END OF THE YEAR UPDATE FROM THE LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL L. STEINBERG

I have just finished my final two hearings of the year. 2021 is in the bag for the Law Offices of Michael L. Steinberg.   Been a good year as we have had to mitigate the spikes and crests of Delta and now Omicron variants of COVID  More and more in-person hearings, still plenty of Zooms.  Also, hybrid, where I have been in a courthouse and on zoom at the same time.   It has been interesting to see my fellow defenders in an empty conference or in a quiet section of the hall, doing a hearing on a phone app.  I recently purchased a tablet, so I don’t have to schlepp my laptop or so I can be on more than one hearing at a time.

I have really adapted to the “new” normal.  I have involved myself in what is called MIDC  (Michigan Indigent Defense Commission) work.  This assures that Counsel is provided from lockup to sentencing   In application, I am doing countywide arraignments at a courthouse where we are remotely connecting with the jail and the local lockups. This has been on weekends and holidays and rotates.   I do countywide arraignments, in rotation, during the week   That is my zoom.  These have been excellent as we are being able to make bond arguments  I am also handling large misdemeanor dockets, some in person, some on zoom.  In one court, we were able to eliminate a massive backlog from a judge that had suddenly left the bench.  In another court, we are tackling a huge backlog inherited by a newly elected judge.  I have involved myself in tweaking the MIDC and have been advocating at the regional level.  I also was successful in changing how discovery (police reports and recorded evidence) is acquired in Royal Oak We know get it electronically almost immediately and with the departments turning to upload their recorded media to servers, we now get it within a day or so.  The longstanding process that existed was cumbersome and burdensome.  One issue I have been working on is the effective means of getting our client contact information at the appointment stage  Good ideas have been generated, at the several meetings we have held,  from myself and other shareholders in the process.   The MIDC has mandates on when client contact must be established and we are working hard to get there.     

I am still doing all levels of cases and will be trying a Murder case in March.  I have a few felonies with trial dates looming before that. 

I have had some great success on the felony cases this year.  One was tried as a bench trial and was granted a directed verdict (a rare feat where the court determined that the prosecutor had not met the burden of getting the case to the trier of fact).   In another felony case, I turned my client, through a thorough review of the evidence, into a stalking victim rather than a stalker.  A felony where some significant injury was sustained, will end up as a low-level misdemeanor at the end of an 11 month period.   One of my great successes was getting a non-sex offender offense for an autistic young man, who had some inappropriate touching with a relative years earlier.  That was the culmination of a year and a half of advocacy and mitigation.  We also were able to get him into a treatment program tailored to his needs   Several charges of domestic violence, one involving a fight between a father and his teenage, were reduced to disturbing the peace or dismissed.  Also a drunk driving acquittal at a bench trial. 

In May, I got to celebrate 31 years of licensing, and on July 1st, I celebrated the 30th anniversary of opening my solo law practice.  2021 also marked my 30th year of membership in the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan  In the Spring of 2022, I will have served on the Board of Directors for 20 years.   I continue to be senior faculty for the Evidence Boot Camp. This is a specific skill set and we met the challenges of doing it on zoom.  Fortunately, in October we returned in person Our conferences had been virtual in the spring and returned to in-person in the summer

2021 has been a good year for the Law Offices. Justice was continued to be served in these trying times.

For all my clients, thank you for entrusting me with your cases.  Thanks for your willingness to work with me.

Happy New Year and here’s to a great 2022

What To Do If You Are Arrested

What To Do If You Are Arrested

If ever you find yourself in a situation where a law officer takes you into custody then you must realize that you have been arrested. It is important for every citizen to know what to do if you are arrested and what their rights are.

If you are arrested, the officer concerned will take you to a police station, jail, or any other detention facility. Then you will be permitted to contact your attorney. They will in accordance with the law be obliged to tell you why you have been arrested.

Always ensure that your attorney is present when they photograph, you or take fingerprints of you, and if you are going to be produced before a magistrate for the official filing of charges. Be aware that you may be asked to participate in a line up, asked to give a sample of your handwriting, or provide samples of hair, blood, or urine.

If questioned you have a legal right to remain silent as anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. It is important for you to consult with your attorney before answering any questions and if you cannot afford an attorney the court will provide you with one.

When you are taken into custody the police will take your money and possessions like a watch, bracelet, or chain from you for safekeeping. You will receive a copy of the inventory and all things will be returned on your release.

Depending on the reason for arrest you may or may not be released on bail. Release on bail means your depositing cash or bail bond in court as a security against your release along with an assurance that you will appear in court when summoned. If you have a good standing in the community then the magistrate may reduce the bail or even waive it.

The thing to do is to stay clam, do not panic, and be polite and respectful towards the police officers and magistrates. Answer questions to the point. Try and remember what the arresting officers looked like, their badge numbers, license plate details and so on. Write things down as soon as you get a moment. You will benefit if there are bystanders watching. So encourage people to be present. Never act defiant or threaten about filing complaints.

Never issue statements in the belief that if you cooperate they will let you go. Always ensure that you think before you speak and that too in the presence of your attorney. In case you are arrested in a foreign country ask to contact your consulate or embassy immediately. Never sign any forms or documents until they are vetted by a competent attorney.

Never resist arrest even if you are innocent. Immediately provide your name, address, telephone number, immediate family contact details and the name of your employer. These will be essential to get bail.

Keep your wits about you and things will go well if you know what to do if you are arrested.

Michigan CPL no longer Qualifies as NICS

On March 3, 2020, the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) determined that the Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) no longer qualifies as a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) alternative permit for possessing and transporting firearms.

Read more here: https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1878_1591_3503_4654—,00.html

How Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do Their Job

How does a criminal defense Lawyer do their job

How does a criminal defense lawyer do their job; well everyone is entitled to have their day in court. This means that even if the client is guilty, the criminal defense lawyer must do whatever is necessary so that person will not be convicted of the crime.

How does that work? If you are a public defender, the client will be appointed and you have to meet with them. Before this person is arraigned in court, you will have time to discuss what will be their plea which will then be presented to the judge. Afterward, ample time will be given so you can conduct an investigation, review police reports, and examine the evidence to prepare you for trial.

During the trial, both sides will be able to present witnesses. Some of these are experts and after the prosecution questions this person on the stand, you will have the chance to cross-examine them and vice versa.

Before the trial starts or even during, you can try to settle this matter out of court. You have the right to accept or turn it down but you must first discuss this with your client.

When all the witnesses have spoken and the evidence has been presented, the only thing you have to work on now is your closing argument. You should summarize everything that has happened in front of the jury because the prosecution will do the same so the jury can now go to the jury room and make their decision.

How long will the jury will be deliberating is anyone’s guess. Sometimes a verdict will be announced in less than an hour while others will take longer. When the jury has returned, you will know if the jury has reached a guilty or not guilty verdict.

If the verdict is guilty, then you can appeal the decision to the higher court. If the verdict is not guilty, then your client can walk out of the courtroom as a free man.

The same thing happens when you are working for or have your own criminal defense law firm. The only difference is that clients will go up to you. When they walk in, they will want to interview you first to find out a little about you.

You should be ready to answer questions such as how long have you been a criminal defense attorney, how many cases have you won, do you go to trial often or decide to settle this matter out of court, and so on. How you answer will help them decide if they want to hire you or not.

Another difference between those who operate privately is that you can charge a certain fee for your legal services. You can charge a flat fee or on an hourly basis. This depends on you.

If you are handling a lot of cases right now, be honest with the client and tell them you can’t because you will not be able to represent them to the fullest of your ability in that condition.

So how do you a criminal defense attorney do their job? By operating on the assumption that anyone who is arrested is innocent until proven guilty. This is hard especially if you know your client did it but this is your duty as a public defender. You failed to do so will mean this person will spend the rest of their time in jail.

What A Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Do For You

Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are accused of a crime in Michigan, the only person that can help you out is a Michigan criminal defense lawyer. This is because you are not familiar with how the judiciary system works which makes it hard for you to represent yourself in open court.

This is because a lot of the legal rules are hidden away in court interpretations of federal and state constitutions. A good example is whether or not the search of your home was reasonable. It can only be considered a good search if the police obtained a warrant otherwise anything found is not admissible in court.

Given that the Michigan criminal defense lawyer has crossed swords with the prosecution in the past, they are already familiar with the tactics that the opposing party will be using and be prepared for it.

As you can see, it is a very specialized field and there are many things that need to be checked out by your criminal defense lawyer before you are given a guilty or not guilty verdict.

When your case has been given to them, you will be asked what happened. You will have to give your version of the events that took place. After listening, they will provide you with a reality check especially what will happen should the case go to trial.

They will then review the police report, interview witnesses and examine the evidence. Since it is hard to look at everything on their own, they sometimes have researchers do it.

When you are arraigned in court, you are required to submit a plea. You could plead guilty or not guilty while some do not give one yet and then prepare for the trial date.

If the evidence against you is overwhelming, perhaps your criminal defense lawyer can negotiate so you can get a lighter sentence or reduced charges. This can only happen if this is your first time or you have a criminal record and you have something to trade.

For those who want to go to trail, the Michigan criminal defense lawyer will now prepare your defense. This may sometimes mean taking up your stand and telling the court the events that took place. This may be risky so before hand, you will be briefed on what to say.

Witnesses will be presented. Some of these people will be able to aid in your defense while others will be against you so another job that the criminal defense lawyer will do is cross examine them in order to cast doubt in the testimony they are giving.

The trial is almost over when the criminal defense lawyer and the prosecution give their closing arguments. The jury will then be given time to deliberate the case so you will know the verdict when they come back into the court and read it.

If you get a not guilty verdict, the Michigan criminal defense attorney was able to do their job since you are a free man. But if you are guilty, then the next step is to appeal the decision to a higher court and hopefully, they will overturn that decision.

Our justice system works, because everyone has a right to counsel and tried before their peers.

Expungement of criminal records

Expungement of criminal records

Expungement of criminal records is the process of clearing an individuals records of a crime committed. There are several other terms used to describe the expungement of criminal records. Often, it is used in correlation with sealing, destruction, or return to the subject of individual criminal records kept by government agencies.

Expungement of Criminal Records An Overview

To expunge criminal records is to involve a trade-off between competing interests. An individual would like to pursue employment, housing, or other major life activities without the stigma of an arrest record or a record of conviction. On the other hand, society has an interest in maintaining criminal records histories for purposes of future crime investigations and in order to make hiring, rental, and other decisions about individuals. Statutes and cases reflect the tension between these interests.

There are ways for you to expunge your criminal records. In reality, by statute and by inherent judicial authority, criminal records may be expunged.

What is Expungement of Criminal Records?

Expungement of criminal records can mean to seal or destroy these records, or return it to the subjects of the records. The exact remedy in a given situation depends on statutory provisions or the courts interpretation of its inherent power.

How Criminal Records are Expunged

Although states generally differ in how they expunge records, by most statutes, arrest records held by law enforcement must be returned to an arrested individual if proceedings are determined in the individuals favor before specified stages of the criminal justice process. This means that the individual has the right to have his criminal records of arrest expunged if no further evidence is found incriminating his involvement in the crime in question and if no other criminal justice action is pursued.

Also by statute, criminal records held by any criminal justice agency will be expunged or sealed by court order but not returned or destroyed. This action is often done if an individual was convicted in a kind of case covered by the specific state statute or had proceedings resolved in specified ways that fall short of conviction. Therefore, any criminal records of court filings created in a case where no conviction was made or in a case where the crime in question falls under the category specified under the statute may be expunged or sealed by the presiding court.

Finally, the courts have held that they have the power to require the sealing or expungement of judicial branch criminal records. Also, to a more limited degree, they may exercise this power of expungement on criminal records held by other branches of state government.

What Is A Criminal Defense Lawyer

What Is A Criminal Defense Lawyer

What is a criminal defense lawyer? He or she is a legal professional who organizes a case in order to represent a client who is accused of a crime.

These crimes include sex, drug and violent offenses which are things that are not approved by society as seen in this countrys laws.

The job now of the criminal defense lawyer is to fight for the client by defending the client in open court in a jury of their peers. In some cases, this person is successful when the jury gives a verdict of not guilty. Other times, the jury will say that the accused is guilty.

If the jury does not have a unanimous decision, the judge has no choice but to call for a retrial. Should there by a mistake made in the trial such as the selection of the jury, the judge will say that it is a mistrial and once again, both sides will have to start over and present their case.

There are instances where the criminal defense lawyer and the prosecutor dont have to settle this matter in court. This may happen as both sides have an agreement and this is approved by the judge.

But how does this all happen? First, a crime has to be committed. Law enforcement authorities will then have to figure out what happen and if they have enough evidence, a suspect is arrested.

The person who is arrested has the right to remain silent during questioning until their lawyer is present. If the person cannot afford one, then a lawyer will be provided so even those who dont have money will be properly represented.

The sixth amendment in the bill of rights state that anyone who is arrested has the right to a speedy trial and this has to be done where the crime was committed. After being arraigned, the criminal defense lawyer will now conduct an investigation by interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports and any other evidence that is related to the case.

The suspect that is charged with the crime can only be convicted if the case presented by the district attorneys office is very convincing. This means that a criminal defense lawyer can get a not guilty verdict by putting holes into the defense of the prosecution. When this happens, the client is freed. Should things go the other away, the criminal defense lawyer can make an appeal to the higher court regarding the lower courts conviction.

Can anyone become a criminal defense lawyer? A lot of experts say no because unlike other specializations in the practice, some find it very intimidating especially when the client that you have to represent is actually guilty of the crime. But given that you are that persons attorney, it is your duty to defend the accused to the best of your ability from start to finish.

Given that crime of all sorts and nature occur, some have set up their own law firms that specialize in criminal law. Most who graduate from law school work for the government and are often referred to as public defenders.

How much you earn as a criminal defense lawyer varies. This depends mainly who your client is because if you are defending a millionaire, you can charge a lot for your legal fees while someone who doesnt earn much will be able to only give how much is in their wallet.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Defend Against Murder Charges

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Defend Against Murder Charges

Murder is one of the harshest things you can ever be charged with. If you are arrested for the crime, it wont be long before you will be charged in court for the crime but you can prove your innocence with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

When you are brought in for questioning, the first thing you have to do is ask for a lawyer. If you cant afford one, dont worry because a state appointed lawyer will be assigned to you. But if you have money, it is best to hire a private attorney since they often have better success rates than public defenders.

Once counsel is present, work with them so you can come up with a defense strategy. You will have to tell them exactly what happened. If you really committed the crime, they can argue that there are circumstances which made you do it.

It is possible that you killed the person by reason of self-defense or possibly you were temporarily insane. If you do this, you will be examined by a psychiatrist because some people fake it.

You will shortly be arraigned so a trial date can be set so you should already enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Days before trial, your defense lawyer should already work on a plan to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. He or she may hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, present strong counter arguments and attack weaknesses in the prosecutions argument.

Since your lawyer will have a chance to see what will be used in the case, he or she may be able to suppress certain evidence if this was obtained illegally. This may sometimes get a guilty person off on a technicality but this is all part of the judicial process.

On your part, the only thing you have to do is behave yourself during the entire court proceedings because your lawyer will be the only one doing the talking. Better yet, behave in a way that will make the jury think twice if you are capable of doing such a heinous crime.

The objective in a criminal trial is to cast reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury so no matter how many witnesses are called to testify or what evidence is presented, you have a good chance of getting a not guilty verdict. But if things do not work out, then you can appeal the decision of the court.

You can avoid going to court if you decide to negotiate with the prosecution. For instance, if there were other people involved in the crime, you can testify against the others in exchange for immunity or a lesser charge. You should consider this option if ever it is presented to you.

If the evidence is overwhelming, perhaps you should just plead guilty because if you are convicted, some states will sentence you to face the death penalty. Doing so will probably get you life imprisonment probably with no chance of parole.

A criminal defense lawyer is the only person who will be able to help you if ever you are charged with murder. It is only by cooperating with this person that will prevent you from spending the rest of your days in prison.

Trying to define criminal law

Trying to define criminal law

We hear about law everyday whether we realize it or not. It’s in our Government, in our work, and even in our houses. One type of law is Criminal law, which is also known as Penal law. This is “The body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses.”

Inside of criminal law there is four major theories of criminal justice:

  • Punishment
  • Deterrence
  • Incapacitation
  • Rehabilitation

This form of law is essential in many cases because it can distinguis between crimes from civil wrongs. Criminal law has been around for ages, and is seeing as the fundamental system of regulating the behavior of individuals and groups relatively to what is defined as the social norms. This differs between civil crimes, where the difference is between two individuals and their individual rights and obligations under the law which is ruling the entire society.

An example of a civil law case is a dispute between two individuals over a contract that they made to for example sell an automobile. In that case one individual feels that their individual rights for a fair automobile sale have been breached by the other party. Where as in a criminal case, you would have for example a murderer, who is infringing on the right of safety that we all have. Given those two examples I’m sure you can appreciate how important Criminal law is, and the important role that it plays in everyone of our societies.