St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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children’s vaccinations

Whether to Vaccinate Your Child or Not May Not Be Your Decision

children’s vaccinations

One of the most contentious arguments is whether children should be vaccinated or not.

The vaccination argument has many sides: health concerns, religious objections, and even arguments among the medical community. And once parents are divorced, they may each try to enforce their own views on the matter.

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently addressed this issue after a lower court ruled that a father could not force the mother to have their children’s vaccinations updated. The court looked to the Michigan law which requires any decisions affecting children to be in their best interests and didn’t feel that the father met this criterion.

The father appealed to the higher court which, after two go-rounds, reversed the decision on the basis of inadmissible evidence presented by the mother upon which the court had based its ruling.

The mother, who was not represented by a Michigan family law attorney, introduced unreliable evidence from sources such as, which can be edited by anyone online,, which is basically a site that follows rumors, and articles from several so-called “medical” sites for which no foundation was laid to prove that the information was reliable.

In invoking the “best interests of the child” principle under MCL 722.23, the court said the children should not need to have their vaccinations updated only if a medical professional found that the vaccinations would be harmful to the children or their risks outweighed their benefits. It gave the mother 21 days to present this proof.

The case follows public concerns about the health risks to the community when children are not vaccinated. Michigan is one of 20 states that allows parents to sign waivers without specifying religious or medical reasons that permit their children to attend school without required vaccinations. In Michigan about seventy-five percent of the waivers obtained are based upon philosophical objections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michigan has one of the highest waiver rates in the country for kindergartners just entering the school systems. In the last five years, that number has increased by 23 percent. The national median of children entering kindergarten without vaccinations is 1.8 percent. By contrast, Michigan’s average rate is 5.9 percent, with 21 counties have a rate of 7.1 percent or more.

Regardless of the dangers cited by the CDC, each parent has the right to make these decisions for their children. If you are in a position that requires you to fight to have your children vaccinated, you may require legal assistance from a family law attorney who serves Berrien County and the Southwest Michigan area. For further information and assistance please contact the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC at 269.982.1100 or visit

Source:, “Appeals court: Mother can’t keep kids from being vaccinated,” Traci R. Gentilozzi, July 23, 2015

Secondary Source:, “Vaccination waivers put hundreds of Michigan communities at risk of disease outbreaks,” Rosemary Parker, Dec. 16, 2014

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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Statistics for Michigan

Domestic Violence
There’s no question that domestic violence is one of the most common tragedies in the United States. Every year, police respond to thousands of domestic violence calls, though not all of those calls actually make it into the court system. If you’re searching for a criminal defense lawyer in Michigan due to a domestic violence charge, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the statistics related to this particular bracket of crime.

Raw Stats

According to this report from the Michigan State Police (, in 2007 98,436 individuals were charged with domestic violence offenses. Strangely, in the majority of cases no injury was reported, with minor or unknown injuries making up the next two brackets. Lacerations were the most common major injury. The age of victims also tells a story, with the great majority falling between the ages of 20-29 or 30-39. Domestic violence is least common in the elderly population.

It’s not just about the core domestic violence charges. Many crimes are connected to domestic violence, including assault, murder, and sexual abuse. For example, 93 murder/non-negligent homicides were reported in association with domestic violence in 2007, as were nearly 56,000 non-aggravated assaults.

Sentencing Guidelines

Sentencing for domestic violence charges depends on the exact charge, as you may imagine. Domestic assault carries a penalty of up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, but only on the first conviction. Penalties increase with repeated offenses; the third conviction, for example, carries a penalty of up to two years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.

Domestic violence that ends in serious injury (aggravated domestic violence) carries penalties of up to two years in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Michigan is a strong first step toward ensuring the court doesn’t just slap you with the maximum penalty and in making sure your rights are respected.

For more information about domestic violence or other criminal defense matters please visit or contact us at 269.982.1100.

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