In The News

Friday, June 2, 2023

How We Practice Leadership In Educating Other Lawyers on the "New" Evidential Breath Alcohol Test Device

By Michael Nichols
Categories: OWI

The State of Michigan Department of State Police (MSP) decided to switch to a new device for sampling human breath in drunk driving investigations. The new device, the “Intoxilyzer 9000” was purchased through a multi-million dollar contract with CMI, Inc., based in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Over 50 lawyers made the trip to the Michigan State University (MSU) law school from all corners of the upper and lower peninsulas.

The Nichols Law Firm put on a training for lawyers from across the state to get a look under the hood at this new device. The training featured experts who educated lawyers as well as Judge Michael Clarizio, of the 65A District Court in St. Johns (Clinton County). Also presenting were representatives from the Michigan State Police, Jeffrey Nye, who is head of the Forensic Science Division (FSD), W. Mark Fondren, technical leader of the breath alcohol unit for the MSP, and Lt. Ryan Lemison, who is deputy director of the MSP FSD.

There are some major differences between the instrument that was replaced, the Datamaster DMT and the Intoxilyzer 9000. However, Mike Nichols states: “a big difference is that the Intox 9000 appears to continue to measure a breath sample even after all of the minimum requirements have been fulfilled.” Nichols, author of books and treatises on OWI by drugs and alcohol adds that “another difference is that the minimum length of blow that is required appears to be 5 seconds – many times we see clients blow for well over 10 seconds and sometimes almost 20 seconds. Imagine how inflated the Breath Alcohol estimates might be compared to the true value of the person’s bodily alcohol content.”

Many of the team members at the NLF get credit for their roles in helping make the Intox 9000 training happen. They include

Attorney Chris Wickman
Attorney Jackee Moss
Attorney Aaron Martinez
Attorney Wendy Schiller-Nichols

Kelly Thomison
Cindy Kramer
Parker Myles
Julian Moses

It is important to remember that an evidential breath test is an indirect measurement of what is in the subject’s blood – it is not a direct measurement of a bodily alcohol content.

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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.