On July 1, 44-year-old Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster and chairman of the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence. Ward said on Thursday that he would be seeking professional help after using alcohol as a ‘crutch’ to deal with stress, which resulted in his making what he said were “incredibly reckless decisions.” a-beer-in-a-pub-1171697-m

According to a news article at the Times Free Press, a call was received at just before 1 p.m. by the Alabaster Police Department regarding a suspected drunk driver on Alabama 119. Not long after, Ward was stopped by an officer just a few miles away at a city ballpark. Police Chief Curtis Rigney said during a brief news conference that Ward failed field sobriety tests that were administered, and “exhibited signs of intoxication.” No details of the arrest were available at the time of news reports; Rigney declined to answer questions regarding the senator’s blood alcohol content. Ward did spend the night in the Shelby County Jail before being freed on $1,000 bond the next day.

Ward had been visiting a vocational school in Bibb County just hours prior to his arrest, and posted a photo of himself during the visit on social media. His vehicle was impounded according to police reports. Prior to his DUI arrest, Ward pleaded guilty to two speeding tickets, one in 1997 and one in 2007.

Michigan DUI attorneys know that anyone from any walk in life can find themselves in a precarious situation, arrested for driving under the influence. Many people use alcohol as a way to deal with stress and anxiety, while others just enjoy an occasional drink. Either way, getting behind the wheel puts not only the driver but others at risk. In this case, there were no accidents or injuries.

A DUI conviction may result in jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, community service, a criminal record, and more depending on the circumstances and whether it is a first or subsequent DUI. If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence, seek legal support and guidance immediately in order to protect your legal rights and mitigate the damage. Contact an experienced and dedicated Michigan DUI defense lawyer.

On May 29, 32-year-old Joseph Mauti of Independence Township was taken into custody for allegedly killing his wife, 3-year-old Lindsey Mauti, with a baseball bat. According to news reports at The Oakland Press, Mauti beat his wife and dog in front of the couple’s two young children, a 6-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl. Mauti was scheduled to undergo psychological testing approximately three weeks ago, as ordered by a district court judge. garage-door-282316-m

Judge Kelley Kostin referred Mauti to take criminal responsibility and competency exams during a probable cause conference, setting the murder case for potential review on August 13. Mauti is charged with animal cruelty and first-degree premeditated murder. Lindsey Mauti died of blunt force trauma to the head and other injuries, according to the medical examiner. She was a teacher’s aide at Clarkston schools.

Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the Mauti’s home after a caller informed authorities that Lindsey had not come to work or called in. The caller said upon going to the Mauti’s home to check on Lindsey, there was no answer at the door, but a child was looking out a window. Upon their arrival, deputies did not get an answer at the door, however they did see what they believed was blood splatter before forcing their way in. The eventually found Mauti on the floor of the garage; she was deceased. Police recovered two baseball bats they suspected may have been the weapons in the crime.

First-degree or premeditated murder is the most serious criminal charge anyone can face. Those convicted will face life in prison. When accused of taking another person’s life, it is critical to work with an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney who will be straightforward with you, and provide the legal guidance and support necessary to reach the best possible outcome.

Police are relentless when interrogating someone suspected of murder. You must have a seasoned lawyer who will protect you against aggressive tactics used by prosecutors and police, and who will speak on your behalf to ensure you do not further incriminate yourself. The most effective way to fight these serious charges is to have a capable attorney on your side.

In April of this year, 25-year-old Aaron Hernandez, former tight end for the New England Patriots, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the June 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd in a deserted industrial park. Lloyd was allegedly dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée, according to a news article at NBC. Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the shooting death. 11637793_s

When he was arrested, Hernandez had been awarded a $40 million contract with the New England Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl while he was on trial for the murder. Throughout the trial, legal experts claimed the evidence against Hernandez was circumstantial; they also said there was no clear motive for the shooting given to the jury. Prosecutors revealed a surveillance video taken at the defendant’s home shortly before the shooting in which Hernandez was holding what appeared to be a gun. In addition, a marijuana joint was found near the victim’s body that had both his own and Hernandez’s DNA on it.

While the gun used in the murder was not recovered, Shaynna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancée, did testify that he asked her to remove a large box located in the basement of their home. Jenkins testified that she never looked to see what was inside the box, and that she put it in a Dumpster. Defense attorneys did not argue that Hernandez was present when Lloyd was shot, but said two others who were present at the time committed the crime. Defense attorney James Sultan said that Hernandez was simply a 23-year-old kid at the time who didn’t know what to do upon witnessing a shocking killing.

Hernandez appealed his conviction, requesting the judge either throw out the conviction or reduce the charge to second-degree murder. Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh is a Massachusetts judge who oversaw the murder trial; she denied a motion for a required finding of not guilty in the case, a motion which is a required procedural step prior to appealing. The judge said in the decision that the case was proven beyond a reasonable doubt by prosecutors.

Hernandez’s attorneys have filed a separate request regarding a juror who may not have been truthful during jury selection, the request based on an anonymous tip they received.

While legal experts seems to be of the opinion that evidence was lacking during the trial, the judge apparently did not feel the same way. Michigan appellate attorneys know that successfully appealing a murder conviction is extremely difficult. Having a conviction for any crime overturned by an appeals court is rare, but it does happen based on procedural errors, violations of the defendant’s legal rights, and other grounds.

If you feel you have been wrongly convicted or are considering appealing the sentence given to you, be sure to choose a Michigan criminal appeals lawyer who is skilled and capable in the appeals process. The quality of attorney you choose can mean the difference between success and failure.

Recently, a 24-year-old woman was shot in her apartment in what was reportedly an attempted home invasion. According to CBS Boston, Jeanette Hardy was shot on June 22; she was treated for injuries that were said not to be life threatening. 17821516_s

When police arrived at the scene, they discovered almost 2,000 grams of heroin in Hardy’s apartment. This discovery led to an investigation involving numerous law enforcement agencies. Over a four-day time period, authorities seized 22 kilograms of heroin and Fentanyl, said to have a street value of more than $2 million.

Three people were arrested; police also seized $226,000 in cash, two vehicles, and four handguns. A manufacturing plant located underground at a home in Lawrence, Mass was also discovered during the investigation. Those involved in the investigation included Manchester, NH police, Massachusetts State Police, and the New England Division of the DEA.

Hardy and two men were arrested for their involvement in the drug operation. Hardy was charged with possession with intent to distribute. The two other men also face drug charges, although those charges were not revealed in news reports. The men are 37-year-old Jose C. Casellas of Lawrence, Mass. and 33-year-old Luis Nieves of Haverhill, Mass.

Michigan drug crime attorneys know that possession of illegal drugs such as heroin with the intent to sell or distribute those drugs is extremely serious. Individuals who are convicted of possession with intent to distribute face life-changing criminal penalties, including substantial fines and prison time. In some cases, a person may face life in prison depending on the type/amount of drug involved and other factors.

When facing serious criminal charges, it is imperative to work with a seasoned defense attorney who will review your case, determine if your rights may have been violated or if police may have failed to follow proper protocol, and work with you to explore all potential legal options. It may be possible to prevent filing of charges, or to have charges dismissed or reduced depending on the situation. Consult with a highly skilled Michigan drug crime defense lawyer at once if you are under investigation or have been arrested.

On Friday, June 26 a 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Huntington Beach following a multi-vehicle crash that resulted in the death of a 14-year-old boy; two other teens were also injured in the collision, according to a news report at KTLA 5. on-the-rocks-2-268881-m

The crash occurred Thursday evening when a 2000 Nissan Frontier traveling southbound on Newland Street struck a 2004 Toyota Tacoma that was traveling in a northbound direction, sending the Tacoma into a light pole. The Nissan then struck a GMC that was stopped in westbound lanes on Adams Avenue at the intersection of Newland St. and Adams Avenue. Police responded to the scene after 911 dispatchers received a call about a driver in the area who was possibly drunk.

The 14-year-old boy who lost his life was a passenger inside the Toyota, which police officials said sustained major damage to its passenger side. The teen was rushed to an area hospital by the Huntington Beach Fire Dept. paramedics after heavy rescue equipment had to be used to free him from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at a later time at the hospital.

The deceased teen’s 18-year-old cousin and another 18-year-old passenger of the Toyota also suffered injuries, although they were not critical. The boys were on their way home after having dinner with relatives when the crash occurred.

The man responsible for the crash was not named in the news report, however police stated he is a resident of Santa Ana. He was arrested on driving while unlicensed and suspicion of felony DUI resulting in death.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous, yet people continue to do it every day. While some choose to get behind the wheel when they are clearly intoxicated, others may drive home from a friend’s house or dinner after having just a couple of drinks. Regardless of the situation, when you are charged with DUI it is a serious matter – particularly when the death or injury of others is involved.

Driving under the influence is a criminal offense that can leave you facing jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, community service, and even substantial time in prison if someone is injured or killed. If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, it is critical to your freedom, career, and future to contact a capable Michigan DUI attorney immediately.

On Thursday June 25, a trial date was set for 21-year-old Arnell Devontae Lincoln, one of two men accused of opening fire at a vehicle while at a gas station in Ypsilanti.  In April, Lincoln and 25-year-old Antonio Frank Thomas allegedly shot at a man in a red Taurus who was pumping gas at a station located in the 500 block of South Huron Street.  The alleged target was not injured, however a minivan that was in the vicinity reportedly got caught up in the gunfire.

One of the two adults who were inside the minivan at the time was reportedly injured by a bullet fragment; there were also two children inside the vehicle.  According to a news article at Mlive.com, it is believed a disagreement between Lincoln and Thomas and the man in the red Taurus led to the shooting.  Thomas is considering a plea deal, while Lincoln is scheduled to go to trial on September 28 on charges of assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, felony firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon.

Antonio Thomas requested a three-week adjournment to discuss a possible plea deal.  He is facing identical charges to those of Lincoln, with one additional count of assault with intent to murder, and an additional count of assault with a dangerous weapon.

The maximum punishment for a conviction of assault with intent to commit murder is life in prison.  Depending on the circumstances, the offender may face any number of years in prison, along with other penalties.

Depending on the strength of the evidence and other factors, there are circumstances in which a defendant may benefit by accepting a plea deal.  In many cases, prosecutors will reduce the charge when a defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest.  This helps avoid the costs associated with going to trial, and generally leaves the defendant facing punishment that is less severe than he/she would have faced had the case gone to trial and the defendant been found guilty.

Whether you should proceed forward to trial, accept a plea deal, or go with other possible legal options is something that should be discussed with an experienced criminal attorney in Washtenaw County.  Every criminal case is different; in some cases it may be possible to have charges dismissed, or prevent filing of charges completely.  Speak with a seasoned defense lawyer immediately if you are facing criminal charges or are under investigation.

In 2013, Martin MacNeill was convicted of killing his wife by dosing his wife with drugs and leaving her to drown in the bathtub. According to news reports, MacNeill, who is 59 years old, attempted to “off” his wife, Michele MacNeill, by giving her drugs prescribed following a cosmetic surgery she had so that he could begin a new life with his alleged mistress, Gypsy Willis. Michele MacNeill was found dead in the bathtub in 2007.

Pill bottles on shelf

Pill bottles on shelf

The murder came as a shock to the Mormon community of Pleasant Grove in Utah, where MacNeill was a father of eight, former bishop in his local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a doctor and lawyer.

MacNeill was tried for the murder of his wife after relatives (including his daughters) were suspicious of the findings that Michele died of natural causes. Within weeks of Michele’s death, MacNeill introduced Gypsy Willis as the family’s nanny and moved her into their home.

Now, attorneys for MacNeill are appealing his conviction. Many felt the verdict troubling, as there was little evidence to support MacNeill’s conviction, and the medical examiners were not able to rule Michele’s death a homicide. For the most part, prosecutors were said to have built their case around the testimony of an ex-cellmate of MacNeill’s who would possibly get an early release in exchange for testifying that MacNeill had confessed to the murder. Jurors in the case were unaware that prosecutors had made a deal with the inmate, and that he had seen cable news coverage of the trial.

MacNeill is appealing the conviction on grounds that key testimony was tainted. Attorney Kent Morgan said that, “Whether the jury believed or disbelieved this informant was the linchpin in the prosecution’s case.” MacNeill was sentenced to up to life in prison. The opening brief in the case was filed last Friday, with MacNeill giving notice he would appeal his conviction in November.

No doubt MacNeill will be facing an uphill battle in appealing his murder conviction. While the evidence in the case may have been mostly circumstantial, appeals judges must be thoroughly compelled that errors were made or a defendant’s rights violated to make the decision to overturn a conviction. Still, it does happen on occasion.

If you are considering appealing a conviction or sentence, make certain you obtain the support of a highly experienced and capable Michigan criminal appeals attorney who is skilled in the process, and who has a proven track record of success.

47-year-old Mark Williams, a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, faces drug charges after he was allegedly observed buying hydrocodone, a narcotic drug, from 64-year-old Elliot Goode, according to a news article at WKRN.com. bee-1235172-m

Williams was on duty and in uniform when Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents caught him in the act; the investigation had begun earlier in the year. Williams has worked with the Highway Patrol since January of 2004, and was placed on discretionary leave with pay following his arrest. All departmental equipment including badges and weapons were confiscated from Williams, according to state officials.

Williams was assigned to Lauderdale County in his position as a state trooper. He and Goode were booked into the county jail, where Williams was held on $10,000 bond and Goode on $7,500 bond.

Goode was charged with one count of delivery of a controlled substance, however news reports did not indicate the charge(s) Williams will face.

In the state of Michigan, using hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin) without a prescription is generally a misdemeanor; however when an individual is charged with possession of hydrocodone, it is typically charged as a felony. Misdemeanor offenses leave the accused facing a maximum of one year in jail if found guilty. If convicted of hydrocodone possession, the offender could face up to two years in prison and/or up to $2,000 in fines (in Michigan), along with other penalties.

Any drug charge should be considered serious, as it can impact not only your freedom, but your reputation and career as well. Certain drug charges such as possession with intent to distribute/deliver can result in decades in prison, or even life depending on the type and amount of substance involved.

If you or someone you know is facing drug charges, consult with a capable Michigan drug crime attorney at once. Your legal rights must be protected; by taking action now, it may be possible to limit the damaging consequences or even have charges dismissed or reduced. Depending on the situation, there may be other options as well including drug courts or deferred/delayed sentencing.

On Sunday June 21, a fiery two-car crash in Northridge left 19-year-old Desirae Crystal Crittenden dead at the scene, according to a news report at KTLA 5. She was a student at CSUN (California State University Northridge). A Defense Lawyers Guide to DWI & DUI Prevention Pic

The accident took place at approximately 3:30 a.m. in an intersection at Lindley Avenue and Roscoe Blvd. when a Honda Civic slammed into a red Ford Mustang, striking the driver’s side door with tremendous impact, according to LAPD Detective William Bustos. A desk officer said that in all, two males and three females were injured in the crash, with Crittenden pronounced dead shortly after the accident.

Those involved in the accident were between the ages of 18 and 21, although their names have not been released by authorities. Another passenger who was injured in the crash was not expected to survive at the time of news reports, and was listed in critical condition at an area hospital.

The name of the suspected DUI driver has not been released, however the article did say the driver of the Honda is 21 years old and while hospitalized in stable condition, has been arrested and charged on suspicion of DUI. The suspected offender was given a sobriety test at the scene of the crash, which officials believe was the result of drugs and/or alcohol.

Driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense, although many people don’t think of DUI as a crime. In most states, including Michigan, those convicted of drunken driving face serious penalties which often include jail time, fines, probation, driver’s license suspension, community service, a criminal record, and more. In cases such as the above where someone is killed due to DUI, the penalties become far more severe. In Michigan, DUI causing death may result in up to 15 years in prison along with fines of up to $10,000, restitution, vehicle immobilization/forfeiture, and other punishment.

Whether you have been arrested for driving under the influence for the first time, or are a repeat offender or have caused a serious accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you must have an experienced and capable Michigan DUI attorney in your corner. Your legal rights must be protected; your defense lawyer will work with you to mitigate the damage, and secure the best possible result in your case.

Recently, a 14-year-old Detroit teen was accused of attempting to murder his mother.  Tommie Lee Grady has been “adult designated” according to a news article at Mlive.com, which means he may be sentenced as an adult although he will be tried in the juvenile court.

On June 11, Grady’s mother was shot numerous times at the family’s home on Wisconsin in Detroit; it is believed the two were in an argument when he shot at his mother.  Police believe Tommie did the shooting, which occurred at around 8 in the evening.  Reports claim Tommie also turned the gun on his brother, but fled the scene instead of firing at his brother.  His mother was treated at an area hospital and released.  On Friday, the teen was apprehended by police in the area of Meyers and Keeler in Detroit.

Tommie Lee Grady is charged with assault with intent to murder, felonious assault, and being a minor in possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.  The assault with intent to murder charge carries a maximum life prison term for adults, however Grady’s punishment (which may be a mixture of sentencing allowed for an adult or juvenile) will be determined by the judge.  He could be sentenced to life in prison, or a sentence that is less harsh.

Grady was scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 18 in the Juvenile Detention Center.  An officer at the scene of Grady’s arrest claimed that the teen was unarmed upon his arrest, but had given the gun to an area resident.

Assault with intent to murder is an extremely serious charge, as is evident by the possible life in prison sentence.  Anyone accused of attempted murder should consult with a capable and experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney, as your legal rights and freedom must be protected.  In certain situations, it may be beneficial to plead guilty to a lesser offense (plea bargain) in order to reduce the severity of punishment handed down by the court.  Your defense lawyer will work with you to explore all possible legal options, and to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.