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Ann Arbor DUI/DWI/OWI Law Blog

How to protect your rights during a DUI stop

The flashing red lights of a police car in your rearview mirror is unnerving, even if you haven't done anything wrong. It is difficult to know what to do or say, and the wrong decision can have major consequences - especially if you have been drinking.

Understanding what happens during a DUI stop in Michigan can help you make informed choices to protect your rights.

Police are looking for evidence

One of the most important things to understand about a DUI stop is that it is an opportunity for police to collect evidence against you. If they get enough of the right kinds of evidence, it will give them probable cause to administer alcohol testing and possibly arrest you for drunk driving.

Thus, it is in your best interest to avoid giving the police more information than is necessary. Once they are unnerved by being stopped by police, some people's tendency is to curry favor by volunteering information excessively. This can easily backfire.

Instead, you should be aware of your rights and politely but firmly insist on exercising them. Keep these tips in mind if you are stopped by police and questioned about drinking and driving:

  • You can politely decline to answer most questions. Police are likely to ask you whether you have been drinking, how much you had to drink, when you were drinking and other questions. Beyond providing identifying information about yourself, you are not required to answer a police officer's questions and it is in your best interests not to.
  • You do not have to perform field sobriety tests. A number of studies have shown that common field sobriety tests such as one-leg stands or the heel-to-toe walk and turn are designed to be failed.
  • If you have not been arrested, you are not required to submit to a roadside breath test. Police may ask you to voluntarily submit to a preliminary breath test using a handheld device that will measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). You can refuse to take this test. It is important to note the difference between refusing to voluntarily submit to a roadside breath test before you are arrested and refusing to submit to a chemical test once you have been arrested. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test after you have been arrested, you are violating Michigan's implied consent law and you will be scheduled for a hearing separate from your drunk driving charge.

Understand your rights before you are stopped

Knowing your rights ahead of time will help you make the right decisions if you are stopped by police. If you are arrested for drunk driving, it is smart to enlist the services of an experienced DUI defense attorney as quickly as possible. There are a number of missteps that can be made from that point forward. A knowledgeable lawyer can minimize the impact of a DUI arrest.

The Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony DUI

The Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony DUI.jpgIn Michigan, being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DUI can result in serious repercussions. It is important to contact an Ann Arbor DUI attorney immediately following an arrest. An experienced attorney may be able to help reduce the charge asserted against you to a lesser offense or have it completely dismissed. Do not delay in obtaining legal counsel and guidance. Read on to learn more about the difference between a misdemeanor and felony DUI in Washtenaw County.

Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration and Its Impact on Driving

Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration and Its Impact on Driving.jpgUnderstanding blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and its impact on driving can be complex. There are several factors that go into determining how much alcohol a person can consume before becoming legally intoxicated. Below is an overview of how a person's BAC can impact their driving.

DUI Probation Violation

DUI Probation Violation.jpgViolating your Ann Arbor DUI probation terms is never a good idea. Not only will you be subjected to being jailed, you may also have to pay higher fines, penalties and additional attorney fees. You will also be subjected to a longer period of probation. Below is an overview of the common ways defendants violate probation and how I can help you. Read on to learn more.

Felony Third DUI Offense - What Ann Arbor Drivers Need to Know

Felony Third DUI Offense - What Ann Arbor Drivers Need to Know.jpgA third DUI offense in Michigan is classified as a felony. A convicted defendant can face serious criminal and administrative license penalties. If you have been charged with a felony third DUI in Ann Arbor, contact my law office for representation. Read on to learn more about what Ann Arbor drivers need to know when charged with a felony third DUI offense.

What Michigan drivers need to know about DUI testing

If you have ever been pulled over by police for any reason, you probably know just how stressful and scary the situation can be. Especially if you are pulled over after consuming alcohol, it can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself from potential criminal charges. One thing that people are often uncertain about is what their rights are with regard to alcohol testing.

Implied consent

Michigan's Implied Consent law means that everyone who is licensed to drive in the state gives their implied consent to undergo sobriety testing if they are stopped on reasonable suspicion of impaired driving. However, that does not mean you don't have a choice - only that there are consequences for refusing. It is up to you to decide whether refusal is worth the consequences.

When to Settle a DUI Case vs. Going to Trial

When to Settle a DUI Case vs. Going to Trial.jpgDeciding whether to settle your DUI case or go to trial can be challenging. As an Ann Arbor DUI attorney, my clients have the final decision to settle a case or go to trial. I encourage all of my clients to ask questions to make sure they understand the legal advice I provide prior to making a decision. Read on to learn more about when you should settle a DUI case or go to trial.

How Effective are Ignition Interlock Devices in Deterring Drunk Driving?

How Effective are Ignition Interlock Devices in Deterring Drunk Driving.jpgIgnition interlock devices are commonly used to deter drunk driving. The device prevents a car from starting if a driver has consumed alcohol. The device can also prompt drivers to submit to additional tests while driving to ensure sobriety. In Michigan, a driver is ordered to install an ignition interlock device if he/she is convicted of High BAC (.17 or higher). The main objective of the Secretary of State ordering the defendant to use an ignition interlock device is to prevent recidivism. 

Should States Lower BAC Limits?

Should States Lower BAC Limits.jpgThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants to decrease the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from .08% to .05%. The lower limit is about equivalent to two drinks for a 130 lb woman and three drinks for a 175 lb man. Lowering the limit could result in more social drinkers as well as alcohol abusers being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. It could also result in higher penalties for drivers convicted of driving with a BAC above .05%. 

What Happens During a Washtenaw County DUI Arraignment?

What Happens During a Washtenaw County DUI Arraignment.jpgIn Michigan, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. If a driver is taken into custody for driving under the suspicion of alcohol, he/she will be transported to the police station for chemical testing. If the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit, he/she will be charged with drunk driving.