Criminal Law ​Frequently Asked Questions

This page lists frequently asked questions related to criminal law in Michigan. The questions are categorized by various relevant topics related to this area of law (i.e arrests, probation, school related crimes, etc).

Before reading, it’s important to note that although this content is informative and point you in the right direction, the content is not a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have an urgent matter related to an arrest and/or offense in Michigan, you should talk with an experienced criminal lawyer at the phone number(s) below.

Business Hours: (248) 348-0496
Outside Business Hours: (248) 733-5021

General Criminal Law Questions

[fusion_accordion type=”” boxed_mode=”” border_size=”1″ border_color=”” background_color=”” hover_color=”” divider_line=”” title_font_size=”18″ icon_size=”” icon_color=”” icon_boxed_mode=”” icon_box_color=”” icon_alignment=”” toggle_hover_accent_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=””][fusion_toggle title=”I’m being investigated for a crime, but not charged – what does this mean? ” open=”no”]

This means that the police department is still gathering information on your case.  Once the investigation is completed, the information will be turned over to the prosecutor who will determine whether or not to charge you with a crime.  The police department may have an influence over the charges, but the final decision is made by the prosecutor.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”The police want to talk to me about my case – what should I do?” open=”no”]

You have a constitution right to remain silent, and this silence cannot be used against you.  The police may act like your friend, but they have a job to do, and that job is to gather incriminating evidence, which will assist the prosecutor in charging you with a crime.  Even if you have nothing to hide, you may not realize that your statement could incriminate you.  Ask to speak to an attorney before uttering one word to the police department.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=” How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?” open=”no”]

It depends upon what crime you’re charged with, and where your case is pending. Each attorney has their own method and reasons for charging a certain fee.  You should spend what you can afford, but also invest in the long-term success of your family, career and happiness.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Should I tell the truth to my attorney?” open=”no”]

Absolutely! Your attorney is obligated to keep all conversations and information confidential.  If you don’t tell your attorney the truth then your attorney is defending you with one hand behind his back.  It’s common for a client to leave out important details, and the attorney is put in a bad position or surprised when the information is made available.  It may be too late to recover from this lack of information.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What’s the difference between jail and prison? ” open=”no”]

If you are not released on bond, you will sit in jail during the pendency of your case.   If you are to serve less than one year, then you go to a county jail, which is located within the particular county (i.e. Oakland County, Washtenaw County).  If you are sentenced to more than a year, you go to prison, which is run by the Michigan Department of Corrections.  You could serve time in a prison, which is outside the county which you committed the offense.  In sum, it is far better to go to jail than to go to prison.  

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Questions About Arrests

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This decision will be made by the prosecutor who will be provided the case information by the police department.  If the facts fit a felony crime, then a prosecutor will usually charge you with the highest possible offense.  Prosecutors do this to create leverage in negotiation, and may ultimately agree to settle the case for a misdemeanor.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”I was arrested weeks ago, but not charged yet – what’s going on?” open=”no”]

This is a very common occurrence in Michigan.  An arrest conducted by the police department does not automatically create a criminal charge.  The case must be reviewed by the prosecutor before someone is charged.  For many misdemeanors, and some felonies there will be a delay between the arrest and the charge.  This  is VERY common for drunk driving crimes, and drug offenses where the evidence must be tested at the lab to make sure the confiscated evidence is actually an illegal drug.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Will the police come to my house and arrest me?” open=”no”]

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Michigan, the police can come arrest you based upon an an active arrest warrant.  For felony offenses in Michigan, the police will most likely come arrest you, unless your attorney can arrange to have a walk-in arraignment to avoid an embarrassing arrest.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you will receive a notice in the mail to appear for court, and will most likely not be arrested prior to this court date.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Can I be arrested if my dog gets off his leash?” open=”no”]

Believe it or not, you could get arrested if your dog gets off his leash – even just once!

Northville Township recently amended its own “dog at large” ordinance to reduce the offense from a 90-day-arrestable misdemeanor to a civil infraction for a first offense. Other places you’re not so lucky. Have you checked your local dog rules? Under Michigan law, the owner of any dog found to be “running at large” can be arrested and charged with a State misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 90 days in the county jail! An uncertain standard easily suspect to abuse of discretion. These seemingly “minor infractions” can carry tough unexpected penalties including a criminal conviction on your public record.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Can I really go to jail for Hunting on my own property?” open=”no”]Whether you’re rural or local, it can be illegal for you to hunt on your own property. Even though you own the land and are properly licensed to hunt, you could still be arrested and criminally charged for hunting on your own property. Your land may be private, but hunting on your land is regulated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources . And if you’re charged by a Michigan DNR Conservator Officer with a hunting or fishing violation, you could go to jail for a mandatory 5 days minimum, as well as paying thousands of dollars in court costs and penalties.

Pro Tip: Renew your permits; know what’s in season; wear the right colors (hunter orange and COMING SOON hunter pink too!); use the right gear; and check your local ordinances. Got Questions? Take a Shot. Call our office to speak with one of our experienced Michigan Department of Natural Resources Lawyers.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=” How to help if your employee is arrested?” open=”no”]

If your employee is an integral part of your business and you want to help, then you should consider this action-item list:

1) Find out the nature of the charges against your employee. This can be difficult as you are a third party and information is going to be limited, so it is important that the employee is willing to make that disclosure, or else you wait for the information to be made public.
2) If possible find out what police department arrested your employee, where he’s being held, and the location and date of his arraignment.
3) Contact your lawyer and relay the above info. If you don’t know all the details, that’s okay, your lawyer may have alternative methods for getting that information.
4) Once the case is pending, if you still want to keep your employee, despite the pending charges, then you should also consult with an attorney to determine any restrictions or conditions that would subject you as the employer to criminal or civil liability for keeping that employee.
5) If it’s a non-issue, then you are in your right to support that employee. To help, you can allow your employee to keep their job; be flexible with court dates – because the judge is not; and provide support and encouragement. It’s a difficult time for both employee and employer, but if the goal is growth, then it’s business-as-usual.

Pro-Tip: Don’t jump to conclusions. Stay within your rights. And Call Kelly if you’re concerned about your employee’s arrest, or if you’re an employee worried about an employer finding out about your arrest.  Our firm handles these types of cases on a regular basis and we can help.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”How much money do you make in prison? ” open=”no”]Prisoners won’t be receiving W-2s, but they still receive wages in kind; in prison, the currency for freedom is “good time.” The way to “good time” is “in-prison good behavior.” Those daily chores can translate to days, months, and eventually years off of an inmate’s sentence. But, “good time” isn’t always easily earned and it can be taken away. Various prison rule infractions can pile up over time and outbalance the “good time” served. The average cost of a state prisoner ranges between the 20,000-40,000 per inmate, per year. If Johnny Prisoner gets 2 years chipped off a 5 year sentence, his “good time” just earned him $40,000-80,000 in freedom.[/fusion_toggle][/fusion_accordion]

Questions About Court

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This will be your first court appearance where you appear before a magistrate or judge.  You do not have the right to an attorney at this point in your case; you must hire an attorney to be represented at your arraignment.  The magistrate or judge will read the charges and you will enter a plea of not-guilty, guilty or stand mute.  The magistrate or judge will also set a bond, along with various bond conditions.  I would advise anyone charged with a crime to hire an attorney for an arraignment.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”If the judge sets a bond in my case, how do I pay?” open=”no”]

A judge can set a personal recognizance bond, which means you simply promise to return to court, but don’t post any money.  A judge may also set a cash or surety bond, which means you will need to post this amount to be released during the pendency of your case.  If the judge sets a 10 percent provision, it means you only need to actually post 10 percent of the amount set, and the other 90 percent will be owed to the court if you do not show-up.  It is always best to bring someone to post bond for you, because some courts will not allow a defendant to post their own bond.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Can I get my court date moved back?” open=”no”]

This depends upon the court, the individual judge and the stage of your case.  Most judges are flexible with granting at least one court adjournment, but this will be more difficult if you’re trying to move your case without the assistance of an attorney.  Judges have timing requirements to resolve cases, and are not willing to risk their own reputation to fit your schedule.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What if I can’t go to the court on my scheduled date?” open=”no”]

If you don’t appear for court, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest, and you could forfeit any bond posted.  It is always best to try to make arrangements to move your court date rather than not showing up. Not appearing for court could also jeopardize any plea agreements or sentencing agreements, which were negotiated on your behalf.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What’s a Pretrial – does this mean I’m going to trial?” open=”no”]

A pretrial is exactly what it sounds like; it’s the court appearance before a trial.  You may have 2, 3 or 8 pretrials, and may or may not have a trial at all.  From my experience, only a small handful of cases go to trial.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”I’ve never committed a crime before, does the prosecutor care?” open=”no”]

Your criminal history and background could play a major role in the outcome of your case.  That being said, the prosecutor does not care about you, but it’s not because the prosecutor is a bad person.  Prosecutor’s deal with 1000’s of criminal defendants each year, and don’t have the time or patience to decide who deserves special treatment.  It’s up to your attorney to present your history and background in the most favorable way.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Does the victim need to hire their own attorney to prosecute me?” open=”no”]

No, the prosecutor will prosecute the case on behalf of the People of the State of Michigan.  The victim is not a party to the case; the victim is considered a fact witness who may provide testimony or receive restitution. The prosecutor may be part of the Attorney General’s Office, a county prosecutor or a city/township prosecutor.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Should I use the public defender? ” open=”no”]

In short, no you should not use the public defender.  This is not because the public defender is not a qualified attorney, but  a public defender cannot give you the time and attention you need during the most difficult time in your life.  By hiring a private attorney, you are not only paying for a good attorney, you’re paying for communication, updates and being informed.   A public defender cannot provide the bedside compassion and patience for your questions and concerns.  If you don’t have the money, borrow money from a family member or friend.  Being charged with a crime is not the time to be frugal and hope everything works out.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Will the judge care that I’m a good person?” open=”no”]

Judges will know very little about you during your case.  The judge is not in a position to distinguish between the good people and the bad people.  The judge will get a first impression based on your appearance and your speech, but it’s up to your attorney to add additional detail.   At sentencing, the judge is provided with a background report by probation, which will attempt to humanize you in a good or bad way.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What if the victim wants to drop the charges – will my case be dismissed?” open=”no”]

There’s a major misconception that the victim makes the decision to prosecute.  This is not true; a victim is merely a witness who provides factual information to the police department or prosecutor. Based upon this information, an arrest or investigation will occur, and the prosecutor will charge someone on behalf of the State of Michigan.  The defendant has committed a crime against the state, in violation of a law rather than an individual person.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Can I bring my phone to the court house?” open=”no”]

Most courthouses do not allow any electronic devices including cell phones.  Some court houses have lockers to put phones, but other courthouses do not provide this accommodations.  It is best to leave your phone in the car or at home.  If you need to make a phone call while at the courthouse, you will have access to a public phone.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What will happen at my preliminary examination?” open=”no”]

If charged with a felony, you have the right to a preliminary examination before reaching the circuit court.  There are three different things that can happen.  The examination will be held where the prosecuting attorney must show probable cause that a crime was committed, and that you committed the crime.  The examination could be waived, meaning that the case will go to the circuit court without an examination.  The final result is the case is resolved with a plea as charged, or to reduced charges.  The preliminary examination is the gatekeeper to felony charges.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Will the police come to my house and arrest me?” open=”no”]

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Michigan, the police can come arrest you based upon an an active arrest warrant.  For felony offenses in Michigan, the police will most likely come arrest you, unless your attorney can arrange to have a walk-in arraignment to avoid an embarrassing arrest.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you will receive a notice in the mail to appear for court, and will most likely not be arrested prior to this court date.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”How many times will I need to go to court?” open=”no”]

Court cases can last anywhere from one to ten plus court dates.  At a minimum you will need to attend court for an arraignment, which could be combined with a pre-trial conference.  Unless you are sentenced the same day, most cases are take on a minimum two court appearances.  You should not be in a rush to get the case over it; you should listen to your attorney, and proceed with the goal of obtaining the best result, not the quickest result.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”I plead Guilty even though I’m not, is there any way I can change this? ” open=”no”]

If you’ve already plead guilty to a criminal offense, you cannot automatically take your plea back. In order to undo the plea and instead plea “Not Guilty” or “No Contest,” you would have to file a formal request with the court to Withdraw Guilty Plea. In order to be successful in this request, you need to prove that you truly didn’t understand the consequences of your plea; that you were improperly influenced or pressured to plea guilty; that you did not receive sufficient legal advice or representation prior to pleading guilty; that new evidence or facts not previously available for your consideration have now appeared and had that evidence or facts been present at the time of your plea, you would not have plead guilty.

Pro-Tip: You can’t take it back unless you have a very good reason to do so. You don’t get to take back the guilty plea because you don’t like your probation term or didn’t realize it could come up on a job application. It’s not small task to withdraw a guilty plea, so make sure you contact our office to learn more about how our lawyers have successfully withdrawn guilty pleas for our clients.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=” Is there a better time to be in court, morning or afternoon? What time is court?” open=”no”]Most courts usually have a morning and an afternoon docket or schedule each day. The types of cases can vary, as some district courts commonly schedule their criminal cases in the morning and civil matters in the afternoon. The scheduling varies from court to court, but ultimately your case could be heard at either time of day – and it’s important to consider how the timing of the day could factor into your chances for success in court. Just like the blades of grass on the putting green of a golf course, the breaks and turns of a bustling courthouse change throughout the day. After all, the court is filled with people – good ones, bad ones, tired ones, and everything in between – and all those people can ultimately impact the patience, compassion, and consideration of each judge. Sometimes it’s best to strike early; to make sure you’re there on time for whatever consideration the court may have for the day. Other times, an afternoon case can allow you to be more prepared with the benefit of a smaller peanut gallery.

Pro Tip: If court is in the morning or afternoon, don’t be late – ever! You only get one chance to make a first impression. Arrive early, come prepared, and show that you care about what’s happening.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=” If I just show up and plea guilty, will I automatically get probation?” open=”no”]Even if you have a clean record with no prior criminal charges against you, there’s no guarantee you’ll end up with only probation. The reason is, that probation is a matter of grace (a privilege) the court grants to an offender where the circumstances surrounding the crime dictate that the person not suffer the penalty otherwise imposed by law (i.e., jail). There are many factors the court considers in deciding whether or not to grant probation over jail. Probation is a rehabilitative sanction and jail is a purely punitive sanction. This means that if the decision is made to grant someone probation, then the court is of the opinion that this person does not pose such a danger to society that to release them back into the community would do more harm than good, and that by allowing this person to serve a period of probation they will also benefit from community-based rehabilitative services designed to educate, treat, and correct the behavior or underlying issues that contributed to their crime.

The duration and scope of probation should be tailored to the specific needs of the offender and not just a boilerplate stencil. That’s where having the right attorney by your side can make all the difference. Even if you are fortunate enough to receive probation – what good is it if the probation conditions set you up for failure? Probation should only be as long as is necessary to accomplish the rehabilitative goals appropriate for that specific person. Everyone should not get the “same thing.” That’s where Kelly & Kelly, P.C. steps in! Call our firm today to learn more about how to make probation work for YOU![/fusion_toggle][/fusion_accordion]

School Related Crimes/Offenses

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Any crime that is committed on school property, within a certain proximity to a school, or involving or relating to a teacher or student is a School Crime. For example, drug possession, underage drinking, fighting and violent behavior, destruction of property, and stealing are all School Crimes. If your son or daughter is suspected of committing a school crime, a parent or legal guardian must be present during any questioning.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What happens when my kid is questioned at school?” open=”no”]

Parents should always consult with an attorney to properly gauge the severity of the situation and how best to proceed. Not only does the student risk being charged in a juvenile or adult court, but as a collateral consequence, administrative sanctions from the school can include anything from a “warning” for violating the student Code of Conduct, up to an academic expulsion from the school district. This can negatively impact college prospects, financial aid, and access to student housing.

Pro Tip: If your son or daughter is being questioned by school officials, you should contact one of our firm’s experienced School Crime Lawyers.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Can a student be arrested for smoking a vape in school?” open=”no”]

Yes, possession of any form of tobacco or tobacco infused products is a criminal offense under Michigan law. While you may not be daunted by a “underage tobacco” ticket, you also run the risk of additional school sanctions from suspension to expulsion, as well as landing on the school’s radar as a “problem student.” Just to be clear, you cannot bring your vape to school, use your vape at school, or attempt to sell or buy a vape at school.

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Probation

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Yes, you can be tested by order of the judge or by probation.  It’s quite common for a judge to ask whether or not you will pass a drug test; depending upon your answer, the judge may test you on the spot.  It is always best to be honest, because lying to a judge is never a good thing.  Probation can and will subject you to random and scheduled drug testing.  If you fail a drug test, you could be in violation of your bond conditions, your probation terms, or be charged with a new crime.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”How long can I be on probation for shoplifting?” open=”no”]

In Michigan, the crime of shoplifting is known as Retail Fraud, and if you get caught stealing $1.00-$200 in merchandise from a store, you could go to jail for up to 93 days, or be sentenced to probation for up to 24 months. It is extremely important that you come to court prepared and anticipate the judge’s response before it changes your life. That’s where your lawyer comes in.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Can I legally drive my friend’s car while I have an interlock on my own car? ” open=”no”]

If a judge has ordered an ignition-interlock breathalyzer device installed in your car in response to a recent alcohol-related offense, then you may still be allowed to drive (if Secretary of State doesn’t object for their own reasons), but you may only drive the vehicle(s) that have an ignition-interlock breathalyzer installed. Therefore, any car that does NOT have your interlock device installed in it CANNOT be driven while your own car remains parked elsewhere. In addition, you’re responsible for any violation arising out of someone else’s misuse of your device or missed / late / or positive tests while the vehicle is in use.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Can someone else drive my car with an interlock?” open=”no”]

Pro-Tip: If you get caught driving another person’s car instead of driving your own to avoid having the use your in-car breathalyzer, you’re facing new charges and violations on pending cases. At the judge’s discretion, you could face jail time – as well as additional licensing sanctions on your Michigan driving privileges. Call our office today to speak with one of our experienced’ Ignition-Interlock Violation’ attorneys.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What happens if I drink when the judge told me not to? ” open=”no”]Whether you’ve been formally Sentenced or know you’ll be in front of a judge soon, each contact you have with the court can come with conditions attached. “Bond conditions “come on at the beginning of the case when you’ve been Arraigned (whether in person, via video conference, or in-writing thru your attorney*)). Any time you go before a judge he or she could order you to not drink (until the next court appearance or until the end of your probation). IF YOU DRINK, it looks bad in 1 of 2 ways: either you don’t care about the judge’s order or you have a more serious substance abuse issue that now is picked up on the court’s radar. This could end up costing you your life – with sanctions stemming from a loss of bond money and incarceration.

Pro-Tip: Find a solution quick! Let’s get to the heart of it and get a game plan in place before you answer those tough questions.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Will I be drug tested at court?” open=”no”]

If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor violation, the court (more specifically, the judge) can require you to take a drug test that day. Some courts have the ability and resources to test you onsite at the courthouse, while others may refer you to a local alcohol and drug testing facility that completes the test(s) ordered by the judge. Even if your case doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol, for example a retail fraud charge, the judge can still order you to take a drug test. You may not like it; but that’s part of the trade-off when facing a criminal misdemeanor charge. Credibility is key in this scenario, so if you are ordered to test for any reason, make sure you are up front with the judge about whether or not your results could be positive. In many cases, if you tell the judge about a prior usage or drugs or alcohol before sent to test, the judge will not punish you but will instead scrutinize any subsequent tests to make sure the presence of drugs is going down as time goes on. Any spike in those results between tests will suggest to the judge that you used the drug against the judge’s order.

Pro-Tip: If you’re nervous about answering this tough question in court – “What if I test you today, will you be clean?” – then take the initiative and complete your own drug or alcohol test on a voluntary basis prior to your court date. Consult your attorney on the best way to go about this. And most importantly, if you’ve been arrested or charged with a drinking or drug offense, STOP USING DRUGS OR ALCOHOL!

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Traffic Stops & Traffic Tickets

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You have the right to remain silent and not say a single word.  If the police officer requests your license, insurance and registration, you should hand that over as you are required to do so by law.  You should otherwise not say a word; it’s hard to remain silent when an officer is asking you questions and demanding answers.  The officer is doing this to gather evidence against you, not to make friendly conversation.  The act of speaking leads to evidence (slurred speech), and even something you believe to be incident in nature, could build a case against you.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Must I get out of my car if an officer asks me to do so?” open=”no”]

If asked to exit the vehicle, you should turn on your phone and begin recording both video and audio.  Under the law, an officer can demand you exit the vehicle if they believe there is any threat to their safety.  You should exit the vehicle and stand still and remain silent.  If the officer demands you do field sobriety tests, speak or blow into a portable testing device, you should consider remaining silent and shake your head no.

Refusal for a roadside chemical test is a small fine and zero license points – this is NOT the Datamaster or blood draw chemical test, which is subject to license suspension under the implied consent law.  There is no penalty for remaining silent and refusing field sobriety.  The officer is likely to be very frustrated, to threaten to arrest you etc. but it’s your right to not build a case against yourself.  If arrested, comply with the handcuffing and stay silent – don’t give in, because things are getting “worse”.  At this point if you’ve kept quiet and recorded things, you stand a good chance to challenge the basis of the arrest.  Officer needs probable cause you committed a crime – your driving and your physical appearance is all they have, which could mean no signs of intoxication .

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What is a “rolling stop”?” open=”no”]

If your wheels do not completely stop moving when your car comes to rest at a stop sign, it is considered a “rolling stop” and you could be cited with a civil infraction and up to 3 points on your master driving record.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”I left my license at home, if I get pulled over, will the cop arrest me? ” open=”no”]

In order to drive a motor vehicle on any Michigan public roads and highways, a driver must possess a valid driver’s license and proof of vehicle registration and insurance. If you are stopped and don’t have your driver’s license physically on you, then you could be charged with a Misdemeanor criminal violation for “Failed to Display a Valid License.” The ticket is 0 points, but as a Misdemeanor, it is an arrestable offense. Even if the cop does not elect to arrest you, you will still be required to appear in court and, if convicted, the charge will be reported on both your public criminal record and your master driving record.

Pro-Tip: Be cordial with the police officer and explain the situation if it was an honest mistake. Don’t argue about the ticket, save that for your attorney. By going to court on the ticket, you and your attorney have the opportunity to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to settle the case in a more reasonable fashion. Call our office and let’s keep things in perspective so you don’t end up having a criminal record for forgetting your wallet at home.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Will the court find out about my out of state tickets? ” open=”no”]

Prior tickets you received outside of the State of Michigan may still be available to the police and the court when a background check is run in connection with a present Michigan offense. Depending on the state, the type of offense, how long ago the offense occurred, and the method used to record that offense by the out-of-state court, your prior tickets will likely still follow you.

However, there are circumstances when an old ticket (think 1970s/1980s) does not show up on your criminal background search. The reason may be that the method used for recording that ticket was not electronic and the files may have been purged over time. That doesn’t mean, however, that your out-of-state ticket won’t be a factor for the prosecutor, judge, or probation officer to consider. Aside from a criminal history report generated through law enforcement databases, your background and prior offense history still must pass the inquiries of the Judge (“Have you ever been arrested before? You’re under oath.”) or the probation officer during a Pre-Sentence Interview.

Never lie to a judge! And it’s a dangerous game playing chicken with a probation officer. Rather than run the risk of getting burned, I instruct my clients to answer truthfully the questions asked – but avoid providing any unnecessary dialogue. If this is an issue you are currently facing, it is important for you to contact an attorney and determine what exactly appears on a public records search and whether your out-of-state tickets will impact your Michigan court case.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Will my insurance find out about my car accident?” open=”no”]While an attorney may help you avoid the points and licensing sanctions on your driver’s license, your insurance company will likely still find out about the accident and adjust your rates according to your policy. The reality is that insurance companies have evolved with the modern technology available and there’s now quicker and more accessible information out there. You may have zero points, but your insurance may still charge you for the accident.

Pro-Tip: Your insurance company should find out first from you, but your first phone call should always be to your lawyer.[/fusion_toggle][/fusion_accordion]

Sex Offenses

[fusion_accordion type=”” boxed_mode=”” border_size=”1″ border_color=”” background_color=”” hover_color=”” divider_line=”” title_font_size=”18″ icon_size=”” icon_color=”” icon_boxed_mode=”” icon_box_color=”” icon_alignment=”” toggle_hover_accent_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=””][fusion_toggle title=”Are my Snapchats really private? ” open=”no”]

The appeal of Snapchat is that it provides a way to send and receive pictures and/or videos that should disappear after the recipient opens and views the content.

Unless you’ve taken the time to read the most recent version of Snapchat Guide for Law Enforcement (available here at: https://storage.googleapis.com/snap-inc/privacy/lawenforcement.pdf) then you probably have no idea the risk involved in sending and/or receiving potentially incriminating messages. The reality is, however, that many aspects of the Snapchat App are not as private as you’d think.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
– Snapchat retains copies of your Snaps for 30 days, so long as they’ve yet to be viewed by all the recipients of your Snaps – and thus, Snapchat can provide these “un-opened” Snaps to law enforcement if in response to a certain types of legal processes, including subpoenas, court orders, and search warrants.
– Snapchat keeps records of “meta data” (i.e., the user name(s), e-mail, phone number, timestamp and IP addresses, and other account information) for all Snapchat accounts sending or receiving the messages.
– The pictures and videos (content) of the a users Snapchats may also discoverable by law enforcement, but only in limited circumstances and only in response to a valid federal or state search warrant.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Can police see my Snapchats?” open=”no”]

Only in certain limited circumstances may Snapchat be able to provide copies of your Snaps to the police. Snapchat content is deleted from the Snapchat servers once all recipients of your Snaps have viewed it. In the event a Snap remains unopened by the person you sent it to, it will be deleted automatically 30 days after it was sent. Depending on which function of Snapchat you use (My Story, Chat, or My Memories), the time period for retaining those records is different.

For example, Story content published on Snapchat may be available for up to 24 hours, or until deleted by a user.Chat content may be kept temporarily by Snapchat, but only if the sender or recipient chooses to save the Chat, or if the Chat is unopened. My Memories content may be available to police but only until deleted by a user. Basic User Information entered by the user in creating a Snapchat account is retained by Snapchat indefinitely, as long as the user has not edited the information or removed the information from the account. Once a user makes changes to their User Information, the previously existing information is overwritten. Log Information of Snaps sent/received is also kept by Snapchat, but only for the previous 31 days of Snaps – the content of the Snaps, however, may not be available if the message has been opened or the Story post has expired.

Although Snapchat has taken some great initiatives to protect its users’ privacy, the real risk remains with the audience or recipients of the Snaps or messages you send. Screenshots of your Snaps can still preserve the content and allow it to be shared with law enforcement or elsewhere online.

Pro-Tip: Don’t send Snaps you wouldn’t want the police to see. Keep your “friends” limited and don’t publish sensitive content to Stories that can be viewed by “not really your friends.” If you do have a concern about how your Snaps have been shared or used by law enforcement, call our office to speak with one of our experienced Social Media Crime Attorneys.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”What happens if you get caught having sex in the park bathrooms?” open=”no”]Like all good real estate: location, location, location! There’s a time and place for everything – public park restrooms and warming houses are not that place. The rumors are true on this one. People have been hooking up in our county parks before they even became parks. Still, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department has not been a benefactor on this one and local law enforcement doesn’t mind being left out. Coincidentally, common tickets given in the area of these restrooms and warming houses include Prostitution, Solicitation of Prostitution, Loitering in a Known Place of Prostitution, an array of Lewdness/Indecent Exposure/Proximity to children/buses/schools ones too.

Pro-Tip: Don’t park if you’re looking for your next ‘collision’. You can stop to “wash your hands” at the gas station down the road – where there’s cameras.[/fusion_toggle][/fusion_accordion]

Where We Serve Clients

The offices of Kelly & Kelly, P.C. is located in Northville, Michigan. Although this is our physical location, we represent clients all throughout Ann Arbor, Novi, Livonia, Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, and many other locations throughout the State of Michigan. Our law firm is very familiar with the various court systems across the State.

Young male criminal defense attorney wearing a blue suit and tie posing for a headshot photo

Criminal Defense Attorney Mike Kelly

Headshot photo of a woman attorney wearing a white blouse. This is Michele Kelly a criminal defense and family law attorney at Kelly & Kelly.

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