Legal Blog

Robbery vs. Larceny Defense Attorney

Nessel and Kessel Law recently retained a client who was charged with unarmed robbery.  After speaking with the client it became clear that he did not understand why he was being charged with robbery as opposed to simple larceny.  Even the most experienced criminal defense attorneys in Michigan find the law in this area is equal parts simple and frustrating. 

Let’s start with the definition of “larceny” first.  A larceny is the taking of something with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.  Simply put, larceny is theft.  Larceny from a person is when you take something from someone, with the intent to permanently deprive that person of whatever has been taken.  The difference between robbery and larceny is the extra element of force.

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How Does Self Defense Work?

What is “self defense”?

Many times when we meet a client who is charged with an assaultive crime, they try to explain why they believe they should be acquitted because they were acting in self defense.  While that may be true in “the real world”, it is generally not true under the legal definition of self defense.  The legal meaning of self defense is very precise and often the tiniest deviation from the technical legal meaning can make the defense invalid.  Depending on the type of crime you have been charged with, your ability to argue self defense can change, so make sure you consult with one a top criminal defense attorney in Michigan before deciding on a defense.

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Talking to the Police

Perhaps the surest way to be convicted of a crime is to give the police a statement once you’ve been arrested.

So many clients think that by talking to the police that they can get out of whatever trouble they may be in, or that if they just explain to the officer what really happened they won’t even need to talk to a criminal defense attorney later.  Unfortunately, the exact opposite is almost always true and the client ends up making things worse for themselves.  I’ve seen simple retail fraud turned into armed robbery based, assault and battery turned into assault with intent to murder, and drug possession turned into possession with intent to deliver, all based on the results of a police interrogation. Continue reading “Talking to the Police” »

Gay Rights Attorney at Ferndale Pride

Gay Rights Attorney

Downtown Ferndale will host the third annual Ferndale Pride on June 1, 2013 and Nessel and Kessel Law will be speaking at this year’s festivities.   Dana Nessel, a nationally recognized Michigan gay rights attorney, will speaking with those interested in the Deboer et al. v Snyder case, which is the challenge against Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage and same sex-second parent adoption.  Dana will be speaking not only about our case, but about the Prop 8 and DOMA cases that were heard earlier this year before the United States Supreme Court.  Ms. Nessel will also be speaking but also about how LBGT rights will be affected by the possible rulings.

If you are interested in second parent adoption, same sex marriage, or any other aspect of your rights as a member of the LBGT community, feel free to come by and speak with an attorney who is fighting for your rights, not just talking about them.   Contact Nessel and Kessel Law today. 

For more information on our challenge to Michigan’s ban  on gay marriage and second parent adoption, click here.       

Medical Marijuana Defense

In a recent decision by the Michigan Supreme Court, medical marijuana users are ruled not to be automatically breaking the law if they drive after using the drug. 

In 2010 Rodney Koon was stopped in Grand Traverse County and ticketed for Operating While Intoxicated.  As a result of the stop Mr. Koon had his blood tested and it was found that he had THC in his blood.  Despite the fact that Mr. Koon had a valid prescription for marijuana, he was prosecuted for OWI.  According to the Court, medical marijuana users have some protection from this type of prosecution because the prosecutor must prove that the driver of a vehicle was actually under the influence of the drug at the time they were operating the vehicle.  Simply showing that THC is present in the blood stream is not enough to convict. 

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Operating While Intoxicated vs Operating While Impaired

As the weather warms up and people start having BBQ’s, graduation parties, and weddings, that means one thing…that police will be on the look out for lots of potential drunk drivers.  This time of year always sees an increase in the number of Operating While Intoxicated and Operating While Visually Impaired cases here at Nessel and Kessel Law.  For that reason, let’s brush up on the differences between the charge of OWI and OWVI.

OWI – First, is a misdemeanor offence which carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, as well as possible community service.  Just as important, a conviction for your first drunk driving (OWI) means an immediate 30 day suspension of your license followed by another 150 days having a restricted license.  You will also get 6 points on your driving record, meaning your insurance premium will increase significantly. 

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Detroit Defense Attorney Shines at Preliminary Exam

Felony Firearm Charges Dismissed

Thanks to arguments made by Chris Kessel after a preliminary exam, the weapons charges against a client of Nessel and Kessel Law were dismissed by a judge at the 36th District CourtOur client was charges with Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW), Felon In Possession of a Firearm (FIP) and Felony Firearm (FF).  These charges often accompany each other because they can all be charged by the commission of one simple act; possessing a gun.  The charges stemmed from an encounter our client had with 3 Detroit Police Officers.

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Detroit Defense Attorney Gets Home Invasion Dismissed

Home Invasion Attorney Gets 20 Year Felony Dismissed

This week, in the Wayne County Circuit Court, Detroit defense attorney Chris Kessel of Nessel & Kessel Law achieved another significant legal victory.  Our client was charged with Home Invasion – First Degree, Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA), and misdemeanor Domestic Violence.  The Home Invasion charge carries a maximum 20 year prison sentence, while the Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.  Generally, when a defendant is sentenced on two or more crimes at the same time, the sentences will run “concurrent”; meaning that both sentences will be run at the same time.  However, because of the state of the law in Michigan, if a defendant is convicted of Home Invasion and another crime, the sentences will run consecutive; meaning a defendant will have to serve their sentence on the Home Invasion THEN serve their sentence on the other crime.

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Probation Violation Attorney

Probation Violation Dismissed

Sometimes a skilled probation violation attorney is the only thing that keeps you out of jail.  Recently Nessel and Kessel had the pleasure of representing a young man who was alleged to have violated his probation in the Wayne County Circuit Court.  The client originally plead guilty to possession of less than 25 grams of heroin and was sentenced to non-reporting probation.  Unfortunately, during his probation, the client was forced to change probation officers.  As is sometimes the case, the new officer was not familiar with all of the details of the client’s case, and when he didn’t show up didn’t report during the first 2 months of the new probation officer’s term the probation officer issued a warrant for the client’s arrest.  The client, who was unaware that a warrant was issued for his arrest, was later arrested and charged with violating his probation by absconding.

Before holding the probation violation hearing, Chris Kessel was able to obtain a copy of the original court file where it clearly showed that the client was sentenced to non-reporting probation.  Chris was able to explain to the court that the client was under no obligation to report regularly to his probation officer and that it was the fault of the new probation officer, not the client, that the warrant was issued.  When the court saw the original order of probation along with the accompanying documents, the violation was immediately dismissed and the client was continued on his probation, with the court’s apologies. Continue reading “Probation Violation Attorney” »

Bench Warrant Amnesty Program

The Wayne County Friend of the Court is now offering a limited amnesty program for those with warrants out for their arrest for failure to pay child support.  During this limited time the FOC will allow you to get your warrant dismissed and court costs that are generally assessed will be waived.

Those who wish to have their warrants dismissed must go to the Wayne County Friend of the Court, 645 Griswold, 2nd Floor, Penobscot Building, Detroit, MI 48226 and bring the following:

  • $250.00 or 1% of the child support arrears (whichever is greater);
  • government issued photo ID;
  • proof of income or other sources of income.

The program will from May 1 – May 24, from 8AM to 3:45PM.

After you’ve had your warrant set aside, that does not mean that your case is over.  In fact, that is far from the truth.  You still have to arrange a payment schedule or perhaps even modify the payments that you will make in the future.  If you would like assistance in handling your case call the attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law for a free consultation.  We have a extensive experience in handling these specific matters.