In The News

Monday, April 18, 2011

Can my Michigan OWI-OUIL-DUI be dismissed? Mike Nichols on the 4th Amendment and how it can help

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

The ability of a police officer to pull over a citizen in an automobile has been expanded greatly over the years. “The Supreme Court of the United States and Michigan’s appellate courts issued several cases over the last few years that seem very discouraging to most observers when it comes to giving police officers unchecked powers to stop motorists in their vehicles,” says Michigan-OWI-OUIL-DUI-expert-attorney-Mike-Nichols. Nichols added: “it is not true though that the courts are ignoring their power to check the power of law enforcement to stop motorists.”

People have a right to be free from unreasonable detentions by law enforcement and searches of their motor vehicles or their bodies. That right is established by the constitution through the 4th Amendment. It applies to states through the 14th Amendment. Michigan’s constitution also establishes similar protections in its constitution. “Cases that interpret the constitution are where we are finding challenges in protecting citizens from police intrusion,” says Nichols.

When it comes to enforcing the Michigan Traffic Code, the officer needs to be correct in what he believes the law says or he may find that a court rules the stop was improper and the evidence is suppressed.

“There are a line of cases that say that even when the officer makes a mistake about whether he observes a traffic violation, the officer’s act to stop a motorist was proper so long as that mistake is reasonable,” Nichols said. He added: “however, if the officer is mistaken about what the law says then there are cases from federal courts that say it is NEVER reasonable for an officer to make a traffic stop on what is called ‘reasonable articulable suspicion.’”

In a recent case, an East-Lansing-District-Judge-suppressed-the-evidence-of-an-OWI-OUIL-DUI-charge based on an improper stop. “We went so far as to have a private investigator drive the same route as our client and videotape traffic. We found that almost every driver did almost the same thing as the client when it came to maintaining the lane. It was just a road that did not follow a straight path,” Nichols said. The prosecutors ended up dismissing the case, allowing the client to move-on-with-life-and put the OWI charge behind him.

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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.