Posts Tagged 'law'

Are Speed Limit Signs Merely a Suggestion?

If you receive a ticket for speeding, you might want to make sure that speeding ticket is actually enforceable under Michigan law!

Every driver knows that speed limits can go up and down like a roller coaster, on any given stretch of Michigan road. But few people understand who sets these speed limits, and under what law(s) speeding violations can be legally prosecuted.

 Public Act 85 of 2006 (PA 85) is the State statute that actually regulates where and how speed limits are set, and what penalties may be imposed for violating these speed limits. But local jurisdictions do not always follow this State law.

Recently, there have been a couple of articles in local news papers discussing this problem.  These articles are not new.  Last year there was a similar article discussing how many of the speed limits are kept artificially low to generate revenue.

This recent string of articles appears to have garnered the attention of State Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, who intends to introduce legislation forcing local jurisdictions to follow Public Act 85 of 2006 (PA 85), so that unfair speed limit laws are not put in place to “trap” otherwise careful drivers.

What does PA 85 actually state?  PA 85 addresses several different State statutes, but the Speed Limit debate has focused on the following language in Michigan Compiled Law 257.627 (PA 85), that mandates speed limits shall be:

(d) 25 miles per hour on a highway segment with 60 or more vehicular access points within 1/2 mile.

(e) 35 miles per hour on a highway segment with not less than 45 vehicular access points but no more than 59 vehicular access points within 1/2 mile.

(f) 45 miles per hour on a highway segment with not less than 30 vehicular access points but no more than 44 vehicular access points within 1/2 mile; and,

(3) It is prima facie unlawful for a person to exceed the speed limits prescribed in subsection (2), except as provided in section 629.

As a criminal defense attorney, I can see how these sections of PA 85 may be helpful for many drivers to avoid difficulties associated with speeding tickets. 

In other words, while this statute appears almost too complicated to be immediately useful, a skilled defense attorney may be able to use PA 85 to argue that the speed limit in question was not “legal” under Michigan law.

It may not be realistic for the average driver to be on the side of the road mapping out the best 1/2 mile for them to defend their speeding tickets.  But a skilled defense attorney can address the following issues: Should you calculate a half mile from the point of the ticket?  From the point the officer alleged you were speeding?  Or calculate a 1/4 mile before and after the point the officer alleged you were speeding? 

PowerPoint presentations addressing the legality of a certain speed limit might become a more integral part of informal or formal hearings regarding traffic offenses.  Perhaps video presentation where each curb cut, driveway, side street, or other “access point” is numbered would be useful.  The same video could have some indication of the mileage or measurements in question. 

In time, the situation will be corrected through introduction of new legislation, but in the meantime we’ll be watching to see how the courts react toward arguments about unenforceable speed limits.

If you have further questions about fighting a speeding ticket, contact the experienced lawyers at our firm and we will discuss what you may be able to do to fight that ticket.

(To view PA 85, visit: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2005-2006/publicact/htm/2006-PA-0085.htm). 

Attorney Daryl Wood is an experienced Michigan defense attorney, and a recognized legal expert on Driver’s License suspension and restoration issues. If you have received a ticket, have had a license suspended, or have been subject to Driver’s Responsibility fees in Michigan, Mr. Wood can help and advise you.

Contact Mr. Wood at: 313.278.8811 or 248.855.0911. Or visit his web site at http://www.crimlawattorney.net or http://www.drunkdrivingmichiganlawyer.com or  www.michiganmiplawyer.com.

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Why Former Detroit Councilwoman Monica Conyers is Going to Prison

Former Detroit Councilwoman Monica Conyers received a 37 month federal prison sentence for her role in the Detroit City Council Corruption case.  She is scheduled to self surrender to the designated Federal facility sometime in July.  Many people are asking “how” and “why” she received such a tough sentence.  And everyone is wondering if she will actually serve that “hard time” in prison . . . or just “get off easy” like many other celebrities and public officials.

Here’s the real story of what happened, and why, from the perspective of an experienced Detroit area criminal defense attorney.

In the Federal Court System the Judges have Sentencing Guidelines that they look to, in order to impose an appropriate sentence.  But, every Federal attorney knows that these guidelines are no longer mandatory. The sentencing guidelines are now advisory. This means that the Judge actually could have imposed probation or home confinement for Monica.  Perhaps that is what her attorney was hoping for. Clearly, Monica appeared to be expecting nothing more severe than probation. 

But Monica’s biggest problem was that she was never taught to say “I Am Sorry for What I Did”.  Even as she was being sentenced by highly respected Federal Judge Avern Cohn, she continually displayed her defiant and contemptuous attitude toward our Justice System, the Federal Court and, unfortunately, toward the City of Detroit.  As a result, the wise Judge exercised his authority to “throw the book at her.”

Monica Conyers was certainly incredulous when Judge Avern Cohn actually sentenced her to a prison term.  That is why she kept telling everyone who cared to listen that she would “appeal” the sentence.  What the public needs to know is that she has little grounds for an appeal. This is because the Plea Agreement she signed (under “Rule 11”) precluded an appeal if the Judge sentenced her within a “Guideline” sentence.  It is clear that the Judge did just that.  In other words, since Judge Cohn did impose a sentence within the “guidelines” of the applicable law, Conyers has given up her right to appeal.

Will this stop her lawyers from trying to appeal? It probably won’t. But in all probability, it will prevent them from doing so successfully.

Monica’s attitude through this whole ordeal did not ring well with the Judge or the citizens of Detroit.  Perhaps some humility or contrition on her part may have moved the Judge to impose a lighter sentence – since it was within his discretion to sentence her to something short of prison.  But it was clear from her demeanor throughout the entire process that Monica has little if any real remorse, even though her attorney probably urged her to show at least some contrition. 

It is a well known fact that the American public has a short memory, and an uncanny ability to forgive public personalities who let us down – especially if they exercise a little humility and publicly apologize. There is tremendous power in saying I am sorry.  Even skeptics will agree that it is a lot easier to forgive those who humble themselves and say they are sorry.  It is something we all can relate to, since we all make mistakes.

But Monica Conyers obviously feels that saying she is sorry to the City of Detroit is a sign of weakness. And, as a result, she will now be vacationing in prison.

Monica, you just don’t get it!

Attorney Raymond Cassar is a Detroit Area Criminal Defense attorney who has twenty years of experience in State & Federal Court. His office is happy to give advice regarding criminal matters. You may learn more about Attorney Raymond Cassar by visiting his website at:  http://www.crimlawattorney.com .

CBS producer pleads guilty to a lesser offense in extortion case against Letterman

On March 9th, 2010, Robert “Joe” Halderman, a former CBS television producer, pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny, acknowledging he attempted to fraudulently obtain $2 million from the late-night host David Letterman. He threatened to destroy Letterman’s reputation by airing his workplace transgressions – using information authorities have said he acquired from a former girlfriend’s diary.

The plea deal by Halderman spares him a potential 15 years in prison had he been convicted at a trial. The 52-year-old is due instead to get a six-month jail sentence and 1,000 hours of community service. Under this plea agreement, Halderman must turnover to the prosecutors all copies of any diary entries, photos, screenplay notes or other materials he has concerning Letterman and must agree to a full proof confidentiality agreement to never disclose such private information.

As part of the plea deal, Halderman had to apologize to Letterman.  Furthermore, while reading from his prepared statement to the court, the judge had to ask him to slow down for the court to be able to properly understand his statement. Halderman was struggling financially after a messy divorce, and that played a large part in his ploy against Letterman to gain some financial credibility.

Attorney Raymond Cassar is a well known Detroit Area Criminal Defense attorney who has over twenty years of experience in State & Federal Court.  His office is happy to give advice regarding criminal matters. You may learn more about Attorney Raymond Cassar by visiting his website at:  http://www.crimlawattorney.com .