Michigan Police Step Up Enforcement, Impared & Drunk Driving Arrests for Fourth of July

June 27th, 2011

Ask anyone that lives in Michigan, and they will tell you that the summer months are the best. Traditionally filled with boating, barbecues, family, and friends, summertime brings everyone outside and on the roads. However, frequent celebrations and an increased number of people driving has prompted law enforcement officials to step up patrols. DWI defense lawyers statewide warn motorists: as the Fourth of July approaches, more police will be on the look out for impaired and drunk drivers.

Police departments from 35 counties across the state have begun stepping up enforcement in preparation of the summer holiday, increasing patrols from July 1st to July 10th. Certainly, this is nothing new. Law enforcement officials nationwide keep an extra eye out for intoxicated motorists, particularly around celebratory holidays. This year, however, police will not only focus on drunk driving arrests, but also at keeping motorists impaired by drugs off the road as well. “While the focus of this effort is drivers under the influence of alcohol, officers will be arresting any impaired driver and removing not only drunk drivers from the roadway, but also those under the influence of drugs,” explained Michael Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

When one looks at the statistics, it’s not surprising that state police officers would also be keeping watch for drugged driving as well. While drunk driving arrests and accidents in Michigan have decreased, there has been a significant rise in drugged driving arrests. From 2009 to 2010 alone, the number of drug-involved arrests and crashes has increased by 29 percent!

No matter what, it is always the best idea to designate a sober driver after consuming any type of intoxicating substance. Not only can someone get seriously injured, but the penalties for drunk driving in Michigan are severe and life-changing. If arrested for driving while intoxicated, it is in your best interest to immediately contact an experienced DWI defense lawyer for assistance. Doing so as soon as possible will ensure the best legal advice and legal representation for your case, protecting your personal liberties and freedoms from being taken away.

DWI Defense Lawyers – Michigan Under 21 Drunk Driving Defendant Postpones Pre-Trial Conference

June 16th, 2011

One does not need to be an experienced DWI defense lawyer to know that drunk driving arrests are a very big deal. If convicted, the penalties for drunk driving are severe, and can include many life-changing consequences. Because of the harsh punishments associated with driving while intoxicated, it often takes time for a DWI defense lawyer to prepare their case and gather evidence. Sometimes, it is even necessary to postpone court appearances, so that the defense is fully ready to present their defense. Such are the circumstances in a Michigan drunk driving case involving an underage intoxicated motorist who struck another vehicle, killing the other driver.

In January 2011, Kelley Nagle, 20, was driving a Chevy Trailblazer south on Dequindre Road in Sterling Heights when she attempted to pass another vehicle in front of her, but ended up cruising into oncoming traffic and colliding head–on with a Ford Ranger. The driver of the other vehicle, Annette Evans, 53, was pinned in her car before being removed by emergency rescue services. Although she was rushed to the emergency room, Evans was pronounced dead.

The drunk driving penalties that Nagle faces are severe. After performing tests, law enforcement officials determined that Nagle’s blood alcohol content was 0.23 at the time of the accident–almost three times the legal limit of 0.08. Had this been her first offense, she could have been charged under Michigan’s new super drunk law, which enforces harsher punishments for “excessively intoxicated” motorists. However, since this is Nagle’s second drunk driving offense (the first was in 2009), she has also violated the terms of her probation which will likely work against her in court. Prosecutors are currently charging her with the 15-year felony of Operating While Intoxicated causing death and the one-year misdemeanor of Operating While Impaired.

With all the drunk driving consequences Nagle is facing, it is no surprise that this is the second time her drunk driving attorneys have asked the court to postpone the Pre-Trial conference. Especially when dealing with a minor, cases of drunk driving are very complex and defending them takes great skill and experience. This is why it’s essential for every person arrested for a DUI, DWI, or OWI in Michigan to immediately contact knowledgeable DWI defense lawyers. Doing so will not only ensure the best legal advice and legal representation, it will also guarantee you the best defense possible in your drunk driving case. Do not hesitate to be proactive to secure your defense. Your personal liberties and freedoms are at stake!

DWI Defense Lawyers – Michigan Judge Deems Blood Tests from State Police Lab Unreliable

May 31st, 2011

One does not need to be an experienced DWI defense lawyer to know that being arrested for drunk driving is not only serious, but a process. If a law enforcement official suspects that a motorist is operating a vehicle while intoxicated, they will perform numerous tests to see if they are correct. Besides basic, field sobriety tests, police and prosecutors use the results of blood tests to charge defendants with drunk driving–if their blood alcohol content registers above 0.08 percent, they were driving while intoxicated.

The results of blood tests are very powerful in drunk driving cases–not only can it convince a jury of a defendant’s guilt, it can also convince them of a defendant’s innocence. Because of the significant role that blood test results play in drunk driving arrests and legal cases, it is essential that the data are absolutely correct, and carries an error of margin. Without it, a crime lab implies that their results are absolute and the true result–essentially that if tested 100 times, the results would always be the same.

This reasoning prompted District Court Judge Peter Wadel to toss out blood evidence against a Michigan resident who was charged with drunk driving. Jeffrey Jabrocki was arrested for driving under the influence, and underwent two blood tests by police. One registered that Jabrocki had a blood alcohol content of 0.29, while the other said that his BAC was 0.30. Even though both are significantly higher than the legal limit of 0.08, because there was no stated margin of error, Judge Wadel concluded that there was too much “uncertainty in measurement” to be reliable scientific data. “Without an error rate, the lab leaves an inference that the test result is an absolute or true result,” Judge Wadel wrote. “This uncertainty needs to be accounted for.” Because of Judge Wadel’s ruling, prosecutors can still charge Jabrocki with drunk driving, but will not be able to use the blood test results as evidence.

As experienced DWI defense lawyers in Michigan, the law firm of Kronzek & Cronkright applauds the judge’s decision to question the reliability of crime lab testing, particularly in drunk driving cases. Being convicted of driving while intoxicated can change a person’s life forever, resulting in enormous fines, time behind bars, and a permanent stain on one’s reputation. If the legal system is going to charge drunk drivers with permanent consequences, it is important to at least do so with reliable scientific evidence. Without it, true justice cannot be served for anyone.

DWI Defense Lawyers – Michigan Lawmakers Look to Equal Drunk Driving Penalties for Boats, Snowmobiles

May 17th, 2011

Michigan DWI defense lawyers must stay alert to changes made in state drunk driving laws. The recently passed “super drunk” driving measures increased penalties for those who had blood alcohol contents registering far above the legal limit of 0.08. While this change has already increased the number of drunk driving fines in Michigan, legislators have made it clear that they intend on taking their fight against DUI arrests much further.

As a beautiful state that sees many seasonal changes, residents love the opportunity to go boating in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter. However, because so many people statewide take advantage of these fun recreational activities, increased participation creates the opportunity for more drunk driving and drug use. In Muskegon County alone, the many lakes are home to 12,600 registered boaters and their guests. “We’ve had boating accidents in the past that were alcohol-related¼ that resulted in death,” explained Deputy Todd Dunham, who controls the county’s marine and snowmobiling patrols. “Most of your snowmobile accidents that occur are alcohol-related,” he added.

While law enforcement officials in Muskegon were thrilled to escape the 2010 boating season without a single fatal crash, more than a dozen boaters were arrested for drunk boating. The snowmobile season is not nearly as promising—since 2005, over 130 snowmobilers have been killed in Michigan due to alcohol-related accidents.

The increasing number of drunk driving arrests involving boat and snowmobile operators has prompted legislators to take an active stance on the issue. Last year, a fatal drunk boating accident prompted State Representative Matt Lori to craft a series of bills that would level the playing field for drunk driving on all types of vehicles, including boats, snowmobiles, and off-road vehicles.

Although the 2010 bills never made it to a vote, Lori reintroduced a similar bill this year that would change the legal blood-alcohol content for boaters and snowmobilers. Currently, the legal limit for operating a boat in Michigan is 0.10, which is higher than the legal limit for persons operating a car while intoxicated. If the measure passes, it would lower the legal limit for boaters to 0.08, as well as make changes to address repeat offenders and those using drugs while operating a boat or a snowmobile. The law currently provides a ten year time limit to impose a felony drunk driving charge for people who have had two or more previous offenses. However, under the proposed change, if the violation occurs after two or more prior convictions the offender would be charged with a felony, regardless of the number of years that have elapsed since any prior conviction.

While Michigan lawmakers are hopeful that the measures will receive support, it is unlikely that they will be in place in time for the 2011 boating season. should changes be made, it will be much easier for law enforcement officials to target those operating boats or snowmobiles should they suspect one is driving while intoxicated. Because the penalties for drunk driving will be much stricter, it is even more important for arrested persons to contact the best DWI defense lawyer available. Not only will an experienced and skilled Michigan DUI attorney be able to explain the new laws to you, they will provide the legal advice and legal representation needed to defend you. Do not hesitate to contact counsel, as doing so can protect your personal freedoms and liberties from suspension.

Michigan DUI Attorneys – Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Test Thrown Out for Inaccuracies

May 11th, 2011

Michigan DUI Lawyers are celebrating the recent court ruling which seeks to create more objective standards for reporting the results of chemical testing in drunk driving cases in Michigan. In this case, Mason County  District Court Judge Wadell ruled that blood test results from the Michigan State Police crime lab are inadmissible in court. The judge reasoned that because the crime lab does not record or publish its margain of errors on blood alcohol blood tests, the test results are not reliable. Forensic evidence must be both relevant and reliable to be admissible in a Michigan court.

The legal limit for drinking and driving in Michigan is a blood alcohol content, or “BAC,” of .08 or less. The problem with crime lab blood tests being unreliable says Judge Wedell, is because a driver whose blood was measured at perhaps .08, .09, or .10 may actually be under the limit and therefore be innocent of a drunk driving crime. Similarly, a Michigan driver whose BAC was measured to be .07 or below may actually be guilty of intoxicated driving or impaired driving.

Being convicted of an OWI in Michigan is serious business. You could end up in jail, be required to pay fines, receive a suspension of your driving privileges and more. That is why you need Michigan’s expert dui attorneys. Serious drunk driving attorneys follow the latest developments in the Michigan DUI law and are skilled at presenting constitutional defenses.

The Michigan State Police say they plan to appeal this ruling. Currently, this new caselaw only applies in the 79th District Court but if defense attorneys have their way, a similar rule would apply in places like Ingham County, Clinton County and Eaton County. Only time will tell, and until then, Michigan DUI lawyers will be watching.

Michigan DUI Attorney – Heiress Elena Ford Arrested for DUI & Child Endangerment

April 8th, 2011

Henry Ford’s great-great-grandaughter, Elena Ford, was recently arrested in Ferndale, Michigan for drunk driving. It is reported that a police officer noticed that Ms. Ford was speeding and that her 2011 Ford Explorer swerved in its lane, brushed against the curb, and eventually went up over the curb before bouncing back onto the road.

The officer reports that he pulled her over and noticed she smelled like alcohol and had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and a red face. Ford was given field sobriety tests, however she was unable to recite the alphabet past the letter “G” and count backwards from 100 to 80 without stopping or making mistakes. Her breathalyzer test read a blood alcohol level of .18; that is more than twice the legal limit in Michigan.

Elena Ford’s 11 year-old son was also in the car with her.  This resulted in an additional charge of Child Endangerment on top of  the OWI.  Child Endangerment is a misdemeanor often charged when a person drives while intoxicated in Michigan with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the offense. This factual scenario often leads to both criminal charges and child abuse / neglect cases designed to strip parents or guardians of their parental rights. Top Michigan Children’s Protective Services Defense Lawyers know how to fight against charges of Child Endangerment.

Michigan drunk driving cases affect people from all walks of life.  Child Endangerment cases can have severe consequences for parents.  Fortunately, a competent Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney can often help clients avoid the severe consequences of these types of cases.

MI DUI Charges – Michigan Police Can Legally Pull Motorists Over After Anonymous Tip

February 8th, 2011

Upon being pulled over for a traffic stop, the first question often running through a motorist’s mind is, “What did I do wrong?” In Michigan, police officers must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver has violated the law in order to stop them. Always on the prowl for drunk drivers, the attending officer can issue citations for DUI charges should signs of intoxication be visibly evident. Unfortunately however, experienced Michigan DUI attorneys often see instances where police lack just cause to stop a driver, but still cite them for criminal charges anyways. A perfect example is seen in a recent Michigan case, where a man was stopped by police on an anonymous tip and eventually arrested for drunk driving.

Being a popular holiday involving alcohol, police officers across Michigan always step up enforcements on and around St. Patrick’s Day. In this case, a police officer was observing traffic from a parking lot when he made eye contact with a woman driver who was trying to give him a message—she mouthed the words “almost hit me,” and pointed directly to the defendant’s vehicle in front of her. Without observing the defendant doing anything illegal, the police officer pulled over the defendant for a traffic stop and began to question him. Eventually, the attending officer determined that the motorist was driving while intoxicated and accused him of Michigan DUI charges.

The Defendant argued that the drunk driving charge should be dismissed because the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull him over. In Michigan, a police officer must reasonably suspect that a person has committed or is committing a crime before they can stop that person on the road. Otherwise, any evidence that the police officer finds during the stop may well be inadmissible in court—in this case, it would have been the fact that the defendant was intoxicated.  Making this information inadmissible would negate the prosecutor’s case that the defendant was driving drunk. This rule in Michigan is based on important Constitutional rights protecting people from unreasonable search and seizures. This is also called a Fourth Amendment Right.

The motorist’s DWI defense lawyer argued in court that because the law enforcement official had not personally seen the defendant do anything illegal, the police officer could not have reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed. However, the prosecutor countered by saying that the anonymous tip given by the female driver about how the defendant “almost hit [her]” was enough to give the officer reasonable suspicion that the defendant had committed or was committing traffic violations such as: reckless driving, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), DUI, OUID, or drunk driving.

The legal question involved in this Michigan case is whether an anonymous tip given by another person to a police officer qualifies as reasonable suspicion to pull someone over. After reviewing some older state and federal cases, The Michigan Court of Appeals determined that, yes, an anonymous tip does give a police officer reasonable suspicion and allows the officer to pull a suspect over, provided that (1) the information given by the informant is enough to sufficiently identify the vehicle and support an inference of a traffic violation, and (2) the information is adequately reliable based on the police officer’s verification of the tip’s “innocent details.” Innocent details are very basic, such as the fact that the anonymous tipster knows they could be punished for lying to a police officer. The court reasoned that the reliability of an anonymous tip involving a traffic offense can be less than in non-traffic situations. This is because, in order to give the police officer time to verify enough of the anonymous tip, there is the potential that the offense-committing driver could seriously harm someone. In the interest of public safety, the police officer is not required to wait for this to happen before they can pull over a driver.

In this case, the female driver’s pointing directly to the defendant’s vehicle was enough to sufficiently identify the vehicle, and the fact that her tip was based on first-hand, immediate information was enough for the officer to determine that the tip was adequately reliable. Also, the fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day—a time when the roads are filled with people who are driving drunk—further gave the police officer reasonable suspicion that the defendant was committing a traffic violation. Because the police officer did have reasonable suspicion that the defendant had committed or was committing a traffic offense, the evidence of the defendant’s intoxication is admissible in court, and hence the defendant’s case should not be dismissed.

What does this mean for those accused of DWI charges?

If charged with a crime based on an investigation that started from an anonymous tip, one will have to fight much harder to win the case. The defendant needs an experienced and dedicated DWI defense attorney who keeps up-to-date with Michigan cases such as the one detailed above. Not every attorney is skilled at defending violations of your Constitutional rights, such as your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. That is why it is so important to find the best DUI lawyer, who has experience representing and defending clients’ rights. Doing so immediately is the first step to ensuring that an unreasonable search does not result in permanent, life-changing consequences.

DUI Charges – Scope of DUI Law Tested After Two Men are Arrested for Riding a Mule and a Horse While Drunk

January 18th, 2011

Efforts to increase prosecution of drunk drivers has led to some incredible actions by lawmakers, prosecutors and police.  A recent example of this—one that has been getting the attention of every DWI defense lawyer—is the arrest of two men who in the state of Texas on DUI.

When law enforcement officials stopped the two men, one was riding a horse and the other was riding a mule. Upon questioning, the man on the mule apparently admitted to drinking vodka prior to riding the animal.  Nonetheless, both of the men and their animals were seized by the police and the men were charged with drunk driving offenses.  The officers on the scene interpreted the statutory definition of a vehicle to include the horse and mule, and therefore used that reasoning in arresting the two men. However, the charges were eventually dismissed because the court established that mules and horses are not within the statutory definition of a motor vehicle.

In Michigan, the question of what is a motor vehicle has been dealt with extensively in the legal system by both top DWI defense lawyers and prosecutors alike. Michigan drunk driving charges are frequently brought for people driving cars, motorcycles, boats, and off-road recreational vehicles such as quads and snowmobiles. As seen by the example above, however, it is clear that prosecutors are trying to charge people with drunk driving crimes, even when not driving a motorized vehicle.

Michigan lawmakers have also demonstrated a willingness to expand drunk driving laws in ways that are illogical. For example, a Michigan driver arrested but not yet convicted of OWI charges will have their license confiscated.  But, it is against the US Constitution to punish people who have not yet been convicted of crimes. As an experienced Michigan DUI attorney, it seems illegal to take away the driver’s license and then immediately supply the driver with a new license which has all of the same rights and privileges as the one that was just taken away (but does not have a photograph).

Another example of the expansive way in which Michigan legislators have treated drunk driving law is the question of what constitutes “operating.” Michigan law criminalizes operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.  However, many people in Michigan have been prosecuted for “sleeping it off” in their car when they chose not to drive drunk and were exercising good judgment. Several individuals have also been prosecuted in Michigan for driving on their own property when that property is open to the public, even if the driver never enters the roadway. Arrests on this basis would cite the part of Michigan drunk driving law which prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on “a highway open to the public or generally accessible to motor vehicles.”

While Michigan prosecutors may not be so quick to file a case where the driver is riding a horse or a mule, there are plenty of  bizarre circumstances under which police and prosecutors are willing to bring charges.  Anyone charged with a drunk driving offense in Michigan should retain an experienced DWI defense attorney to assist him or her with an aggressive defense of their case.

MI DUI Charges – Police Arrest Michigan Woman on ‘Super Drunk’ Charges in Auto-Bike Accident

December 28th, 2010

One does not have to be a Michigan DUI attorney to know that being caught driving under the influence of alcohol is a very big deal. Not only can one lose their driving privileges if convicted, jail time and large fines are also common. In recent months, Michigan lawmakers have enacted even stricter penalties for drunk drivers with high blood alcohol contents (BAC). Known as the “Super Drunk” law, this law applies to those who are caught driving in Michigan with a blood alcohol content of .17 or higher. Considered excessively intoxicated, such an individual will be subjected to longer and tougher sentences, larger fines and longer suspension of driving privileges.

Even though this law went into effect in November of 2010, residents across  Michigan  are already being arrested on Michigan Super Drunk charges. Such an example is 37-year-old Michigan woman who was driving in Swan Lake Township, when she smashed into something. Not sure what she had hit, the motorist continued driving toward her destination. Once at her family member’s home, the driver learned that a man had been hit while riding his bicycle on the same road which she was previously traveling on. Immediately, the 37-year-old called 9-1-1, and turned herself into police.

Law enforcement officials arrived at the house and performed several field sobriety tests on the woman, including a chemical breath test, sometimes called a DataMaster or Breathalyzer test. When her blood alcohol content registered to .206, police officers instantly suspected that she had struck the bicyclist while driving drunk and then left the scene of the accident.

While this case is currently pending a toxicology report from the Michigan State Police Crime Lab, the motorist will likely face “Super Drunk” charges, as her blood alcohol content exceeded .17. If convicted, the driver will face doubled jail time and have a suspended license for at least 45 days. Additionally, the violator will be required to pay stiff fines, participate in alcohol treatments and even install a breath testing interlock system into her vehicle – all of which will amount to many thousands of dollars.

Because the new legislation imposes significantly harsher punishments for drunk driving, DUI, OWI and OUID, it is important that those accused of violating the “Super Drunk” law immediately seek legal assistance. Contacting knowledgeable and skilled DWI defense lawyers that are well-versed in the new legislation can help you navigate the complex legal process, as well as provide superior legal advice and legal representation for your case. Do not let a drunk driving arrest in Michigan change your life forever – contact experienced drunk driving lawyers today. Drunk driving cases can sometimes be beat.

MI DUI Charges – Michigan State Basketball Star Arrested For Drunk Driving

December 26th, 2010

Being pulled over for a routine traffic stop is a frustrating experience for any motorist to go through. If the police officer at the scene believes that you are driving while intoxicated, your problems instantly become bigger. This is especially true for those who are in the public spotlight, such as athletes on popular college teams across the state. Ask any experienced Michigan DUI attorney,  just because a person is well-known, does not mean that the consequences against them are lenient. If convicted, the individual will face criminal punishments, the shame of a tarnished reputation as the story runs through the media, and driver license sanctions by the Michigan Secretary of State.

Recently, such an example surfaced where a Michigan State University basketball player was arrested for DUI charges in Michigan.

Law enforcement officials in East Lansing witnessed junior point guard Korce Lucius driving erratically during early morning hours. After pulling him over, police administered several sobriety tests, including a breath test. Lucius’ blood alcohol results registered at 0.09, slightly over the legal limit for driving in the state of Michigan. It is also likely that the basketball player will face additional charges, as he is not the legal drinking age–Lucius turned 21 years old after his drunk driving arrest. However, a DUI under 21 may be the least of his problems–according to head coach Tom Izzo, the organization has been notified of Lucius’ arrest and is investigating the matter internally. “We’re aware that a ticket was issued, and we are still gathering information,” Izzo commented during a press conference regarding the incident.

While Lucius will certainly face legal consequences for both underage drinking and driving while intoxicated, it is unknown whether he will also face punishments imposed by Michigan State University and the athletic department. However, his dismissal from the team is possible, as former guard Chris Allen was dismissed from the team just for failing to meet Izzo’s obligations and requirements.

As evidenced by the example of Korce Lucius, being arrested for drunk driving is a difficult experience regardless of celebrity status. If convicted, he is likely to face several legal consequences including the loss of driving privileges, fines, or even jail time. Those in the public eye, like Lucius, also face the additional hardship of having their personal shame paraded through the media helping to tarnish their reputation. If you or a loved one is facing drunk driving charges, it is essential to seek knowledgeable and aggressive DWI defense lawyers Michigan. Acting quickly helps you get the best legal advice and legal representation, protecting your personal rights as well as your reputation.