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ARE YOU A VICTIM OF CYBER STALKING?

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF CYBER STALKING?

By:  G. Sal Gani of the GANI LAW FIRM

Has someone victimized you with a keyboard? Have you told someone to stop emailing or texting you because their communications have become threatening? Do you fear for your safety because of what another person has posted about you or your family? Are you a victim of cyberbullying? You do not have to remain a victim. If you ever feel you are in danger of immediate harm call 911.  People suffer 24/7 in many ways including but not limited to  having to quit their job, quit school, avoid friends and family and suffer from non-stop emotional distress because they feel there is nothing that can be done.

People may become guilty of a crime, or become civilly responsible for monetary damages, simply be hitting the “send” button on an unwelcomed, threatening or intimidating text or other electronic communication. It can be considered a crime to send two or more separate electronic communications that constitutes harassment, stalking or unconsented contact. Depending on the nature of the contacts, the penalty can range from a misdemeanor to a felony and subject a defendant to substantial monetary fines and damages. Take a look at MCL 750.411(h) if you wish to read the statute.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

If someone is bothering you by repeated electronic messaging, statements, electronic photographs, or any other offensive attempts to communicate with you there is something you can do to start to help yourself. Send that person a communication telling them you don’t want to receive any communication in any form from them, or from anyone acting on their behalf. Tell them you want no  communication and you feel threatened, intimidated or frightened  by their past communication(s).

Be sure to keep a hard copy and electronic copy of all communication, as well as a copy of your demand they stop communicating. If communication attempts continue, I suggest you file a complaint with local law enforcement or seek legal advice. Document all aspects of any damages you suffer including emotional distress, loss of sleep, interference with work and all other injury you sustain. Remember the 5 p’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

CAN I MAKE IT STOP?

Yes. If you are a victim as defined by statute, and another person has improperly threatened, intimidated, harassed, or wrongfully communicated with you, you should take whatever reasonable legal action permitted by law. You might also consider obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order for immediate relief. There are ways to discover who might be doing this to you if you don’t already know. There are laws in place to help. At Gani Law, we have successfully sued people to make them stop. You are not alone. If you have any questions please contact attorney G. Sal Gani at (517) 372-8944 or visit our new web site at Gani Law .com. We are located in the Lansing area and handle matters throughout the State of Michigan.

Freedom of speech does not give another person the right to violate your rights. You are entitled to be free from being a victim..

The law provides you a means to take back control. The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me” is no long the standard by which we determine if a person is a victim. It is helpful to have a knowledgeable attorney guiding you through your trouble. Every case is different and you deserve to be given an honest opinion as to how an attorney can help you. We keep your matters confidential.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.  We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. You may call Sal at (517) 372-8944. Reviewing this information or contacting us alone does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.  You should not rely upon any information as legal advice.

Ice Fishing Laws in Michigan

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Ice Fishing Laws in Michigan

By: G. Sal Gani of the GANI LAW FIRM

It’s almost that time of year again. Before you know it we will have our first person sink a pickup truck in some lake. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same act over and over, and expecting a different result. The laws of physics and science haven’t changed in decades- don’t drive on the ice until it is thick enough. Did you know that most vehicles insurance policies exclude a “loss claim” to a vehicle while on frozen lakes! Higgins Lake and Torch Lake are two of the lakes that freeze over for ice fishing, so do your safe checking.

Can you believe that the DNR is boasting that we have approximately 146 types of fish in our great lakes state? Some say it is even more.

Don’t forget some of the very basics such as (a) get your license, (b) no more than three rods per licensed person, (c) use legal bail, and (d) follow all varying rules depending on the area you fish. I suggest you monitor the DNR Website on a regular basis because the administrative rules and regulations can change frequently.

Absolutely Illegal:

(a) Transporting non-native or genetically engineered fish is subject to up to a $10,000.00 fine;

(b) Catching fish only for their roe;

(c) Taking mussels from any Michigan waters;

(d) Exceeding your limit;

(e) Leaving your ice shanty on frozen waters overnight without your name and address written on all exterior walls using letters at least two inches high by paint or letters on the structure, no signs or plates are permissible;

(f) Interfering with another angler while fishing;

(g) Failure to remove your overnight shanty on the differing dates may result in fines of up to $500.00 per day and up to 30 days in jail.  If the state has to remove your shanty it can charge a fine and up to three times the cost of removal.

Must you allow an officer to search your shanty without a search warrant?

You can make the legal argument that your shanty is deserving of the same constitutional protection of a tent or your temporary home.  Law enforcement may make the argument that your ice shanty is a structure you slide onto the ice for the sole purpose of shielding you from the wind and cold.

Unfortunately there is no clear cut answer. Each case will be determined on its own facts. An officer must have probable cause to search without your consent. There are exceptions to a search without a warrant. If you consent to a search, you waive your constitutionally protected rights. However, courts have more often sided with law enforcement if the officer has “probable cause” to believe a crime, or evidence of a crime, was contained within the shanty justifying a warrantless search.  In a case where an officer standing outside your shanty can see, hear, or smell evidence of a crime, commonly referred to as “Plain View”, he or she might receive support in the court to the argument of an exception to a warrantless search. If there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest, even for child support, a search may be reasonably permissible of your person and your immediate surroundings. In a case where an officer bursts into your shanty without reason, and finds evidence of a crime, a Court might favor your right to privacy.

The greater you demonstrate your expectation of privacy, the greater your chance is of being free from a warrantless search. I was once presented with the question of whether or not it was illegal to do what two consenting adults might do if they were in the confines of their own home…use your own imagination. Believe it or not, both could possibly be charged with felony obscene conduct if their adult conduct was remotely visible to a person walking by or passing by on their snowmobile. There is no separate set of statutes that apply to conduct simply because you are over a frozen pond. The laws would similarly apply if any of the above conduct was witnessed in a boat.

Moral of the story? Get outdoors this winter and enjoy. Fish safely and legally. Should experience any negative encounter, or receive any violation notice, please contact attorney G. Sal Gani at (517) 372-8944 to consult with an experienced attorney for a legal opinion. I encourage you to also visit our web site at ganilaw.com.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Reviewing this information or contacting us alone does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. You should not rely upon any information as legal advice.

Snowmobile Legally in Michigan

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Snowmobile Legally in Michigan

 By: G. Sal Gani of the GANI LAW FIRM

Soon the snow will be falling and the trails will again become the path to winter wonderland in our great state of Michigan.  Enjoying the sport means doing so safely and legally.  Getting hurt, hurting others or being cited for violation of snowmobiling laws is everything you want to avoid.

For those of us who enjoy the sport year after year you all know the basic rules, including proper registration and purchase of your annual trail permit. Be careful of those might try to sell you a discounted trail permit on the internet. I have heard there are people making fake permits and selling them cheap. You get what you pay for. Again, ignorance of the law is never a defense to a citation.  Please allow me to share with you some of the frequently asked questions I am asked in the winter months.

1)  Q:   If a person offers to sell me his trail permit for a 50% discount should an I buy it?

A:  No I would not. You might fall victim to a scam. Be safe and legal.

2)  Q:   Can I ride anywhere without valid registration or trail permit?

A:   Snowmobiles are exempt from certain requirements if operated exclusively on lands owned or under control of the owner so long as  you are  riding your private property, or private property with consent; while safety educational programs are being conducted by a certified instructor; under special events prescheduled with a governmental agency.  A snowmobile may be operated without a trail permit, but with valid registration, if the snowmobile is being used exclusively for transportation on the frozen surface of public waters for ice fishing.  Be prepared to prove you are going to or from your special fishing hole.  Please be safe and wear a flotation life vest if there is any chance you are less than 100% sure of ice thickness.

3)  Q:   Can I drive my snowmobile on the road?

A:   (a) Snowmobiles may be operated on designated highways in a designated county which is not normally snow plowed for vehicle traffic;

(b) On the right-of-way or shoulder when no right of way exists on a snow plowed highway in designated counties;

(c) Outside city or village limits which is designated and marked for snowmobile use by the county road commission.

(d) On the roadway or shoulder when necessary to cross a bridge or culvert if the snowmobile is brought to a complete stop before entering the roadway, you yield to any approaching motor vehicle; you stay in single file and attempt to cross at a right angle to the roadway. I was with friend three years ago who was stopped for ridding against traffic when there was no cars on the road.

4)  Q:   Can I operate my snowmobile if I drink alcohol?

A:   Common sense should not be ditched.  As with any other motor vehicle, it is illegal to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You might be banned from operating a snowmobile and preserve your right to operate a car. There are many exceptions so get a wise legal opinion if you find yourself in trouble.

5)  Q:   Are there speed limits on the trails?

A:   The general rule is a person may not exceed a rate of speed greater than is  reasonable for existing conditions. Pay attention to the roadway limits.

6)  Q:   What other operation could be considered illegal?

A:   (a) In a forest nursery or public property when growing stock may be damaged. Be smart; stay on the trails because trails often cut through areas where seedlings have been planted.  Hint- if the area looks like it has been clean cut in the past few years stay on the trails or risk a ticket;

(b) You cannot drive within 100 feet of a dwelling between the hours of midnight and 6:00 am at a speed greater than the minimum required to maintain forward movement. Yes, leaving the local watering hold like a bat out of He_ _ is illegal and really inconsiderate;

(c) On the land of another without owners consent as required by the “Recreational Trespass Act”. It is your responsibility to be aware of property lines beyond state lands;

(d) In an area open to public hunting from November 15-30 during the firearm hunting season from 7:00 am to 11:00 am and from 2:00pm to 5:00 pm;

(e) Transporting a bow unless encased or unstrung, or a firearm unless unloaded and securely encased;

(f) On or across a burial ground or cemetery, airport property, public or private parking lot, railroad right of way, or within 100 feet of a sledding, skiing, or   skating area.

7)  Q:   Is it true you must have the ability to lock the traction belt with the brake to be legal?

A:   Yes, the law requires the following:

1.  Braking ability to stop the snowmobile in no more than 40 feet traveling at 20mph while traveling on packed snow with an operator of 175 pounds or more.

2.  Ability to lock the traction belt on demand.

8)  Q:   Am I required to report accidents to the police?

A:   You must report any snowmobile accident to the county law enforcement where anyone is injured or where property damage is estimated at $100.00 or more, even if the accident involves only one snowmobile and no one was injured.  One  reason is so they can verify if alcohol was a factor.

9)  Q:   My driver’s license is suspended- can I still operate my snowmobile?

A:   NO, unless you want to risk being charged with Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) is the safe answer. You may win on a technicality but it is not worth the risk.

10)  Q:   What happens if I get caught operating while impaired by alcohol consumption?

A:   If you are convicted of operating while under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, you will have six points assessed against your driver’s license, impaired due to consumption of alcohol or drugs will result in a four point assessment, pay hearing, fines, and whatever the court orders.

11) Q:  Do the fleeing and eluding laws apply to snowmobiles?

A:   Absolutely! At best, it can be a misdemeanor. At worst a felony. Whether you attempt to knowingly flee on your snowmobile is a question of fact.  A good example was at bud bash in Tip up Town last year.  A few riders made it close to the beer tent,   quickly jumped off their sleds, and attempted to blend in with the dozens of nearby riders. No problem, though the officers could not identify their faces, they watched from a ways back with binoculars. Once they got back on their snowmobiles, it was sufficient to identify them by their suits.

These are just some of the many questions that come up each year.  Ignorance of the law is no defense.  Operate safely and legally.  Give the same respect you would expect to any other rider on any property.  Live to enjoy your next ride.  The season is short. If you have any questions please contact attorney G. Sal Gani at (517) 372-8944 or visit our new web site at Gani Law .com. Remember the five p’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I handle matters throughout the State of Michigan. I try to ride almost every weekend in Roscommon-Crawford and Kalkaska county areas and look forward to a winter season this year. Ride safe.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.  We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail.  Reviewing this information or contacting us alone does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.  You should not rely upon any information as legal advice.

Rights of an Accused Michigan Hunter

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Rights of an Accused Michigan Hunter

By: G. Sal Gani of the GANI LAW FIRM

That time of year is coming soon. Thousands of men, women, and children take to the woods for that trophy buck or to stock pile the freezer. It is also the time when Conservation Officers converge to the woods to look for violations. From the officer’s point of view, they are there to enforce laws for the protection of the public and preservation of our natural resources.  Some hunters believe they are needed in the field to make sure all sportsmen play by the same rules. Others believe they roam the woods to entrap and harass hunters. No matter what your opinion, there is one thing we all must agree: we are all entitled to due process of the law – the right to be treated equal and fair.

Every hunter and fisherman must be aware of all laws, restrictions, and commission orders issued by the DNR. Every year the DNR publishes hunting and fishing manuals that we all must read to keep informed of major changes in the law, no matter how experienced we may think we are.  Remember “Ignorance of the law is no defense” to a ticket.

Penalties can be either a civil infraction or a criminal misdemeanor. A civil infraction is similar to a traffic citation, as you can ask for a hearing to defend yourself, or you can admit responsibility and pay the fine at the appropriate District Court Clerk’s Office.  If you are issued a misdemeanor citation, you face an entirely different process.  Do not be fooled into thinking it is simply acceptable to appear at the clerk’s office and simply pay a fine. You could wind up with a criminal record.  The result can be devastating.

Many sportsman violations are classified as criminal misdemeanors, and although you can pay a fine at the clerk’s office and think the matter is closed, the conviction could follow you for the rest of your hunting life. A misdemeanor conviction can result in a penalty of up to 90 days in jail (one year under certain conditions), up to a few thousand dollars in fines and costs, possible loss of hunting or fishing privileges, and/or probation by discretion of the court.

It is simple to determine what type of violation was issued.  On most citations, there are small boxes usually located on the left side of the middle of the ticket.  There will likely be a marking in the box to designate your offense charged.  For example – CI means civil infraction, Misd means criminal misdemeanor, and W means you received a warning. Fel means a felony, which is much more serious and usually involves another statutory allegation, such as improperly carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle without a license, causing injury to another with a weapon, or attempting to flee or elude an officer.  A felony is defined as any criminal violation where the maximum penalty is anywhere from one year in jail and up to life in prison.

There are dozens of well-known laws, such as hunting without a license or illegally tagging a deer. Some are less known and may seem illogical, but carry serious penalties, such as possession of an illegal feather or illegal use of a light. Can you believe it was illegal to sell fishing equipment to another while standing on a pier, even a hook?! I have represented many sportsman that were charged with a criminal misdemeanor that carried a “mandatory” five days, yes “mandatory” jail for acts, such as accidentally hooking or snagging a fish in a rapid stream.  That means if you pled guilty, or are found guilty to this charge, the judge could not impose a jail sentence of less than five days.

You should immediately consult with an attorney experienced in this area of law if you are not sure of how to properly resolve an alleged violation. There is no second chance to deal with a violation. You should not simply take advice from an officer and “just go to court and pay the fine.”  Every person is entitled to due process and to have their day in Court.  Proceeding without knowing all of your rights can result in manifest injustice.

Hiring the right attorney is not an easy choice if you do not know the attorney.  You should be sure to ask many questions of any attorney and feel free to obtain a second opinion if you are not confident that attorney can competently handle your case.  The initial consultation should leave you with a strong feeling of confidence that the attorney understands your issue, and you feel confident that attorney can represent you effectively and efficiently.