Michigan officials usually are very careful about the text of the bills they vote on or enact as a regulation. This is because every word can make a big difference about how the law is interpreted. When police deviate from the letter of the law, it often means that a suspect’s rights are being violated. This is why even seemingly minor infractions matter, as a case from another state shows.
When a driver is pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, the police officer’s investigation on the side of the road often involves a breath test. In fact, the suspect may have to undergo two breath tests: one at the scene, and again at the police station.
In Michigan, one of the reasons prosecutors in DUI cases like using evidence collected by a breath test device is that the blood-alcohol number the machines produce at the scene cannot be retested. The sample collected by the device is not saved as with blood or urine tests. When the government performs one of the latter two tests, the accused person's attorney can typically have the sample tested by an independent laboratory. In this way, the government's claims about the defendant's BAL at the time of arrest may be found to be inaccurate.
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a DUI case that could have consequences for constitutional rights in Lansing and across the country. The Court recently heard oral arguments in an appeal of a case involving a police officer drawing blood from a DUI suspect without a warrant. The question before the Court is whether the circumstances of a DUI arrest justify the violation of a suspect's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable government searches and seizures.
When someone is pulled over in Michigan for suspected drunk driving and asked to take a preliminary breath test, it is too late to Google the question online and try to decide what to do. That person would either say yes, or politely decline. Then what?
Last January the Governor gave his state of the state address to Michigan legislators. While driving home after the speech, one of those legislators was pulled over and given a field sobriety test when drunk driving was suspected.
What are the odds that you are in the Lansing jail, arrested under suspicion of drunk driving, and you know the officer who is administering your breath test? These are probably pretty slim odds that may have occured.
Police claim that a 63-year-old Benton Harbor man was driving erratically when they pulled him over at 11:30 one week ago on Friday. As sometimes happens, a routine traffic stop resulted in multiple charges.
While some people in Michigan might think that the results of a breath test are infallible, the truth is that any number of factors could cause the results to be considered invalid -- which could result in the case being tossed out of court. A recent case involving a former federal official who had been charged with DWI illustrates how a faulty breath test, as well as other factors, can cause a DWI charge to be dropped.
St. Patrick's Day is often a time when a lot of drunk driving arrests occur. And while drivers in Lansing, Michigan, and surrounding areas should pay particular attention to law enforcement on the actual holiday, police in Michigan this year made a concerted effort to extend their vigilance beyond the actual holiday.