St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Criminal Restitution

What Prosecution Must Prove for Criminal Restitution to Be Necessary

Criminal Restitution

When someone is convicted of a crime, criminal restitution (monetary compensation) may be awarded to the victims. Whether the amount owed is determined at sentencing or at a hearing after the trial ends, these costs must be paid by the defendant under Michigan law. However, there is a clear threshold for the prosecution to prove. Here is how a talented criminal lawyer in Michigan can help if there are excessive restitution demands following a guilty verdict.

Reasonable Factual Basis

The appeals court came to its ruling in People v. Corbin (No. 319122), determining that a defendant was required to pay restitution to only one of two parties because there was no conviction related to the second party. Only in the case of “conduct that gives rise to the conviction” would a defendant be required to pay damages to that party.

In other words, restitution may only be awarded when a direct impact can be proven under the law, or what the court referred to as a “reasonable” factual basis. Since this ruling sets a bar that the prosecution must reach, the defense lawyer’s skill and experience often comes into play in determining the amount of compensation.

When a qualified criminal lawyer sees this reasonable factual basis unproven by the prosecution, the attorney will fight for a client’s right to avoid excessive restitution fees. The important thing to remember in cases involving restitution is these costs are often paid for many years.

In addition to medical fees or costs related to psychotherapy, defendants are often forced to pay future medical costs and lost wages. Sometimes, the amount may increase if needs of the victims arise and the judge agrees they fall under the reasonable basis threshold.

Only an experienced criminal lawyer in Michigan can protect your rights during and after a trial. For honest and aggressive defense, trust Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC to fight for your rights in court. For further information or to schedule a consultation with one of our highly successful criminal lawyers please contact us at 269.982.1100 or visit

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A Nonworking Gun Is No Defense Against Weapons Charges


What is the definition of a “firearm” exactly? In a 2002 decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals, a firearm may include weapons that are unable to fire at the time of arrest. Put simply, a concealed weapons charge may be brought even when a gun is unable to work.

Appeals Court Decision on Nonworking Guns

In the 2002 case of People v. Brown (No. 231354), the appeals court reinstated a felony weapons charge related to a firearm possession by a convicted felon. The original case ended when a mistrial was declared and the weapons charged was dismissed along with other charges in a larceny case.

However, the appeals court did not agree with the ruling saying the defendant’s handgun was not technically a firearm because it wasn’t working. The legislature has established that a firearm is any weapon from which a dangerous projectile “may be discharged,” which would include a gun that was incapable of firing due to defects.

When Weapons Charges Come Down

A gun charge requires the attention of a top criminal defense attorney. The People v. Brown ruling asserted the laws defining a firearm are not set in stone, which sent the defendant back in court to face charges anew. As reasoning, the appeals court noted that felons could sell or carry arms as long as firing pins were removed prior to the activity.

Taken in this light, the law’s clear intent is to keep weapons out of the hands of felons, but the ruling reveals gray areas remain on the books regarding the sale, transport, use and purchase of firearms in Michigan. Case such as these demand a skilled attorney in navigating state courts.

Contact the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC when you need the help of a top criminal defense attorney in Michigan . Whether gun charges or another problem result in court, you need the best on your side. For further information or to schedule an consultation with one of our highly experienced and reputable criminal defense attorneys please contact us at 269.982.1100 or visit

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