In The News

In The News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

MSU-UM Watchers & Super Bowl Fans - 2 Helpings of DUI Targeted Enforcement Coming Your Way

By Michael Nichols
Categories: OWI

There are 2 types of DUI enforcement that cops are usng to target drivers on Michigan roads - and Michigan's DUI attorney Mike Nichols says it is not enough to stay sober. "Cops are being trained to literally look for signs of intoxication by controlled substances, even prescription medication," Nichols says from his Meridian Township home.

Nichols spent super bowl Sunday in his East Lansing office where he and the team of attorneys such as Stephanie Tzafaroglou are preparing for a trial. As he prepped hard by interviewing witnesses, reviewing the law and the reports, he kept an eye on his tv to watch the Spartans defeat rival Michigan 76-66 and pondered how law enforcement has an unfair advantage this weekend when it comes to making arrests for violating the drunk driving statute in light of the weather and the inevitable number of accidents that will occur.

The statute includes driving while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Driving with any amount of a Schedule I substance is a "per se" violation. Nichols says "for the last 5 years or so, the MIchigan State Police has focused training on teaching officers to make a case for 'drugged driving,' which means you are under the influence of a prescription medication or an illegal substance such as marijuana or cocaine." So, you need to think of your situation and be smart.

Nichols says "if you have no alcohol in your system but you are on prescription medication, tell the officer that it's respectfully not his or her business what medications you are taking if he or she asks," he says. Otherwise, the officer will use that as probable cause to elevate a traffic stop to a detention in order to conduct a drug recognition evaluation especially if you slid off on slippery roads. However, the situation changes if you have any alcohol in your system. Nichols says "make sure to tell the officer if you are on medication and what the medication is for because it may disqualify you as a candidate for standardized field sobriety tests such as the HGN." Just recently, the Nichols Law Firm turned a .20 breath test into a careless driving because the officer did not medically qualify the accused and he suffered from vertigo and tinnitus from a cochlean skull fracture.

Above all else, Nichols says to be careful: "we are in the midst of getting what will be 9-10 inches of snow. Do NOT try to find the lane lines - just drive in a straight vector. Most judges will not criticize driving if the person follows a relatively straight path even if you are not within the lane markers." For the team of lawyers who stay one step ahead and are committed to results, contact the Nichols Lawyers 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.