If the officer who made the arrest claims you refused a chemical test offered under Michigan's Implied Consent Act and reports that information to the Secretary of State, you have the ability to demand a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. "The officer has the burden of proof at a so-called 'implied consent hearing,'" said OWI-OUIL-DUI expert and adjunct law professor Mike Nichols. Nichols added "that means that the officer must make a complete record on whether there were reasonable grounds to believe that you violated the law to justify his stop and/or detention of you, that he validly arrested you without a warrant, that he read you the implied consent rights and that you unreasonably refused."
If you are not successful before the Administrative Law Judge, you still have the ability to appeal to a circuit court judge. Nichols said "you can then ask for either a hardship license so that you can drive for limited purposes like work or court obligations. However, you can also ask the circuit court to review the administrative law judge's findings and appeal on the merits of those findings on a limited basis, such as a lack of substantial, material or competent evidence on the record." In a recent case, Mike Nichols successfully argued that the Administrative Law Judge was wrong for denying the accused citizen's petition because the arresting officer failed to testify as to the date of the arrest and also failed to admit into evidence the document that contained the date, known as the DI-177 form. Nichols said "some people call that a technicality, I call that justice when the government wants to take someone's license but does not care enough to do its job the right way. The judge absolutely did the right thing in granting our petition on appeal and restoring the client's full driving privileges."
Mike Nichols has been practicing for 12 years and now handles OWI cases exclusively. He is the author of the OWI Handbook by West Publishing. The 2012 update is now available at thomsonwest.com. If you need every stone unturned and a lawyer who is committed to results, call the attorneys at the Nichols Law Firm at 517.432.9000.