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Past AYL Articles: Drug Paraphernalia, Underage DUIs, Top Drugged Driving Drugs, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

February 18, 2018 Criminal Law and Procedure

Here is a quick glance at some recent ArborYpsi Law posts that may be of interest.

When a person is pulled over for drinking and driving, the police officer will make the person undergo a series of field sobriety tests. These field sobriety tests are designed to give the officer evidence of impairment or intoxication so the officer can arrest the driver. One of these tests is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. In the case of People v. Berger, the Court of Appeals discusses whether an officer may testify in trial about the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Read more about the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and its use in DUI trials.

When a person is sentenced on a felony case, the trial court will look to see how many misdemeanor convictions the defendant has. These convictions can count against the defendant. The more misdemeanor convictions there are, the worse the possible sentence could be for the defendant. However, the law says that not all misdemeanor convictions count against the defendant. In this case, the defendant argued that the trial court erred when it counted his underage operating while intoxicating conviction against him. This is the offense where a person under 21 has any bodily alcohol content. The defendant argued that this offense did not constitute an operating while intoxicated offense because the charge does not require proof that the person is impaired or intoxicated. Read our article on People v. Bulger and whether the zero-tolerance underage drinking and driving charge counts as a misdemeanor for felony sentencing.

Along the same lines, in another case the defendant argued that his old drug paraphernalia charges should not count against him as a misdemeanor for felony sentencing. In computing felony guidelines, a court will look at past misdemeanor convictions. Not all misdemeanor convictions count, however. The question in this case was whether a drug paraphernalia conviction counted as a misdemeanor involving controlled substances. Read about People v. Stevens and whether a drug paraphernalia conviction counts as a scorable misdemeanor for felony sentencing guidelines.

What does the Michigan State Police look for when it analyzes an OWI suspect’s blood in a blood draw? There are thousands of kinds of drugs out there. Of course the police can only look for so many at a time. When the police are looking for drugs, they have a “tier 1” level of 50 or so drugs they are looking for. The police can always look for more drugs bit they limit the types of drugs they search for during the first try, unless they are specifically looking for a drug not listed on tier 1. These drugs could be considered the most used drugs by drugged drivers. Read our article on which drugs the police are looking for in a blood draw.

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Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is an attorney practicing criminal defense in Washtenaw County.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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