It’s that time of year again – the season of gift giving, magical lights, and time spent with loved ones. Here at The Kronzek Firm we’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, and a wonderful new year!
We also understand that not everyone’s holidays are always merry and bright. With instances of drunk and drugged driving increasing during the holidays, this can be a tough time for some people.
If you need help this holiday season with a DUI, OWI or drugged driving charge, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 (866 7NO JAIL). We’re here round the clock to help with your legal needs, including on holidays if you have an emergency.
In October of 2020, Governor Granholm signed significant changes into law regarding the types of crimes that can be expunged in Michigan. Referred to as the “most expansive version of this law in the country,” by John Cooper, executive director of Safe & Just Michigan, the new ‘automatic record clearing law’ allows Michigan to join California, Utah and Pennsylvania as states with controversial automatic clearing laws.
When Michigan’s governor first told people to “stay home and stay safe”, the DUI numbers here in Michigan (and pretty much everywhere else in the state) dropped significantly. For example, arrests in Lansing were way down. And we weren’t the only state where that happened. In Missouri, 293 people were arrested for drunk driving in March of 2019, but during the same time in 2020 the number of DUI arrests dropped to only 94. In Nebraska the cops only made 4 DUI arrests on St. Patrick’s Day, which was the lowest number that state has seen in over 15 years. And in Hawaii, police made an average of 3 drunk driving arrests per week during March, which is a major reduction on their usual numbers.
There was a time in the not too distant past here in Michigan where in order to prove that you were guilty of drugged driving, all they had to do was prove to the court that there was any amount of marijuana in your system while you were behind the wheel. But those days have come and gone. Since the legalization of first medical marijuana, and then later recreational marijuana, a lot has changed with regards to the burden of proof for Michigan’s county prosecutors.
You’ve probably heard a whole boatload of weird urban legends in your time about how to avoid a DUI arrest. Things like carrying mouthwash in your car and using some right before the officer walks up to your window (doesn’t work!). Or another false one that suggests chewing gum can help you fool the breathalyzer (which is actually a DataMaster machine).. But one of the most popular myths when it comes to beating the breath test machine is the one that says you can fool a breathalyzer by sucking on a penny. So is it true?
The Michigan State Police are currently investigating the third party vendor (Intoximeters) responsible for servicing and maintaining the 203 DataMaster DMT machines in use across the state of Michigan. DataMaster DMTs are the type of machine Michigan law enforcement uses to breath test potentially drunk drivers once they’re back at the station after an arrest. Although roadside breath tests are used to help officers determine if someone is likely intoxicated, those results aren’t admissible in court. Only the results of the DataMaster test, taken back at the police station or jail, can be used as evidence in court. And now even those are in question…
When people hear about someone being charged with drugged driving, they usually assume that the driver facing charges were high on heroin, cocaine, meth, or some other illegal substance. (And then there’s weed, which is legal to use recreationally in Michigan, but you still can’t drive under the influence!) But what about legal painkillers?
Law enforcement officials come up with some pretty interesting ideas to raise awareness of drunk driving these days. From printed coasters left in bars to remind drinkers to call a cab, to the creative ads plastered on billboards during March Madness, it’s always interesting to see what they’ll come up with next. So when we saw this cop car from Glendale, California, painted to look like half a taxi and half a cop car to remind people that they need to be careful which ride they choose.
If there’s one thing you can rely on the Michigan State Police for, it’s the fact that when something potentially bad happens that could affect police departments in Michigan, they don’t hunker down and pretend it isn’t happening. They grab it by the horns and fight. It was like that when there were allegations of corruption in the Detroit Forensic Lab, which resulted in an investigation by MSP and a scathing report that got that crime lab shuttered for good. And now that there’s a possibility of corruption by a third party vendor tasked with servicing Datamaster breath testing machines across the state. (Which are the machines that some people call ‘Breathalyzers.) It seems some of the data documenting the servicing of breath test machines around the state is faulty…
A recent important case has set the tone for other, future DUI cases in Michigan after a Lansing district court judge threw out a guilty verdict because the prosecutor didn’t disclose information that might have helped the defendant. This is called exculpatory evidence. It all started back in November of 2018, when 43-year-old Patrick Reynolds of Grand Rapids hit a pole with his car near an intersection in Lansing, Michigan. It was about 2 am, and he had just left the bar and was driving home when he lost control of his vehicle and struck the pole in Ingham County.