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Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Law Blog

White collar crimes include computer abuse

Accusations of criminal activities can ruin the lives of top executives and business professionals. In Michigan and elsewhere, allegations of white collar crimes can lead to extensive investigations, and having experienced defense counsel is crucial. Computer crimes are included in the white collar crime category, and legal counsel can work to resolve such issues discreetly.

Computer abuse typically involves dishonesty and cheating. This can occur in a variety of ways, one of which is illegally exposing or obtaining the Social Security numbers or other personal identifying information of other individuals. Other forms of computer abuse include cyberbullying and gaining unauthorized access to another person's computer.

Felonies or misdemeanors? The consequences of driving high

Without established legal limits for marijuana like the blood alcohol content limit of .08 %, how does the law treat motorists who drive while they are high? Will the courts in Michigan treat driving while impaired by marijuana as misdemeanors or felonies? Both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, but without legal limits and legislation, prosecutors are left to deal with the facts of each case.

According to a survey that was done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, most drivers do not think they will get pulled over by law enforcement if they drive after using marijuana. Reportedly, marijuana's impairing effects are most significant for the four hours after use, and during that time, drivers face double the risk of crashing. Law enforcement officers nationwide receive training to recognize drivers who are high, and experiments continue in the development of effective roadside tests.

Guilty plea filed regarding drug and white collar crimes

Convictions for nonviolent crimes typically include fines, restitution and/or prison time. In Michigan and elsewhere, those accused of white collar crimes risk much more than their careers. After filing a guilty plea in such a case in a federal court sitting in another state, one individual could face up to 30 years behind bars.

Reportedly, the 35-year-old woman stole the personal information of over 300 people across the country, and then used the stolen identities to open fraudulent bank accounts. She funded these accounts with the required minimum cash deposits. Apparently, the woman's then deposited large amounts into the accounts by using counterfeit corporate checks. It is further alleged that the defendant then made purchases, cash withdrawals or transfers of the portion of the funds that were made immediately available by the bank.

Felonies: Parole and probation are privileges not rights

When someone in Michigan is found guilty in criminal court, good behavior might lead to parole or probation. Although both aim to rehabilitate and prevent an offender from committing further crimes, there are distinct differences. Neither parole nor probation is a right -- instead, both are privileges. One or the other may be awarded following considerations of various aspects related to those convicted of felonies, giving those individuals the opportunity to rehabilitate while living in their communities.

At the time of the initial sentencing, the court could grant probation instead of prison time, or after a limited period of jail time. The judge typically specifies activity restrictions that will be in place throughout the probation period. A probation agency that is administered by the state will play a supervisory role during the period of probation, and violations of the restrictions or conditions might result in the probation being revoked.

Dangers of manufacturing methamphetamine in Michigan

The popularity of the show "Breaking Bad" has led some people to romanticize the production of illicit drugs, including methamphetamine. Some people view making meth as a way to earn a lot of money in a short amount of time. It is an activity fraught with risk.

Michigan has a firm stance on the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine. Anyone involved with the production of methamphetamine, from the individuals who purchase medication that gets used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, to those who operate or house the laboratories, could face extreme criminal consequences for their involvement.

White collar crimes charges filed against bank employee

Embezzlement is the fraudulent taking of another person's personal property or funds by a person to whom it was entrusted or from an employer. It is one of several types of white collar crimes that are committed nationwide, including Michigan, and the value of the claimed misappropriation will determine whether it will be a felony or a misdemeanor. A bank employee in another state is accused of such a crime that federal prosecutors say involves over $176,000.

The man faces a 10-count indictment that includes felony charges of identity theft, bank embezzlement and money laundering. According to the court documents, the identity theft and embezzlement charges arose from the use of the identity of an unnamed woman to embezzle the funds from Sept. 2017 through April 2018. The embezzlement allegedly occurred in five different transactions.

White collar crimes: What are the most common types of forgery?

Forgery happens when someone fakes a signature, falsifies documents or changes existing documents without the necessary authorization. Although laws regarding white collar crimes might vary, all states, including Michigan, treat forgery a serious matter. Depending on the unique circumstances of each case, those accused can face misdemeanor or felony charges.

The three most frequently committed types of forgery include signature, prescription and art forgery. The first involves the false replication of the signature of another person., and prescription forgery happens when a doctor's signature is forged. It can also include the changing of an existing prescription or creating an entire fake prescription with a forged signature and using that prescription to obtain medications.

Post-conviction matters: Convicted robber's appeal denied

A 29-year-old man who is serving time for the armed robbery in 2016 of a man who worked as a pizza deliveryman filed an appeal from his conviction. Along with challenging the eyewitness that identified him, the man claims that his appointed counsel had various shortcomings and provided an ineffective defense. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals denied his appeals application. Post-conviction matters are nevertheless an important aspect of the criminal judicial process after a guilty verdict has been returned.

According to court documents, the man demanded money at gunpoint from a pizza deliveryman in the parking lot of a residential complex in Holland. Although the victim only gave up $20 initially, he ultimately handed over all the money he had on him -- about $250 and some change. After the robber let him go, the deliveryman returned to his employer, who called the police.

White collar crimes: Marriage fraud exposed to obtain green cards

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently issued a press release that exposed an organization that creates sham marriages for those intending to obtain U.S. Green Cards for citizens of foreign countries. This case might be an eye opener for people nationwide, including Michigan, to learn about the potential consequences of committing white collar crimes. In this case, 96 people face federal charges after they were indicted for marriage fraud in another state.

ICE alleges that the suspected criminal organization created 150 fake marriages since 2013. Court documents indicate that the primary defendant regarded as the head of the organization allegedly collected money from beneficiary spouses. The number of benefits they received determined the amount they had to pay, which ranged between $50,000 and $75,000 -- the latter being the cost of full U.S. permanent resident status. Other benefits included admission into the United States and conditional permanent residency.

Can police search your car with no warrant?

The police don't have a warrant to search your car. You're not even on their radar. However, they pull you over for allegedly rolling through a stop sign in Grand Rapids. When the officer starts talking to you, he decides to search your vehicle.

That search reveals a significant amount of drugs in the trunk of the car, and you get arrested on drug trafficking charges. While you don't dispute that you had the drugs in the car, your biggest issue with the whole thing is that the officers searched your vehicle without a warrant. Was that legal or did it violate your rights?

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