Michigan Abolishes Dower

As of April 7, 2017, wives in Michigan will no longer have dower rights. If you want to know all about dower rights, read my previous post about dower. Briefly, dower gives wives some rights to any real estate owned by her husband during the marriage.

What this new change means is that wives may no longer need to sign deeds when their husband sells property that is only in his name. This also removes dower as one option for wives during a divorce property settlement, or for widows when dealing with the estates of deceased husbands. Dower will still exist in cases where a husband passes before April 7, or where the ex-wife/widow has already taken advantage of her dower rights.

Most states abolished dower long ago. Michigan is doing it now as part of a set of new laws to deal with the legalization of same-sex marriage. Dower was only available to a wife in a marriage.

There will be other changes in family law because of same-sex marriage which I will be covering in future posts.

 

Paternity: The many ways to legal fatherhood.

Fatherhood has always been more complicated than the way it is shown in 1950's sitcoms. To understand the laws of paternity in Michigan, you first have to understand the many different types of fathers, from the viewpoint of the state.

Presumed Father – A man married to the child's mother at conception or birth is automatically the child’s legal father.

Acknowledged Father - Someone who has signed an Affidavit of Parentage form and is considered the legal father.

Affiliated Father - Someone who is the child's legal father by court order.

Genetic Father – The actual biological, but not necessarily legal, father.

Alleged Father - Someone who could be the father.

Legal Father - The person who is considered to be the father by the state. This is either the presumed, acknowledged, or affiliated father.

How to Become the Legal Father

Be Married

The simplest way to be the legal father is to be married to the mother.

Sign an Affidavit

If the mother is not married, then the mother and father can together sign an Affidavit of Parentage and the father will become the acknowledged, legal father. Any man can sign the affidavit along with the mother; He does not have to be the genetic father. Most parents sign this form at the hospital when the child is born, even in cases where the parents are married. This process is called an Acknowledgment of Parentage.

DNA Testing

If either the mother or father is receiving state support, they can ask to have a DNA test done through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) to find out if he is the genetic father.

Adoption

If a child is being placed for adoption, even if the child isn't born yet, a genetic father can claim paternity of the child. If the court finds that he is the child's father the court may terminate his rights to the child and proceed with the adoption, or dismiss the adoption and return the child to the mother, or dismiss the adoption and grant custody of the child to the father.

Revoking Existing Paternity

If someone has already been declared the legal father, replacing that person as the legal father can be a serious challenge. If the mother was not married during the pregnancy, and the child is under three, the father can file a case to be declared the real father. These cases are usually decided by genetic tests. If the mother is married, the father has to prove that he didn't know or have any reason to have known that the mother was married, or that she was not married at the time of conception. During a divorce, the husband can ask for declaration that the child is not his, even if the child is older than three.

Time Matters

In most cases, once the child is 3 years old, it is difficult or impossible to change the legal father for the child. For the genetic father of a child who wants to have some legal rights to see that child, acting quickly matters.

Dower Power

Dower is something most people have never heard of, but if you're a married person in Michigan and you own real estate, you or your spouse have dower. What is dower? It is historically related to a dowry. Dowry was property given to a bride by her parents on her marriage, while traditionally dower was property given to the bride by her husband or his family. Michigan is one of the few states left that still has legal dower.

Today, dower in Michigan is a widow's right to a life estate in one-third of all the real estate that her husband had owned at any time during the marriage. This is why when a married man deeds property, his wife usually has to sign the deed also, even if it was property he purchased before the marriage. If she doesn't sign the deed, then the wife still has her dower rights in that property, even if it was sold to someone else years ago. Upon marriage, the wife automatically acquires dower. The wife's name doesn't have to be on the deed.

Where dower matters is on the death of the husband. A widow can choose to take her dower rather than what she would get from a will. This matters when a husband and wife separate, but never divorce. The husband may give the wife nothing in a will, and she may get nothing else from his estate without dower.

Most title companies will make sure that a wife also signs the deed when a married man sells property. But there are actually many situations where a wife doesn't have to sign the deed (although there is usually no harm in the wife signing as well).

The reason that dower is still constitutional in Michigan, even though it only applies to women, is because "there are still circumstances in which the surviving wife may be significantly disadvantaged, in a way that surviving husbands generally are not", according to the Michigan Court of Appeals in a 2007 decision.

When a wife has no dower.

Below are some of the situations when a wife has no dower.

The husband only has a life estate or lease.

A wife only has dower in real estate that can be passed by inheritance. Since a life estate or a lease end on death, the wife would have no interest in that. You may have seen something like this become an issue in Downton Abbey, where the apparent owner of the estate, Robert, didn't own the estate outright but had something equivalent to a life estate. On his death, his wife would have no legal interest in the property, since it would automatically become the property of the next Earl. (Actually, the whole situation is even more complicated, and one reason why many places have eliminated things like dower.)

The land was always under a land contract.

If the husband was a buyer or seller of land under a land contract since before the marriage, then the wife has no dower in the land. Basically, a land contract is treated more like personal property until the contract is complete and the property is deeded.

The husband owned the property as a joint tenant.

If the husband owns the property together with one or more people, in any kind of partnership, then the wife does not have dower in that land. But, if all the other joint tenants die, or sell their interest to the husband, and the husband becomes the sole owner, the wife instantly has dower in the land, even if that happens for a short time. An example would be two married male hunting buddies, Bob and Joe, who own some land up north together, with the survivor of the two of them getting all the land. Bob decides to go on a cruise around the world. A week later, Joe decides to sell his share of the land to a stranger, Alice. What Joe doesn't know is that Bob died a week earlier from bad shellfish, and Joe's wife now has dower rights to the land he just sold to Alice.

This is a good reason why a title company would want a wife to sign, even though technically it should not be needed. 

Mortgage Foreclosure.

If the husband signed a mortgage that was used to purchase the property, a wife's dower would end if the mortgage is foreclosed.

Residency of the Wife.

If the wife voluntarily lives outside the state of Michigan, her dower automatically disappears. The husband is free to deed away the property without her signature (assuming she isn't also a co-owner of the property). But, if the wife is involuntarily residing in another state, like in a mental institution, she keeps her dower right.

Written Agreement.

The wife can sign almost any kind of written agreement giving up her dower right to property.

25 Year Rule.

If the husband sold land during the marriage more than 25 years ago, the wife forever loses her right to dower unless she records a claim of dower in the county register of deeds. The wife can wait until the 24th year to file the claim, but if she waits one day past 25 years, she forever loses the right to dower for that property.

Why does this matter?

Title companies handle most real estate transactions these days. But, title companies make mistakes. Also, people write their own deeds. It is still very common to see property that has been in the same family for generations, with mistakes and potential pitfalls that keep piling up through the years. Sorting out a situation like that is not simple, and requires a skilled attorney who understands the laws of real estate in Michigan.

When a child needs a grandparent: 6 Paths to a Grandparenting Time Order.

In many families a grandparent can become an essential caregiver to a child. This can often happen temporarily when one parent is unavailable because of work, illness, or incarceration. Or it can be permanent because of the death of one parent. In some cases children are raised by their grandparents for years, creating a natural bond between the child and grandparents that would be harmful to both if broken.

Image courtesy of  Donnie Ray Jones .

Image courtesy of Donnie Ray Jones.

But life is a constant change. The remaining parent may have been happy to have grandparents help out with the kids for years, but a remarriage, new partner, or falling out with the ex's grandparents might cause that parent to break the children's relationship with their grandparents.

In a situation like this, being cut off from their grandparents is likely to be emotional, and probably harmful to the children who have seen the grandparents as virtual parents. Fortunately there is a law for cases like this when the loss of time with grandparents is likely to harm the child physically, mentally, or emotionally. 

Six Paths to a Grand Parenting Time Order

There are six possible ways for a grandparent to be able to go to court and get a parenting time order. These paths are spelled out in MCL 722.27b(1)(a-f).

  1. There is a pending court case for divorce, annulment, or separate maintenance. If one of the parents has filed for divorce or separation, a grandparent has the right to file a motion and having a hearing in that case for parenting time.
  2. The parents are already divorced or legally separated. If the parents already finalized a divorce, grandparents can also go to court for a parenting time order. In most cases they should just be able to file a motion in court under the case number for that divorce.
  3. The grandparent's child who was the parent of the grandchild has passed away. Along with divorce, death is the most likely reason a grandparent may need a court order to see the grandchild. The grandparent may have been extremely close to the children, but if the remaining parent didn't get along with them for some reason, they can easily deny the grandparents any time with their grandchildren.
  4. The parents have never been married, are currently not living together, and there is legal proof of paternity. In some cases, especially with young parents, the parents both relied on a grandparent to help raise the children. Over time, the parents may separate, and the parent who has custody of the children might feel they have the right to deny their ex's parents time with the children.
  5. Someone other than a parent has custody of the child, or the child is not living with a parent. This can be the case where the parents are in prison, in a hospital, mentally unwell, dealing with addiction, been judged unfit, or just missing. Child Protective Services, or a court, may decide to place the children with someone other than the grandparents, but the grandparents still have the right to seek time with their grandchildren. This can often be the easiest case for a grandparent to win. If there is no parent opposing the grandparenting time, the grandparent does not need to prove harm to the child, just that it would be in the child's interests to spend time with their grandparent.
  6. In the last year, the child lived with the grandparents. Even if the grandparents didn't have legal custody of the child, if they "provided an established custodial environment for the child" then the grandparent can seek grandparenting time.

The rights of the parents

The purpose of this law is to protect children from the harm they might suffer if they weren't allowed to spend time with their grandparents. Proving that is the hard part.

Your grandchildren may love you, and they may be sad if you weren't allowed to see them, but the law gives preference to the parents. Unless a grandparent can prove a "substantial risk of harm" to a child, they will not be able to get a grandparenting time order if a parent opposes it. 

You have to get it right the first time

Getting a grandparenting time order is a complex process. The law only lets grandparents try for this once every 2 years. You don't want to try this yourself and have to wait two years to try again. This is a case where a skilled lawyer is vital, because you need to make your best case the very first time.

Secret Marriages, and Weddings for Children

You can keep your wedding date secret, and you can marry your 13 year old sweetheart, if you can convince a Probate Court Judge. Obviously this seems kind of odd, and you probably never heard of this law, but it is right there in Michigan's Issuance of Marriage License Without Publicity Act 180 of of 1897

That date helps explain the reasoning behind this law. Doing some research on this, I found that the purpose behind this law was to "protect the reputation of females" and for the "benefit of public morals." Another title for this law might have been "The Shotgun Wedding Act". 

This law is still in place, and you could still request a secret marriage to a teenager. But these days, I'm not sure that a pregnant bride would be considered a great harm to her reputation. And I would hope that most judges would consider marrying 13 year olds as more harmful to public morals than allowing them to give birth unwed. But, there are still many Probate Court websites listing instructions for applying for secret marriages. So, maybe this is still a popular option? I've had no clients request a secret marriage, and haven't come across a secretly married client yet.

This law also, for some reason, explicitly refers to "couples of the opposite sex."I don't know if the original 1897 law said that, or if it was added in 1983 when the law was amended. The text of the amendment and original law aren't available online. But, this means there is yet another law for the State to amend now that same-sex marriage is legal.

Apparently, at one time when Michigan had no waiting period for wedding licenses, this law made St.Joseph, Michigan, a popular destination for weddings from Chicago. California is the only other state in the country with a secret marriage law, and they don't allow minors to marry in secret. So, Michigan is still unique with this law. This law also causes challenges for people researching family histories. MCL 333.2885 allows the state to transfer copies of 75 year old marriage licenses to libraries for genealogical research, but it excludes secret marriages, no matter how old. 

So, if you're having trouble finding your great-grandparent's marriage license on Ancestry.com, maybe it's because they had a secret shotgun wedding?

Lady Bird Deeds Do the Job

There's a story that Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady and wife of President Lyndon Johnson, had a home that she wanted to give to an heir, but she didn't want to give it right away, and she wanted to be able to change her mind. There are many ways this could be done, but about 40 years ago a crafty Florida attorney prepared a special deed for Mrs. Johnson that let her give the home to someone on her death, but kept for herself the right to live in the house and even to sell or re-deed the house. 

Benefits

This story may not be true, but there really is something called a Lady Bird Deed, and it really does what Mrs. Johnson wanted in the story. Legally, it is called an "Enhanced Life Estate Deed", and it has several great benefits.

Please remember that laws can and do change. You should talk to your lawyer about current laws, and how your plans could be affected by any future changes in the law.

Avoid Probate

Having a Lady Bird Deed means that your home, or any real estate, can go to your designated heir or heirs without going through probate court. No Inventory fees to the court, no waiting for creditors to make claims, no lost wills, no disputes about the intent. 

Retain Full Rights

During your lifetime, you will have the right to do anything with the land that you could do before. Build on it, rent it, modify the land, whatever. You give up no access or control at all.

Sell or Re-deed

You keep the right to sell the land anytime you want. This deed does not affect your ability to market and sell the property. You can also undo the deed, or re-deed the land to someone else. The named beneficiary only receives the land if you haven't sold or re-deeded the land before your death. That person has no rights to the land, and their creditors can't touch the land while you're alive.

Simpler and Cheaper than a Trust

For most people whose assets at the end of their life are a little cash in the bank, their home, and maybe a vacation cottage, a Lady Bird Deed along with beneficiary designations on their bank accounts can take care of all distributions to their heirs without a complicate or expensive trust. This is especially handy for people with adult children where a specific child will get the house.

Works with a Trust

If you have a trust, or need a trust, the Lady Bird Deed can be written naming the trust as the recipient of the property. This gives you the benefits of both.

Works with Medicaid

For anyone who is on Medicaid for long term care, or may need Medicaid, keeping your home can be an important benefit. To qualify for Medicaid you generally are only allowed to keep a small amount of cash in the bank, one car, and your home. But, the home has to be deeded in your name. If you have the home in a trust, it will be counted as an asset you have to dispose, and not as your primary residence. And if you just give the property, or add someone's name as co-owner, you could end up disqualified for Medicaid. This is one of the great benefits of the Lady Bird Deed. You can make sure your home goes to your named heir, while still being able to keep it while on Medicaid.

Avoid Michigan's Estate Recovery Program

The State of Michigan will attempt to recover money from the probate estate of an individual who received Medicaid long term care assistance. The state can only collect those funds from assets that go through a probate court proceeding. By avoiding probate, a Lady Bird Deed also avoids being the target of estate recovery. So, rather than having your home or family farm or lakefront cottage sold to pay the government, you can make sure that property goes to your intended heirs.

Avoid Gift Taxes

If you give the property outright to someone, or name them as a co-owner, or even as a beneficiary in a normal life estate deed, that person will legally have received something of value for free. Depending on the value, that gift could have negative tax consequence for you and the recipient. With a Lady Bird Deed, the property does not legally belong to the beneficiary until after your death. So what they receive isn't a gift, but an inheritance, which usually means better tax results.

It may not be enough on its own

There are some cases where a Lady Bird Deed alone is not the best option:

  • Large number of heirs to share the property: A trust, with its rules on decision making, can avoid future conflict between family members sharing property.
  • You want to control the use of the land after your death: A good example is vacation property that has been in the family for generations, and you want to be sure that grand-children or great-grandchildren will also have the chance to enjoy this family heritage as it is without it being redeveloped or sold.
  • Business property: If the land is being used for profit, there may be tax benefits to placing it in a trust or a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
  • Heirs receiving government assistance: You definitely DO NOT want to give land to someone who is on government assistance, or may be on assistance when you die. This could disqualify them for the assistance they need. A trust can be written to handle the possibility of a beneficiary with special needs.
  • Minors: You may want your favorite grandchild to receive the family farm, but if they're not already 18, you can't assume they will be an adult before your death. A trust is the proper way to handle this.

In all these situations described, a Lady Bird Deed could still be used, but only with a properly prepared trust.

It's estate planning not an estate plan.

Laws change. Your family changes. You change. Estate planning is not a stack of paper that you sign once and forget. You must review your plans at least every few years, or any time you or your family have a major life event.

"Temporary" custody is not temporary: Why you need a lawyer.

A recent Michigan Court of Appeals case, Bolz v. Bolz, shows why it is so important that you have the help of an attorney when it comes to life-affecting legal matters. In this case, a mother was given "sole legal and physical custody" of the couple's children in the divorce, "until the [father] has completed his substance abuse program and has been sober for one year."

To the father, and even to the trial court judge, this apparently meant that once the father was sober for a year, and through the program, that he would have joint custody of the children, or at least be able to get joint custody just by showing that he had completed the requirements. But, in Michigan, there is no such thing as "temporary" custody. Custody is either sole, or joint. 

A parent can always go to court and try to convince a judge that there is some good reason for changing custody, but custody doesn't automatically change, despite what you may think the order says. The father probably thought he had won some benefit, where he would get joint custody when he completed the substance abuse program. But what he really got was worse than the default of "sole custody" to the mother. What the divorce judgment really meant was that until he was sober for a year, the court wouldn't even consider changing custody.

Having your insobriety clearly written out in a divorce judgment is probably not going to help you in the future with getting custody back, and divorce judgments are public records. Anyone in the future will be able to look this up and see that this father had some serious problems. (And now that it's gone to the Court of Appeals, that fact has been even more publicized.)

So, please remember, just because something looks like it means one thing, the legal meaning can be quite different. In this case, having sole legal custody also means that the mother will probably be able to move the children out of the state, and the father will probably have very few chances to see his children. I am guessing that this is not the outcome he expected when they first signed the divorce papers.

Guardians, Conservators, and Trusts for Your Children

Guardian = ‘legal parent’

If you and your spouse passed away, or are mentally, physically, or legally unable to act as parents, a court will appoint someone to act as the child’s legal guardian, to make decisions regarding the child’s welfare, health, education, and basic finances.

Why should you choose a guardian?

The guardian will act as the parent for your children. Any child without parents must have a guardian. If you do not choose a guardian, the court may choose a guardian unrelated to your children, who will be paid out of your children’s assets. Or worse, your relatives may end up fighting over the right to raise your children.

The guardian you choose will have the responsibility to raise your children according to your desires. By making a choice, you can ensure that your children are raised with the standards and teachings that matter to you.

How can you choose a guardian?

The simplest way is with a will naming the person you want as guardian. For married couples, each spouse should have their own will naming the guardian. The will for the last living parent will decide who becomes guardian.

Conservator = ‘financial manager’

If the children will be left significant property or finances, the court may appoint a conservator to handle those assets. The conservator can be the same person as the guardian, but does not have to be.

Why should you choose a conservator?

If you have significant savings or property that would pass to your children, a conservator would likely be needed. You may not think your children will need a conservator, but your retirement savings, life insurance, or home can add up quickly. A conservator will definitely be needed if any real estate will be left to your child.

The person you trust as a guardian may not be the best at handling money, or you may have a sibling who understands finances, but is unable to act as a parent. Appointing a separate conservator can also reduce the burden on the guardian.

How can you choose a conservator?

Just as with the guardian, you can name a conservator in the same will for each parent.

Trusts = ‘rules for protecting your children’

Trusts have many uses; distributing assets, protecting property, preserving wealth, avoiding taxes. But when it comes to your children, a trust can be vital to preserving your estate until your children are old enough to manage their own finances. A conservator has the responsibility to manage your children’s assets. A trust sets the guidelines for how those assets should be used for your children’s benefit.

You can’t predict the future, but with the right planning, you can preserve it for your loved ones.

Vaccines are in a child's best interests, according to Michigan Court of Appeals

Divorced or separated parents often disagree about how to raise their children. In most cases it is just about preferences, for food, clothing, discipline, schooling. But when it comes to medical decisions, those disagreements can have serious consequences. After a recent decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals in Kagen v. Kagen, it seems likely that Michigan courts will usually consider vaccinations to be in a child's best interests.

In that case, the court decided that the evidence presented by the father, who was in favor of vaccinating the couple's child, was admissible and outweighed the evidence provided by the mother, who opposed vaccination. I think this best sums up the court's decision: "A review of the parties’ evidence clearly supports that vaccination of children is in their best interests, unless the child’s medical condition contraindicates vaccination. The reports generated after public-agency research and investigation, including those presented by Mrs. Kagen, establish that the benefits associated with vaccination far outweigh any dangers."

In Michigan family law, what the court sees as a child's best interest can have serious consequences. In divorces, custody disputes, parenting time arrangements, change of residence, adoptions, and paternity determinations, a child's best interests, according to the court, will often decide the outcome of the case. And for each type of case mentioned, the way courts decide on the best interest vary.

In situations where a parent does not trust in alternative forms of medicine used by the other parent, they should be able to use this case to try to get the court to order the use of mainstream medicine. Divorced or separated parents who want to use homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, or anthroposiphic medicine for their child should be aware that this could possibly be used against them in a future custody dispute.

Whichever side you're on when it comes to these forms of medicine, it is important that you understand your rights and how they could apply to the best interests of your child. Even if you don't foresee a court case soon, talking with an attorney now can ease your mind, and help smooth out any future disputes.

Source: http://www.michbar.org/file/opinions/appea...

Marriage is equal for all.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex couples have the same right to marry as couples of the opposite sex. In particular for Michigan, this means that the state's constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage is no longer valid. This also means that the state has many laws and forms to update quickly, as many of Michigan's laws are written assuming that marriage is between a man and a woman.

A ruling based on the 14th Amendment

Here's a brief analysis on how the court made its decision. The first point is that this ruling is based on the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically the last two clauses of the first section:

"nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"

The court specifically said that the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment are not limited to some specific set, but must be interpreted based on what we learn that freedom means to this nation over time. "The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning." Page 11 of the opinion.

The court then gave examples of how marriage equality has changed through the history of this country. Inter-racial marriage was once illegal in places. Most states once held that a married woman had no legal identity separate from her husband. At various times states have attempted to ban marriage by prison inmates or by men who were behind on child-support payments.

Four Principles of Equality

The court then lays out four "principles and traditions" to show that the right to marriage is a fundamental right for all couples.

1. Right to Personal Choice

The court states that the right to choose who we marry is one of many intimate choices a person can make, and that that right of choice is "inherent in the concept of individual autonomy." That court goes on to say that through marriage, two people are able to find other freedoms, "such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality." The ability for the bond of marriage to bring these freedoms is the same for same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.

2. Marriage is a unique and intimate union of two people.

No other institution brings two people as close together as marriage. It is a right older than the Bill of Rights, and to deny this unique institution to some people would be a violate of the right of equal protection.

3. Marriage safeguards children and families.

Many children are being raised by same-sex couples. Most states allow same-sex couples to adopt, or allow homosexual people to adopt as an individual. Children of unmarried couples are at a legal, and social disadvantage compared to children with married parents. To treat same-sex couples as somehow lesser than opposite-sex couples would also treating children of those couples as somehow lesser.

4. Marriage is a keystone of social order.

The court quotes Alexis de Tocqueville, writing almost 200 years ago, that "[t]here is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is so much respected as in America . . ." According to the court, American tradition has for centuries regarded marriage as a "building block of our national community." To exclude some couples from marriage would be to weaken our national order and stability.

Same-sex marriage is not a new right.

Finally, the court made it clear that it is not creating some new "right to same-sex marriage," but that it is merely stating that same sex couples have the same fundamental right to marriage as all couples should have. In the same way that the court has previously said that interracial couples have the same rights as same-race couples.

The issue decided wasn't whether same-sex couples should have some new right, but whether there was sufficient justification to exclude those couples from that right. The court concluded that there was no justifiable reason for such exclusion, and that laws banning same-sex marriage violate the constitution.

Source: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf...

Some recent good outcomes for criminal misdemeanor clients.

Domestic violence: Multiple cases dismissed.

Child abuse: No-contest plea to domestic violence, with deferment, meaning no record after probation, no registration for child abuse, and not a plea that could be used against the client in a custody dispute.

Super drunk driving and fleeing the scene: Plead to regular drunk driving, and no jail.

Shoplifting and resisting arrest: Reduced charges and fines, and no jail.

Driving with suspended license multiple times: Reduced charges and fines, and no jail.

Obviously, I can't promise results, but these clients all received better outcomes than what they were initially offered in court. Even simple misdemeanors can result in serious consequences such as jail time, loss of gun ownership rights, loss of professional licenses, deportation, loss of driving privileges, loss of parental rights, and also hefty fines, court fees, and probation restrictions on your life, work, and travel.

Call me if you're facing a criminal charge and want the help of someone who knows the system.


Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/mysouthborough/ No changes were made to the image beside resizing. Some rights reserved by the creator.
Source: https://flic.kr/p/6JEXt1