Holiday Hints to Stay Out of Jail and Avoid a Probation Order as Part of Your 2017 Memory

It’s the holiday season. Happy holidays from the Nichols Law firm. Remember, we may not all celebrate the same holiday but whatever holiday you recognize we all are potential targets for law enforcement. Remember that drug recognition experts are now taking part in a pilot project with roadside saliva instruments. You do not need to be driving in one of the 5 counties to be a target of a ‘drug recognition evaluator’ analysis. Sometimes officers are detaining people so that a ‘dre’ can come conduct an evaluation and support an arrest for ‘drugged driving’ What should you do? Some advice from Michigan DUI attorney, Mike Nichols. Be safe this holiday season. From the lawyers who are committed to results: The Nichols Law Firm.

"Drug Experts" are Hitting the Road in Michigan

Under a recent Michigan law, officers in five counties will be able to request that you take a roadside drug test if you are suspected of driving under the influence. The pilot program currently only affects the counties of Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair, and Washtenaw, but trends appear to indicate a push for a statewide program. East Lansing attorney Mike Nichols discusses what you need to know as Michigan's "Drug Recognition Experts" hit the road.

Rude Awakening from MSU Police Leads to Constitutional Violation

A late night "knock and talk" attempt by MSU Police Department officers was a violation of the constitutional rights of a recent Nichols Law Firm client. Under recent case law, East Lansing attorney Mike Nichols successfully argued that the officers abused their authority when they entered a dorm room using "questionable" consent. When in doubt, the courts ask a simple question when deciding if the time of day is appropriate for officers to stop by - "Would it be reasonable for a Girl Scout to go door to door selling cookies at this hour?"

Know your rights and exercise them when appropriate. Respectfully refuse any questioning until you have your attorney present. For a review of your case call the legal team on the leading edge of the law - call the Nichols Law Firm today at (517) 432-9000.

Additionally, we are in the beginning stages of planning a total “re-imaging” of our firm online and I’m hoping you can give me some information about how WebAscender could fit in to our plans. We want to modernize our presence online with everything from our website to social media.

We want to explore a redesign of our webpage specifically and it would be helpful If you would be able to give me a breakdown of some options that we can refer to in that area.

The Times -- They May Be Changin’ New Guidance Gives Hope For Anyone Accused of Sexual Assault or Harassment on a College Campus

For over 5 years, many families have been torn apart by disciplinary procedures at college campuses that were driven by the U.S. Department of Education’s “policy guidance” on the enforcement of a federal law known as “Title IX,” (20 USC sec 1681). On Friday, September 22, 2017, that guidance was withdrawn.

Download Guidance

The April, 2011 letter “guidance on sexual violence” was issued by the Office of Civil Rights under the Obama administration. That document was followed 3 years later by an April, 2014 statement. The 2 documents had the effect of drastically changing the landscape of fighting against a school’s efforts to discipline a student accused of sexual assault or a faculty member or other “member of the campus community” accused of sexual harassment.

  • Use of the Preponderance of the Evidence Standard to Discipline or Expel a Student
  • Denial of Due Process Such as the Right to Cross Examine the Accuser
  • Granting the Accuser Appellate Rights When the Process Determines No Assault/Violation Occurred

At issue for universities was whether federal funding would be jeopardized because of violations of Title IX if the University was deemed to fail to pursue allegations of campus sexual assault “aggressively enough.” Attorney Mike Nichols of East Lansing has handled many such cases and thinks the question now is what will happen at Michigan’s largest university, Michigan State University, in terms of implementing changes that result from withdrawal of the previous guidance. Nichols can be reached at 517 432 9000 or

Is Your Notice from the Secretary of State Really a Violation?

Mike Nichols successfully argued that a violation of restricted driving privileges, based on a "violation report" from an interlock vendor should be set aside. A client of the Nichols Law Firm from an underlying criminal charge successfully completed sobriety court. That was not the end of his obligation to follow certain rules to keep his restricted driving privileges. Did you know that if you successfully complete a sobriety court, you are still required to drive only on the breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) under the terms of your restrictions? You are still also subject to the terms of the license, including submitting a rolling retest when requested and keeping your car in a condition such that it provides power to your car. See generally the sobriety court act at MCL 600.1024, the Secretary of State Act at MCL 257.319 and also the law on hearing procedures before the Secretary of State (SOS) at MCL 257.304.

There are no set of industry standards nationwide for ignition interlocks. Some studies also call for improvements to this technology, including remote access to them. Download a free copy of tips produced by real Hearing Officers from the Secretary of State for people, especially those who are no longer monitored by court staff. This handout is based on the most frequently-observed violations. Watch also a discussion by Mike Nichols on what put this former client in the crosshairs of the SOS even though he successfully completed the 55th District Court sobriety court program. Hear for yourself how we are committed to results!

The client got home and sent the following message: "you da man .... AAA-GAIN!" Call us today at 517.432.9000.

More Than What Meets the Eye

MSU Sexual Assault Investigations

The Office of Institutional Equity at Michigan State University is responsible for overseeing all accusations of sexual assault and relationship violence involving MSU students. Unfortunately in most situations, from the time a complaint is first filed, the burden of proving innocence lies with the person being accused of the crime. Even when there is simply not enough evidence for law enforcement to charge a person with a crime, the OIE can still sanction a student – including expulsion from campus. Defense Attorney Mike Nichols and the Nichols Law Firm are skilled and experience in the field of Campus Administrative investigations and advocating for students who are accused of crimes without the evidence to support the allegations.

Michigan's Supreme Court Opinion on Driveway Drunk Driving Does not Surprise One of Michigan's Leading DUI Lawyers

Drunk Driving in Michigan is Called ‘Operating While Intoxicated.

In Michigan, the specific statute for a so-called “drunk driving” charge is called “Operating While Intoxicated.” Some believe that the legislature specifically used this phrase at the request of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) so as to avoid confusion between prosecutions of alcohol-based DUI cases and drug-based DUI cases. Drugs could be anything from specifically illegal drugs like cocaine or marijuana – if you are not a patient – to prescription medications if you purposefully took more than you are prescribed yet still operated a motor vehicle. The first word is “operating.” What does that mean? The Michigan Supreme Court has defined operating to mean “actual physical control” based on MCL 257.35 and accordingly, you must do something to put the vehicle in a place in which it poses a danger to the safety of persons or property. If you have done nothing to put the vehicle in that position, then the prosecutor has to prove that you had the ignition on and put the vehicle in gear, such as in the cases of City of Plymouth v Longeway or in People v Wood.

In July, 2017, Mike Nichols won a not guilty verdict when a jury agreed with him that the Nichols Law Firm’s client did nothing to put his vehicle in gear with the ignition on and the client walked away from the courthouse with a refund of his bond and his commercial driver license intact.

Learn more about the case

Also in July, 2017, The Michigan Supreme Court issued a ruling in People v Rea regarding whether a residential driveway can be a prohibited area for operating while intoxicated. The Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals opinion. The Court of Appeals ruled previously that the dismissal by a district court in Oakland County of OWI charges against Gino Rea was proper. The district court ruled that the upper portion of Mr. Rea’s driveway near his garage was not open to the public or generally accessible to motor vehicles. The MSC reversed and reinstated charges against Mr. Rea, ruling that the key issue was the phrase “generally accessible to motor vehicles.” In a concurring opinion, Justice Joan Larsen ruled that a better case to analyze the operation of the statute was one in which a person was operating in a driveway or parking lot with a gate or some sort of indicator that neither the public nor motor vehicles had access. For the attorneys on the cutting edge of DUI/Criminal law and who are committed to results, call the Nichols Lawyers at 517 432 9000.

Watch What You Say in the Back of a Police Car

Welcome back, students! We are finding that video can be solid evidence to help acquit people who may not be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, prosecutors seem to be pursuing video-taped statements from the back of the police car. It is prime time for you to say something offensive or incriminating. So, if you make a phone call while in custody - always assume you are being recorded.

Remember MSU Students: the Office of Institutional Equity is actively pursuing ANY complaint about alleged violations of university’s Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence policy. So, even if you are acquitted, or perhaps NEVER charged with an alleged sexual assault or harassment claim, you still face discipline or even expulsion from school.

East Lansing Attorney Mike Nichols has over 18 years of experience defending students and people in the Greater Lansing Area, and lends some insight from his decades living, working as a journalist, and practicing law. Trust the team on the leading edge of the law – call the Nichols Law Firm today 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.