In The News

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Michigan Legislature Gives Motorists a Holiday Present - Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are Inadmissible in Drunk Driving Trials; Pass Other Bills on Drunk Boating and Snowmobiling

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

In the flurry of action right before the end of 2014, state lawmakers failed to change Michigan's drunk driving laws. Michigan OWI-OWID attorney Mike Nichols of East Lansing says it was a boon for persons who will be arrested but not necessarily those who were arrested in 2014. "Despite the heavy influence of the Michigan State Police, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in all of Lansing, the law says that standardized field sobriety tests are not admissible unless one side or the other opens the door," Nichols says.

The law was re-written in 2014 to include standardized field sobriety tests as part of the over all DUI roadside investigation. Nichols, who wrote the book on OWI for West Publishing and is active in legislative committees for the Criminal Defense Attorneys and State Bar of Michigan, explains what happened: "when the MSP tried to get roadside saliva testing passed, they ended up with different changes to proposed legislation that was rejected. The 'settled' on including the Portable Breath Test and SFST battery in the same category of tests - not realizing that the PBT is inadmissible in the prosecutor's 'case-in-chief' and the language of the compromise bill never differentiated the SFST in that regard. The MSP and Prosecuting Attorneys Association tried to make a fix in the final hours of the 'lame duck session' but they just ran out of time because road-funding took all the priority and energy of lawmakers who pulled an 'all-nighter.'"

Nichols says that the legislature did pass a package of bills to lower the 'per se' bodily alcohol content from .10 to .08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath or 100 milliliters of blood; "the legislature DID change the definitions of a 'vessel' so that people will not be prosecuted for 'drunk-tubing' but prosecuting an OWI boat offense is still going to be dicey for any prosecutor up against a QUALIFIED defense attorney.

Nichols is ready to start 2015 off by defending citizens accused of violating Michigan's drunk driving; drunk snowmobiling and when the weather is ready, drunk-boating laws. For the attorneys who are qualified to take on the government, stay on the cutting edge of the law and the science and who are committed to results, call Mike Nichols at 517.432.9000

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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.