On Friday, November 21, 42-year-old former Atlanta Falcon running back Jamal Anderson was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this was Anderson’s second DUI arrest in 2 1/2 years. He was arrested for DUI in June of 2012, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving. glass-of-wine-428801-m

Georgia State Patrol officials arrested Anderson on Friday after he was found on the southbound side of I-85 in his stopped car. He was also arrested for improper slowing or stopping on the roadway. Anderson has since been released, and was held in a Gwinnett County jail on a bond of more than $2,000.

In the 2012 incident, Anderson was required to attend a drunk driving impact panel, perform community service, and pay fines of $700. He was also placed on probation for 12 months. Anderson was with the Atlanta Falcons from 1994 to 2001.

In the state of Michigan, a second DUI conviction within seven years of the first will result in a mandatory minimum of five days in jail. In addition, the defendant’s driver’s license will be revoked for at least one year, regardless of hardships, work, or other responsibilities. A second DUI within seven years may result in a maximum of one year in jail, fines of up to $1,000, up to 90 days community service, vehicle immobilization, and more. A second DUI is a very serious matter, one that places the defendant’s driving privilege in jeopardy, along with his/her freedom. The repercussions to an individual’s reputation and career can also be very serious.

If you have been arrested on a second DUI charge, it is vital that you work with a highly experienced Michigan DUI defense attorney who is aggressive and dedicated to securing good results. Driving under the influence is a criminal offense that will leave you with a criminal record. It is critical that you take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights and avoid potentially damaging consequences to your life.

On Wednesday, November 19, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the president and founder of Happy’s Pizza, Happy Asker, had been convicted in a multi-million dollar tax fraud scheme defrauding the IRS of more than $6.2 million dollars. Asker was convicted on 32 counts of tax crimes, according to the release. pizza-2-1364933-m

Asker’s Farmington Hills, Michigan based pizza franchise has locations in Chicago, Michigan, and Ohio, which Asker has ownership interests in. Other individuals, some employees and some franchise owners, were also involved in the scheme to defraud the U.S. In all, there are 60 Happy’s Pizza franchise restaurants across three states. The release indicates that payroll amounts and gross sales were significantly underreported for nearly all of the franchises. More than $6.1 million was diverted from about 35 of the stores between 2008 and 2010, with the unreported income being distributed among Asker and most of the Happy’s Pizza store franchise owners.

In November and December of 2010, Asker was involved in voluntary interviews in which he is said to have purposely misled IRS – Criminal Investigation special agents. Those who investigated the case include the DEA and special agents with the IRS – CI. Asker is scheduled to be sentenced in March of next year in the Eastern District of Michigan. He faces a maximum of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the IRS, three years for each count of filing a false income tax return/aiding or assisting in filing a false return, three years for obstruction and impeding the administration of the Internal Revenue Code. He also faces numerous fines including $250,000 for each count of filing a false income tax return, of which he was convicted on 28 counts.

The scheme went on for approximately seven years, beginning in June of 2004 and continuing through April of 2011.

As is evidenced by this case, white collar crimes are punished just as severely as those that involve violence. Defrauding the federal government is a very serious matter that is vigorously investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation special agents who are driven to uncover the truth.

Regardless of whether you have been accused of counterfeiting, embezzlement, forgery, tax fraud, or any financial crime, it is essential that you work with an experienced and dedicated Michigan criminal defense attorney. Without benefit of exceptional legal counsel, you no doubt face substantial prison time, steep fines, a criminal record, ruin of your career, and more.

Thanksgiving week often marks the beginning of holiday shopping for many people. While Black Friday was traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, it seems that people are taking to the stores (both online and off) earlier every year. Why wait until the day after Thanksgiving, when merchants are offering great buys earlier? At Grabel & Associates, we have a few tips to help ensure your shopping adventures are safe, and hopefully enjoyable. 15104215_s (2)

While you may be cheery and filled with the holiday spirit, would-be thieves are anxiously awaiting their chance to catch you off guard. When shopping in brick-and-mortar stores (offline), keep these tips in mind:

Shop in pairs; this makes you a more difficult target for thieves.

Try to take care of the majority of your shopping during daylight hours. Most thieves prefer to catch someone in the parking lot after dark.

Many non-profit organizations have people who ring bells and ask for donations, but be highly aware when anyone approaches you. Lots of con artists are slick and use a variety of tactics to trick – and rob – innocent victims.

Put your packages in your trunk, out of sight. A back seat packed full of shopping bags and boxes is just an invitation for burglars.

Leave the cash you don’t need at home. Bring only what you’ll need to make your purchases. In addition, leave any flashy or expensive looking jewelry at home. Thieves often target people who appear to have substantial financial resources.

If possible, leave your wallet or purse at home, and pay by credit card/check when you can.

Always pay close attention to your surroundings; being alert is the most important thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim.

Plan to shop online? You could be a victim as well. Below are a few safety tips for those who plan to do most of their shopping online this holiday season.

First of all, only shop at secure, trusted websites. Merchants who offer legitimate, safe shopping on the Internet will have a URL address in your browser that usually begins with https, instead of http. In addition, many secure websites show a padlock icon in your web browser. This simply means that all purchases made on the website are secure.

Unsecured networks put your information at risk. Many wi-fi hotspots are unsecured networks. If a password is not required to connect, do not give out any credit card, banking, or other personal information. Others who are on the network may be able to see your information.

Make sure your smartphone, tablet, or other device is “clean.” This simply means your security software, apps, operating system, etc. should be up-to-date.

Avoid clicking on suspicious links or opening questionable emails. Cyber criminals are smart; they use many tactics to gain access to shoppers’ information, so if anything at all looks suspicious, avoid it like the plague.

Keep a paper trail of your online purchases. Confirmation numbers, email correspondence with vendors, online receipts, credit card statements – all of these things can help if you are taken advantage of by a cyber criminal. Carefully review credit card and bank statements so that if anything is suspect, you can contact the company/bank immediately.

Holiday shopping can be fun and safe, but it’s important to be on your toes at all times, whether you shop online or off. The staff at Grabel & Associates wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and safe holiday shopping season!

Recently, an Oceana County circuit court judge suspended a defendant’s driver’s license after the defendant brought an English interpreter to court in a case involving cocaine possession. Juan Leonel Estrada, a 44-year-old Hart resident, brought the interpreter to court, a move Judge Terrence R. Thomas felt wasted the court’s resources. Thomas said that Estrada was “playing a game” with him, and that he did not feel Estrada needed an interpreter. winter-road-1130317-m

Estrada was ready to plead guilty to charges of cocaine possession in exchange for a maximum of 30 days in jail, however the judge rejected the defendant’s plea because he believed the defendant had misused the process of the court and its resources. He set the case for trial, and told the defendant that he would be the one paying for a translator at trial. The judge said that between now and the trial date, Estrada might learn English. The judge believed that Estrada could speak English fairly fluently, and asked him how he got a Michigan driver’s license if he couldn’t speak English. He suspended Estrada’s driver’s license, saying that it would remain suspended until the defendant could understand English and be safe on the road.

Estrada’s lawyer said that while his client is fairly fluent in English, he wanted an interpreter because he did not understand legal language and was nervous. He went on to say that the legal vocabulary is different from the English vocabulary, to which the judge replied, “It is for everybody.”

While this is certainly outside of the “norm” in regards to why individuals get their driver’s licenses suspended, Estrada will no doubt face extreme hardship until he does have his privilege to drive restored.

In most cases, people lose their privilege to drive because of DUI, drug offenses, reckless driving, or multiple traffic infractions. Depending on whether an individual has been convicted of a first DUI offense or is a repeat offender, his or her driver’s license may be suspended for a specific period, or revoked for many years, even life.

Living life without the privilege to drive is almost impossible, as those whose licenses have been suspended or revoked know all too well. We take driving for granted, never giving it a second thought until we can no longer jump in the car and go. If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked for any reason, speak with an experienced Michigan driver’s license reinstatement attorney who is highly successful in having clients’ driving privileges restored.

Arthur L. Williams, a 25-year-old man charged with assault with intent to murder in a gas station shooting in September, is no longer facing charges after the alleged victim recanted the shooter’s ID, according to a news article at Mlive.com. iStock_2709890

On September 6, a shooting occurred at a Speedway gas station in Buena Vista Township. At approximately 2 in the morning, a fight took place in the parking lot near the gas pumps which resulted in the victim being shot. Buena Vista Police Detective Sgt. Greg Klecker said that upon reviewing surveillance video of the altercation, detectives saw a group of men engage in a fight after several men and women arrived in the parking lot in separate vehicles. One of the men pulled away from the crowd before firing at the victim, who fell and then got up, ran away, and eventually sought medical treatment. The suspect in the shooting fled on foot, according to Klecker.

At his preliminary hearing on November 4, the victim recanted the identification of Williams as the shooter. Others who were involved in the fight would not cooperate with investigators, so the prosecutor’s office decided to drop the charges against Williams, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Boyd. Williams remains behind bars on a charge related to the case after he fled from police on foot as they attempted to capture him about one month after the shooting. He is charged with felony resisting and obstructing a police officer.

Had Williams gone to trial on the assault with intent to murder charge, he may have faced up to life in prison had he been convicted. Now, he will face trial for the resisting and obstructing charge, however a trial date had not been set at the time of this report.

Michigan criminal defense attorneys know that there are many situations in which someone may be accused of a crime he or she did not commit. Why did the victim in this incident recant the identification of the shooter? Defendants are often the victims of mistaken identity. Regardless of the circumstances, anyone who is accused of a crime, no matter how minor or serious the offense may be, should work with a skilled defense lawyer whose goal is to have charges dropped, reduced, or secure an acquittal should the case go to trial. It is critical that you take action to protect your legal rights, freedom, and future.

In April of this year, 50-year-old Clifford McNeal was convicted of third-degree theft in connection with a string of burglaries in 2011 involving the theft of large construction tools and equipment from three construction companies, one owned by Ken and Lisa Steck, Christner Construction, and Batten and Shaw, Inc. shutterstock_33503131

McNeal appealed his conviction claiming that the search warrant that resulted in his conviction was not supported by probable cause. Two other men, John Wey and Michael Jones, were co-conspirators in the case. According to a news article at the Ottumwa Evening Post, Wey and Jones frequently broke into buildings to steal equipment and tools to sell. After being reported by David E. Downen of Downen Construction as one of the burglars, Jones told investigators in an interview that he and Wey frequently broke into buildings and stole tools and equipment to sell in order to support their drug addictions. Wey allegedly sold most of the stolen property to Cliff McNeal, who allegedly knew that the property was stolen.

McNeal allegedly stored the stolen construction tools and equipment in an enclosed trailer according to Jones, who said that McNeal had recently moved the trailer outside of town to a rural location. Police obtained a search warrant, however Jones admitted he did not know where the trailer actually was. Police did locate the trailer, however McNeal’s attorney challenged the search warrant, claiming it did not meet state law and U.S. Constitutional requirements regarding protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. McNeal was found guilty after the district court rejected the argument, however the appeals court reached a different conclusion.

The Iowa Court of Appeals found that the tip from Jones was not a sufficient basis for obtaining the search warrant, as it contained no suggestion that the trailer was used to hide stolen property. McNeal’s conviction was overturned, however he will now face a new trial in district court.

Michigan criminal appeals attorneys know there are numerous grounds for appealing a conviction or sentence, whether a search warrant was obtained without probable cause, certain evidence should have been suppressed, witness testimony was allowed that should not have been, or errors were made in the criminal justice process by police, prosecutors, or others. There are individuals who sit in jail/prison cells today who are innocent of the crimes they have been convicted of.

Anyone who feels he/she has been wrongly convicted should consult with an experienced and capable Michigan criminal appeals lawyer who is highly skilled and familiar with the appeals process, and what is required for the best chance of winning.

On Friday morning November 14, a deadly accident on US 84/285 in Santa Fe took the life of 40-year-old Celeste Maestas. Investigators weren’t certain at first who caused the crash, however they suspected 59-year-old Jimmy Griego, whose vehicle was found pulled off on exit 177. Griego allegedly left his SUV and walked to a nearby casino, according to eyewitnesses. Griego has pleaded guilty to DWI on four occasions since 1985, according to news reports at KRQE News 13. bottles-02-300370-m

The crash occurred around 10:30 a.m., when police received reports of a Ford Explorer driving in a reckless manner and almost hitting other motorists. It was just minutes later when a crash involving two vehicles happened near the Buffalo Thunder Casino. Celeste Maestas lost control of her Chevy Impala and collided with another vehicle after she crossed into the southbound lane. She died at the scene.

At the time, police were uncertain of whether Griego was involved, however he was arrested and charged with felony DWI. His license had also been revoked. Days later, deputies learned that Maestas swerved to avoid hitting Griego on Friday, as he was driving recklessly. Her attempt to avoid Griego’s vehicle resulted in her crashing into another car before her own vehicle slammed into a concrete barrier. Griego now faces charges of vehicular homicide in addition to DWI.

In the state of Michigan, vehicular manslaughter is not a charge all motorists face when a fatal accident occurs due to poor judgment, however it is a common charge when a victim dies in an accident because another motorist was drunk or otherwise impaired, or driving in a reckless manner. The criminal penalties for those convicted of vehicular manslaughter vary depending on the offender’s criminal history and other factors. Regardless, the punishment is severe and may include fines of up to $20,000 and/or a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Every DUI arrest is serious, even when it is a first offense. In cases where a defendant is simply arrested for driving under the influence, a conviction will result in possible jail time, steep fines, driver’s license suspension, a criminal record, community service, and more. No matter how minor the situation may seem, DUI is a serious matter that can affect your freedom, career, and future. Fight charges of driving under the influence by hiring an aggressive Michigan DUI defense lawyer.

Recently, a Marshfield, WI woman was arrested for allegedly using drugs in her hospital room the day after giving birth, according to a news article at WAOW ABC 9. 34-year-old Reva Martinez gave birth at St. Joseph’s Hospital, where the Marshfield police chief said employees smelled a burning odor coming from one of the labor and delivery rooms. ambulance-1334534-m

According to Police Chief Rick Gramza, the infant was in the room when police discovered the burnt smell was oxycodone. Martinez is accused of having drugs in her room, along with spoons containing white residue, syringes, and other drug paraphernalia. Others in the room at the time of the discovery included the baby’s father and his friend, however police were not certain whether they were also using drugs.

Hospital employees were concerned about the potential danger to the baby, who was placed under protective custody by DHS (Department of Human Services). The infant was still in the hospital on Monday. At the time of news reports, no charges had been filed against Martinez, however police are urging prosecutors to charge her with neglecting a child, possession of narcotic drugs, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Possessing narcotic drugs that have not been prescribed to an individual by his/her physician is a serious criminal offense. Today, many people abuse oxycodone, morphine, and other narcotic drugs often given for pain. These medications are highly addictive, which is why they are listed as Schedule II drugs by the CSA, or Controlled Substances Act.

As experienced Michigan drug crime attorneys, we know that those found guilty of illegally possessing oxycodone face serious criminal penalties. The possession of less than 50 grams of oxycodone will leave those convicted facing a maximum of four years in prison, and/or fines of up to $25,000. While the news article did not indicate how much oxycodone was found, the amount of drug in a person’s possession is often a factor in the punishment he or she will face.

If you have been arrested for possession of narcotics or any offense involving illegal drugs or substances, consult with a qualified Michigan drug crime defense lawyer immediately in order to protect your legal rights and freedom.

On Friday evening November 14, 26-year-old Jakita Brown was arrested following an accident in Terre Haute in which she rear-ended a pickup truck. According to the Indy Star, three children were riding in Brown’s vehicle when the accident occurred. Police suspected her of driving drunk, and took Brown to the Vigo County Jail. beer-on-ice-174675-m

Brown was driving a 2004 Hyundai SUV when she struck a GMC pickup stopped at a red light, according to preliminary investigations. The force of the impact resulted in the pickup truck being forced onto U.S. 41, however no injuries were reported.

The trooper who arrested Brown noticed signs of intoxication and an odor of alcohol. A breath test also indicated Brown’s BAC to be .248, more than three times the legal limit in Indiana of .08. Brown’s three children who were in the vehicle at the time of the accident include a one-month old, a 5 year old, and a 7 year old. She faces preliminary charges of three counts of neglect of a dependant, three counts of operating while intoxicated-endangerment, operating while intoxicated with a passenger under 18, driving without a valid driver’s license, and other traffic infractions.

The children were checked by emergency medical personnel at the scene of the accident before being released to the custody of their father.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime in every state today. While the penalties may include jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, community service, and other punishment depending on whether it is a first, second, or subsequent offense, putting children’s lives in danger makes the situation far more serious.

Anyone who is suspected of driving under the influence should consult with an aggressive and capable Michigan DUI defense attorney before answering police questions. Even if you were not involved in an accident and have no passengers in the vehicle with you, the consequences are serious. You have legal rights that must be protected. Invoke your right to remain silent, refuse roadside breath tests, and contact a lawyer immediately.

Motorists across the U.S. are arrested every day for driving on a suspended driver’s license. As experienced Michigan driver’s license reinstatement attorneys, we understand there are emergency situations in which you feel you have no choice but to drive. However, many people whose licenses have been suspended get back behind the wheel when there is no emergency. This is not a good idea, for a number of reasons. freeway-6663-m

A driver’s license may be suspended due to DUI, failure to pay child support, a drug conviction, or even multiple traffic infractions/tickets. Regardless of why your license was suspended, you should avoid driving until your driving privilege has been restored. You may be thinking, “But I won’t get caught.” That is what most people whose licenses have been suspended thought, before they were arrested for driving on a suspended license. When you take the risk and drive without a license, you have to remember that you are not the only one in control of your situation – other motorists are out there, too, and you cannot control their actions.

Think of all of the possible scenarios if you were to get out and drive illegally. You could be pulled over for something you aren’t even aware of, such as the fact that a turn signal or brake light isn’t working. If your vehicle should break down and you pull to the side of the road or interstate, a police officer could possibly pull over to help – and find that your license has been suspended.

While the above situations may be unlikely, it could happen. More likely is that you swerve just a little while texting on your cell phone (which is also against the law), and get pulled over. Or, another motorist could rear end you at a stoplight, or back into your vehicle in a parking lot. There are countless things that could happen, and if any one of them do, you will find yourself facing an even longer suspension period.

The fact is, driving on a suspended or revoked license in Michigan is a criminal offense. This means that you could face penalties that include fines of up to $500 and possible jail time. These penalties apply to first-time offenders; repeat offenders face penalties that are even harsher.

Don’t take the chance. If your license has been suspended, discuss your situation with a highly skilled Michigan driver’s license restoration attorney who will help you get back behind the wheel – legally.