A group of like-minded individuals focusing on customer service, reasonable fees, and getting to know our clientele to better address all their legal needs. A group of approachable people who care about the work they do. Available 24/7 via phone.
A group of highly educated, yet approachable, attorneys with middle class values and work ethic who seek to not only address the legal needs of our clients, but also help personally get them through whatever legal hurdle they are facing. We focus on several areas of law including: License appeals (getting your driving privileges restored), criminal defense, (all felonies and misdemeanors including DUI/OWI, Assault and Batttery, Domestic Violense, Drug Offenses, Larceny, etc.); Family law, which includes Divorce, Custody, Parenting Time, and Adoptions; Personal Injury cases including dog bites and auto accidents; Expungements (clear your criminal record); and CPS investigations (we strive to keep your family together when the state tries to break it apart). We offer affordable rates, and payment plans for qualifying individuals. We practice all over the state of Michigan, with a focus on the eastern half of the state. Check out our services and bios at tritonlegal.com
3906 N. Euclid Avenue
Bay City MI 48706
Most cases are offered on a fixed fee basis if one so desires. Some family law cases are billed via retainer and hourly fees.
We act first and we act fast whenever you are charged with a crime. It is important to contact an attorney immediately if you are charged with a crime. Time lost can equal rights lost, including the State putting you in jail with an expensive bond.
Bay City Area Criminal Defense F.A.Q.
1. What do I do if Iâm arrested?
If you were arrested on the day you allegedly committed a crime, then most likely you will be taken to the jail and processed. This usually includes the police taking some general information from you, as well as photographing and fingerprinting you. Depending on the crime, you may be detained in jail with or without a bond being set. You may be released upon paying a bond, or by promising to appear at a later date (called a personal recognizance bond). You should hire the best criminal defense lawyers you can find. Triton Legal PLC will fight for your rights.
2. What is a bond?
A bond is a promise, usually given in monetary form, that allows you to be released from jail if you return to court when the judge tells you to do so. The amount you have to pay for the bond varies on the seriousness of the allegations, your criminal history, and other factors. Generally speaking, the less serious the alleged crime, the lower the bond will be. For minor offenses where one has little to no criminal record, a personal recognizance bond may be authorized. This requires the accused to not have to pay any upfront money, but if they do not show up to court when asked, they may have to pay the amount to stay out of jail in the future.
3. What if I can not afford the bond the court is charging me to get out of jail?
This is where a bondsman may be employed. A bondsman will typically charge you much less than a court will for a bond. For example, if the court wants $1000 as a bond, a bondsman may agree to pay that amount for you, while charging you 20-25% of that amount. The benefit of this transaction is that you do not have to pay as much money to get out of jail. The downside is that the bondsman keeps your money, whereas the court will either refund 90% or more of your bond or apply it to any fines you may incur by the end of the case.
4. What if I was not arrested at the time of the alleged incident?
In many cases, drug crimes especially, the police will take the suspected drugs and send them to a lab for analysis. They may not even write you a ticket. Months later when the analysis is complete, you may then get paperwork from the court advising you of the charges. At this point, the court will either specify a date for you to come in, or they will let you go to a âwalk-inâ arraignment, where you simply show up during a certain time of day to be arraigned.
5. I have been charged with a crime and am now out on bond. What happens next?
Next is called the arraignment. An arraignment is where one goes in front of the court to have the charges and penalties read to them. You can even plead guilty to the crime at your arraignment, though it is highly suggested you do not. After the charges are read, the court will set a bond, (if you have not paid one already), give you a new court date, and may impose special conditions for your release. For example, on a domestic violence charge, the court may tell you that you can not have any contact with the alleged victim in the case- even if they are your spouse.
If it is a drug or alcohol offense, you may be placed on random drug and alcohol testing. If it is a more serious offense, some courts will have you check in with them on a daily basis. Note: for some minor offenses, if you hire an attorney before going to your arraignment, your attorney can often times get the arraignment waived altogether, thus lessening any potential conditions for your release.
It is very important to have the best criminal defense lawyer at your arraignment, as they can have an impact on what conditions are placed on you during the pending of your charges.
6. I have been charged with a crime, and either had an arraignment or have had your arraignment waived. Now what?
Your case will proceed in one of two ways after your arraignment, depending on whether you were charged with a felony (a crime punishable with prison time), or a misdemeanor (a crime for which there is no possibility of prison).
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, your case will be set for a pre-trial. The pre-trial is where you and your attorney can go over the evidence against you, your attorney can speak to the prosecutor, and you then start making decisions as to how to proceed. If your attorney negotiates a good plea deal, and you accept it, then the case proceeds to sentencing at a future date. If more investigation needs to be completed before the case can be settled, then it may be adjourned for a period of time. And as always, you may choose to not accept any deal and instead ask for a trial, where a group of your peers will decide your guilt or innocence.
7. What if I was charged with a felony?
If charged with a felony, there are some similarities and differences as to how your case will proceed. Similar to a misdemeanor case, a felony case will also have an initial court date where you and your attorney will look at the evidence against you and begin potential negotiations with the prosecutorâs office. These hearings are usually called status conferences or pre-exam conferences.
One difference between a felony and a misdemeanor case is timing. Felony cases are put on more strict time frames than misdemeanor cases. For example, after being arraigned on a felony charge, you are entitled to a preliminary exam within 21 days of your arraignment, unless you waive that right, or there is good cause otherwise. Bring the best criminal defense lawyers from Triton Legal PLC to defend your rights.
8. What is a preliminary exam?
A preliminary exam is a hearing with you, your attorney, the prosecutor, and any witnesses that are used to determine if there is probable cause that you MAY have committed the alleged felony offense. A judge decides if that burden has been met, and there is no jury present. These hearings are sometimes waived, and sometimes not. You can freely choose to waive a preliminary exam, wherein the case will be moved to the circuit court for further proceedings.
You may choose to have your preliminary exam to see what the prosecutorâs evidence looks like. Rarely does one testify at their own preliminary exam, as the goal is to get the prosecutor to reveal their cards, and for the defense to keep theirs guarded. Of course, every case is different, and plea negotiations may factor into whether a preliminary exam is necessary at all. As always, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to figure out how your case should proceed.
If the preliminary exam is waived, then as stated before, the case proceeds to circuit court (more on that later). If the hearing is held, the judge may decide there is no probable cause for your case to proceed and will dismiss the case. Note: this is very rare! Probable cause is a very low standard and most judges, even if the case is not advantageous for trial on the prosecutionâs side, will still bind the case over to circuit court.
When a felony enters circuit court, there is usually another opportunity to negotiate the case before it heads to trial. Additionally, your attorney will have an opportunity to file any motions with the court related to any legal issues with your case. These motions can be filed in both district AND circuit court, giving you the opportunity for a circuit court judge to overrule a district court judge on any particular legal issue.
9. Motion? Whatâs a Motion?
A motion is a legal writing which asks the court to make a ruling about some factor in your case. An attorney can motion the court to change your bond or bond conditions, ask for your release from jail, ask that evidence be included or excluded, up to even asking the court to suppress all of the evidence in your case and have it dismissed. Motions typically involve your attorney presenting a legal argument in front of the judge, where the prosecutor has an opportunity to object to it. Ultimately, the judge has the final say in granting or denying a motion- they are not heard by a jury.
(Back to your felony case in circuit court)If you had a motion denied on your felony case in district court, your attorney may ask the circuit court to rule on the same motion. The circuit court judge has the ability to reverse the lower courtâs decision and grant whatever relief you and your attorney are seeking. They can also deny the motion again.
After an additional period for negotiation and motion filing, your case will go to trial if it is not resolved beforehand.
At Triton Legal PLC, we have the best criminal defense lawyers. We understand that this is a difficult time in your life, and youâre looking for someone whoâs tough, aggressive, knowledgeable, and is a winner. But we also know that you need someone to not just talk at you and tell you about how great they are. You need someone to listen. We pride ourselves on being compassionate and understanding. When things have taken a turn for the worse, you need someone to listen to you and have some understanding. Call our office in Bay City, Michigan today to schedule a consultation.
One must act fast when charged with a DUI. Call our experienced DUI attorneys so we may help arrange a reasonable bond and reasonable bond conditions. We help our clients push back when the system tries to push them down
Charged with drunk driving? Our DUI attorneys handle a great deal of DUI Offenses in Bay City, MI. Top-rated we represent your best interests.
If you are arrested for drunk driving (DUI) in Michigan, you face life-changing penalties. Depending upon the charges, you could lose your license, spend time in jail, and be sentenced to probation or mandatory counseling. The DUI attorneys at Triton Legal PLC analyze your case each step of the way and make sure your rights are not violated.
Since we handle a great deal of Drunk Driving (DUI) Offenses in Bay City, Michigan, Our DUI attorneys know that being accused of violating the drunk driving laws (MCL 257.625) can cost you. Making sure you hire the best DUI attorneys in Bay City becomes critical to ensuring a positive outcome in your case. We have handled a significant amount of drunk driving (DUI) cases in Bay City, and we arenât afraid of taking a case to trial. We have success at the motion level, trial level, and even appeals in drunk driving, DUI, OWI, and other alcohol-related offenses.
In General, There Are 3 Levels of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Charges in The State of Michigan:
Driving with a high Blood Alcohol Content (.17 or over), commonly known as the Super Drunk Law.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)(OUIL)
Operating While Impaired (OWVI)
The penalties for these offenses range from having 6 points added to your license, mandatory counseling for one year, and the installment of a breathalyzer device on your vehicle (for the high BAC charge), down to 4 points, probation, and a 90-day restricted license (for Impaired driving).
Michigan Law â MCL 257.625 â is a complex area, which requires a deep knowledge of the interaction of a range of other laws that can affect you should you be charged with a drunk driving offense in Bay City.
These Offenses Can Be Broken Down Into Three Parts:
Why did the police have contact with you?
Did the police compile enough information to believe you were driving under the influence?
Did the police follow the proper procedures throughout the arrest process?
Many people want to know what to do should they get pulled over for Drunk Driving. While no case is typical, it is almost always advisable to not speak or volunteer information if you are pulled over after imbibing. You should ALWAYS remain respectful, and allow us to sort things out after an arrest for Drunk Driving. If the police ask you to step out of your vehicle, you must do so. You are not required to take a Preliminary Breath Test (Or roadside test), and you are not required to perform Field Sobriety tests for an officer.
While these are Civil Infractions and you may receive a ticket for refusal to take roadside tests, it is a common misconception that you lose your license for refusal. If you refuse anything on the side of the road, it would likely only result in the civil infraction and a few points on your license. You are only required (under penalty of losing your license) to submit to a Breath Test AFTER youâve been arrested for a Drunk Driving Crime.
If your rights were violated at any time during the process, Our DUI attorneys immediately file motions and other court documents to address the issues in your case.
Court Process in Drunk Driving Cases:
In Michigan, when youâve been charged with a Drunk Driving or OWI, the court process can be very confusing. The experienced DUI attorneys at Triton Legal will guide you through the process and make sure that you understand what your best options are.
When you are charged with a Drunk Driving Offense in Bay City, Saginaw, Midland, Arenac, or the surrounding areas, the first thing to happen after an arrest will be your arraignment. This is a process whereby the Judge tells you what you are charged with, and the maximum possible penalties. They may also set bond conditions at this hearing. Hiring Triton Legalâs DUI attorneys can be beneficial because we can waive this first hearing for you, preventing you from having to take precious time off work, sitting in a courtroom for hours.
The next step of the process is a Pre-Trial, where we will speak with the prosecutor to see whether the case and be resolved. After this step, in many instances Motions will be filed to keep out certain evidence, or to attempt to bring evidence in.
If not resolution of the case is made at the pre-trial, the case would then proceed to Trial. At trial, you have the opportunity to call witnesses, and cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses. You can also challenge the prosecution's evidence of drunk driving, and present evidence that is contrary to the prosecutions.
If you are found not guilty, the case is over and you would be free to go. If you are found guilty at trial, you would be referred to a Probation agent to complete a pre-sentence interview, and then return later for sentencing.
At Triton Legal PLC, our DUI attorneys take pride in diligently representing the best interests of our clients, including taking on overzealous cops, prosecutors and judges. Call us today.
Strength when you need it the most!
We help people get their driving privileges restored through the SOS and Circuit Court appeals processes. We are highly rated in this area (see our google reviews). We also help people who qualify to get their criminal record expunged. Call us!
Getting your driverâs license back after it has been revoked by the Secretary of State is a very difficult process. Although the standard packet the State gives petitioners in order to engage in that process states that one is allowed to have an attorney, though one is not required, this is very misleading. Not only is it to your advantage if you hire legal counsel to get you through this process, but it's also to your even greater advantage if you hire an attorney who is familiar with the ins and outs of the process overall. The Bay City Attorneys at Triton Legal PLC know the process and can help you get back on the road.
In order to successfully win a case for driverâs license restoration reinstatement in Michigan, the law says that one must show that their substance abuse problems, if any, are under control, likely to remain under control, and that one is a low to minimal risk to re-offend. Stated a different way, one must prove to the Secretary of State that they are a safety risk to be allowed back on the road as a licensed driver because any substance abuse issue they may have had is now in the past, has been treated, and there is no likelihood that one is going to fall back into those same sorts of problems that led to the loss of their license in the first place.
We Preserve Your Freedom to Drive
How one proves this to the Secretary of State is a multi-pronged process. One must get testimonial letters from people who are aware of oneâs history with drugs and/or alcohol, when those relationships ended, and how one has changed their life after removing those substances from it. Then, one must have an evaluation from a trained therapist regarding any current or past substance abuse issues, along with a multi-panel drug and alcohol screen, which must come back negative for all addictive substances.
Relatedly, although one is allowed to be on prescription medicine which may be addictive (i.e., Xanax, Norco, Ocycotin, etc), one must also get sufficient medical documentation to show that this drug will not lead to a relapse into more illicit substances. One must also submit a request for hearing to the State, which acts as a self-report of oneâs conviction, usage and treatment history.
After all of these documents are submitted, a Petitioner is scheduled for a hearing, often months later. At the hearing, a Hearing Officer, which is a trained attorney working for the State who decides the fate of your driverâs license status, will ask you several questions about your sobriety, your past, and how one is dealing with life in general in the absence of drugs and/or alcohol. If one brings an attorney to this hearing, you will be asked several questions by both your attorney and the Stateâs representative.
If one proves their case for driverâs license reinstatement, they will more than likely be granted a restricted driverâs license, requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device, commonly called a âbreathalyzerâ which must be placed in their vehicle for a minimum of 12 months.
After that time period, a Petitioner must have yet another hearing with the State, where they must present all new evidence and testimony, in order to be given full licensing privileges. At this second hearing, the interlock company will provide the Petitioner with an annual report of their activity on the breathalyzer, which, if one wishes to be successful at the hearing, should have no violations.
Why Get a Lawyer for This Sort of Hearing?
First, it is of great note that one should NOT just get any attorney to help them engage in this process. You need an experienced attorney who is familiar with this process, itâs requirements, and the attitudes of each Hearing Officer they may be subjected to. Failure to hire an attorney who has actually presented cases to the State can lead to errors that will impede oneâs ability to ever get their license reinstated.
For example, some attorneys will take the evidence you submit, including your letters, Request for Hearing, and evaluation, and just file them without even looking at the data they contain. I have personally witnessed this and heard other stories on how this can work out for a Petitioner. For example, one story I heard involved an attorney submitting a positive alcohol screen on behalf of their client. It is very difficult to claim years of sobriety if oneâs drug and alcohol screen is tainted. Other attorneys will just sit there and listen as their client states they have had, say, 5 years of sobriety, while the letters the attorney failed to read all say their client has 3 or 6 or 2 years of sobriety. Meanwhile, their clientâs request for hearing states that they drank alcohol every day and at a high quantity, while their evaluation states they rarely drank. All of these things are potential issues one can have at a hearing that is easily avoided if you hire the right person to do the job.
Why You Want Triton Legal for Your Driverâs License Appeal in Bay City, Michigan
First- feedback and guidance. If you hire an attorney at our firm, you will first be given a packet of information and instructions to help guide you through this process of Driverâs License Restoration in Michigan. This packet will also contain worksheets, which can then be given to your letter writers, which will assist them in writing informative and consistent information on your behalf. These letters will be personally reviewed by your attorney to ensure they have the proper data and consistency.
Second- your evaluation is key. Although there are many therapists out there who are good at treating individuals regarding their substance abuse issues, not many are trained and experienced on what the Secretary of State is looking for in a good evaluation. At our firm, we pride ourselves on connecting you to the appropriate counselors who are very experienced in the license appeals process. They will even testify on your behalf should the need arise.
Third- details. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance in these cases. Your attorney will carefully review your entire packet of evidence before it is submitted to ensure you have submitted complete and accurate information for the Hearing Officerâs review. They will make sure all of your evidence is presented in a consistent manner, which will greatly aid your case.
Fourth- Questions and Attitudes! Each Hearing Officer is a human being, and each of them has their own style, behavior, and manner of asking questions. Our attorneys have presented enough cases that not only are we familiar with each Hearing Officer and how they operate, but we generally know the types of questions each one will be asking you, and whether or not they will let your attorney do most of the talking, or if they are more inclined to do the questioning.
To prepare for this, not only will you be given sample questions from all of the Hearing Officers in your initial packet, but you will also practice with your attorney before the hearing, so you are familiar with what you will be talking about when you have your actual hearing.
Fifth- Appeals. Not only do we win most of our cases on the first try with the Secretary of State, but we also win many appeals concerning the few cases we may lose. If one loses their hearing with the State, they are allowed an appeal to the Circuit Court in the county they last resided in where a judge can overrule the Secretary of State and grant one either a restricted or in some cases, a full license, over the Stateâs objection. Since our firm has attorneys with vast experience in courts all over the state, they also know how different judges treat these appeals, which enhances their success rate when the appeal is presented for review.
Last- Reputation. The attorneys in our firm have a great reputation with the Secretary of State. They are known for presenting honest, complete, and consistent cases to the various Hearing Officers. Because we make things easier for not only our clients but the State itself in the way we represent our clients, our success rate has increased even further over the years.
While this seems like a lot of information, this is but the surface of a multi-faceted area of law. Each case is different and will have its own unique set of facts and circumstances surrounding it. Donât make the mistake of hiring someone who couldnât put two paragraphs together regarding this process- hire the professionals here at Triton Legal PLC
Driver's License Appeals & Restoration
As a driver’s license appeal attorney, Joseph J. Blata has extensive experience in all facets of the restoration of driving privileges. This includes driver’s license appeals to the Secretary of State, secondary appeals to the circuit court, and interlock/BAIID violations. Interlock/BAIID violations include tampering/circumvent, rolling retests, and positive alcohol tests.
As a driver’s license appeal attorney, Joseph J. Blata’s success rate and reputation are impeccable. He has a great reputation with the hearing officers who preside over these cases, and he knows each hearing officer’s personality and the questions they like to ask of a Petitioner. He also has an outstanding reputation with the Secretary of State in bringing quality cases to the hearing room.
Attorney Blata has also been practicing criminal defense for his entire law career. In his criminal defense practice, Joe has handled a multitude of misdemeanor and felony cases. These include domestic violence and other assault crimes; possession of cocaine, fentanyl, and other drug crimes; and DUI/drunk driving cases of every type. He has been successful both at trial and in keeping charges off the permanent record of his clients. He also cares about his clients in a personal manner, helping where he can to make sure they do not repeat the mistakes of their past.
Blata’s family law experience goes from simple, uncontested divorces to complicated custody, parenting time, and marital estate litigation.
More About Joseph J. Blata
Joseph J. Blata was raised in the small town of Skidway Lake, Michigan by a middle-class family of blue-collar General Motors workers. After graduating from Whittemore-Prescott High School, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree with a double major in English and Psychology. Not quite sure if he wanted to be a psychiatrist, attorney, or something else, Joe (or Joey to his longtime friends) entered the workforce in metro Detroit for 2 years.
Still unsatisfied, he attended Central Michigan University for 2 years, studying pre-medicine and enhancing his psychology degree. It was at this point he decided he wanted to be an attorney, so he obtained his Law Degree at Michigan State College of Law (though he is still a Wolverine at heart).
Outside of work, Joe enjoys golf, gaming, and spending time with friends and family. He also is the head of a memorial scholarship fund in the name of his sister who passed from breast cancer in 2015. The monies raised for this fund (100% of which goes to the fund- there are no administrative costs kept), go to assist a student from his home town as they pursue a nursing degree. This is to honor his sister, Tracy, who was one of the best hospice nurses around before she was taken away by her disease.
Joe also volunteers with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), which is a conservation organization focusing on bringing back the elk herd and land to Michigan.
Much of Joe’s success in family law, license appeals, and criminal defense, stems from his ability to understand human behavior and his no-nonsense approach. If you want an attorney who can delve into the deeper issues, and be upfront about them, then he is ready to help fight whatever legal battle you are facing.
University of Michigan/ CMU/ MSU College of Law
English/Psychology/ JD, 1999
Brian H. Jean was born and raised in Bay County. He was homeschooled throughout his primary years, which gives him a unique perspective. Brian attended Central Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelors Degree at 20. He then attended Ave Maria School of Law, being taught by some of the top legal minds in the country.
During his time in Law School, he interned for the Wayne County Prosecutor, prosecuting serious felonies. After graduating, he returned to Bay County to raise his family, and serve the community. Brian resides in Bay County and is a Williams Township Trustee; where he espouses limited government ideals.
Brian is our Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) expert. He knows how tough the system can be on families and their children, and he will fight that system every step of the way.
His zealous representation of parents against CPS has earned him a reputation sought all over the state. He frequently is able to defeat a CPS investigation before it begins and has helped many families remain intact from the intruding reach of the government. Besides this niche, Brian also practices in the following areas:
Personal Injury Claims
Brian has been a sought-after litigator that takes a client-centered approach to cases.
Delta College/ CMU/ Ave Maria School of Law
B.S. CMU/ A.A. Delta College/ JD Ave Maria School of Law, 2005
Matthew W. Boucher, a lifelong resident of Bay City, Michigan is a graduate from John Glenn High School, Michigan State University, and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he earned honors and received Certificates of Merit in Criminal Practice in Michigan and Property while specializing in Business and Criminal Practice.
While earning his Juris Doctorate, he interned for the Bay City Prosecutor for 3 terms, handling his own caseload, inclusive of misdemeanors and felonies. He achieved a flawless record conducting trials as an intern prosecutor and provided noteworthy assistance in major felony trials, some of which included complex CSC trials.
After receiving his Law Degree, Matthew continued his residence in Bay City, where he built his own business, practicing law in the community and raising his two young children, Skye and Sebastian. He enjoys spending time with his family, participating in their schooling and activities, and also playing golf and bowling. He is an active member of the Bay County Bar Association.
His professional practice includes a diverse range of case types, such as Criminal Defense, Family Law, Driverâs License Appeals/Restoration, CPS Investigation, Liquor License Appeals, and Civil Litigation. He executes a straight forward approach to each case issue at hand, providing realistic objectives, guidance, and consultation.
Taking pride in communication as a core value has earned Matthew a strong reputation as a go-to resource for clients demanding clear and concise direction and options during every phase of their case. Communicating these options has proven crucial in his ability to steadily provide the most fundamental of client concerns: Protection now and protection of their future.
Matthew has practiced all over the state of Michigan, giving him invaluable insight into the different courtroom personalities and professional styles, judgments, and expectations of their presiding occupants. Coupled with a strong reputation for preparation and communication, Mattâs clients know exactly what to do and how to behave in the courtroom long before they arrive. He cares about his clients and works diligently to ensure they receive the attention and results they deserve.
MSU/ Thomas M. Cooley Law School
B.S- MSU JD- Cum Laude- Thomas Cooley Law School, 2007
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