Drug Crimes

In The News

Sunday, September 9, 2012


By Michael Nichols
Categories: Drug Crimes

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that when a medical marijuana patient is charged with multiple crimes, the rules of criminal procedure still apply. "The court's ruling is important for 2 reasons," says OWI-OUID attorney Mike Nichols. He says: "first it means that a trial court is still required to hold an evidentiary hearing when an accused citizen alleges a constitutional violation. The second reason is that the court held that a patient does not have to comply with section 4 of the Medical Marijuana Act in order to  assert a defense under section 8."

Section 4 of the Act says that a patient who is issued a card from the Michigan Department of Public Health is immune from arrest or prosecution when found with a legal amount of marijuana on his person.  Section 8 says that a person who has not been issued a card may still assert an affirmative defense in court based on his status as a person who was certified by a physician as someone who would benefit from marijuana to treat a qualifying condition to avoid a conviction for a crime." Nichols says, "this is vital because the court of appeals, a lower division of the supreme court, ruled that a patient is still subject to prosecution if he drives and is found by a blood draw to have 'any presence' of marijuana in his blood." Nichols adds that "we all know that the opposite of 'any' is 'nothing' - measuring nothing is a scientific impossibility. In some cases, I had concerns when filing a motion to exclude the blood analysis that the court would refuse to give me a hearing. The new Supreme Court case, reversing the court of appeals, gives accused citizens and their lawyers a new argument to make that you are entitled to be heard."

The case is People v Watkins. The Court Opinion can be found at http://www.michbar.org/opinions/supreme/2012/090412/52590.pdf

Nichols has several pending challenges to the state's ability to measure THC in human blood and recently published an article on the inability of the MSP lab to measure THC at the lowest level possible.  Nichols is a published author, adjunct professor of DUI Law and Practice at Thomas M. Cooley Law School and the Michigan Delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. Contact him at mnichols@nicholslaw.net


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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.