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It is not uncommon for a police officer to mail out a ticket, or for a court to send out notice of a traffic offense or misdemeanor in the mail.  The ticket will have on it the name of the offense, the location where the offense needs to be handled, and a date by which the ticket or offense needs to be addressed.

There are several reasons why the notice is sent out by mail, rather than given at the time of the alleged offense:

  1.  Sometimes there is an ongoing investigation that needs to be completed before a decision can be made concerning a charge.  Examples of this include: in a DUI case the police are waiting to determine the blood alcohol level from a blood sample; in a possession of a controlled substance case the alleged contraband needs to be tested to confirm the nature of the substance; the officer needs to conduct additional interviews to determine whether or not there is probable cause that an offense occurred;

For any immigration related issue your best bet is to hire an experienced immigration lawyer.  The information in this blog is subject to change at any time.  Reading a blog is not a substitute for seeking the services of an experienced immigration or criminal defense lawyer.

Retail Fraud is considered to be a crime of moral turpitude (CIMT).  A conviction for retail fraud may or may not disqualify you for a visa in the United States.  The issue becomes whether or not the conviction is classified as a petty offense pursuant to INA section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II).

There is a 2 part test to determine if the conviction is for a petty offense:

In Michigan, individuals must have proof of legal citizenship or legal presence in the United States in order to obtain a valid driver’s license.   Undocumented and illegal aliens at the present time are not eligible to obtain a Michigan driver’s license.  Most aliens (including undocumented aliens) and most other non-residents of Michigan can protect themselves from accusations of Driving Without a License by taking the steps outlined by Michigan Compiled Law 257.302a.

This law states that non-residents are not required to obtain a Michigan driver’s license to drive in Michigan.  In order to drive legally the non-resident must do the following:

  1. Make sure that your home country is part of an international treaty or other agreement that is recognized by Michigan.  The following countries are treaty countries:

When a family member is arrested, there is often a period of concern and worry because the family member cannot be reached.  Sometimes the family member is deprived of the ability to use a telephone during their initial period of incarceration.  A lawyer has greater access to see persons incarcerated, because the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to be represented by counsel.  The following are some obstacles that a person has while initially incarcerated.

  1.  The family may have concerns about the general health and well being of the incarcerated family member.  This is especially true when the family member has a physical or mental health issue and needs to receive proper medication.  In many instances jails deny persons incarcerated proper medical care and proper medication.  The intervention of a lawyer sometimes can correct this situation.
  2. The family may have concerns that the incarcerated family member’s rights are not being protected.  Often after an arrest a police agency will attempt to obtain a statement from the person arrested concerning what allegedly occurred.  An individual who speaks to the police, especially without consulting with a lawyer, is at a great disadvantage.  Police officers are trained at gathering evidence, which includes obtaining statements that are or seem to be incriminating.  Police officers also sometimes try to obtain consent to perform searches of property.  Sometimes the consent given can undermine the case or defense.  Police are not supposed to question a Defendant that it knows is represented by a lawyer.

Driving while license suspended, revoked, or denied (also called DWLS or DWLS/R/D) is a criminal offense that is treated seriously by many courts.  This offense can be prosecuted under State law by a county prosecutor or under local ordinance by a city attorney.  The possible penalty for a first offense DWLS, or a DWLS prosecuted under a local ordinance, is up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, court costs, possible probation with conditions (driver safety class, community service, no driving without a valid license, etc.), 2 points added to driving record, a driver responsibility fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years, and a mandatory suspension of driving privileges.  DWLS prosecuted as a second offense carries up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, court costs, possible probation with conditions, 2 points added to driving record, and a driver’s responsibility fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years.  Additional DWLS offenses can lead to license plate confiscation and vehicle immobilization.

The philosophy that many Courts employ is to try and encourage Defendants to find ways to obtain a valid driver’s license.  In some cases this is possible (if the DWLS conviction is not entered) by paying off outstanding tickets, paying reinstatement fees, and going to the Michigan Secretary of State office.  However, in many cases it is impossible for the Defendant to obtain a valid license in a timely manner.  Reasons for this include that the person’s license was revoked due to prior drinking an driving convictions, the length of the person’s current suspension does not allow for the person to get their license back in the near future, the person has health or vision issues that prevent the Secretary of State from issuing a valid license, financial issues, or the person is not a citizen or a green card holder and the State of Michigan will not issue a valid license.

One of the problems with Michigan are the cost and limited options for public transportation.  In most cases driving is the only solution for a person to be employed, support their family, and otherwise get to and from different locations.  Judges are by and large not sympathetic to this.  For persons with bad driving records, or with a history of DWLS, jail is often ordered along with probation.  For persons without bad driving records, probation is common.  However, a common condition of probation is to not violate any laws, which includes not driving a car without obtaining a valid license.  The person is placed in a catch-22 situation.

In Michigan a driver who has reason to believe that he or she has been in an accident has a responsibility to stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and remain there.    Failure to comply can result in a criminal prosecution under either State law or local ordinance, depending upon the circumstances.

According to Michigan Compiled Law 257.619 the driver has other responsibilities as well:

First, the driver must provide his or her name and address, the vehicle owner’s name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle to a police officer, the individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident.

Somerset mall is one of the premiere shopping destinations in Michigan.  It is known for its collection of high end stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and others.  One of the issues that Somerset Mall and its merchants guard against is shoplifting.

Somerset Mall and its merchants employ a number of different tactics to prevent retail fraud:

  1. Highly trained loss prevention associates and mall security;

Cases of retail fraud can be prosecuted by the city of Troy or the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office.  For a person arrested for misdemeanor retail fraud that does not have an extensive record, the likelihood is higher that the case will be handled by the city attorney for Troy Michigan.

Troy Michigan has a local law (also known as a local ordinance) that allows for the city attorney to prosecute certain crimes (including retail fraud).  Cases prosecuted by the city attorney for Troy Michigan are handled at the 52-4th Division District Court which is located at 520 W. Big Beaver Road in the city of Troy, Michigan.

Retail Fraud under the Troy Michigan ordinance (Troy ordinance number 98.08.02) carries a maximum possible punishment of 93 days in the Oakland County Jail and a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.  Jail is an option that the Judges have.  However, in many cases, jail can be avoided.

Not everyone who conceals or removes merchandise from a store do it with the intent to steal.  Sometimes people take or conceal items by accident.

What may constitute accidental shoplifting?

  1. When shopping, items are sometimes placed under the shopping cart due to the item’s size or because the shopping cart is full, sometimes the items are overlooked.  If the item was overlooked it is possible that it is accidentally removed from the store without being paid for.

Although tampering with a theft detection device goes hand and hand with retail fraud, in Michigan this is a separate criminal offense.  This offense can be prosecuted either under the laws of the State of Michigan or by local ordinance.

Michigan Compiled Law 750.360a identifies the different ways that this crime occurs:

  1. Being in possession of a bag that is either laminated or coated with the purpose of shielding merchandise from detection for the intent of attempting to steal or stealing can result in prosecution.