Heckman Law, PLLC practices throughout the state of Michigan

A criminal defense or DUI attorney in East Lansing Michigan should know trial preparation.

Aggressive Trial Strategy starts at the first consultation. Often we, tell our clients to start preserving evidence immediately, including but not limited to text messages, voicemails, phone records, credit card records, and other documents. Write down a detailed timeline. Write down a list of witnesses including their addresses and phone numbers. Search for witnesses on face book. See if anyone nearby actually saw what happened.
We also have clients get letters of support around and provide us with a detailed history. What are the client’s goals, what are their plans for the future, what kind of work history do they have, etc. The better picture we can paint of our client the better deal we can get them.
Trial preparation at our office typically involves several meetings with the client and witnesses. We’ll go over the overall strategy to make sure the client is comfortable with it and we’ll go over the client’s and witnesses’ testimony. This will allow the client and witnesses to feel more comfortable in the event they testify. I say “in the event they testify” because generally speaking the witnesses will not testify. In a criminal case, the prosecution has the burden of proof. That means the defense can simply poke holes in the prosecution’s case and avoid exposing the client and the witnesses.
Specific types of cases have specific types of evidence. For instance, the majority of the evidence in a DUI case will come from the data master (breath test) at the jail or the blood draw at the hospital and the dash cam video. Often a case can hinge on that evidence and eye witness evidence will simply compliment it. That’s not to say one cannot be convicted based off eye witness testimony alone. Convictions off eye witness testimony alone happens all the time. One of the reasons you should speak with an attorney is that an attorney should be able to assist you in preserving evidence for your defense.

Berrien, Kent, Allegan, Van Buren County Criminal Defense Attorneys know the judges in their counties. Often people will search for a "big city" attorney to come and represent them in a small town. The perception is that the "big city" attorney is better. The truth is that one can find a good attorney in every county. One advantage that the local attorney will have over the "big city" attorney is that the local attorney will know the judges and the prosecutors. That can have a huge impact on trial strategy. If the attorney knows the judge, the attorney might suggest that you have a bench as opposed to a jury trial.

If you’re looking for a trial attorney that practices in Battle Creek Michigan, contact us today.

The attorney you hire can have as much to do with your success at trial as the facts of your case. Some facts of two different interpretations. A skilled trial attorney can help to reveal that to the jury through each of the witnesses. In a way they’ll teach the jury about the theory of your case. They’ll also be able to highlight problems with the prosecution’s case. Concepts such as primacy is one of the concepts pivotal to your defense. Primacy is the psychological concept that holds people tend to remember the first thing they hear. It is why the jury tends to remember the prosecution’s case more. They hear it first. That said, primacy comes into play during cross examination. The defense attorney will want to lead with a powerful point. That way it will stay in the mind of the jury. Further, in the defense attorney’s opening and closing statements, they will want to lead with a powerful point.

The above is of course general advice we give to some but not all clients. You should not rely on it as it is not intended as advice to you, the reader. The facts of your situation may make the above advice a bad idea. For instance, it could result in you going to prison for the rest of your life. Prior to taking or refraining for taking any action you should consult with an attorney. Nothing in this post is to be construed as legal advice. Heckman Law, PLLC does not represent you.

New Expungement Law

There may be hope on the horizon for those with convictions. The Michigan Legislature has recently passed an amendment to the expungement law in Michigan. Assuming the Governor signs the bill into law, it will be easier for individuals with a conviction to set aside a conviction.

Call a Berrien County Criminal Defense Attorney to see if you can get an expungement.

Under the current law, an individual can only have 3 convictions, one felony and two “minor offenses.” Minor offenses are those that have a statutory maximum of 90 days in jail. That 90 day maximum has been a huge hindrance for many individuals trying to clean up their records. The reason is that most crimes are punishable by at least 93 days in jail. For example, simple assault and battery and DUIs are punishable by 93 days in jail. That means an individual convicted of two offenses with maximum sentences of more than 93 days in jail, for instance two assault and batteries, cannot expunge either. This is a simplification of the law as it stands and there are exceptions. Contact an attorney to be sure you qualify or do not qualify.
Under the proposed law, the “minor offense” restriction only applies to criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. That means an individual with two assault and battery convictions will be able to clean up their records. Further, if all one has is two misdemeanors, they may be able to set aside both at the same time.
The individual will have to wait five years from release for jail, imposition of sentence, or discharge of probation or parole, which is similar to the law as it currently stands. The main difference is that the former stature does not require 5 years from the discharge of probation.
Further, if an application is denied the individual will now have to wait three years before filing again.
Certain felony convictions will preclude the relief sought.

Whether in East Lansing, Michigan, or elsewhere, criminal defense attorneys should know how to set aside a conviction.

Some questions they’ll likely ask you are:
1) What convictions are in your criminal history?
2) Were you given jail, prison, probation, or parole? If so, what was the day they you no longer were under governmental supervision? Ergo, when did your jail, prison, probation, or parole end?
With that information the attorney should be able to tell whether or not you can seek relief from the conviction. Do not lie! It is important that you tell the attorney the truth. If you do not, they cannot adequately advise you and you may end up throwing your money away.

Battle Creek Criminal Defense Attorney

Many crimes are broke up into two distinct aspects: the mens rea and the actus reus. The mens rea refers to the intent necessary for one to be convicted of a crime. For instance, the crime of larceny from a person requires that “the defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property.” M Crim JI 23.3. The actus reus refers to the act of the crime. In the case of larceny from a person, “there was some movement of the property.” M Crim JI 23.3. The concept of mens rea can be broken down into sub-concepts of specific intent and general intent. General intent typically means that the person intended the act. An example of a general intent crime is assault and battery. A person must merely intend to contact the victim or something closely connected with the victim. M Crim JI 17.2. Specific intent typically means that the person not only intend the act but intend the result. An example of a specific intent crime is assault with intent to do great bodily harm because the defendant must have “intended to cause great bodily harm.” M Crim JI 17.7.
Some crimes do not require a mens rea. One such crime is OWI, also known as drunk driving. For OWI, one does not have to intent to drive impaired or intoxicated. One merely has to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or with an unlawful blood alcohol content. M Crim JI 15.1. An unlawful blood alcohol content is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of the defendant’s blood, per 210 liters of the defendant’s breath, or per 67 milliliters of the defendant’s urine. M Crim JI 15.5. Another crimes that does not require a mens rea is criminal sexual conduct. Under the criminal sexual conduct statute, one does not have to intend to have sexual contact with a person under the age of consent to be convicted of the crime.
For crimes that do require a specific intent, accident may be a defense. M Crim JI 7.3a. The reason is that by definition of something was an accident then you did not intend for it to happen.

A Calhoun County criminal defense attorney should know the above information.

As should an attorney from East Lansing, Grand Rapids, or Kalamazoo, Michigan. You want to be sure that whomever you retain, they are competent and will diligently represent you.
Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice. To the extent that it discusses topics and legal issues, it is an over simplification and one should not rely on anything contained in this post. Some information may become obsolete or inaccurate with the passage of time. Other information may be about the law in general and not specifically to the law of the State of Michigan. One should contact an attorney prior to taking or refraining from any action. Heckman Law, PLLC blogs about counties and cities that it does not necessarily have a physical office or practice in.

Lansing Michigan Legal Problems

A Lansing Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney should provide you with general and Ingham County specific advice.

Always try to show up to court early as you may have difficulty finding a parking spot. At the very least dress as though you are headed to church. How you dress says a lot about you. If you show up to Court in a t-shirt with holes in it that tells the judge that you cannot afford anything better. That in turn tells the judge that you do not have any family that can help you out, either because you’ve burned that bridge or your family is in a similar financial situation. Either way, it reflects negatively on you. Beyond these implications, dressing up for court shows respect.
With each crime, there are collateral consequences beyond the potential jail time and fine that you need to be made aware of. What matters is your future. A conviction can impact your ability to get loans and financial aid, it can affect your ability to enter certain professions, can affect your ability to get certain business licenses, and more. If you’ve been charged with Drunk Driving, Assault, Possession of Marijuana, or another crime, your lawyer should inform you of the collateral consequences.
You should be told where the Courthouse is located. There are several courthouses in Ingham County. You will need to pay close attention to any paperwork you have been given to be sure you head to the proper location. There are courthouses located at 315 S. Jefferson, Mason, MI 48854, 313 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48933, 303 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48933, 700 Buhl St, Mason, Michigan 48854, and 124 W Michigan Ave, Lansing ,MI 48933.
Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice.
This blog is not intended as a representation that Heckman Law, PLLC has an office in the county in the blog post. Heckman Law, PLLC does not have an office in all counties that this blog covers. However, Heckman Law, PLLC may be available to represent clients in all counties.

The History of the Kalamazoo County Courts

The County Courts in the Territory of Michigan were established on October 25, 1815.1 The first court held in Kalamazoo County occurred in 1831.2 It was held in the house of Abram I. Shaver on the “third Tuesday of October, A.D. 1831.”3 The city of Kalamazoo was originally named Bronson, after one of its founders. 3

The first court held in the county seat occurred on October 16th, 1832. 3 Present were “Bazel Harrison, chief justice, and Stephens Hoyt, associate.” 3 The very first case heard at that location was the United States vs. Hannah Carpenter. 3 Hannah failed to appear and “her recognizance was adjudged forfeited, and she was fined twenty-five dollars and costs … .” 3

The first circuit court proceeding in Kalamazoo County was said to have occurred in a blacksmith-shop on the corner of “Portage and South or Cherry Street.” 4 The actual courthouse was not completed until 1837, and so court was held wherever it was convenient. 4 “Probably the most interesting cause ever tried at Kalamazoo was the celebrated Vanderpool murder case.” 4 George Vanderpool was tried and convicted of killing Herbert Field in the spring of 1870. 4 A new trial was order and the case was transferred to Kalamazoo to avoid the “pressure of public opinion in Manistee County.”4 The trial took twenty-seven days and ultimately the jury was hung. 5 Upon a third trial, he was acquitted.5

Another noteworthy case was the Newcomer trial.5 The case was a false imprisonment suit against the “medical superintendent of the Michigan Asylum for the Insane at Kalamazoo.” One unusual aspect to the case was that there were about eighty witnesses sworn.5

1 History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. By Durant, Samuel W. comp.,Page 103, as published on http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/bad0947.0001.001/119?view=image&size=125
2 History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. By Durant, Samuel W. comp.,Page 104, as published on http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/bad0947.0001.001/119?view=image&size=125
3 History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. By Durant, Samuel W. comp.,Page 105, quoting the court record, as published on http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/bad0947.0001.001/119?view=image&size=125
4 History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. By Durant, Samuel W. comp.,Page 106, quoting George Torry's History of Kalamazoo, as published on http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/bad0947.0001.001/119?view=image&size=125
5 History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. By Durant, Samuel W. comp.,Page 107, as published on http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/bad0947.0001.001/119?view=image&size=125