Frequently Asked Questions
This page is not meant to be legal advice. Instead it is to help answer some questions that most people have.
I was hurt in a car accident, but I don’t know if I have a case, what should I do?
Call me, I’m an experienced car accident lawyer in Michigan. I will ask you the right questions to figure out if you have a claim. Sometimes it takes some investigating to find out. I will go through police reports, videos, interview witnesses, and hire an investigator if needed. The important thing is that you get the help you need. If it turns out that you don’t have a case, that is okay too, because you’ll have the answer you needed.
Will you get me a clean record?
I will try my best and many times I’m able to do that either by winning at trial or working out a great deal. Sometimes a clean record is not possible in Michigan. A lot of this will depend on what you were charged with, how old you were when the alleged crime took place, if you have a criminal history, the court that you are in, the prosecutor, the judge, among other factors. I would be doing you a disservice if I told everyone that they would end up with a clean record.
Do I really need a will even though I’m not rich?
Probably. Many people think that wills are for old people or those who have money. That is just not true. The purpose of a will is to make sure that your loved ones know what to do with your stuff when you are gone. This could be as simple as giving your car to a relative or making sure that your kids get something. Also, by having a will, you may be able to avoid probate, which can be expensive and time consuming. If money is an issue, then we can discuss your options.
I was hurt in a car accident that I caused, can I still get some money for my injuries?
Maybe. The way Michigan’s No-Fault protections are setup, you may be able to collect if you were the one that caused the accident. To get a better answer, we would need to talk more about what happened, the type of injuries you suffered, among other things.
How much does it cost to meet with you?
Nothing. My initial consultations are always free. If you want to hire me, then you can do just that. All my free consultations are by appointment so call and we can either meet in person, over the phone, at your home/office, or at my location.
I’m not a U of Michigan student, can I still hire you?
Yes, Hermanowski Law is for my clients who are not students and don’t have cases against the University of Michigan. We can discuss your case in detail and then you can decide whether to hire me.
So what does this mean and how does Open Intox work in Ann Arbor?
This means that if you are on public property or streets, then the Ann Arbor Police can issue you a misdemeanor ticket for open intox. Some examples of public property are sidewalks, alleys, the street, parks, athletic fields; some shared driveways, some parking lots, railroad tracks, or anyplace owned/controlled by the City of Ann Arbor. If you have one foot on a sidewalk property, that is enough to getting charged.
What is an open container in Ann Arbor, Michigan?
An open container is any alcoholic container where the seal has been broken. This means that if you opened a bottle of alcohol and then closed the cap, it is considered an open container for legal purposes in Ann Arbor.
What if I am over 21?
If you are over 21, this law applies to you too. This just means you won’t be issued an MIP or Minor in Possession of Alcohol. Even if you can drink legally, drinking on public property or having an open alcohol container is still illegal in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
I only had one foot on the sidewalk, can I still be charged?
Yes, one way that people get in trouble is by going to a tailgate and not being aware of where they are drinking. They step onto the sidewalk, and a police officer sees them. That officer will most likely issue the misdemeanor ticket.
Another way people get in trouble on a Football Saturdays is by taking their alcoholic beverage with them to another place after the drink was opened.
My drink was in a Brown Bag or Red Solo cup, can the police stop me?
Maybe, these days, hiding a drink in a brown bag or using a solo cup is code for “I’m hiding alcohol”. If the police believe that you are consuming or have open intoxicants in public, then they can investigate. Unfortunately, it seems like a brown bag or red solo cup is an open invitation for the police to investigate. We can discuss this further and I can help you better understand if you have a defense.
What do I do if I am charged with Open Intox in Ann Arbor?
Call me at (734) 887-6079 I’m an experienced criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor. I’ve represented or consulted with hundreds of people for this very issue. My capacity working with students at the University of Michigan – Student Legal Services keeps me in the forefront on any changes and how these cases are handled. That office is often consulted when the court comes up with new programs. This experience gives me an advantage and allows me to help my private clients, through Hermanowski Law, more precisely. Some out of town attorneys may not be familiar with the programs available in Ann Arbor and may charge you based on the idea that the case is a misdemeanor and will require a ton of work. That is not the case here since these are common cases
Where will your Open Intox case be heard?
In The 15th District Court in front of Judge Hines, Judge Valvo, Judge Burke, or Magistrate Garwood. Many people qualify for a first offender type program. This program can make it possible to avoid a criminal conviction.
The ticket and the cop said I have 10 days to respond, what do I do? How urgent is this?
When the court processes the tickets they usually assign an arraignment date or first offender docket date. Those will be the 2nd Tuesday after the event. The best way to find out is to call the court. You should decide whether you want to hire an attorney before scheduled court date. If you hire an attorney, we will ask for a combined arraignment and pre-trial conference. I just need to know a couple days before your arraignment to submit the proper paperwork with the court. If you miss the arraignment or first offender docket, then you will be issued an Order for Show Cause. Do not panic. Many times it will not impact your case on a first offense if you have a good reason for not appearing. On the other hand, if you have a show cause hearing, then you will probably need to appear in front of the judge.
Is there a First Offender Program?
Yes, in fact many people qualify for the first offender program. If you do, then you might be able to handle this case on your own without a lawyer. The reason I tell you this is because it’s important to know that even though this is serious, there are options. Some attorneys out there that will scare you into thinking that this type of case requires special experience, knowledge, and expertise, that is simply not the situation here. If you put in the time and effort, you might be able to do this on your own.
Why should you hire a lawyer to help with an Open Intox case?
There are many reasons. Here are the top reasons:
- You had prior interaction with the police, criminal cases, or convictions
- Your ticket has more than one charge
- You believe you have a defense
- You are too nervous to handle this on your own
- You live out-of-town, in a different state, or don’t want to come back to Ann Arbor
- You want an attorney to review your case and help guide you through the process to make sure that you get the best possible outcome
- You just want to make sure that this case is resolved with as little impact on you as possible
What if you don’t live in Ann Arbor, or are from out-of-town or a different state?
If you are charged with open intox in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it is possible that I can go to court on your behalf. It is possible you won’t have to appear at all so long as I have the proper paperwork and authorizations are in order. Whether this is possible will depend on your criminal history, age, conduct that day, among other things.
Getting permission from the City Attorney or the court does not require specialized knowledge or experience. Often times when a case is resolved with a Civil Infraction, a lawyer can represent a client so the client doesn’t have to appear. No one can promise you that you won’t have to appear, but on a first offense Open Intox case, it is possible, and likely.
I’ve successfully represented clients in the Ann Arbor 15th District Court without them even going to court. This is really helpful if you live in another city or state and got in trouble while trying to see a Michigan Wolverines game.
What if I am a student at a school other than the University of Michigan?
Call me at (734) 887-6079 for a free consultation. While I can’t represent U of M students through Hermanowski Law, I often represent students from other schools. When interviewing lawyers, remember not to be intimidated or scared into hiring them. That is usually a red flag in my opinion. Your attorney is supposed to help you with your situation, not scare you.
How much does it cost to hire you as my lawyer?
Each situation is slightly different so we can discuss this over the phone. First offense cases are standard so the cost is the same for everyone. If you have more than one charge or your case requires additional work, then we would need to discuss the entirety of your situation. I am here to help you through this stressful situation. I also want you to be happy with my work and the end result, because my reputation is very important to me.
These cases are generally not very complicated. They are often resolved with one or two court appearances and as a result, I am able to charge a fair rate. Most attorneys spend between 3-6 hours working on a case like this. If a motion is required, then I accept that and will take that into account when we talk about the fee agreement. My fee is always a flat fee so there are no extra costs on my end. Keep in mind that the court will probably order you to pay a fine. You will be responsible for whatever the court orders you to do.
How do I hire you?
Call me at (734) 887-6079 or email me through my contact page. We will discuss your case, and then if you want to hire me, you will need to sign a flat fee agreement and arrange for payment. I accept cash, check, and credit/debit cards. My goal is to make this as stress-free for you as possible. I won’t pressure you, use scare tactics, or talk negatively about other attorneys either. Keep this in mind when speaking with other attorneys.