In Michigan, we have some of the most severe laws in our country when it comes to the punishment of drivers that have lost their license. Today will be the first in a series of articles that will discuss the topic of Driver’s License Restoration. We will begin by tackling the issue of the eligibility requirements for restoring your driver’s license once it has been revoked. cruising-1430324-m-300x199

What are the rules for eligibility in the State of Michigan?

The first thing to keep in mind is the timing of asking to have your license restored. According to the Michigan Secretary of State, the rules state that one can apply for restoration 1 year after your first revocation or 5 years after any subsequent revocation within 7 years. While that timing seems harsh to many not in the legal profession, there are pitfalls that many people do not consider when dealing with this issue.

In Michigan, the issue of protecting children has always been at the forefront of our legal system and this is a theme that spans all of the way from the Michigan Bar Exam to the Michigan Supreme Court. While there is no question that children need protections provided from our court system and the legislature, far too often, parents are falling victim to be being falsly accused of crimes. One issue that needs to be addressed whether or not Child Protective Services (CPS) is truly deemed to be a government actor? Today we will provide some clarity on this issue. iStock_000003618046_Large-2-300x260

The Starting Point

From a global perspective, it is obvious that CPS is employed by the state but what is lost in translation is that the mere concept of where the employees are paid does not in and of itself afford a defendant constitutional protection. One of the leaders in fighting for the rights of parents and defendants as a whole across the state of Michigan is Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates. We sat down with Grabel to gain his insight on the matter and what he had to say truly opened up a great deal of hope for parents falsely accused of hurting their children. Grabel stated, “There is actually case law in other jurisdictions that dictate that CPS and the Department of Health and Human Services are government actors in the same breath as a police officer. Due process violations require a great deal of detail but the launching point for the attorney is to argue that the CPS worker is the functional equivalent of a police officer. The functional equivalent argument, if crafted properly, can provide an amazing safety net for parents that are falsely accused of such crimes.”

No parent wants to learn their child has been accused of shoplifting, however it isn’t uncommon for minors (those younger than 17) to commit this crime. It can be very enticing to a young girl to stick a tube of lipstick in her pocket or purse; a young man just can’t resist a “five finger discount” that seems easy enough to get away with. As a parent you may experience disappointment, disbelief, even anger. While no parent should condone stealing, you don’t want your child to wind up in jail or with a criminal record. What should you expect? clothing-1336617-m

Depending on the item a teen is attempting to shoplift and other circumstances, many stores decide not to call the police and simply confiscate the item(s). However, if the manager or someone in an authority position does decide to call law enforcement in, the age of your child is the biggest factor in how the case will be handled.

In the state of Michigan someone who is 17 or older is charged as an adult; those younger than 17 will be treated as a juvenile offender. Shoplifting is retail fraud, and may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the person’s criminal history, the value of the stolen goods or the merchandise a person attempted to steal, and other factors.

In the state of Michigan, when a minor is caught drinking and driving, the laws evolve into a more severe form of punishment.  Intwo glasses of champaign our state, unlike many others, those that decide to drink and drive under the age of 21, can face severe penalties even if they are sober at the time of the event.

Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates is a foremost leader in the field of OUIL litigation in the state of Michigan.  Grabel reflected on a case he handled last year and spoke of how the laws for minors can have major consequences.  Grabel stated, “A client of ours threw a surprise party for his daughter’s high school graduation.  The daughter had two glasses of Champagne at her party, then drove to her house and was stopped for making an illegal turn.  The officer asked her if she had been drinking and nervously she said that she had.  She took a breathalyzer and blew a .022.  While the law in Michigan is clear that one is not legally intoxicated until they reach a .08, for minors the scale is lowered to a .02.  The young girl almost lost her scholarship and her life had been altered.  We proved that the breathalyzer had an issue with its calibration and had the case dismissed, but it is amazing how two glasses of Champagne could have destroyed this young woman’s life.” Continue reading

In Michigan, the drunk driving laws may seem like an insurmountable fight for litigators in the field.  As one famed litigator once OUIL and blood tests in Michigansaid, “Getting an OUIL in the state of Michigan is the equivalent of going to a doctor with stage 4 cancer, there is not much that can be done.”  While this famed litigator and law school professor is entitled to his opinion (and requested anonymity in our research), there are many others in our state that support his comments. Even though accepted by a vast majority in our industry, these comments are not valid. One such attorney who has been at the forefront of drunk driving litigation is Scott Grabel.

Mr. Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and his firm has evolved into a top law firm across the state of Michigan.  One of the ways he has obtained his notoriety is with his knowledge of drunk driving laws and his success in winning and mitigating what seemed like impossible cases.  When asked about this topic, Mr. Grabel stated, “The first thing that people do not realize is that there are only two primary ways to measure one’s blood alcohol content.  The first is the breath test, in which there are often calibration issues.  The second is a blood test.  In this utilization of blood is where we have found the greatest amount of success.” Continue reading

Make no mistake about it, the laws across the United States have become progressively more car keys with alcohol severe for those that have been charged with drinking and driving.  In the state of Michigan, the need for creative and diligent counsel has become more than a luxury, it has evolved into a necessity.  Depending upon the facts and jurisdiction that the defendant is being charged with, a jail sentence can become a reality for even those convicted on a first offense. One thing people do not realize is that Michigan, unlike many other states, does not allow for a drunk driving conviction to disappear with an expungement. Continue reading

If things keep going as they have been, it could soon be legal to use marijuana in the state of Michigan. While marijuana has been legal in the state for medical purposes since 2008, many across the state are in support of adding the legalization of marijuana to the ballot in 2018. In fact, recently it was announced that more than 100,000 signatures had been collected by The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, well ahead of the 250,000 signatures necessary to get the issue on the ballot within a six-month time frame. Medical-Marijuana-MI-Voters-Say-Yes-MDCH-Says-Not-Yet-Pic-300x225

According to news reports, the most recent campaign filing with the Secretary of State by the coalition has raised more than $818,000 combined through direct and indirect contributions, putting the group’s fundraising and signature efforts ahead of schedule.

Cannabis is becoming legal for recreational use in more and more states, although understandably there are those opposed to its legalization. If approved in Michigan, limited quantities of marijuana would be legal for those 21 years of age and older, with taxes going to support K-12 public schools, local governments, and roads.

A Michigan Supreme Court Decision rendered on July 17, 2017 could potentially change the face of the rules of evidence both on the federal and state level. The Denson decision is a landmark case and the victory led by Scott Grabel and Associates was not just a success story for him but could also blaze a trail for criminal defense attorneys in the foreseeable future (Michigan Supreme Court, Docket No. 152916, “People v. Denson”). Grabel04a-2-300x146

The facts create a complex fact pattern as the defendant in the case was convicted of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder after a jury trial in the Genesee Circuit Court (MCL 750.84). One of the keys to the prosecution’s argument was the Michigan Rules of Evidence (MRE) 404 B (MRE 404 B [MIMIC]). MRE 404B, which is famously referred to as “MIMIC” is a tool that the prosecution has often used to bring in evidence that would normally be deemed unfairly prejudicial. In this case, the prosecution attempted to utilize 404 B to admit evidence of “other-acts” to incorporate a 2002 conviction of assault. After hearing arguments form the prosecution and the defense, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the case will be reversed and remanded for a new trial.

The Litigation

December 15 is a crucial day for the state of Michigan because on that day, the process for medical marijuana licensure will begin. The licenses that will be granted are going to change the face of economics in the state of Michigan but with the new prospect for economic growth comes potential pitfalls that some people are overlooking. The reality is with a conservative Medical Marijuana Board in place, the applicants are going to have to come from different walks of life and getting licensure will not be an easy task. To delve deeper into the issue, we examined how licensure will affect the cannabis community and what we found out was that there is a lot of misinformation that is being spread. Let’s break down some of the issues that we as litigators will have to face for our clients: Medical-Marijuana-MI-Voters-Say-Yes-MDCH-Says-Not-Yet-Pic-300x225

I. Can out of state financing come in?

The state of Michigan is expecting a huge influx of revenues for the new entity but there are issues that need to be addressed. Ravi Gurumurthy, a successful attorney from Cadillac, Michigan, was asked about the issue. Gurumurthy stated, “What people do not understand is that cannabis is still illegal on the federal level. More importantly, if someone thinks that they are just going to be able to obtain out-of-state financing, they need to think again. There are Commerce Clause implications that could literally destroy Operating Agreements and projections could be nothing more than useless words on a page. The whole goal here is to generate income for the legislature and the citizens of Michigan; the non-domiciled individual will not be able to just come in and make a strong investment and just walk away. Our state and the United States Constitution alike will be tested and while there are many positives on the horizon, obtaining those benefits will be present many cases of first impression for our judiciary.”

It isn’t uncommon for someone to be accused of assault, which in Michigan is defined as an attempt to inflict physical harm upon another individual whether actually using an object such as a baseball bat, lamp, or even a hand to strike that person, or intentionally threatening an unlawful act whether you brandish a weapon or do something as seemingly simple as raising a fist. Your first thought, regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty, is to claim you were acting in self-defense – and perhaps you were. But what is the difference between assault and defending yourself? knife-2-1142077-m-300x236

When you were attempting to protect yourself from harm in the event someone else either used force or violence against you, or used offensive words to threaten you that caused you to feel physical harm was imminent (or in other words, about to occur), it is self-defense.

How does assault differ? Essentially, assault means you had the intent to behave in a manner that intimidated or struck fear in another individual, or intentionally attempted to cause physical injury to that person through threatening behavior. Assault, in some cases, may involve offensive or harmful touching of another individual when the touching is non-consensual, or the person touched does not give permission; this may also be considered attempted battery.