If you’re ready to request a hearing to restore your driver’s license, you probably have had some help along the way. Friends, family, and coworkers may have given you rides while you did not have a license, listened as you worked through challenges of staying sober, and believed in you on those days you weren’t sure how you would make it without a license. We will lean on them one more time as we prepare for your hearing. iStock_000013860209_Full-2-300x200

As part of your request packet, we will need to submit three to six letters of reference to the Office of Hearings and Administration Oversight. The hearing officer will read these letters to help determine whether you are safe to return to the road.

Your People

You lost your driving privileges, but you have been working hard since then to earn the right to drive again. Even though life has been more challenging without a car, you have persevered. You committed to sobriety and created the support systems that will help you stay sober. You have not succumbed to the temptation to drive without a license. You have navigated your day-to-day challenges while doing your best for a better future for yourself. It’s time to get you on the road again. 8123271_s-300x199

Restoring your driver’s license is a complex process, but you have already done the hardest part of the work. Let us make sure that hard work pays off. We have a 97% success rate in driver’s license restoration cases and are intimately familiar with each step you need to take to regain your driving privileges. You have earned and deserve the freedom that comes with a driver’s license. Here is how we will make sure you get it.


When picking a jury, the best way to determine if you should use a peremptory challenge or to challenge one for cause is to have a series of questions. While there are numerous options for these, we have provided content on this subject which has helped us find success in the world of criminal defense. Let’s provide said list:68916_law_education_series_2-300x225

1. Read the statement of the case: This gives a little background and pushes your opening statement a bit with a preview.

2. Have you read or heard anything about this case? This includes social media, friends, family etc.

Preparing for a trial can be one of the most tedious and frustrating aspects of criminal law. The prosecutor and defense counsel both have an agenda. The prosecutor’s goal should be the protection of the community. The criminal defense lawyer’s plan should be to preserve the constitutional rights of his or her client and obtain the best possible outcome. This is in a perfect world, but as anybody that has ever set foot in a courtroom will tell you, criminal defense is far from perfect. There are biases that come into play, probation officers with a different view on a case that a prosecutor, defense counsel or judge may have, the judge may have their own “hot spots” which means certain charges where they lose objectivity and at the end of the day, the words of a prosecutor that I have a great deal of respect for ring true: “A trial only happens because both sides failed to reach a resolution.” When this happens, the first thing that we have to prepare for is jury selection, and that leads us to the concept of Voir Dire. iStock_000025943007_XXXLarge-2-300x200

If we look up the term Voir Dire in Black’s Law Dictionary, is French “to see to speak,” the questioning of prospective jurors by a judge and attorneys in court. Voir dire is used to determine if any juror is biased and/or cannot deal with the issues fairly, or if there is cause not to allow a juror to serve (knowledge of the facts; acquaintanceship with parties, witnesses or attorneys; occupation which might lead to bias; prejudice against the death penalty; or previous experiences such as having been sued in a similar case). One of the unspoken purposes of the voir dire is for the attorneys to get a feel for the personalities and possible views of the people on the jury panel. In English, this means that as counselors we need to try to gauge an understanding of who may serve on the potential jury, what we should be looking for when making selections. The concept varies from court to court in Michigan, and jury questionnaires help make these choices.

Jury Questionnaires

When someone is charged with a crime, it can become a very frustrating and heartbreaking situation.  To be charged, this means that a police report was presented to the prosecutor, the prosecutor submitted a warrant request to the judge, and the judge authorized the warrant.  Once this happens, it is not the job of the investigating officer to pick up the defendant, read them their rights, fingerprint them and schedule an arraignment.  In this process, a lot of things can become compromised.  Some attorneys feel that if a defendant does not know about a warrant, they should try to avoid the situation.  Others in the legal profession feel that self-surrender is the most beneficial way to approach this subject.  Today, the issue of self-surrender in Washtenaw County is going to be addressed. iStock_000000341623_Large-2-300x200

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates which is known as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan and has a dominant presence in Washtenaw County.  When asked about self-surrender, Grabel provided commentary when he said, “Washtenaw County is a court system that truly appreciates the self-surrender situation.  While I’m always a proponent of the self-surrender, Washtenaw County is more appreciative than many other courts in our state.  There is no upside to having a defendant avoid the process; instead, the attorney should coordinate on the surrender and then advocate for their client.”

Joe Brugnoli is one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the Grand Rapids area and has practiced in Washtenaw County on capital cases.  When asked about the topic of self-surrender, Brugnoli stated, “When I’ve been brought in on Washtenaw cases they have been for the most serious of crimes.  Whenever a defense lawyer is faced with this challenge, the first step is to walk in with your client and set the tone for the next phase.  There is a solid group of Judges and Magistrates in Washtenaw County that will appreciate your efforts.  If the case is triable, it will help you navigate the system, if the case is one that ends in a plea, the cooperation will be one step closer to obtaining the best possible outcome for the defendant.”

In an issue that may surprise many, Washtenaw County has become one of the top areas of criminal charges in Michigan. The Democratic Community has seen criminal prosecutions on the rise in the last 4 years, and many new bills are aimed at Washtenaw County. To gain further insight, several of the top criminal lawyers in the county provided insight on this issue. micigan-county_map-300x260

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has created the top criminal defense team throughout the state of Michigan. When asked about the influx of work in Washtenaw County, specifically the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, Grabel stated, “Washtenaw County presents one of the most desirable areas to live throughout the United States. With that said, there is little tolerance for criminal activity within the area. The cost of living is one of the highest in our state and with that comes many prosecutions. We have built a team that has gotten amazing results in Washtenaw County because we understand that criminal defense needs a different approach in each particular county.”

Leading Grabel’s team in Washtenaw County is William Amadeo who is a Senior Associate at the firm and a partner at Ann Arbor Legal PLLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Amadeo has quickly risen to arguably the top criminal defense lawyer in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. When asked about some of the outcomes that he has obtained in Washtenaw County, Amadeo stated, “The key to success in Washtenaw County is to work a file like your life depends on it while still maintaining respect for the pressures of the prosecutor, the probation department and our judges. We have a lot of amazing legal minds in our community, and the main reason that I have had a level of success is that I’ve meant a lot of people that have been willing to teach me how things are done in their court. You cannot approach a case in Washtenaw County the same way that you do in Macomb or Lapeer County and if you cannot understand that your client will not obtain the best possible outcome.”

A Michigan bill has been introduced that would lower the BAC for OUIL’s from .08 to .05 which would make Michigan and Utah the only two states in our country to have such a strict standard. The National Transportation Safety Board made this recommendation in 2013 and have publicly stated that such a reduction would lower fatalities by 11%. To gain insight on how this would affect the state of Michigan, we spoke to top criminal defense attorneys in our state to gather their point of view. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has built a team that is known as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about the potential bill, Grabel was quoted as saying, “This is a bill that is being pushed hard by State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud with the goal of protecting families. In Lansing, this would change the culture that we currently are living in as many people know what their limits are under the current law. With the potential change, it would alter how people socialize and spend their money. The safest thing to do is not to drink and drive under any circumstances but this new bill will create a tremendous influx of criminal prosecutions, and for those defendants’ with prior convictions, it could certainly lead to more incarcerations.”

William Amadeo is a Senior Associate at Grabel and Associates and a partner at Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Amadeo had quickly developed a reputation as a top criminal attorney throughout the state of Michigan but provided commentary directed at his home county when he said, “In Washtenaw County, there have been much traffic stops for “Impaired Driving” and the problem with the impaired statute is how vague it is. One could be tired and charged with impaired. If a comparison study of how Utah law is being applied to how Michigan legislation may be conducted, we are going to see OUIL’s and “Impaired Driving” prosecutions reach an all-time high in our state and a county such as Washtenaw is going to have a logjam in the District Court. As litigators, we need to be prepared for what is on the horizon.”

In the world of academia, the crime of voluntary manslaughter was always taught to be a friend of the criminal defense attorney as the punishment for this charge is far less than that of traditional homicide. With that stated, the charge is one of the most serious of crimes in the state of Michigan and the Federal Court System. To learn more about this crime, we turned to leaders in the field of criminal defense in our state. shutterstock_92369299-300x200

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates which has evolved to the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about voluntary manslaughter, Grabel provided commentary when he stated, “It’s a 15-year felony, and any such charge is one that must be addressed carefully and aggressively. The actual statute is Michigan Penal Code 750.321 and the language reads: Any person who shall commit the crime of manslaughter shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, not more than 15 years or by fine of not more than 7,500 dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court. It is truly one of the more serious crimes that state levies in charging documents.”

Matthew McManus is the founder of Ann Arbor Legal PLLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan and providing commentary when he stated, “What is taught at the law schools of University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School is not the way our criminal justice system applies this crime. In both my criminal law and criminal procedure class, students were told how voluntary manslaughter was a friend of the criminal defense attorney, in reality, it can be a nightmare. What we were taught in school certainly did not take into account a judge that will exceed the “Tanner-Max” on a plea agreement.”

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.”