The preliminary examination (prelim) is a hearing in front of a District Court Judge to determine if there is probable cause to believe that a crime occurred within the jurisdiction of the District Court, and probable cause to believe that the defendant committed that offense. The defendant has 14 days from their arrest to hold their prelim.  This timeframe can be extended for good cause by either the prosecutor or the defendant.  Today, we discuss whether or not a prelim should be held, review the benefits and pitfalls of the exam and provide a tutorial of the subject matter from top criminal minds within the state of Michigan. 68916_law_education_series_2-300x225

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates in Lansing, Michigan, and has developed a law firm that is known as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan.  When asked about the prelim, Grabel was quoted as saying, “The prelim is the criminal equivalent of the deposition.  It gives the criminal defense attorney the opportunity to test the merits of the case and see the strengths and weaknesses of the witnesses.  Recently, we won a prelim in Ingham County which garnered a lot of attention, but the goal at the prelim is not always to win, it is a low threshold for the prosecutor to have their case bound over, instead, you should be looking to find weaknesses in the state’s case that can help your client obtain a favorable plea or win the case at trial.”

Matthew McManus runs Ann Arbor Legal PLLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and his firm has become one of the top criminal firms in our state.  When asked about the prelim, McManus stated, “Knowing your audience is essential.  What may work in Washtenaw County may not be the same strategy to employ in Shiawassee County.  Knowledge of your District and Circuit Court is what you should know when approaching this subject.  If your client is not incarcerated, it’s best to waive the 14-day timeframe because it will give the attorney more time to study the matter.  This is an issue we usually address at the arraignment.  It is crucial to understand that in counties such as Lapeer or Macomb the prosecutor may want to run the prelim to preserve testimony.  The prelim is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.”

A concept that the Michigan State Police have endorsed in CSC cases in the “pretext” phone call. The “pretext” phone call is an investigative tool that is utilized in a wide array of criminal investigations but has the most potent impact in crimes of a sexual nature. girl-on-cell-phone-184534-m

The “pretext” call is a recorded telephone call between the victim and the suspect. The call is generated by the victim who will generally prepare a script and work under the supervision of an investigating officer. The Michigan State Police Department find the “pretext” call helpful because there is often a lack of physical evidence in these types of cases and the information gathered through this technique can come into admissibility as a “party admission” at trial. To learn more about the “pretext” call, we turned to some of the leaders in the field of criminal defense litigation across the state of Michigan.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has developed a law firm that is known as the strongest in the state of Michigan. When asked about the “pretext” call, Grabel said, “A call is an effective tool for the prosecution, but it is viewed in very different fashions in different jurisdictions. In a jurisdiction such as Caro, the jury applauds the police for the call even if nothing fruitful comes from it. In a place like Washtenaw County, if the call is unsuccessful, it could destroy a prosecutor’s case. The defendant needs always to be careful when they engage in conversations because the “Collins Call” can destroy one’s case.”

Michigan is the birthplace of the automotive industry. Its cities, townships, and rural areas have been designed with cars in mind. While public transportation does exist in some areas, the system is often limited and disconnected. As a result, getting around without a driver’s license is challenging and time-consuming. It involves patience, planning, and creates a reliance on friends, family, and coworkers. The overall experience can be quite a burden. Yet, with proper legal representation, you can ensure that the inconvenience is only a temporary one. 8123271_s-300x199

Restoration Is Not Automatic

Unlike a suspended license, a revoked license is not automatically reinstated. To have a revoked license restored in Michigan, you must initiate an appeal process with the state. The bar is high; you must prove by clear and convincing evidence that:

In the age of cell phones and the Internet, society has taken communications to areas that were never thought to have been possible. With the advancements of technology, there have also been pitfalls in the field of criminal procedure, and one such zone of danger for the criminal defendant is the recorded conversation. mEHdjKG

At first glance, we see the Michigan Eavesdropping Law is encompassed in Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) which indicates that a defendant can face a 2-year felony and up a $2,000 fine if a recording is made without the consent of all parties. On its face, it would appear that Michigan is an “All Parties” consent statute, but there is often much ambiguity on the subject. To have more understanding on the topic, we asked criminal lawyers in our state to provide further insight into the law.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has earned a reputation for having what most feel is the most successful criminal law firm in the state of Michigan with a strong presence in the federal court system. When asked about the Michigan Eavesdropping Law, Grabel stated, “There is one critical exception to our statute that can lead to issues for the criminal defendant. If we turn to the “Sullivan v. Gray” case, we learn that if an individual is a party to the conversation they can record the communication (Sullivan v. Gray, 117 Mich. App. 476, 324 N.W.2d 58, 59 – 61 (1982). In this respect, we see that the Michigan law displays similarities to its companion federal statute.”

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A concept that is starting to garner a tremendous amount of attention in the criminal court system is the “Early Termination Hearing” which could afford a defendant on probation the opportunity to end their sentence more quickly than was initially authored by the court. When a defendant wants to obtain this relief, many steps need to be taken. To discuss the matter in greater detail, we spoke to some of the top criminal lawyers in our state to gather their insight. iStock_000006818663_Full-300x200

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates, and his team has built a reputation as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about the early termination hearing, Grabel stated, “Sometimes the motion can be as simple as an oral argument, and sometimes the concept demands full writing. A lot of this depends on the county that your defendant is seeking relief from. With young defendants’, it is crucial to stress that education and work achievements are essential to a winning motion.”

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of Ann Arbor Legal PLLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan. McManus’s firm is known for their aggression in the practice of criminal law. When asked about the early termination hearing, McManus stated, “To have success the attorney truly needs to have a strong relationship with the probation department. The probation officer’s role is vital to reaching a successful remedy for the client and the Washtenaw County, and Caro views the motion is entirely different. If the attorney does not build the relationship with probation, their client will suffer.”

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In the state of Michigan, the concept of an affirmative defense is one that places an argument in reverse, but it is also a theory that can lead to the preservation of one’s freedom. Often with an affirmative defense, one’s medical condition can play a vital role in the arsenal of the diligent defense attorney and the disease of “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” (FAS) has become a hidden issue in the field of criminal law. iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

When we look at FAS, we see a situation where an individual has an uphill battle in understanding right from wrong and one’s quality of life is compromised. FAS is a condition in a child that results from alcohol exposure during the mother’s pregnancy. The disease causes brain damage, and growth problems and defects are generally not reversible and often appears more magnificently as the child grows older. FAS is something that affects many young defendants in the criminal justice system across the state of Michigan. To gain more insight on the subject, we discussed the topic with criminal lawyers in our state that have utilized affirmative defenses based upon the issue.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and runs a firm that has developed a reputation as the top criminal defense team in the state. When asked about FAS, Grabel stated, “Generally, this is an overlooked subject, and that is tragic on many levels. To begin, when dealing with specific intent crimes, an intelligent lawyer can display that the defendant did not have the desire to commit the crime, for other crimes such as CSC, the defense becomes more problematic and as an attorney, your job should be two-fold: The first would be to try to obtain a dismissal or an HYTA outcome and in the alternative, create an appealable right for your client.”

The mistrial is a concept that has evolved dramatically during the last year within the state of Michigan. With the addition of Michigan Court Rule (MCR) 6.417, we find a new theory of law that is ripe to present appellate issues for the foreseeable future. 68916_law_education_series_2-300x225

According to MCR 6.417, we find that “Before ordering a mistrial, the court must, on the record, give each defendant and the prosecutor an opportunity to comment on the propriety of the order, to state whether that party consents, and to suggest alternatives.”

Scott Grabel is the owner and operator of Grabel and Associates and has built a firm that is arguably the strongest in the state of Michigan. When asked about the new court rule, Grabel was quoted as saying, “The new rule is really based on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rule 26.3) and came to light in consideration in the case of “People v. Howard” (docket 153651). We learned that many judges did not follow procedure when ordering a mistrial and with this new court rule, the concept of Double Jeopardy can easily be compromised if the sitting judge is not up to date on the new order.”

A common sentiment that is often uttered by the criminal defendant is “Get me probation”. While that concept seems to have benefits on its face, the practicality of probation is far more difficult than what we one may initially think of the subject matter. Today, we will explore the subject with a textbook definition and hopefully provide an understanding of the term. iStock_000000182036XSmall-300x224

When we look for a definition of probation, “Black’s Law Dictionary” defines the topic as a period of supervision over an offender, ordered by the court instead of serving time in prison. In some jurisdictions, the term probation applies only to community sentences (alternatives to incarceration), such as suspended sentences while in others, probation also includes supervision of those conditionally released from prison on parole. An understanding of the concept in Michigan presents a different view the norm because in our state we combine the above-stated definition into a very unique blend. To understand this in greater detail, we have sought commentary from leaders in the criminal law sector to obtain their perspective.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has developed a law firm that is known as the strongest within the state of Michigan. When asked about probation, Grabel stated, “What the defendant has to understand is that probation presents them a great opportunity at freedom. Sometimes, in exchange for incarceration, a term of probation could be the prosecutor banking on the fact that the defendant will not meet their obligations and the punishment forthcoming could be worse than what was initially offered. As lawyers, it is our obligation to train our clients on how to behave at this level.”

One concept that seems to be lost among the criminal law field is the power that the polygraph examination (AKA lie detector) can have on the court. While the law states that the polygraph is not admissible in court, many attorneys seem to lose sight of the power that a passed test can have on the outcome of a criminal trial. For years, we have understood that the polygraph is inadmissible at trial but there are other aspects of the litigation process that allow the test to play a vital role in the outcome of a contested criminal matter. With that stated, the purpose of this article is to determine if the alleged victim should be subjected to a polygraph? iStock_000025943007_XXXLarge-2-300x200

When we look at the Michigan Legislature, we see that MCL 776.21 (5) allows for a criminal defendant a statutory right to have a polygraph when charged with a CSC. What many fail to realize is that MCL 776.21 (2) explains that a law enforcement officer cannot offer a polygraph to the alleged victim. While the law presents information stating the lie detector does not play a role in the questioning of the complaining witness, we learn that there are exceptions to the general rule.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has built a firm that is known as the strongest criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about the polygraph of the complaining witness Grabel stated, “This is the point of criminal law when you are definitely in the deep end of the pool. The law is clear that the officer cannot offer a lie detector to the complaining witness but we often see that the prosecutor will not inform the party that they can take a polygraph. If you are truly a victim of a crime, why would you not take a polygraph to prove your case? We still live under the mantra that someone is deemed innocent until proven guilty and that gets lost on officers of the court at times.”

One issue that most criminal lawyers seem to overlook on a regular basis is the transferred intent doctrine. When we look at Black’s Law Dictionary, we find a definition that states when the intention to harm one individual inadvertently causes a second person to be hurt instead, the perpetrator is still held responsible. To be held legally responsible under the law, usually, the court must demonstrate that the person has criminal intent, that is, that the person knew another would be harmed by his or her actions and wanted this harm to occur. We see that the transferred intent doctrine carries with it the requirement of specific intent but the legal definition and the practicality are very different. To learn more about this doctrine, we turned to leaders in the criminal law firm for commentary. criminal-justice-attorney-300x225

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has developed a reputation for having the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about the transferred intent doctrine, Grabel was quoted as saying, “Just because someone does not mean to hurt someone does not mean they cannot be tried for a crime. This is one of the most overlooked concepts in the field of criminal law. In actuality, if the defendant meant to hurt one person and harmed another they could be charged with both an inchoate and a principal crime. The transferred intent doctrine was meant to broaden criminal prosecutions.”

John Granger runs The Granger Law Office in Tuscon, Arizona. Granger is highly experienced with this legal concept and stated, “The transferred intent doctrine can add to the confusion and misunderstanding the client experiences with his/her case. it is important to have a firm grasp of the applications and complexities of the doctrine to be able to explore all possible defenses and to better explain why the charges were brought against the client.”