Archive for the ‘Criminal Law’ Category

Michigan OWI Limit Scheduled to Increase to .10

February 8, 2013 1 comment

You might be surprised to learn that under Michigan’s current law, the BAC required for
being classified as intoxicated while driving is scheduled to increase from .08 percent
to .10 percent on October 1, 2013.

This seemingly sudden change has been approaching for almost ten years. In July
of 2003, Michigan legislature passed a bill devised to bring the state of Michigan
into compliance with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s
requirement that all states adopt a blood alcohol threshold of .08 percent for drunk
driving offenses. Consequently, on September 30, 2003 Michigan’s BAC threshold
converted from .10 percent to .08 percent. However, a sunset provision included in the
new drafting of this bill stipulated that the law would cease to be in effect as of October
1, 2013. In other words, unless further legislative action is taken to extend the law, after
October 1, 2013 the BAC will revert back to .10 percent.

On January 23, 2013 Representative Andrea M. LaFontaine introduced House Bill
4093 to eliminate the BAC threshold’s automatic increase. House Bill 4093 ensures the
continued legal enforcement of drivers operating vehicles while exceeding a BAC of .08
in the state of Michigan.

Additionally, on January 29, 2013 Representative Klint Kesto introduced a companion
bill (HB 4131) designed to maintain the current sentencing guidelines for drivers arrested
after registering a BAC of 0.08 or higher come October.

“This is common-sense legislation that addresses public safety,” said Kesto, R-Commerce
Township. “If we were to allow the BAC to go up to 0.10, people on our roads would be
endangered by drivers who had too much alcohol to drink but were still driving within
the law. Maintaining the current BAC level will act as an effective deterrent to drivers
who might push the limits on how much alcohol they ingest before getting behind the
wheel of a car.”

In Michigan, if you are charged with an OWI for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol
level of .08% or greater, the penalties are very severe. First time offenders, charged and
convicted with OWI, face up to: 93 days in jail, 180 days of a suspended license, 360
hours of community service, fines ranging from $100 to $500, and 6 points on their
drivers license.

If you have been charged with an OWI in Michigan and you are in need of an honest and
hard-working defense attorney, contact The Leydorf Law Firm at any time by calling
(517) 388-6800.


Act No. 61:

House Bill No. 4093:

House Bill No. 4131:

“Kesto Bill Keeps State’s Drunken Driving Laws Intact.” Michigan House Republicans.
N.p., 29 Jan. 2013. Web. 08 Feb. 2013.

Mummified Man Found in Chair in Jackson Home – WLNS TV 6 Lansing – Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Mummified Man Found in Chair in Jackson Home – WLNS TV 6 Lansing – Jackson | Your Local News Leader.

The man’s girlfriend may be facing potential criminal charges from the Jackson County’s Prosecutor’s Office associated with this incident. Allegedly, the girlfriend admitted that she had known the man was dead and had allegedly admitted to covering up the body. According to the Medical Examiner, the man died of natural causes approximately Christmas 2010.

People v. Vaughan – Michigan Supreme Court – Sixth Amendment Right to Public Trial

In an opinion filed Friday, July 9, 2012, the Michigan Supreme Court denied a criminal defendant’s appeal that his right to a public trial, a right afforded to all criminal defendants pursuant to the United States and Michigan Constitutions, was violated when a Wayne County Circuit Court judge ordered the public out of the courtroom during jury selection. The majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Young, reasoned that Vaughn had forfeited his right to a public trial, as he did not assert that right or object at the trial court level. The Michigan Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals, but disagreed with the reasoning, holding that while Vaughan forfeited his constitutionally protected right to a public trial, Vaughn was not automatically foreclosed from appellate review. The Supreme Court majority held that Vaughn was not entitled to a new trial because he was unable to demonstrate that his forfeited claim of error “seriously affected the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings.”

What does this mean for Michigan criminal defendants? The majority opinion makes it clear that a criminal defendant needs an effective advocate at the trial court level. It is essential that a criminal defendant is represented by a knowledgable and aggressive criminal defense lawyer who can ascertain whether his/her client’s rights are being affected. If a situation is presented that contradicts with those constitutionally protected rights, the criminal defense lawyer must place an objection on the record to preserve the issue for a possible appeal. If the attorney fails to do that, Vaughn is simply one more case of the hundreds that illustrate the point that failure to object at the trial court level may result in forfeiture of an otherwise constitutionally protected right.

A link to the full text of the opinion can be found here.

If you are charged with a crime in Michigan, contact Attorney Nick Leydorf for a free initial phone consultation by calling (517) 388-6800.

Ohio State linebacker charged with domestic violence, assault | Lancaster Eagle Gazette |

Numerous Procedural Issues Discovered in Michigan State Police Crime Labs

July 6, 2012 1 comment

Following inspection of the Michigan State Police’s seven crime labs numerous procedural issues related to incomplete record keeping and improper storage of chemicals were discovered. The Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division has until the end of July 2012 to fix more than 100 “corrective action requests.” The accredation of the Michigan State Police crime labs are at stake, as they have been told that they will receive no further extensions.

In light of these findings, Michigan criminal defense attorneys have been given reason to further question and challenge the labs’ findings.

You can read more from the Detroit News article here.

NFL Cornerback Charged with Felony Drunk Driving

July 5, 2012 1 comment

Tampa Bay Buccaneer Eric Wright was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and this Monday following an accident in Los Angeles, California. The arrest was made after police responded to an accident involving Wright’s vehicle. After police responded, Wright refused to submit to a breathalyzer, a blood test and also refused to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs). Wright, who was not hurt, allegedly admitted to officers that he had been drinking earlier that evening at a friend’s home. Wright was charged with a felony pursuant to California law, due to the fact that his alleged drunk driving involved a personal injury accident.

Wright’s case highlights the importance of an individual’s absolute right to refuse to talk with law enforcement. Without a doubt, his statements to law enforcement that were made on the roadside will likely play a vital role in the prosecution’s case against him. Even though Wright refused a blood test, a breath test and to perform standardized field sobriety tests, the prosecution can still prove intoxication based upon his admissions and officer observations, such as possible slurred speech and whether there was any possible odor of intoxication.

If you are charged with a drunk driving in Michigan, contact me, Lansing Drunk Driving Attorney Nick Leydorf. I have represented clients charged with drunk driving in numerous counties across Michigan, including Mount Pleasant, Lansing, Charlotte and Grand Rapids. I have found that many drunk driving attorneys fail to request documents such as datamaster calibration records and to request copies of any video captured by the officer’s dash cam. Requesting and reviewing these pieces of evidence is vital to providing an effective defense in a Michigan OWI or drunk driving case.

Contact me at (517) 388-6800 for a free initial phone consultation.

People v Nicholson – Court of Appeals Attempts to Clarify Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

Earlier this week, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in People v. Nicholson that a Michigan medical marihuana patient may be immune from prosecution even if they did not have the registry card in their possession at the time of the arrest.  The Court held that if the patient has been issued a registry identification card issued prior to the arrest, then they are immune from prosecution unless there is evidence to show that the patient’s possession of marijuana was not in accordance with the provisions of the MMMA.

Specifically in Nicholson, the patient was in possession of an amount of marijuana permitted by the MMMA, had applied for but had not received his registry card and did not have his application materials in his possession. Nicholson was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Nicholson had submitted a valid application, but had not received his registry identification card. According to Section 9(b) of the MMMA, Nicholson’s application was legally enough to qualify as a valid registry identification card as the department had failed to issue a registry identification card in response to his application within 20 days of its submission.

What is interesting about the decision is the differentiation between immunity from arrest and immunity from prosecution or penalty. The Court’s holding makes it clear that a patient must keep their registry identification card on them at all times in order to be immune from arrest. However, even if the patient doesn’t have their registry card in their possession at the time of the arrest, they may still be able to immunity from prosecution, so long as they had a valid registry card at the time of the arrest. In addition, even if an individual is unregistered and does not have a registry card, they may attempt to assert the affirmative defense in Section 8 of the MMMA in order to defeat prosecution.

What does all this mean? The MMMA is not that clear and requires careful planning and study in order for a patient or caregiver to operate within its parameters. In my experience thus far with the MMMA, lawyers are often as confused as the clients who have hired them. In order to proactively attempt to avoid the stress of being arrested or to defend you in a drug crime prosecution you should consult with an attorney who understands and stays up to date with the MMMA and the recent court decisions interpreting it.

If you have been charged with a drug crime such as possession of marijuana or possession with intent to deliver, please contact me at (517) 388-6800 for a free initial phone consultation. Let me discuss your legal rights with you and determine how I can best help you defend those rights. My office is located in Lansing, Michigan, however, I have represented clients in over 50 counties across Michigan, including Ingham, Eaton, Isabella, Clinton and Gratiot Counties.