Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

A warrant is usually required for police officers investigating a crime to search a defendant, and a search conducted absent a warrant may violate a person’s constitutional rights. However, there are exceptions, such as when an officer has a reasonable suspicion that an individual is committing a crime. In such circumstances, an investigatory stop might be justified. A Michigan court recently addressed the right against unreasonable search and seizure in a matter in which the defendant was charged with multiple offenses after an investigatory stop. If you are charged with a crime, you should speak to an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible regarding your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the police stopped the defendant at a gas station for carrying a concealed weapon without a warrant. An officer apparently noticed the pistol in the defendant’s waistband, as the handle protruding from his pants. The officer inquired whether the defendant had a permit to carry the weapon, to which the defendant replied that he did not. After the officer seized the pistol and arrested the suspect, he found heroin in the defendant’s possession as well.

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with multiple weapons offenses as well as heroin possession. He filed a motion to bar the prosecution from using the evidence obtained during his arrest against him at trial, claiming that it was obtained through an unlawful search and seizure. He further asserted that the gun was not hidden but was carried openly in compliance with the State’s open carry rule. The defendant’s motion was granted, and the State appealed. Continue reading

People accused of crimes typically know that they are not required to testify at trial. People often do not understand, though, that while defendants cannot be forced to offer defenses against the prosecution’s claims, they do have a statutory right to mount a defense. If that right is violated, it may constitute a basis for granting a new trial. A Michigan court recently explained how an appellate court assesses whether a trial court violated a defendant’s right to offer a defense in an opinion issued in an assault case. If you’ve been charged with assault, you should speak with a Michigan criminal defense lawyer about your options.

Arrest and Trial of the Defendant

It is alleged that following a fight with two women, the defendant was charged with multiple assault offenses. The defendant acknowledged that he had a disagreement with the alleged victims, but claimed that they conspired to make false accusations against him. The first woman, on the other hand, said the defendant tried to stab her, pointed a gun at her, and scratched her face, while the second woman claimed the defendant threw her to the ground and attacked her with a knife. The defendant was found guilty as charged by a jury. He filed an appeal, claiming, among other things, that the trial court infringed on his constitutional right to present a defense by barring evidence about other acts.

Defendant’s Rights in Criminal Matters

The appellate court dismissed the defendant’s appeal after reviewing the facts. The court clarified that a defendant must raise the question of whether a trial court’s evidentiary decision deprived him of the right to present a defense at the trial level, in order to preserve the issue for appeal. In the case at hand, the defendant neglected to argue at trial that the testimony in question was admissible under Michigan Rules of Evidence or that his right to present a defense was violated because it was not admitted. Continue reading

Although recreational marijuana use is legal in many states, people can still face criminal charges for selling or distributing marijuana in Michigan. Generally, there are numerous elements the prosecution must prove to establish guilt in a drug trafficking case, including intent. As such, if there is no evidence that a person knowingly moved drugs, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to persuade the government to drop any pending charges against the individual.

For example, Ellen K. Michaels of Ellen K. Michaels and Associates, PLLC, recently fought for the dismissal of federal drug smuggling charges against a Canadian trucker where there was no evidence that he knew he was transporting marijuana. Ultimately, Ms. Michaels’ efforts were successful, and the charges were dismissed. If you are accused of committing a drug crime, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

The Government’s Allegations

It is reported that a Canadian trucker was recently stopped and arrested in Detroit after an inspection by Customs and Border Protection revealed there were seven pallets of marijuana in his trailer. Subsequently, federal agents seized more than 2,000 pounds of highly potent marijuana, which has an estimated street value of $3.6 million. The trucker was charged with possession with intent to distribute, a crime that could result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years.

Allegedly, the affidavit against the trucker noted that the quantity of drugs seized was consistent with large-scale smuggling and distribution activities. Further, it stated that the trucker’s arrest was part of a greater drug trend, as parties routinely smuggle Canadian grown marijuana into the United States via commercial trucks and distribute it throughout the northwestern and southeastern parts of the country, where potent marijuana is difficult to obtain. Continue reading

When police suspect anyone of selling drugs, they will usually perform a comprehensive investigation, which may involve obtaining a search warrant for the person’s home or car. In order to obtain a warrant, however, the police must have a reasonable belief that an individual is engaged in illegal activity, and if they do not, the search performed under the warrant could be considered unconstitutional. In a recent Michigan ruling, the court considered what constitutes adequate grounds to issue a warrant in a case where the defendant was charged with multiple drug offenses. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, it’s a good idea to talk to a reputable Michigan criminal defense attorney about your options.

The Defendant’s Arrest

It is alleged that the police received a search warrant for the defendant’s home and car based on suspicions that he was trafficking drugs. The State charged the defendant with various drug and firearms offenses following the investigation. The defendant then filed a motion to remove the evidence gathered via the search warrant, claiming that it was too broad and lacked sufficient evidence to create probable cause. The motion was granted, and the charges against the defendant were dropped. The State then filed an appeal, claiming that the trial court used the wrong criterion in deciding if the warrant should be issued.

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