Macomb County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Defense and Family Law Attorney Serving Macomb County and Surrounding Areas

Matthew M. Walton has over 25 years of experience serving Michigan residents in matters related to criminal charges and family law proceedings. He has handled thousands of matters throughout his career and is committed to making the legal process understandable for the average person and keeping his legal fees affordable. As a Macomb County criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Walton understands that his clients and their families have many questions and concerns when so much is at stake. His client-centered approach helps the people whom he represents know what to expect at each step of the process. Mr. Walton meets personally with prospective clients at an initial, no-cost consultation and handles all of his cases himself. While he is based in Macomb County, he is available to take cases in numerous surrounding counties. If you need a criminal or family law attorney with affordable fees and decades of experience, look no further.

Criminal Defense

In Michigan, as in other states, crimes are generally classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Felonies are more serious and can result in more jail time, fines, and other penalties. However, both misdemeanor and felony charges need to be handled carefully because the collateral consequences of having even a minor conviction on your record can involve job loss, housing difficulties, and other serious complications.

In Michigan, the penalties for misdemeanors include a maximum of two years in prison and fines of up to $2,000. Misdemeanors are further divided into three separate categories: 93-day misdemeanors, one-year misdemeanors, and high court misdemeanors. Misdemeanors range from disturbing the peace, a 93-day misdemeanor, to negligent homicide by vehicle, a high court misdemeanor. Felonies are categorized differently and range from a Class H felony (the least serious) to a Class A felony (the most serious). The felony classification also determines the potential applicable penalties, with Class A felonies being punishable by up to life in prison and Class H felonies being punishable by a moderate amount of jail time or alternative measures, such as probation. As a criminal defense attorney in Macomb County, Matthew M. Walton can explain the consequences that you may be facing and devise a strategy to fight your specific charge.

DUI

Michigan takes DUIs very seriously and thus imposes harsh potential penalties. In Michigan, DUI is called OWI, which stands for “operating while intoxicated.” You can also be charged with OWVI, which stands for “operating while visibly impaired.” The difference between the two is that for OWI, prosecutors must prove that the driver’s blood alcohol level was at least .08. For OWVI, prosecutors do not need to show a specific blood alcohol level, but they must prove impairment by other means, such as failing field sobriety tests. You can also be convicted for “operating with presence of drugs,” or OWPD, if you test positive in a blood, breath, or urine test that indicates that you were under the influence of drugs at the time that you were driving. Drivers charged with OWI can be given enhanced penalties if their blood alcohol level was over .17. A first OWI is typically punished by a fine of up to $500, a 180-day license suspension, community service, an education course, six points on your driving record, and up to 93 days in jail. Subsequent convictions have significantly increased penalties, making it especially important to retain a skilled Macomb County criminal defense attorney for every step of the process.

Drug Crimes

While several states have legalized recreational marijuana, Michigan is not one of them. However, Michigan does allow the medicinal use of marijuana in specific circumstances. The consequences of a conviction for a drug crime vary dramatically, depending on the type of drug, the amount, and whether an intent to sell can be proven. Michigan has extremely strict drug laws, and any drug arrest should be taken seriously. As with the federal government, Michigan categorizes drugs by “schedule,” with schedule I drugs being considered the most harmful. Schedule I drugs include marijuana, heroin, and LSD. Schedule II drugs include heroin, morphine, and hydrocodone. Even simple possession of a small amount of a schedule I or II drug can result in a fine of up to $250,000 and up to four years of jail time. If you are convicted of possession of more than 1,000 grams of schedule I or II drugs, you may be facing life in prison. As with DUI charges, the more convictions that you have on your record, the more severe that the subsequent penalties are likely to be. Macomb County criminal defense lawyer Matthew M. Walton is familiar with the procedural and substantive defenses that can be raised in drug cases and can thoroughly investigate your situation to determine your options.

Family Law

Any dispute involving personal relationships can be emotionally fraught, which is why it is important to have a skilled family law attorney on your side. One commonly contested area of family law is child custody. Michigan follows the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA). Generally, courts will approve arrangements to which both parents agree, but if the parties cannot come to an agreement, the court will become involved. Family law proceedings are nuanced and fact-specific, but judges will emphasize “the best interests of the child” when making custody determinations. This may involve the child’s preferences, depending on the age of the child, but those are not necessarily dispositive even when the child is mature enough to state a preference.

Divorce

Even under the best of circumstances, a divorce is a challenging experience. In order to file for a divorce in Michigan, you must have lived here for at least 180 days. Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, which means that neither party needs to allege or prove adultery, cruelty, abuse, or other factors to get a divorce. Unlike with some other states, you do not need to be separated or living apart to get a divorce in Michigan. In terms of property division, the court will attempt to divide the assets fairly. Generally, this means that the property will be split 50/50, but that is not always the case. The court will look at factors such as the couple’s standard of living, the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions to the marriage (both financial and caretaking), the ability of each spouse to earn a living, and any other relevant considerations. As with custody, if the parties can come to an agreement between themselves, the court will generally approve it as long as it is reasonably fair.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Macomb County or Seek Guidance in a Divorce Matter

Matthew M. Walton is committed to using his extensive experience to assist clients in criminal and divorce cases. He represents people throughout Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, and St. Clair Counties, including in the cities of Mount Clemens, Clinton Township, Eastpointe, Fraser, Harrison Township, Macomb Township, New Baltimore, Romeo, Roseville, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Warren, Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Clarkston, Farmington, Lake Orion, Madison Heights, Novi, Pontiac, Rochester, Dearborn, Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Livonia, Fort Gratiot, and Port Huron. Call him today at 586-469-9400 or use the online form on this site to arrange a free consultation.

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