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Criminal Law

The criminal justice system in the Detroit Metropolitan area is tough. If you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, you need the help of an aggressive criminal defense attorney who will fight for the most favorable outcome possible in your case. The Law Offices of Christopher R. Shemke is a firm that exclusively practices criminal defense law. Our legal team possesses over 10 years of combined experience, and each attorney has developed formidable skills in the areas of investigation, negotiation, and defense. We are available to provide you with tenacious and dedicated representation. Read ahead for more information about our firm and defending all types of criminal charges.

Don’t Plead Guilty
Once you plead guilty or no contest, you are out of options. Get your case evaluated before making a decision that could heavily impact your life and future across the boards. It is critical that you get a case review before making the decision to plead guilty. Plead not guilty and speak to our firm.

Criminal Defenses
You may have wondered if your case has a viable defense option. There are a number of defenses that are effective, even in the most serious felony criminal accusations.

Animal Cruelty
Criminal accusations involving animal cruelty are a serious issue. If you are facing charges in any case in which it is claimed that you mistreated animals, it is important that you act quickly and get an attorney that knows how to fight for you.

Not all law firms engage in the appeals process. It is difficult, time consuming and takes a great deal of research. We are firm believers in the criminal justice system and your right to a fair trial. We support our clients who have suffered from a miscarriage of justice and can file a criminal appeal.

Arson is a crime that involves the intentional and illegal burning of a piece of land, forest, or structure. In addition to being charged with arson for starting an illegal fire yourself, you can also be charged for aiding someone who is committing the act, or setting fire to your own property with the intention of committing insurance fraud.

Asset Seizures/Forfeitures
When it is believed that your property, whether real estate, your personal home, your cars, equipment or other items were purchased with money that was gained through criminal activities, you could face seizures of all your property and bank accounts, and you could forfeit all of what you have worked so hard to gain.

Assault is comprised of “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury.” You do not actually have to physically injure someone to be faced with assault charges. If you tried to injure a person, and had the ability to do so, you can be charged.

Attempt Crimes
There are certain criminal charges that are based upon an “attempt” but no real damage has been done to a victim. Nonetheless, these can carry extremely heavy penalties, particularly when it is claimed that you attempted murder.

Bad Checks
In our state, we have a “bad check law” that recognizes the act of willfully writing a bad check as a criminal offense. Writing a bad check involves filling out and passing off a check to an individual or business without actually having the funds available to cover the amount, or stopping payment of the check before it can be cashed.

The subject of bail is a critical issue – especially if you or your loved one is currently in custody. How the matter of bail is addressed by your criminal defense lawyer will have a great deal to do with what final amount of bail is set, or if you will be released on your own recognizance.

Bail Reductions
In some cases, the bail set by the judge was far higher than the criminal accusations warrant. In some cases, they have set bail that is outside the state guidelines. If you need to pursue a reduction in bail, you need an attorney with a great deal of experience in addressing this issue.

Battery differs from assault in that involves an actual act of physical violence. It is defined as the “unwanted touching or striking of another person, or anything connected to that person.” There are several types of battery, and those with aggravating factors (such as the use of a weapon, or an attack against a police officer) will usually carry steeper penalties.

Bench Arrest Warrants
When you fail to appear at a court hearing, whether for trial, a hearing, or sentencing, a bench warrant will be issued. This warrant allows for you to be taken immediately into custody, any time, any place, including at your place of work, at your home, or while driving.

Child Endangerment
The laws in our state that govern the manner in which you can care for your child are very strict, and enforced with diligence. If you leave your child at home by him or herself for any reason, or if your child is injured by hazardous materials in your home due to a lack of supervision, you could be charged with child endangerment and face fines and even jail time.

Child Porn
If you are convicted of an offense related to child pornography, you can be punished with fines, incarceration in jail or prison, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. There are many effective defenses against child porn charges, such as entrapment, error, or your computer being used by someone else.

Michigan Penal Code defines carjacking as the taking of a motor vehicle from another, while in the person’s immediate presence, and against the person’s will, by means of force, violence, or fear. Carjacking is considered a felony and can be punished by up to nine years in prison.

Counterfeit Goods
Counterfeiting is a federal offense. If you possess, produce, or distribute fraudulent goods or currency, or if you attempt to use counterfeit currency, you can be charged and face serious penalties. While many people think that counterfeiting crimes only involve money, they can actually involve many other items, such as checks, medical prescriptions, and retail goods.

Disturbing the Peace
Disturbing the peace is considered a criminal offense. However, it is usually used as a plea bargaining tool in cases involving other crimes, meaning that a defense attorney will request a client be charged with it instead of a more serious crime.

Michigan makes it illegal to participate in dog fighting in any way, either as a fighting dog owner, organizer of a dog fighting event, or spectator. Being a spectator can carry penalties of up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 in fines. Being a dog owner or organizer can be punished with up to 3 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Domestic Violence
When law enforcement is called in on a domestic call, they have little choice other than to make an arrest. When one party claims that a threat has been made, or that they were attacked, an arrest will take place at once, and often are issued. Even if the individual later recants and admits that they exaggerated the situation, only the prosecutor can dismiss the charges.

Drug Crimes
Are you accused of a drug crime? It may be considered that our state is easy on drug crime, but this is far from accurate. We have extremely heavy penalties in many types of drug offenses, including trafficking, possession with intent, transportation, cultivation and others.

Drug Diversion
There are opportunities to seek a drug diversion program in certain drug crimes. How your case is managed by your attorney will have much to do with the advantages you could gain in court. You may be better served by pleading not guilty.

Drunk in Public
You are considered “drunk in public” in our state if your intoxication level while in public renders you incapable of exercising care for your safety or the safety of others, or if your intoxication level obstructs or interferes with others from using public ways, such as sidewalks or streets.

The penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol vary depending on factors such as your intoxication level, and the number of times (if any) that you have been previously convicted of DUI. Penalties may include probation, community service, monetary fines, license suspension/revocation, mandatory alcohol and drug education programs, and time spent in jail or prison.

Elder Abuse
Are you accused of elder abuse? The penalties imposed in these cases are increasing in severity over the years, and great attention has been put upon the rights of the elderly who are in care. Any charges related to elder abuse should be addressed with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Evading Arrest
Evading arrest is typically charged as a misdemeanor, and can be punished with fines, and incarceration in jail for up to 1 year. If there are aggravating factors present in your case, such as injuries caused to others in the course of the offense being committed, or reckless driving, it can increase the severity of the penalties substantially.

Evading a Police Officer
You can be charged with misdemeanor evading if you evade or flee a police officer who is pursuing you in a marked motor vehicle (such as a car or motorcycle), or on a bicycle. In order to be convicted of this crime, prosecutors must be able to prove several facts, including a specific intent to evade the officer, and the presence of identifying features on the officer’s vehicle, such as a lit red lamp or siren.

Your criminal record follows you wherever you go. When you are looking for employment, even a DUI conviction can make it difficult to get hired, as there are so many applicants without a record. You have the opportunity to clean your criminal record and sealing your criminal records. You should find out more about expungements in felonies, house arrest and misdemeanors and medical marijuana cases.

Fake IDs
In Michigan, any person under the age of 21 who presents or possesses a form of identification that is fraudulent can be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. The penalties for fake ID crimes can include up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in county jail.

Felony charges can have penalties up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Less serious felonies also carry heavy penalties, usually a long sentence in state prison. If you are facing felony charges, it is a dangerous legal situation.

Federal Crimes
Were your charges filed in federal court? If so, you could be facing extensive prison time if you are convicted. The federal court system has its own sentencing guidelines, most of which are much more severe than charges filed in state court. If you are facing charges of kidnapping or terrorist threats, you need legal counsel that is familiar with defending cases in federal court.

Indecent Exposure
Michigan law states that you can be charged with indecent exposure if you intentionally exposed your genitals, did so in a public area where people were likely to be offended, and did so with the intent to draw attention to yourself in order to cause sexual arousal.

Juvenile Crimes
The Michigan juvenile court system addresses criminal cases involving minors between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. Unlike the adult criminal justice system, juvenile courts have the intention of rehabilitating child offenders, rather than punishing them. If your child has been arrested and charged with a crime, it is important that you secure an attorney to defend them against a conviction and possibly steep penalties.

Lewd Act in Public
You can be charged with a lewd act in public if you engage in lewd or dissolute conduct while in a public place or in a place exposed to public view, or if you solicit another person to do the same. Lewd acts in public are considered misdemeanor offenses, and they can be punished with probation, fines, an order to stay away from the location in which you were arrested, and possible jail time.

You may have the mistaken concept that a misdemeanor is a minor offense. In fact, a misdemeanor can lead to up to 12 months in jail in a conviction. Some dangerous charges include disorderly conduct, trespass and vandalism.

The most dangerous of all charges is capital murder. If you are under investigation or have been charged with murder, we urge you to take action and contact our firm without delay.

Obstruction of Justice
Obstruction of justice involves interfering with the administration and due process of the law, and can be charged in any instance of interference with an official investigation or criminal proceeding. An obstruction of justice conviction can result in fines, community service, probation, and up to 10 years in jail.

The penalties for committing perjury can be extensive, whether the case is filed in state or federal court. You must act quickly to defend against this serious criminal accusation. The defense should get engaged in your case without delay or you may face a term in state or federal prison, based upon the case.

Probation Violations
The Court expects that any person who gains the advantage of avoiding jail or prison time through probation to carefully and completely adhere to the terms of their probation. Even a minor mistake, such as failing to pay a fine on time, or not appearing at a meeting with your probation officer can land you in custody, facing the full term you had earlier avoided.

Resisting Arrest
Even a minor struggle with a law enforcement officer can lead to charges of resisting arrest. These charges can lead to more jail or prison time, even if the initial charges were eventually dropped. If you are facing accusations , you need to act quickly to avoid repercussions.

Michigan legislators have increased the penalties for stalking in recent years. The situation is very dangerous if you are accused of stalking another person, even a former spouse or relationship partner. Immediate defense actions should be taken if you hope to avoid a conviction.

Sex Crimes
Are you facing charges in a sex crime case, or under investigation in a serious sex crime? Whether you are charged with child abuse, child porn, indecent exposure, lewd act in public, prostitution, rape, sexual battery, solicitation or are concerned about the requirement for sex offender registration, you should read more about sex crimes.

Theft Crimes
Charges involving theft can vary from misdemeanor shoplifting through to serious felony accusations involving burglary, carjacking, grand theft, grand theft auto, receiving stolen property, robbery and others. These are serious felony accusations, with heavy penalties in a conviction.

Three Strikes
Michigan law provides for violent crime repeat offenders to face 25 years to life in prison on a third offense. This law creates a serious danger to any person who has a prior criminal record and is facing charges in a violent crime case.

Traffic Offenses
Are you facing charges related to a criminal traffic offense? The situation is extremely dangerous if you are accused of driving on a suspended license, hit and run or vehicular manslaughter. Ensuring you have legal representation with a record of success in court is imperative.

Vehicular Manslaughter
You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if you kill another person because you were driving in an unlawful manner, or driving in a lawful but dangerous manner. You can also be charged if you kill someone in a motor vehicle accident that you or another orchestrated for the purposes of financial gain.

Violent Crimes
There are certain criminal offenses that are termed violent crimes, including assault, battery, attempted murder and others. If you are facing charges related to a violent crime, you could be facing a long term in prison if you are convicted.

Our state has some of the heaviest penalties for illegal possession, sale or transportation of guns and firearms. If you are accused of a weapons offense, you could be facing serious consequences if you are convicted. The use of weapons in the commission of a crime will enhance the penalties imposed by the court. It is necessary to take immediate defense action in any such case.

White Collar Crimes
Financial crimes are generally termed white collar crimes when there is no violence involved. These crimes also include conspiracy, extradition, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, identity theft, and insurance fraudas well as many other forms of fraud.

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