Following the death of Prince in 2016, Fentanyl became a well-known painkiller that prior to that time was rarely mentioned. Unfortunately, people often take this drug believing it is hydrocodone although it’s said to be 50 times stronger than heroin. Still, regardless of the danger, many continue to sell or distribute this Schedule II drug which not only causes severe dependence but is highly abused. While it is approved for use in cancer patients with excruciating pain, using it in any criminal manner may result in serious consequences. iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

Used as a recreational drug, many who purchase what they believe to be other narcotic drugs such as heroin or opioid drugs often don’t realize the drug is actually fentanyl disguised as another pharmaceutical or “street” drugs. Over the last 17 years thousands of individuals have died as a result of using fentanyl, even when prescribed by medical professionals but used improperly by patients in some cases.

Fentanyl is highly potent, and can result in overdose when used by those who are seeking a “high” because of its addictive properties. Derived from morphine, fentanyl is not only administered via IV prior to surgery but can also be taken in tablet, lozenge, film, powder, nasal spray, or transdermal (through the skin) form.

There was a time when the drunk driving laws in the state of Michigan had a friendly overtone to them but as most things in our state, things are constantly changing. The reality is that Michigan has transitioned from the auto capital of the world to a state that is competing to be the leader in the marijuana industry and with these changing times, forgiveness for drunk driving offenses has taken on an entirely new persona. With tougher laws, we are going to need tougher lawyers. Perhaps nobody in the state of Michigan is tougher on defending drunk driving offenses than Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

When asked about these changing times, Grabel stated, “In June of this year, our legislature sent a clear message to their citizens and that message was that drunk driving laws were going to get tougher. There was hope that the laws would revert back to more forgiveness as it was in 2003 but message was shot down.”

The history of Michigan and the state’s views on drunk driving laws has been colorful to say the least. In 2003, legislators approved changing the per se blood alcohol content level for concluding a driver is intoxicated from 0.10 to 0.08. But lawmakers at that time included a 10-year “sunset” on the law. The sunset meant that the law would expire in 2013 but it was that year that the legislature passed an extension of that sunset, making the 0.08 limit good until Oct. 1, 2018 and with it a clear message that drunk driving would in the state of Michigan would receive no forgiveness.

While there is little question that medical cannabis in Michigan circa 2017 is what Prohibition was in the mid 1930’s, a key to cannabis facilitation is the physician. Lately, the medical professional has become a target for both state and federal prosecution as they are viewed the gateway to helping people obtain their medical marijuana cards. green-wonder-5666-m-225x300

In an article published by the Detroit Free Press on November 3, 2016 it was stated that one doctor approved nearly 12,000 patients for medical marijuana in Michigan. This was the beginning of an array of national scrutiny for doctors across the state with many that have gone into hiding. If medical cannabis is legal in the state of Michigan, why are medical professions fearing for their license? We have a chance to sit down and speak to legal professionals that have garnered attention as the top in the criminal industry to discuss the issue at length. What they have to say provides a combination of both legal expertise and common sense. The first to weigh in on the issue was Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates.

Grabel has developed a reputation as the top criminal litigator across the state of Michigan. One of the ways that Grabel has developed his stellar reputation is defending those in the cannabis field many of whom include those in the medical profession. Grabel stated, “We have to start with the premise that there are good doctors and bad doctors in the field. There are those that truly want to help patients and those that want to make a quick buck. No matter what category the physician falls into, many seem to forget that they need to establish a ‘bona-fide physician-patient relationship’ and this means meeting the doctor for more than just obtaining your marijuana card. If there is not a relationship established and we are looking at a one-time transaction, everyone, including the patient is vulnerable. The lack of due diligence from even those with the best of intentions can lead to loss of licensure and criminal prosecution. Our job in litigation should be to tutor the physician about the law as opposed to just taking their money. We have an obligation and the reality is that many lawyers are in this field for the wrong reasons. Many of our clients consult with us before they face incarceration. There is no question that prevention is often the best defense.”

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.

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