St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Sex Offender Registration Act

Sex Offender Registration Act

Sex Offender Registration Act
At Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC we work hard to ensure our clients are informed as to how changes in the law may impact their court proceedings, their rights, and their sentencing. It’s not just about fighting for our clients in the courtroom; we want our clients to feel like they have all the necessary information to understand the charges they face and all of the potential outcomes they can face. This attention to detail is just one reason Peter J. Johnson is considered a leading Michigan criminal attorney.

Senate Bill 221 has been signed into law and took effect on April 1, 2014 with big changes to the way convicted sex offenders are treated. Here’s what you need to know:

Registration Fee

All registrants must pay a $50 fee annually (with a $550 lifetime maximum) to register. This fee allegedly goes toward maintaining the public sex offender registration website. It can be waived for 90 days if the registrant can prove indigence (inability to pay); anyone who fails to pay the fee within 90 days of the due date will be considered guilty of a misdemeanor.

Verification Changes

The law also changes your month of verification based on the month of your birth. Registrants will have the entire month to verify instead of the old standard of 15 days; indigence is still an option for registrants but needs to be verified every 90 days as the law currently states. Tier I registrants report once per year during their birth month, Tier II registrants report twice per year, and Tier III registrants report four times per year. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2013-2014/publicact/pdf/2013-PA-0149.pdf

It is vital that you understand the way in which this new legislation affects your registration and verification deadlines. You should have received an email from the Michigan State Police outlining how these changes impact you specifically. For more information or inquiries please visit www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com or contact us at 269.982.1100.

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Prison Populations Surging Due to Over-Policing of Non-Violent Offenses

Prison Populations Surging Due to Over-Policing of Non-Violent Offenses

Prison Populations Surging Due to Over-Policing of Non-Violent Offenses
When you think of prison, it’s possible you think of a dark, dank place packed with violent criminals and murderers. This is usually how prisons are portrayed in movies and on television, leaving people who do not work in criminal justice (or who have not visited prison themselves) with a vastly incorrect view of what prison is actually like. The truth is that a great majority of inmates are actually non-violent offenders serving time as a result of over-policing and over-sentencing.

In fact, only a small percentage of inmates are currently imprisoned due to violent offenses. Consider the stats: 50% of the United States prison population (in 2014) is serving time on a drug-related charge. Only 2.8% are in prison for homicide, aggravated assault, or kidnapping offenses. Immigration charges account for 10.6% of inmates, yet weapons violations account for only 5.4%. When you study the statistics it’s easy to see that the United States’ over-aggressive policy on non-violent crimes is a major contributing factor to the vast overcrowding we’re currently seeing in our prisons.

When combined, non-violent immigration and drug offenders account for over 60% of all incarcerated individuals. 27.6% of drug offenders were convicted of charges related to marijuana, which is now legal in two U.S. states with activist groups working to turn the other 48 via voter initiatives and legislation changes. That’s a staggering number of prisoners serving time for a non-violent crime that may not even be a crime in Washington or Colorado (circumstances vary due to the legal limits on possession in these states).

The federal prison population has increased by 790% since 1980; drug crimes started to see heavy prosecution in the 80s and this method of enforcement has continued well into the 21st century. If you’re fighting non-violent charges in court, bringing in a leader in criminal defense in Michigan will help you to be aware of your rights and to ensure those rights are served. Don’t become another statistic.

For more information or inquiries please visit www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com or contact us at 269.982.1100. Peter J. Johnson is a leading provider of criminal defense in Michigan, and an advocate for change of policy for non-violent offenses.

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