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Kalamazoo Criminal Defense Law Blog

College students facing drug charges should know about HYTA

HYTA. It sounds like it could be one of those silicon-based life forms from the original Star Trek science fiction TV series, but it isn't. It's very real and it's something that could be very useful for a young person who may be facing a wide range of criminal offenses to know about.

HYTA stands for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. As we explained in an article about how police specialty drug teams target college students, it was enacted some years ago as a means by which the courts could take into account that there are times when young people make errors in judgment that result in criminal charges. The law recognizes that young lives could be detrimentally affected by a criminal conviction, so it provides certain defendants in certain situations to avoid the consequences of having a permanent criminal record.

In Michigan, domestic violence can be mental, not just physical

There is a saying that goes, "You can't legislate morality."

The actual source of the quote is a little hard to pin down. A Google check indicates it was Republican Senator Barry Goldwater in the course of debate over the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But, according to Dictionary.com, the statement seems to have its roots in a quote from a 1926 book by Scottish sociologist R.M. MacIver in which he said, "Law does not and cannot cover all the ground of morality."

That might seem like an odd position to take in a country and a state that relies on the rule of law to set boundaries of acceptable behavior. But, as MacIver noted, it's the word "behavior" that's the key. 

In some Michigan OWI death cases a murder charge is possible

Just how seriously should someone facing a charge of operating while intoxicated causing death take the accusation? Consider that in some cases the defendant could wind up facing a charge of murder in the second degree and you can see that it's something to take very seriously.

As we indicated in an article on the subject of OWI charges recently, even first-time offenders found guilty can face significant consequences. Fines are possible, certainly. But there is also the possibility of jail time being imposed. And in Michigan, the legal system allows for exponential penalties as the level of the criminal charges escalate. 

Attorney fights extradition of client on sex crime charges

Would extraditing a 94-year-old man with a failing heart to another state to face decades-old child sex abuse charges be unwise? The answer might depend on your point of view of justice. From the point of view of the man's attorney, the answer is that it would not only be unwise, it could be a death sentence.

The current social attitude concerning child sex abuse is one that seems to call for the greatest level of prosecution allowable. In many people's minds child sex abuse is the only crime worse than murder. 

How are drug trafficking, sales and distribution different?

Drug charges of any kind are serious and those facing such charges need to be proactive in finding experienced legal counsel to ensure that their rights are protected.

The array of possible drug charges that can be brought in Michigan is broad. At one end you have the charge of drug possession. More serious cases might involve charges of possession with intent to deliver. Then, there are charges that might relate to the actual distribution or sale of drugs. These might include drug trafficking.

The type of drug and the amount involved can also play a role in the severity of penalties in the event of a conviction. 

Years of effort yet to deliver on medical marijuana rule changes

Michigan voters put the state on the list of those that allow the use of medical marijuana in 2008. Many other states and the District of Columbia have taken action in this regard to varying degrees. Some have even gone so far as to allow the regulated sale of recreational marijuana.

As we have noted in a number of articles, the movement has been a bit more stilted in Michigan. In 2011, the Attorney General issued the opinion that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does not make cooperative growing efforts legal, even for product that is to be used strictly for medical purposes.

Then, last year, we wrote about how three communities, Ferndale, Lansing and Jackson, joined Detroit and Flint in allowing individuals to possess up to one ounce of marijuana while on their private property without fear of facing the level of penalty normally called for under state law.

Food stamp fraud: A white collar crime with meat in it

As we highlighted in a post about a month ago, the umbrella under which white collar crime charges exist is a big one. The term, which was only coined around 1939 and referred at the time to occupational crimes committed by respectable individuals, has come to be associated with just about everything from money laundering, embezzlement, internet crimes and racketeering.

The tag is also associated with illegal trading in food stamps provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal program designed to help people in the low-income range buy nutritious foods for a healthier life. 

Array of possible Michigan DUI charges demands strong defense

If you are facing criminal court action as a result of an alleged alcohol-related driving offense in Michigan the one reaction you should not have to the situation is one of, "Well, it's just a drunk driving charge."

To gain an appreciation of how serious the state is about cracking down on any form of driving while impaired all you have to do is run down the list of possible charges that can be brought. It's a long one, running the gamut from having an open container in your vehicle or driving on a suspended license to operating a vehicle while impaired and causing serious injury or death.

A blurry line separates parental discipline from child abuse

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," the old saying goes. In a lot of ways, so is ugliness. Particularly, consider the ugly reality of child abuse. It does happen all too often. And when it does, it justifiably raises the hackles of people in Kalamazoo. The trouble is that it is a little hard to clearly define.

According to Michigan law, parents, guardians and anyone else to whom they give authority, has the right to employ some measure of corporal punishment when disciplining a child. The use of force is not ruled out, but the law says it must be "reasonable force." So, the next question becomes, what constitutes reasonableness?

What illegal drug trends are federal officials tracking?

The U.S. is engaged in a war on drugs. It's being fought on a lot of different fronts. It has international components, of course, but it is also being waged on the domestic front.

One such program in this regard is called the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program through which assistance is coordinated so that law enforcement agencies at all levels; federal, state, local and tribal, remain focused on what have been identified as the common threats.

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