Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Hills at Law, P.C. is dedicated to serving its clients interests throughout Southwest Michigan. To ensure you have the best information on serious legal topics as they come in to focus, Hills at Law, P.C. will be incorporating a Weekly Blog into its website. Initially this Weekly Blog will cover such topics as the Michigan Driver License Restoration process, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and Michigan's "Super-Drunk" or "High B.A.C." Driving Law to put you in a better position to comply with the law, or understand the legal system and challenges that face you. Blog posts will be added every Friday afternoon. If you have a Michigan or Federal Criminal Law topic that you would like to learn more about in the future, please feel free to contact us.

Inventory Exception to the Warrant Requirement

I am often asked about what constitutes an unlawful search.  It is first important to understand that the United States and Michigan Constitutions protect a citizen from unreasonable searches and seizures.  Generally, a search without a warrant is per se unreasonable unless it falls under one of the exceptions of the warrant requirement.  This blog [...]

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Serious Impairment Under Drunk Driving Law

In order to convict a defendant of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant: Operated a motor vehicle While intoxicated or impaired Caused serious impairment of a body function of another person because of the operation of the vehicle. The first two elements of [...]

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Federal Halfway Houses

At the end of March, Attorney General Eric Holder announced some new policies for federal halfway houses.  Federal halfway houses are used by tens of thousands of prisoners to ease the transition from prison back into society.  Some of the changes Holder announced include: Permitting cell phone use to inmates Providing funds for transportation Expanding [...]

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Search Warrants, the Fourth Amendment and Your Home

Clients often ask me whether the search conducted on their home and/or property was legal.  This blog will provide an overview of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment applies when a person has a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in the area that is searched.  The area extends to the [...]

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The Crime of “Riot”

Last Saturday, April 12, WMU students allegedly participated in a riot on Lafayette Avenue in Kalamazoo.  This is not the first time a “riot” has happened in Kalamazoo.  Sometimes, students and citizens get swept up in the criminal justice system under these circumstances, even when they were not technically involved, or when the incident itself [...]

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Rule of Lenity

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court applied the rule of lenity in a criminal case.  The rule of lenity is a rule of statutory construction that resolves ambiguities in statutory language in favor of the defendant.   The case involved a defendant who was convicted of selling heroin to a user, who then died.  The [...]

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Can a school official search a student or his/her belongings?

Recently, I have been asked about whether schools may search students or their property that is located on school grounds.   While students still have constitutional rights while in school, those rights are lessoned because their expectation of privacy is diminished.  A school official can search a student or their property on a finding of [...]

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Med. Marijuana: New Law, If…

RECENT MICHIGAN BILL SIGNED INTO LAW: PUBLIC ACT 268 OF 2013   Public Act 268 of 2013 provides the guidelines for Michigan to regulate large-scale marihuana growers and sell their products in pharmacies.  This comprehensive law contains a caveat, though: “The department of licensing and regulatory affairs may begin promulgation of the rules required under [...]

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Michigan Sentencing: Beware the Upward Departure

In a prior blog, we talked about the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines. In this post, we will discuss an example of how a court may be persuaded to sentence outside of the guidelines; this is called a departure.   I have often been asked about the appropriateness or fairness of an upward or downward departure from [...]

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When the Police Lie to Obtain a Search Warrant

Recently, I have been asked about what to do when a defendant thinks the police lied to obtain a search warrant. There is a recent case that covers this issue, People of the State of Michigan v. Marcus Dwane Manning. The case discusses when a trial court is obligated to conduct a Franks hearing. A [...]

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If you have a Criminal Law topic which you would like to learn more about in future Blog entries, please feel free to contact us. Please keep in mind that we will only be able to handle general topic requests due to our practitioner's daily time constraints.