St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Sex Offender SORA Requirement Regarding “Routinely Used” Email and Phone Accounts in Violation of Constitution

Sex Offender Registry

Sex offenders are considered to pose a special risk to society due to their high rate of recidivism. As such, this particular group of offenders must adhere to special requirements after they have been convicted of or plead guilty to a sex offense. One such requirement in the state of Michigan has recently come under scrutiny. The Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA), among other stipulations, requires that people who fall within its jurisdiction must report telephone numbers as well as email and instant messaging accounts that are either registered to them or routinely used by the offender.

It is mandatory that offenders comply with the provisions of SORA and failure to comply with all of the requirements is a crime for which an offender can be charged. The Michigan Court of Appeals, however, recently ruled that the aforementioned provision of the SORA is unconstitutionally vague and cannot be enforced. If you or someone you know is a sex offender who is subject to the requirements of the SORA, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in Michigan such as Peter J. Johnson, Law Office, PLLC to represent you in court.

Recent Developments Regarding the SORA and the Requirement that Offenders Register Phones Numbers and Electronic Accounts

In a recent case that took place in the state, a defendant who was charged with molesting his nine-year-old son as well as two counts of violating SORA for failing to register the phone number of cell phones which were in his possession as well as email accounts. As a convicted sex offender who was on probation, the defendant was required to comply with the registration requirements of the SORA. One of the cellular phones that was in the defendant’s possession at the time when his home was searched was a phone that was registered in the name of a relative and not registered with authorities. The defendant also had an email account in the name of a relative that he had failed to register.

The defendant sought to have his conviction for the two counts of violating SORA requirements vacated based on the claim that the requirement that phone numbers and electronic accounts that are “routinely used” must be registered is unconstitutionally vague and not clearly defined. The appeals court held that due to the fact that a person of ordinary intelligence who is subject to the SORA reporting requirements would not be able to determine when routine use has been met to trigger the reporting requirement, this portion of the statute was indeed unconstitutionally vague and the defendant’s conviction for these two counts was vacated. Thus, the section of the SORA that requires that all phone numbers, email, and instant messaging accounts that an offender routinely uses must be registered with authorities has been found unconstitutional. If you or someone you know is a sex offender, it is in your best interest to seek the professional advise and counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Michigan who can explain how these recent changes affects you and your reporting responsibilities.

If you are subject to the reporting requirements of the SORA, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer such as Peter J. Johnson, Law Office, PLLC to get the highest quality service and representation for the best possible results. For further information or to schedule an appointment with Peter J. Johnson, Law Office, PLLC please call 269.982.1100 or visit www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com.

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Roadside Saliva Testing Law Passes for Drug Testing Influenced Drivers in Michigan

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Driving is a privilege that many people enjoy; however, it comes with a significant amount of responsibility to operate a motor vehicle safely. Consuming alcohol or drugs before driving can seriously interfere with a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely and is also against the law. When the police pull a driver over and suspect that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, there are roadside sobriety tests that an officer can administer such as a breathalyzer tests to determine whether the amount of alcohol that has been consumed by the driver is over the legal limit. Now, in the state of Michigan, police officers can administer a saliva test for drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs. When a resident of Berrien County has been pulled over for driving under the influence of drugs, he or she should seek the counsel of an experienced and reputable criminal defense lawyer in Berrien County such as Peter J. Johnson, Law Office, PLLC.

Saliva Test Pilot Program

Currently, in the state of Michigan, a one year pilot program allowing police officers to administer a saliva test to drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs has been signed into law. The program will be put into use in five counties throughout the state. One of the primary reasons for the pilot program is to test the reliability for the saliva test. The instrument used to administer the saliva test is a hand-held device, which is similar to the device used to administer a breathalyzer test.

The saliva test for drugs cannot be administered by all police officers of the Michigan police force; instead, a police officer must be trained as a Drug Recognition Expert in order to be allowed to administer the test. Counties with higher numbers of drugged driving crashes and arrests as well as those with a high number of trained Drug Recognition Experts are most likely to be selected for the program.

Saliva Test Pilot Program and Your Rights

The same threshold standard of reasonable suspicion that must be met for a police officer to request that a driver take a breathalyzer tests must be met for the officer to request that the driver submit to a saliva test. If a driver in one of the five counties in which the pilot program is in operation refuses to take a saliva test when requested to do so by an officer, the driver has committed a civil infraction in much the same way as a driver who refuses to take a breathalyzer test when requested to do so by a police officer has committed a civil infraction. The driver then may be subject to a search warrant and may be required to take a blood test. If a driver is administered the saliva test and the results are determined to be positive, the driver can be immediately arrested for drugged driving.

If you or someone you know has either refused to take a saliva test or your results were determined to be positive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need the counsel and guidance of an experienced and reputable criminal defense lawyer on your side. Peter J. Johnson, Law Office, PLLC, one of the leading criminal defense firms in greater Southwest Michigan, will fight for you and your rights till the end. For further information or to schedule an appointment please contact Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC at 269.982.1100 or visit www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com.

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