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Sometimes there is a need to hire a lawyer for purposes of a jail visit or a prison visit.  Reasons to hire a lawyer for a jail visit include the following:

  1.  Family and friends are concerned because they are unable to obtain information.  Someone incarcerated is often isolated, without the immediate ability to communicate with the outside world;
  2. The family and friends want to show the person who is incarcerated that they are loved and supported;

An accusation of probation violation will result in a court date with the Judge who sentenced you or the Judge who is now in charge of your original Judge’s docket.  Probation violations are often treated seriously by Judges for a number of reasons, including: protecting the integrity of the judicial system, protection of the community, deterring others from violating probation, deterring the probationer from reoffending, and the need to rehabilitate the offender.

Whether or not the probation violation will result in a jail or prison sentence depends upon a number of factors:

  1.  Did the probationer actually violate his or her probation?  The probationer has the right to a contested hearing before the Judge assigned to the case.  At that hearing the probationer is presumed innocent, and it is up to the prosecution to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (that it is more likely than not true that he or she violated his or her probation).  The probationer has the right to be represented by a lawyer.  The probationer has the right to cross examine witnesses, and subpoena witnesses.  The probationer can choose to testify or remain silence and not have the silence considered against the probationer in any way.  If the probation violation cannot be proven, the probationer has the right to continue on probation.

The Troy District Court is located at 520 W. Big Beaver Road in the City of Troy, Michigan.  This Court is also known as the 52/4th District Court.

For the assistance of a lawyer concerning all felony, misdemeanor, and traffic tickets, it is advisable to contact local attorney Daniel Hilf of the law firm Hilf & Hilf, PLC.  Hilf & Hilf, PLC is located at 1775 W. Big Beaver Road, which is approximately half a mile west of the court house, on the south (eastbound traffic) side of W. Big Beaver Road.  The telephone number for Hilf & Hilf, PLC is 248-792-2590.

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In many criminal cases the best option is to try and work out a deal and cut your losses.  The question arises as to how a deal can be reached.  Obviously, the person making the request is your lawyer.  If you don’t have a lawyer it is best to obtain the services of an experienced criminal lawyer such as attorney Daniel Hilf of Hilf & Hilf PLC.  Anything that you say can in and outside of court concerning your case can potentially be used against you.  An experienced lawyer is in the best position to negotiate on your behalf.

What steps should the lawyer take in trying to obtain a plea bargain, diversion, or sentence agreement?

First, the lawyer needs to learn everything about the case through investigation.  Before any attempt to resolve the case takes place the lawyer needs to know what the evidence is and what information the prosecution has.  The lawyer can obtain information by making a discovery demand with the prosecution or a FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) request.  Discovery materials typically include the following: the names and addresses of witnesses; written or recorded statements; the curriculum vitae of an expert the prosecution may call at trial along with a report or written description of the expert’s proposed testimony; criminal records that the prosecution intends to use to impeach witnesses; a description of and an opportunity to inspect any tangible physical evidence that the prosecution may introduce at trial; any exculpatory information or evidence; any police report and interrogation records concerning the case; any written or recorded statements of the Defendant, a co-Defendant, and/or an accomplice; any affidavit for search warrant, search warrant, and return pertaining to a search and seizure in connection with the case; and any plea agreement, grant of immunity, or other agreement for testimony in connection with the case.

Great Lakes Crossing Mall is a popular shopping destination due to its collection of outlet brand stores.  Neiman Marcus, Off Saks, Victoria’s Secret, Forever 21, and Bass Pro Shop are a few of its known merchants.  An issue that goes hand in hand with the large amount of traffic at Great Lakes Crossing and desirable merchandise is shoplifting.

Great Lakes Crossing goes to great lengths to protect its tenants.  There is mall security, close circuit court, and a working relationship with the stores and Auburn Hills Police.

How do stores catch people?  The stores also have mechanisms in place to protect to protect themselves from losses from retail fraud, embezzlement, and other types of theft such as:

Retail fraud is a common offense that is regularly prosecuted.  Because shoplifting affects the profitability of stores, owners and corporations have taken steps to combat theft.  Many stores employ a combination of manpower, technology, and aggressively prosecuting offenders as a means to address this issue.

The manpower that is used for larger chain stores is primarily in the form of asset protection (also called loss prevention).  Asset prevention are trained to detect shoplifters based upon their mannerisms or based upon keeping track of persons that have been suspected of stealing from the store in the past.  There is also the use of customer service to actively engage the shopper (“is there something I can help you find”) to create an impression that the shopper is being watched.  Employees try to keep track of how many items are taken into dressing rooms, and to inspect dressing rooms to look for evidence of theft such as removed sensors, removed price tags, and missing items.  Many larger stores also have greeters or persons that verify receipts before the customer exits the store.

Technology can be in many forms.  The obvious technology are closed circuit television cameras and sensor detection devices.  Other forms of technology include store designs that eliminate or reduce blind spots.

One of the worst feelings a parent can have is to hear that their child was arrested for a crime such as shoplifting.  After getting over the initial shock and disappointment the question becomes what will happen next.  If your child is lucky the store, police, and/or prosecution will decide not to pursue the charge.  In many cases, if the child is older than 12 years old there may be some form of court intervention.

In Michigan, for petty offenses such as retail fraud, where the case is prosecuted depends upon the age of the child.  For children under the age of 17 years, the matter is handled by a juvenile court.  Jurisdiction for juvenile cases is usually in the county where the offense allegedly occurred, which may or may not be different from the county where the offense actually occurred.  If your child is 17 years or older the case will be handled at the District Court that has jurisdiction over the case, which is where cases for adults are heard.

In both juvenile and District Court your child will have similar rights.  These rights include the following:

Court, to many, is a new experience.  With new experiences there is often anxiety and worry that accompany such an experience.  The following are general tips related to court appearances.  This blog is not intended to be a substitute to hiring a lawyer to properly assert or defend your interests:

  1.  It is recommended that you hire an experienced lawyer if you don’t have a lawyer already.  You are at a disadvantage if you do not have a lawyer, because lawyers have the skills, knowledge of the law, and the expertise to help you get the best possible result.  Persons that are not lawyers that represent themselves are held to the same standard as a lawyer.  The same rules of procedure and rules of evidence apply.  Persons that are indigent can request a public defender for criminal cases and child protective services parental rights cases.
  2. Make sure that you are aware of the time and location for your court hearing.  Failure to appear, or not appearing timely, can result in a bad result.  For criminal cases not appearing or being late can result in a bench warrant.  For civil cases, the failure to appear or appearing late can result in a negative result, and in some cases even having a judgment or order entered against you.  Make sure you are aware of rush hour traffic, construction, or other issues that may delay you.  If you are going to be late, make sure you call and discuss it with your lawyer.  If you do not have a lawyer, contact the court.  The court may or may not excuse your tardiness.  If you have a criminal matter and you do not have a lawful ability to drive an automobile it is advisable to find a ride or alternative transportation.  Many courts inquire as to how you got to court – especially if it is related to a bond condition.

Why people steal is a complex question with many different possible answers:

  1.  Thrill.  There is a sense of excitement for many.  The thought of getting away with something can be enticing.  The sense of accomplishment for outsmarting the system is intoxicating to others.  The adrenaline.  The satisfaction.  The feeling of achievement.
  2. Mental illness.  To some, the need to steal is a compulsion.  It is not always about need.  Typically a kleptomaniac steals without giving much thought to whether or not he or she actually needs the item.  It is not uncommon for people that steal to suffer from some form of depression.

Target stores take an aggressive approach to apprehending suspected shoplifters.  The reason for this is to deter shoplifting, reduce losses, and to protect the merchandise.  What specifically does Target do to address retail fraud:

First, Target prosecutes for shoplifting.  There are no warnings.  There is no mercy.   The employees involved with the theft investigation testify in courtrooms, when necessary. Target actively bans people from their stores with no trespassing orders who it suspects of  shoplifting.  Target has a civil law firm seek civil law settlements and judgments for damages.

Second, the store employs asset protection/loss prevention personnel that are well trained.  Technology is used to help the loss prevention team, such as closed circuit television, theft detection devices, and store designs to eliminate blind spots.  The loss prevention personnel have specialized training to identify behaviors of shoppers that suggest that they may commit some form of theft.  Target tries to identify known shoplifters so that loss prevention is alerted whenever such a suspect enters the store so that they can be watched closely.