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One aspect of criminal law that is often overlooked is the concept of self-defense. In the state of Michigan, an individual can use deadly force without having an obligation to retreat if they have an honest and reasonable belief that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault to yourself or to another individual. The defendant must make an affirmative defense to prove the following elements: Personal-Safety-Guides-Protect-Yourself-Against-Sex-Crimes-Pic-300x199

A. The defendant was not engaged in a crime of the time deadly force was used.

B. That you are somewhere you’re legally allowed to be and

This year, the 4th of July holiday falls on Monday, which means many people will be enjoying a long weekend. More people will be celebrating, having parties, and likely enjoying a few adult beverages. It’s a good time for most folks, but it’s important to focus on safety whether you’re having a few beers or planning a fireworks display of your own! american-eagle-with-flag-407636-m-300x225

The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act makes it legal to purchase bottle rockets, roman candles, and other fireworks that can leave the ground and shoot into almost any direction. This means that any time you’re shooting off fireworks, there is a risk to adults, children, and even animals or property. Naturally, the more powerful or large a firework is, the greater the risk of injury.

Last year, more than 20,000 individuals signed an online petition calling for repeal of the state’s consumer-grade fireworks law due to not only fire and injury concerns, but even the noise and distraction caused by fireworks. In 2015, there were 67 emergency room visits as of July 8th that were linked to injuries caused by fireworks; one man died after holding a large mortar fireworks shell to his head, according to news reports.

Last week, an Uber driver allegedly ran a red light and plowed into a bus. According to San Diego police, the Uber driver en route to pick up a customer when the crash occurred, however, a spokesperson with Uber said that was not the case. The man driving for Uber was arrested for driving under the influence. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

The accident occurred just before midnight, however there were no passengers on the party bus according to news reports. The driver of the bus escaped injury, however the Uber driver suffered a shoulder injury and the front of his vehicle was demolished. The man failed a field sobriety test, and also had to be Tasered as he was reportedly combative with police officers.

The Uber driver now faces charges that include driving under the influence and resisting arrest. Uber released a statement regarding their disappointment about the accident, saying the driver had been removed permanently from access to the Uber platform, and the company’s zero tolerance policy for using or DUI while driving on the platform.

Recently, 31-year-old Keri Cache of Oakland, CA was arrested after she allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence. According to news reports, a 28-year-old man was struck by Cache as he was outside of his vehicle checking a tire. The victim reportedly careened down an embankment along the freeway after being hit. iStock_000001825952_Large-300x225

An off-duty Berkeley police officer claims he saw Cache in her Chevrolet Malibu on eastbound Interstate Highway 80 as she was driving at about 75 mph in the slow lane and weaving back and forth. Soon after she crashed into the victim’s Toyota which was pulled over on the shoulder of the highway.

According to the officer, Cache continued on and did not stop at the scene of the accident. He then alerted authorities and continued his pursuit of the Malibu as it exited the highway, then pulled into a grocery store parking lot where Cache allegedly drove in circles before leaving. After exiting the parking lot, CHP reported she ran a red light and returned to the Interstate, where she was eventually apprehended by an officer and pulled over.

On Saturday afternoon January 30, a Delray Beach man reportedly plowed through seven vehicles on Congress Avenue in Boynton Beach as they were stopped at a red light. According to news reports, 47-year-old James Dean Martin was driving under the influence when the incident occurred. iStock_000008348064_Large-300x200

Martin allegedly attempted to navigate his Ford pick-up between two lanes of traffic that were stopped at the light; Boynton Beach police were called to the intersection after witnesses reported the incident. Police charged Martin with DUI and driving on a suspended license. He was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail.

None of the motorists were injured in the incident, however spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said victims and witnesses had to detain Martin until police arrived on the scene.

On Sunday evening, a sheriff’s deputy was marking a DUI arrest in Hillsborough County when his parked patrol car was struck by a car driven by an impaired driver. News reports say the incident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. in Tampa. The driver of the vehicle who sideswiped the patrol car, 49–year-old Todd M. Casey, kept going. Deputies did catch up with Casey. iStock_000001825952_Large-300x225

Sheriff’s deputies were in the process of arresting 36-year-old Michael Probst when the incident occurred. When deputies did apprehend Casey, they noticed his speed was slurred, that he smelled of alcohol, and had red, glassy eyes. Upon administering breath tests, it was found that Casey’s BAC (blood alcohol content) registered .181 percent on one test and .196 percent on another. In Florida, the legal limit is .08 percent, therefore Casey’s BAC was more than twice the legal limit.

Casey was cited for not moving over when passing an emergency vehicle; he was charged with DUI with property damage.

Halloween is one of the most fun holidays of the year for children and teens (and even some adults), but it can also be one of the most dangerous occasions. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, Halloween is the one day of the year when children’s’ risk of being struck by a car and killed doubles. As a parent, it’s important to keep your children and yourself as safe as possible so you can enjoy Halloween again next year.

Our unofficial firm mascot, Waldo, dressed in his "Peppy the Pirate" costume.

Our unofficial firm mascot, Waldo, dressed in his “Peppy the Pirate” costume.

Whether a child or adult, it’s fun dressing up in costume and trick-or-treating door to door, or attending a Halloween party at someone’s home, a church, or other location. The Michigan State Police reminds everyone to be extra cautious, and to be aware of the potential risks. Here are a few tips for trick-or-treaters:

On July 26, 31-year-old Thomas Ripp was placed on emergency suspension from the New Orleans Police Department after crashing his unmarked police car while allegedly intoxicated in Lake Vista, according to several news reports. light-1-714566-m

Ripp was assigned to the Homicide Division, and has been with the department for eight years. He was off-duty when he crashed into a cement light pole after striking a curb at approximately 5:40 a.m. on Sunday, according to police.

Although results of a blood test conducted on Ripp were not revealed, NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said that Ripp did test over the legal limit for alcohol. He was treated for minor injuries which were not disclosed at a local hospital before being advised of his rights and arrested. No one was in the vehicle with Ripp when the accident occurred.

Last weekend we celebrated National Pet Day, and there is no better time to feature the most-loved pets (AKA “children,” coworkers, friends, and confidants) of attorneys. Without further ado:

Clyde and Cleo (2)
Clyde and Cleo (left) and Wiggles (AKA Wiggly Monster) (right) from Luke Ciciliano of SEO for Lawyers.

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20140922_122148 (2) Chloe from Albert Krawczyk of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

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.

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