arrived at the high school parking lot, then performed field sobriety tests on Murphy once the team had exited the bus.

Murphy was expected to be arraigned on the charges on Monday.

In the state of Michigan, a third DUI offense is definitely something to be concerned about. In fact, it is a felony offense. The third offense is the highest a person can go for driving under the influence, whether it is actually the third offense, fourth, or eighth. The criminal penalties for a conviction are serious, and include a maximum of five years in prison, fines of as much as $5,000, up to 180 days of community service, driver’s license revocation for five years, and more. For commercial drivers such as those who drive school buses, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of greater than .04% can result in an arrest. For other motorists, the legal limit of .08%.

Driving under the influence is serious, regardless of whether an individual is arrested in his/her vehicle, or while driving a bus, commercial truck, or for other commercial purposes. Even a first-time DUI charge may result in jail time and fines, and your license will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days.

If you have been charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, consult with an experienced and aggressive Michigan DUI attorney immediately. Your lawyer will work vigorously to protect your legal rights and help you avoid harsh criminal penalties.

Recently, the FBI has requested the public’s help in identifying a man who is suspected of robbing a TCF Bank branch in Lathrup. According to a news report at CBS Detroit, the agency is offering a $1,500 reward for information which may lead to the arrest and conviction of the man, who robbed the bank on October 6 just after 10 a.m. safe-piggy-bank-1105756-m

The man, according to reports, is described as a black man who was wearing sunglasses, gloves, dark pants, and a hoodie described as a Champion brand at the time of the robbery. He was also wearing a piece of white tape on his nose. The man implied that he possessed a gun, and demanded that a teller give him money. The amount of money the robber escaped with was not revealed in news reports.

Witnesses said that the car the suspect fled the scene in was an older model vehicle with damage on the front end, possibly a Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable that is white in color with a white passenger-side mirror and dark driver-side mirror. Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 248-557-3600 or the FBI at 313-965-2323.

While the amount of money stolen from the bank was not disclosed, bank robbery is a very serious crime – a federal crime. Michigan criminal defense lawyers know that those found guilty of robbing a bank face serious criminal penalties. Whether or not the suspect in this case actually had a gun makes no difference; the fact that he implied that he did makes the situation even more serious.

In Michigan, armed robbery is a serious offense. While the maximum punishment is life in prison, even first-time offenders will face a prison sentence and other penalties. Those who have a prior criminal record involving a felony offense will face harsher punishment.

Without a seasoned Michigan criminal defense attorney, the suspect in this case, when caught, will likely face consequences that will change his life forever. Anyone who is arrested or charged with robbing a bank, armed or unarmed robbery, or even carjacking must take action immediately and contact a defense lawyer who will work vigorously in pursuit of the best possible result.

Did he or didn’t he? Some believe he did, others won’t say whether Arizona special interest lobbyist Fred DuVal has driven on a suspended driver’s license this year after his license was suspended following numerous traffic tickets . The license suspension period began in mid-June and lasted to September, according to news sources. DuVal did file to have his driver’s license reinstated earlier this month. 1-1430625-5-m

The AZ Daily Sun reported that DuVal’s license was suspended for failure to pay a $20 fee for a red-light violation, although he did go to traffic school and pay a fine. When asked if DuVal had driven on a suspended license, press aide Geoff Vetter said only that there is someone who works on DuVal’s campaign who picked him up in the morning and drives him home at night following campaign events. Vetter said that he was not going to call DuVal and ask whether he took his young son to Dairy Queen on Sunday.

Another news article at AZ Central reports that DuVal, who is the Democratic nominee for governor of Arizona, did drive while his license was suspended – but that he had no idea it had been suspended. In December of 2013, DuVal made a right-hand turn at a red light without coming to a complete stop, according to consultant Rodd McLeod, who also said that DuVal paid the ticket, but failed to pay the $20 fee required to reinstate his driver’s license. McLeod said that while DuVal did drive a few times, he had no idea his license was suspended.

Michigan driver’s license reinstatement attorneys understand that there are frequently situations in which a person may drive, never knowing that his or her license has been suspended. However, in the majority of cases, someone’s driver’s license is suspended due to DUI, or even revoked due to multiple DUI’s. Regardless of the reason for suspension, when you get caught driving on a suspended license you will face the consequences.

Depending on the reason an individual’s license was suspended initially, the penalties for driving on a suspended license may including doubling the length of the original suspension period, fines, or even jail time. Ultimately, it is vital to work with a skilled and experienced attorney in order to avoid charges when possible, or have them dismissed.

Having your driver’s license restored when it has been suspended for driving under the influence or other reasons is not easy, and requires much more than simply requesting reinstatement. Whether you have been caught driving on a suspended license, or want to learn more about the process involved in having your driving privilege restored, contact a trusted Michigan driver’s license lawyer at once.

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.