In The News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Williamston Man Serves 6 days But Gets to Move on Following a Reduced Plea and Emotional Sentencing

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Michael J. Nichols, Drunk-Driving, OWI

The tragedy that left a Holt woman dead and left a young Ingham County man charged with “moving violation causing death” is over at least from a legal standpoint. 55th District Court Judge Thomas Boyd imposed just a fraction of the potential jail sentence and the man qualified for early release to serve 24 months probation. The sentence was handed down in late August nearly 1 year to the day of the tragic car-motorcycle accident. “The sentencing hearing was one of the more emotional sentencing proceedings I’ve ever experienced,” says Michigan criminal attorney Mike Nichols, who represented the young driver.

The charge of moving violation causing death was a misdemeanor but carried with it a mandatory 1 year license suspension and would not have been subject to “expungement” because it is a crime under the Michigan Vehicle Code. Nichols says “the so-called expungement statute states clearly that a person is not eligible to set aside a conviction for a crime under the Michigan Vehicle Code, thus it was critical from my perspective to modify the charge if we were going to resolve this without a trial.”  4 representatives of the victim’s family spoke tearfully and compassionately at sentencing. One man, who was the boyfriend of the victim, suggested that “93 days in jail was nothing” for the loss of the motorcyclist. However, another woman pointed out that the area of the road, on North Meridian Road just south of Grand River is in dire need of additional safety modifications because this accident was far from isolated.

Judge Boyd could have given the man 93 days in jail. Instead, he imposed 14 days in jail and 24 months of probation. Nichols says “when the sentence was handed down, it was more important to verify that the judge did not issue a bar on early release or tether than to beg for work release. Because of current jail overcrowding, people are “tethered” out after serving 50% of their sentence unless the sentencing judge orders on the commitment papers that the person is not eligible for early release.”  Nichols adds “this was an emotional, intense case and sentence hearing – I am truly sorry to all the people who lost and I am hopeful that the crucial lessons for a young man will allow him to move on, grow and mature from this tragedy.”

For the lawyer who understands the nuances of the law and who is committed to results, contact Mike Nichols at 517.432.9000 or 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.