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With the holidays approaching, local law enforcement usually steps up DUI enforcement efforts. Unfortunately, many people unwittingly incriminate themselves. Knowing your rights beforehand may not help you avoid a DUI charge, but it can make the prosecution’s case more difficult to prove. As a result, a skilled Ann Arbor DUI lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.  

Understanding DUI Charges

Many people think that the prosecution’s case is based entirely upon how you performed in the field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer results. While these are key pieces of evidence in their case, they are susceptible to challenge, and they, therefore, need to rely on other evidence as well. For example, the prosecution will also introduce evidence concerning the following:

  • Probable cause. The police need probable cause to pull you over. As a result, the prosecution will need to introduce evidence that demonstrates why you were pulled over in the first place, such as a broken tail light or you were speeding. 
  • The officer’s observations at the time you were stopped. For example, the prosecution may need the officer to testify that they smelled alcohol on your breath, your eyes were watery, or your responses to their questions were rambling and incoherent. 
  • Your own actions and statements. The officer may also testify as to what you said and did at the time you were arrested. 

Ultimately, the prosecution wants their case to represent a complete picture of your guilt. Many people don’t realize that the police are trained to conduct DUI stops in a way that helps the prosecution build their case. An experienced Ann Arbor DUI lawyer can evaluate the case against you and identify potential weaknesses. 

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has been issuing orders concerning public gatherings and face masks since the beginning of the pandemic. The orders go into effect for a limited time, with the most recent being effective as of December 9th and to remain in effect through December 20th. However, we expect subsequent orders that are substantively identical to be implemented so long as the pandemic continues. 

Many people are unaware that these orders are enforceable by the police and that failure to comply can result in criminal charges. If you have questions concerning the order and how it may apply to you or have been charged with a violation, an Ann Arbor criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate these issues. 

What the Emergency Orders Require

The orders essentially do two things: 

What Happens When You are Charged with Drinking and Driving

Were you charged with a misdemeanor operating while intoxicated? Being charged with an OWI is stressful, and the legal process is confusing. ArborYpsi Law is here to help you. Learn more about the process of working with an Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer. 

 

Below is a general outline of the court process, what to expect, and an explanation of the options.

Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer’s First Step: An Arraignment

An arraignment is the first step in the court process and serves several purposes.

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If you are pulled over for a DUI, it’s important to understand that you have rights. You do not need to do whatever the officer asks you to do or answer all of your questions. In our last post, we discussed some of the rights you have – rights that protect you from incriminating yourself. 

Unfortunately, the police are very aggressive when it comes to DUI enforcement, so there probably isn’t much you can do to avoid being changed. The goal is to avoid helping the police build a case against you. If you’ve been charged with DUI, an Ann Arbor DUI lawyer can challenge the prosecution’s case and help you get a fair result. 

Breathalyzer Tests

There are two breathalyzer tests that are typically administered as part of a DUI arrest. The first is a roadside test, or “preliminary breathalyzer test” (PBT). You have the right to refuse this test. If you choose to do so, you face a civil infraction and fine, but there will be no license suspension or points on your license. That said, similar to the field sobriety test, the officer may still arrest you for DUI if they believe they have sufficient basis. 

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The holidays are a time of increased DUI enforcement in the Ann Arbor area. While there may not be as many office parties and other holiday events this year, people will still get together in their homes to celebrate. As a result, it’s safe to assume that police will continue to aggressively crack down on drivers they suspect are driving while under the influence. 

Obviously, the best way to avoid a DUI is to not drive if you have been drinking or under the influence of drugs. However, it’s important to understand that you have rights in the event that you do get pulled over. In the event that you are charged with DUI, the best thing you can do is speak with an Ann Arbor DUI lawyer as soon as possible. 

Know Your Rights When You Are Pulled Over

Unless you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, every DUI begins with a traffic stop. The police can stop you for almost any reason, such as a broken tail light – it doesn’t need to be based on suspicion of DUI. Most people are inclined to cooperate with the officer’s instructions but don’t realize that the police use several tactics from the very outset to help build their case. 

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People who have been arrested or have a criminal record are often worried about what a potential employer can ask during an interview. This is a complicated area of the law, and the answer to this question is unfortunately convoluted. An experienced Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can guide what questions you may be required to answer and which questions you can legally decline. 

Misdemeanors Without a Conviction

Under Michigan law, potential employers may not ask you any questions concerning a misdemeanor arrest that did not result in a conviction. As a result, employers cannot ask you any questions concerning a misdemeanor arrest if your charges were dismissed or you were acquitted. 

There is one important exception – if you seek employment with a law enforcement agency, they can ask you questions concerning misdemeanor arrests that did not result in a conviction. 

You might think that the amount of underage drinking has dropped due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. While schools are closed and parties may be less prevalent, alcohol is still being sold, and as a result, underage drinking remains a problem. 

If your child is facing charges related to underage drinking, you should contact an Ann Arbor DUI attorney as soon as possible. They can help you understand your options and fight for your child’s future. 

Drinking at Home or Alone

Because public gatherings are limited, many underage people choose to drink at home or in smaller groups. While large parties tend to focus on law enforcement’s efforts to stop underage drinking, you should be aware that police are always concerned about underage drinking. A routine traffic stop or responding to a complaint can quickly result in a criminal charge. 

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While it’s true that a juvenile record doesn’t necessarily count against you as an adult, that doesn’t mean that your past charges can’t come back to haunt you. Potential employers, the military, and yes, even colleges may consider your juvenile record and hold it against you when making decisions that affect your future. An Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can help you understand how these charges can affect your future and what you can do about it. 

Your Juvenile Record

It may be helpful to understand what charges may be considered by a college or other institutions. In Michigan, juvenile convictions are referred to as “adjudications.” An adjudication will include any of the following outcomes: 

  • You were charged with a crime, a trial was held, and you were convicted. 
  • You pled guilty to the charges when you were arraigned. 
  • You pled guilty as part of a plea agreement. 
  • You pled “no contest” to the charges.

If you were acquitted, it’s likely that the charges will not be considered, although there may be some exceptions. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Michigan saw a steep drop in the number of DUI cases when citizens were ordered to stay home and bars were closed. However, we expect arrests to increase as bars and restaurants reopen and people resume their daily lives. Given the length of time we were under quarantine, however, it’s highly likely that the total number of DUI arrests will be significantly less than in years prior. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still be arrested for DUI. If you find yourself facing charges, you should discuss your case with an Ann Arbor DUI attorney as soon as possible. 

DUI Charges are Often Unexpected

For those of us who have lost income due to the pandemic, going out to a bar or restaurant may not be in the budget right now. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying some drinks with friends or family while at home, you could be stopped and arrested for DUI on your way home or to go somewhere else. As in every other state, you can be charged with DUI in Michigan if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. Depending on your weight and several other factors, this could be far fewer drinks than you realize, perhaps as few as two drinks. You should also be aware that, under Michigan law, you can be charged with DUI even without a breathalyzer if the officer believes that you were driving while visibly intoxicated. 

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Not too long ago, the opioid crisis used to be a fixture on the front page of newspapers across the country and a regular feature on news programs. As a result of the pandemic, however, America seems to have forgotten all about the opioid crisis that has affected almost every state. According to Michigan state authorities, the use of opioids has surged during the pandemic, leading to a 26% increase in overdoses from April through June of this year. The month of April was especially brutal, reflecting a 33% increase in overdoses. 

Overdoses are a tragedy, but they overshadow the legal issues that plague addicts. For many opioid users, criminal charges don’t lead to recovery – they keep them using and often lead to other crimes. If you’re facing an opioid charge, an experienced Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can help you get a positive outcome. 

Possession of Heroin or Fentanyl in Michigan

Generally speaking, the penalties you face for a drug charge is based on the type of drug and the amount. Drugs are classified on a schedule, with Schedule I drugs being considered the most dangerous, and schedule 5 being the least serious. Schedule I and II narcotics carry the harshest penalties. 

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