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What you Need to Know About Your PPO Termination Hearing

A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is meant to protect the Petitioner from threats or violence. While having a PPO against you does not give you a criminal record, it can severely affect your freedom. A PPO can prevent you from visiting certain locations or communicating with certain people. Violating a PPO can lead to serious criminal charges and arrest. A PPO may also be used against you in a divorce or child custody case.

Filing a Motion to Change or Terminate a PPO

Having a PPO against you can impact several aspects of your life. A PPO can forbid you from entering your home or speaking with your family members, including your children. Fortunately, you might be able to file a motion to modify or terminate the PPO.

A motion can be filed with the court that issued the PPO. Once accepted, a termination hearing will be held. This hearing provides an opportunity for both the Respondent and the Petitioner to tell their sides of the story.

Keep in mind that a judge can sign an ex parte PPO without holding a hearing. Once the ex parte PPO is signed, you only have 14 days to file a motion to change or terminate the PPO. This is true even if you do not receive proper service of the papers.

What to Include in Your Motion

When filing a motion, you will need to let the judge know whether you want the PPO changed or terminated. Any proposed changes must be clearly defined. It’s important to let the judge know if you believe the claims against you are false.

Make sure you include any evidence to support your motion. Print out and attach supporting emails, documents or text messages. It’s crucial to be as honest and accurate as possible when filing a motion to change or terminate a PPO.

Trusted Michigan Lawyer

A PPO can be damaging to your character and your freedom. It can affect your life in many ways. An experienced lawyer can help you file a claim to change or terminate a PPO.

Nessel and Kessel Law is one of Michigan’s top criminal defense and family law firms. We can help protect your rights and freedom. Please contact us for more information.

What is Grand Theft Auto in Michigan?

Grand theft auto is when a vehicle is taken without permission with the intent to permanently deprive the owner from accessing it.

Grand Theft Auto

In most states, crimes involving theft are split into two categories: petty theft and grand theft. Petty thefts are generally misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail. Grand thefts are felonies, punishable by one or more years in jail. Typically, the value of the property stolen will determine whether a crime is considered petty theft or grand theft.

Depending on the state, grand theft involves property with a value over a set dollar amount, generally $500 to $1000. However, theft of a vehicle is almost always filed as grand theft, regardless of the value of the vehicle.

Auto Theft in Michigan

Michigan’s laws regarding grand theft auto are a little different. Theft of a motor vehicle applies under Michigan’s general theft statute, which classifies thefts based on the value of the stolen property. Stolen property with a higher value generally results in a greater punishment.

In order to be convicted of theft in Michigan, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant took the property without permission, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. If convicted, auto theft in Michigan can result in a punishment of up to ten years in prison, a fine of $15,000 or three times the value of the stolen property.


Carjacking is when a person steals a vehicle through force or violence or the threat of force or violence. A person can be convicted of carjacking if they use force or violence or the threat of force or violence at any point when taking a vehicle, during escape or when the owner attempts to retrieve the vehicle. Carjacking is a much more serious crime in Michigan. Individuals convicted of carjacking face several years to life in prison.

Auto Theft Attorney in Michigan

Auto theft cases can be complex and challenging. A conviction can result in a hefty fine and several years in prison. It’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Nessel and Kessel Law works with you to ensure you get the results you deserve. Please contact us for more information.

How To Begin The Child Support Process In Michigan

When parents separate, they often wonder how they will provide adequate emotional and financial support for their child. It’s important that both parents are actively involved in this process.

What Is Child Support?

Child support is a court-ordered payment to help with the costs of raising a child. Child support can include payments for a variety of expenses such as medical, dental, childcare and education. Child support continues in Michigan until the child reaches 18 years of age or 19 ½ if the child lives full time with one parent and is still attending high school.

There have been a number of changes to Michigan’s Child Support Formula Manual (MCSFM) this year. These are the first changes made to the formula since 2013 and include a variety of updated economic factors and procedural changes.

The amount of child support received depends on a number of factors including income, custody arrangements, the number of children requiring support, estimated and actual medical costs, childcare and education costs.

Beginning The Child Support Process

Either parent can begin the child support process. An application for child support can be filled out online or printed and mailed to the Michigan Office of Child Support.

After applying for support, it’s extremely important to remain actively involved in your case. Your cooperation with the child support program ensures the best possible outcome.

As you navigate through the child support program, you might find that not everything is under your control. It’s important to remember that the legal rights of all parties must be protected. It’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about Michigan’s child support program before beginning the process. This puts you in the best possible position to provide your child with the support they need.

Michigan Family Law

We understand how confusing the child support program can be. An experienced attorney can help you through the process. Nessel & Kessel Law has many years of experience with Michigan family law. We fight hard for our clients to ensure they get the results they deserve.

Please contact us for more information about Michigan’s child support process.

4 Ways To Be Removed From The Sex Offender Registry

Many people believe that Michigan’s sex offender registry laws are far too broad. In fact, Michigan has the fourth largest per capita number of people on its registry.

Sex offender registry laws in Michigan apply to a variety of crimes ranging from brutal assault to sexual contact between teenagers and certain kidnapping charges that do not involve any form of sexual contact. In addition to being listed on the registry, offenders must also appear in person to update information whenever they purchase a new vehicle or acquire a new email or messaging account.

Under current state laws, convicted sex offenders in Michigan are not allowed to live, work or loiter within 1000 feet of a school. These laws have long been argued as being ineffective and going far beyond simply protecting the public.

Removing Your Name From Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry

Fortunately, it is possible to have your name removed from Michigan’s sex offender registry. The Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA), Public Act of 2011, has made it possible for certain sex offenders in Michigan to petition to have their name removed from the registry after a period of ten years. Individuals that qualify for removal include those that meet the “Romeo and Juliet” exception as well as juvenile offenders that were convicted when they were less than 14 years of age if the conviction occurred before July 1st, 2011.

The SORA Tier System

SORA laws separate sex offenders into three tiers. Each tier determines the type of registration required as well as an individual’s eligibility for removal from the registry.

Tier I offenses are the least serious. Tier I offenders must register on a non-public list for 15 years with the opportunity to petition for removal after 10. Non-public sex offender registries are only available to law enforcement officials. Tier II offenders must register on the public sex offender registry for 25 years, while Tier III offenders are required to register on the public registry for life. The public sex offender registry lists the names and addresses of sex offenders, and is available to anyone searching a specific geographic region.

Not everyone is available for a removal or reduction in the time required to register. The following are the four ways in which an individual can petition the courts for a removal or reduction.

1. Removal in “Romeo and Juliet” consensual cases
2. Reduction in length of registration for Tier I and Tier III offenses
3. Removal of juvenile adjudications
4. Removal for individuals convicted of crimes no longer listed as offenses

Statutory Rape “Romeo and Juliet” Cases

The legal age for consent in Michigan is 16 years old. If one or both parties are under 16 when they participate in a sexual act, the older party can be convicted as a sex offender even if the sex was consensual. The new SORA laws allow convicted sex offenders to petition to be removed from the registry for life as long as the “victim” consented to the sex act and was no younger than 13 years old, and the “offender” was no more than 4 years older than the “victim”.

Tier III Reductions

Tier III offenders who were minors at the time of their offense might be able to petition for a removal from the registry 25 years after the date of conviction. In order to be eligible for a removal or reduction of time on the registry, the individual must prove that they are no longer a threat to the general public. It’s important to note that adult offenders and Tier II offenders are not eligible for removal or reduction.

The petition and hearing process is extremely complex, and you only get one chance to clear your name. It’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. The attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law have many years of experience dealing with sex crimes. Please contact us to learn how we can help.

New Michigan Laws That Lawyers Need to Know About

Laws are constantly changing. It can be difficult for lawyers to keep up. However, it’s extremely important for attorneys to fully understand the law including any changes, as they can impact cases and the advice that lawyers are able to provide.

Since July 1st, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed approximately 25 new laws. Michigan lawyers should know and understand these laws. Here are some of the most important new laws to know about.

Female Genital Mutilation Becomes a 15-Year Felony in Michigan

Perhaps the most significant law passed in Michigan this year is Public Acts 68-79, which makes female genital mutilation a 15-year felony for both the doctors who perform the procedure as well as the parents who allow it.

Current federal law makes female genital mutilation a 5-year felony. The new law in Michigan is ten years tougher, increases the statute of limitations for victims to file a civil lawsuit, and provides for greater public awareness campaigns, especially among immigrant and refugee populations.

Public Act 81 was also passed. This law allows for a health professional’s license or registration to be permanently revoked if the individual is convicted of female genital mutilation.

New Laws Modify Michigan’s Concealed Pistol Licensing Law and Decriminalize Switchblades

Another notable new law modifies Michigan’s concealed pistol licensing law. Public Act 95 changes the state’s Concealed Pistol Licensing (CPL) application and licensing process to include a requirement that sheriffs must notify city clerks if an individual becomes ineligible for a CPL, unless Michigan State Police or the County Sheriff has determined the applicant is not prohibited under federal law from possessing or transporting a firearm.

Also passed this year was Public Act 96, which eliminates current law prohibiting the sale and possession of spring-assisted knives, commonly known as switchblades.

Michigan’s Top Litigation Experts

When you need the help of an attorney, it’s important to choose a law firm that keeps up with current laws. At Nessel and Kessel Law Firm, we know how important it is to understand the law. Our extensive knowledge puts us in the best position to approach each case and properly advice our clients. Please contact us for more information about our practice.

Joint Custody Now Required for Divorced Couples in Michigan

A new bill passed the House Judiciary Committee last month requiring divorced couples in Michigan to share joint custody of their children. The bill removes discretion from judges in child custody cases.

Opponents of the Bill

Opponents of the bill include judges, advocates against domestic violence, family court employees and the entire family law section of the State Bar of Michigan. These opponents argue that joint custody could pose a number of problems for both parents and their children.

Having children split their time equally between two households can be confusing and make it difficult for children to put down roots. Shared parenting responsibilities can lead to problems with employment, daycare and schooling. Joint custody also enables parents to bargain for reduced child support obligations.

Joint Legal Custody

Barring domestic violence cases, the bill requires judges in Michigan to grant joint legal custody and equal parenting time. It also prohibits either parent from moving more than eighty miles from the other parent. Children that are age sixteen or older will be given preference on custody.

The bill requires that each parent receives no more than 200 overnights per year with their children.

Joint Custody in Michigan

Joint custody is a popular option among divorcing couples. It is often easier than choosing one parent to have sole custody while the other has reasonable parenting time. As with any situation after divorce, parents must work diligently to make their new family units work.

Michigan has always presumed that it is in the child’s best interest to have a close relationship with both parents. It is extremely rare to encounter a divorced couple in Michigan where one parent has sole custody of the children.

Family Law Attorneys in Michigan

At Nessel and Kessel Law, we understand how difficult divorce can be, especially when children are involved. We work directly with our clients to ensure their parental rights are recognized by the courts. We can help you understand how this new bill will affect your divorce and the custody of your children.

If you are concerned that your parental rights are not being recognized by the courts, or that your child’s other parent is trying to deny you of your parenting time, we can help. Please contact us for more information.

Dana Nessel Discusses the Expansion of LGBT Protections Under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

Dana Nessel, one of the leading litigators of LGBT issues in Michigan, spoke out in an interview with Stateside about the lack of federal laws protecting LGBT people.

Currently, there are no federal or state protections for sexual orientation or gender identity. Prior protections imposed by the Obama administration are currently being rolled back by the Trump administration. Without support on the federal level, it is up to each state to implement protections for the LGBT community.

Because of her extensive litigation experience, Dana Nessel is considered one of the top criminal attorneys in Michigan. She began her private practice in 2005 and became a staunch defender of constitutional rights. Dana is currently recognized as one of the premier litigators of LGBT issues.

Dana is concerned by the injustices faced by the LGBT community in Michigan. She spoke with Stateside last month about these issues.

“The LGBT community frequently faces evictions, termination from employment and refusal of medical treatment for both them and their children.” said Dana Nessel of Nessel & Kessel Law. “This makes it incredibly scary to be an LGBT person in the state of Michigan.”

Expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include the LGBT community could be extremely beneficial to the bottom line of Michigan-based businesses. It would make it possible for companies to access and retain top talent and increase their sales. Currently, LGBT people and their allies avoid living in Michigan because of its treatment of the LGBT community.

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act passed in Michigan in 1977. The act prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight or marital status when it comes to housing, education, employment and access to public accommodations. There have been many efforts since 1983 to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include the LGBT community.

“70% of Michigan residents support equal rights for LGBT people.” said Nessel “Unfortunately, because of gerrymandering this expansion is not likely to occur in the near future. The best opportunity we have for an amendment of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act is through a ballot proposal.”

About Nessel & Kessel Law

Nessel & Kessel Law was established in 2012 by Dana Nessel and Chris Kessel. Nessel & Kessel Law specializes in cases that other attorneys tend to avoid. Nessel & Kessel received national attention for Dana Kessel’s case against Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. Today, Nessel & Kessel law is one of Michigan’s top criminal defense firms. For a consultation, you can contact us.

Michigan Task Force Fights for Emergency Manager Rule Reform

Flint. Its struggles are known the nation over, but no one seems able to do much about it — though they try. The clean water crisis that began in the riverbed has inspired Democrats and Republicans as part of a Joint Committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency to put forth 30 policy proposals intended to limit the amount of lead allowed in public drinking water and to punish those who disregard these guidelines. One such proposal would reform the state’s emergency manager rule, which grants which grants a single individual, appointed by the governor, the power to step in and mitigate crises.

The rule was designed and enacted to protect Michigan and its people in the event of an emergency, but two such individuals appointed in Flint stood idly by while the city’s water safety deteriorated. Attorney General has been quoted acknowledging the rule’s failure in this instance, but still argues its overall value. An independent task force appointed by Snyder, however, found that this string of unelected managers made “key decisions that contributed to the crisis,” effectively hindering “the checks and balances and public accountability that come with public decision-making.”

Michigan’s Emergency Manager Rule needs reform.

The following content originally appeared in the Detroit News on April 6, 2017.

In a report released more than a year ago, the task force called for a review of the emergency manager law, urged policy makers to consider alternatives and stressed the need to ensure proper support and expertise to help appointees run local governments or school districts.

The special legislative committee echoed those calls in October, suggesting the state replace the single emergency manager with a three-person financial management team comprised of a financial expert, local government operations expert and local ombudsman.

Beyond informal discussions last year, there have been no substantive talks about reforming the law, which Snyder signed in late 2012 after Michigan voters overturned an earlier version.

“Based on the fact the Legislature’s own special committee recommended changes, I think the Legislature is going to be hard up to explain why they haven’t addressed it,” said Ken Sikkema, a Republican and former state Senate majority leader who co-chaired the governor’s task force. “It’s not that complicated.”

New Muslim Travel Ban Faces Legal Challenges in Michigan

Thanks to a revised Executive Order signed on March 6, a new travel ban targeting majority Muslim nations will take effect this Thursday — or it might not. Attorneys from Michigan to Hawaii and beyond, as they work tirelessly in the name of civil rights and justice, have filed lawsuits demanding immediate censure of “an illegal and discriminatory attempt to ban Muslims,” so says Arab American Civil Rights League Director Rula Aoun.

“In America, we don’t target and prohibit people because of how they pray — and we don’t impose religious litmus tests on immigrants,” Aoun said. An attorney for the ACLU, Lee Gelernt, agrees with Aoun: The new order “discriminates on the basis of religion” and “will bring significant hardship to many people inside and outside the country.”

Where the original order banned citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and Syrian citizens indefinitely, the new version removes Iraq and lifts the indefinite ban on Syrians. Opponents including the Arab-American Civil Rights League, the ACLU, and Nessel & Kessel Law hold that the ban will render harm not just to people but to tourism, morale, and the economy as well.

A federal judge could strike down the ban tonight.

The largest legal assault is a lawsuit filed by Washington state and joined by California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon. They argue that the ban will hurt their economies by limiting students and professors who can work and study at state universities, reducing tourism from the Middle East and curbing employment from those countries.

U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who halted Trump’s first ban, is hearing this lawsuit, too. He gave government lawyers until Tuesday night to file a response. Robart could issue an order immediately after that, or schedule a hearing later this week.

Source: USA Today

Dana Nessel Leads the Charge Against LGBTQIA Hate in Michigan

In these times of tumult and political unrest, Nessel & Kessel remains steadfast in its commitment to defending the rights of all citizens but particularly those who identify as part of the often marginalized LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersexual, asexual) community. There was no greater honor for our Detroit family law firm than to have represented April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse in a suit to protect the sanctity of their family; we went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States!

But DeBoer and Rowse were not the first, and haven’t been the last Michiganders to seek legal counsel and advice from Chris Kessel and Dana Nessel regarding issues concerning life, love, family, and civil rights.

LGBTQIA advocate Dana Nessel & Fair Michigan selected to help combat hate crimes in Detroit.

Fair Michigan — a nonprofit led by Dana Nessel that proclaims to “create a Michigan where the presence and contributions of everyone are welcomed and celebrated regardless of their gender, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation” — was approached by Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy to address a growing problem in the region. “I noticed a national trend, ticking upward, of people being killed because of their sexual orientation,” said Worthy in a statement.

The group led by Nessel has taken up an initiative, appointing an investigator and a special prosecutor to work in conjunction with the Wayne County judicial system, to solve and prosecute especially heinous crimes committed against the LGBTQIA community.

Nessel was recently featured in the Detroit Jewish News for these very same efforts, highlighting the successes on behalf of civil justice in Michigan.

The following content was originally published on January 18, 2017.

So far, there have been five convictions, with five more pending, plus two criminal sexual conduct cases that include a serial rapist who had been targeting victims inside and outside the LGBTQ community.

“You stem the violence by successfully prosecuting [the perpetrators],” Nessel said. “It sends a message. I know this is a way to stem the violence, make the community safer.”

FMJP’s special prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz, a former assistant prosecutor, and special investigator Vicki Yost, a former Inkster police chief and deputy chief for the Detroit Police Department, work in conjunction with Worthy and her staff to bring about justice by charging and convicting the perpetrators of these violent crimes, especially those cases where victims or witnesses were previously afraid to come forward.

“People who would never have called the police are coming to us,” said Nessel, who serves as president of the organization in addition to being a partner in the Downtown Detroit firm of Nessel & Kessel Law. “I give great credit to Kym Worthy. I don’t know anywhere else in the country with a task force for this.”