Being Pulled Over By Michigan Police For A Misdemeanor OWI
When a marked police car is behind you with its lights flashing, you must pull over and stop. It does not matter if you have no idea why you are being pulled over or feel you have done nothing wrong. When an officer approaches you and asks to see your identification and registration, be polite and provide the law enforcement agent with the information requested. I strongly advise against arguing with law enforcement on the side of the road. It will not get you the results you want and may very well make things worse. Remember, “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” A good friend of mine, who is an outstanding drunk driving attorney put it this way, “People think they can talk their way out of an arrest and yet they talk their way into one.” If the officer asks you how much you have had to drink, do not answer the question. You have a constitutionally guaranteed right to remain silent. If you admit to drinking three glasses of wine, the office can later on testify that you admitted to drinking three glasses of wine.
The Roadside InvestigationPolice officers aren't having a conversation with you because they enjoy your company. They are trying to gather information to arrest you and build a case against you. Once an officer suspects that you have been drinking, you will probably be asked to do field sobriety tests. Police officers ask people to take the field sobriety tests when they smell an order of intoxicants, by how you act and in some cases because drivers have admitted they were drinking.
Under current Michigan law, it is not mandatory that you take the field sobriety tests. If you do take these tests, the evidence gathered will be used against you. After you take or refuse to take the field sobriety tests, the officer will continue the investigation by asking you to submit to a Preliminary Breath Test on the side of the road. Under Michigan law, if you refuse to take a PBT you will face a civil infraction that suspends your driver's license. The officer will also get a warrant and will then likely have your blood drawn at a local hospital.
The Criminal ProceedingYour first court appearance will be your arraignment. At the arraignment, a judge or magistrate will explain to you what the charge(s) are, the maximum penalties you are facing and go over the advice of rights form. The advice of rights form explains to you that you have the right to an attorney at public expense if you are indigent, to call witnesses at your trial, to see and hear and question all witnesses against you at trial, to be a witness or to remain silent and to be presumed innocent until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you plead guilty at your arraignment, you maybe sentenced right away. For certain misdemeanors like domestic violence and drunk driving, you may have to come back later to be sentenced. If you enter a not guilty plea, there will be one to three pre-trial conferences. If your case doesn't settle at the pre-trial conferences, there will be a trial. If you are found not guilty, your case is over with. If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced after trial or shortly thereafter.