In January 2015, University of Michigan fraternities and sororities took a trip north of Ann Arbor to two popular ski resorts in northern Michigan. During their stay at Treetops Resort and Boyne Mountain, the students reeked havoc through the rooms and halls and caused, as the price stands now, over $130,000 in damage to both resorts. The restoration company working to clean and repair the damage at Treetops said it was the worst damage they had seen in their 16 years in business.
Otsego County, where Treetops is located, held a county board meeting about the damage done to one of their most popular attractions and decided to demand prosecution of the University of Michigan students to the "fullest extent of the law." So far, no criminal charges have been brought against the 120 students that attended the resort in January, but the Michigan State Police are still investigating the incident.
Though the fraternities and sororities have issued public statements apologizing for their actions at the resorts and have been suspended from activities on the University of Michigan campus, this is not enough to rescue the students of these organizations from criminal charges. The manager of Treeptops, Barry Owens, has also received numerous verbal and written apologies from the students of University of Michigan involved in the incident. Actions like these can be causing more damage to these students rather than helping them mask their involvement. By apologizing through public statements, letters, and telephone conversations these students are admitting their involvement and their presence at the resort, so basically these students are admitting to being involved in a crime before criminal charges are even brought against them. As far as anyone can tell, no students have sought the advice of an attorney.
However, it is not just these Michigan students who have made the mistake of speaking to law enforcement and others involved in the situation before seeking the advice of an attorney. Situations like these happen frequently with adults, teens, and minors as well.
The importance of talking to and hiring a Michigan criminal sexual conduct attorney before speaking to law enforcement is crucial. Our office primarily deals with defending sex crimes, termination of parental rights, and child abuse allegations. With any criminal charges or allegations that accompany the above listed crimes, talking to law enforcement or Child Protective Services before speaking to an attorney can potentially hurt your defense. Further, law enforcement use interrogation techniques that have been shown to easily yield false confessions, so even innocent persons speaking to law enforcement may not be protected. At The Law Offices of Shannon M. Smith, our main priority is to start defending you from the beginning, before any interviews with police or Child Protective Services takes place. In most cases, we do take our clients in for interviews. Hiring an attorney does not necessarily mean you cannot tell your side the story. If you are being asked to speak with police or Child Protective Services, call our office today for a free consultation.