Plachta, Murphy & Associates, P.C.
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Please Call : 616-458-3994
Usually, the entire DUI process begins when one of two events occur. Either when a person is pulled over for a traffic violation, or when a person enters a DUI checkpoint. By far, the most common beginning occurs when the officer pulls a suspect over for a traffic violation. The violation often is for either running a stop sign or light, weaving between lanes, speeding, or a simple defect to the vehicle. The officer will then state that he or she noticed what is called the objective symptoms of intoxication. These symptoms include slurred speech, watery eyes and the smell of alcohol on the suspect's breath.
In Michigan, police departments may also use DUI checkpoints in order to enforce drunk-driving laws. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence after being stopped at a Michigan DUI checkpoint, you should contact a DUI defense lawyer to discuss your case and learn about your options.
DUI checkpoints are a controversial issue - many believe that they violate a citizen's Fourth Amendment rights, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that the public service DUI checkpoints provide, outweighs the infringement of Fourth Amendment rights; however, there are strict guidelines a law enforcement agency must follow when conducting a Michigan DUI checkpoint.
In order to set up a DUI checkpoint, the law enforcement agency must show that it is part of an ongoing campaign to deter drinking and driving and the location and date of the checkpoint must be publicized in advance. The selection of a DUI checkpoint must be chosen for a specific reason (i.e., there have been a high number of DUI accidents at the location). The agency must also get a prosecuting attorney involved and a judge must be informed of the checkpoint locations and procedures.
During the checkpoint, there must be signs and warning lights that let drivers know they are approaching a DUI checkpoint. The law enforcement agency must have a predetermined plan regarding which cars will be stopped (i.e., every other car, every third car). Any deviations from the plan must be well-documented. A mobile breath testing machine must be used at the checkpoint, or suspects must be quickly transported to a location where the test can be performed.
If you are stopped at a Michigan DUI checkpoint, call us immediately.
Once the officer has detected any of the objective signs of intoxication, then he or she will begin the DUI investigation. The suspect will be asked to step out of the vehicle and the officer will begin to administer a series of field sobriety tests (FST). The name comes from the fact that the officer conducts the tests in the field. There are several different types of field sobriety tests and an officer is not required to give all of the tests at the time of his or her investigation. The officer is also not required to tell you that you can refuse to participate in the tests.
PRELIMINARY Breath Test (PBT)
When stopped by a law enforcement officer for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you may be asked to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) at the roadside to determine whether you are under the influence of alcohol. If you refuse to take the PBT, you will be charged with a civil infraction, and fined up to $100 plus court costs. Persons under the age of 21 who refuse to take the PBT will receive two points on their driving record. Even if you take the PBT, you must still take the evidentiary chemical test (blood, breath, or urine test), discussed below.
Michigan Implied Consent Law
If arrested, you will be required to take a chemical test to determine your Bodily Alcohol Content (BAC) or to ascertain whether there are drugs in your body. Under Michigan's Implied Consent Law, all drivers are considered to have given their consent to this test. If you refuse a test, six points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended for one year. Please be aware that suspension of a license is automatic for any refusal to submit to the test. This is a seperate consequence from any subsequent convictions resulting from the traffic stop or checkpoint.
If you are arrested a second time in seven years and again unreasonably refuse the test, six points will be added to your driving record, and your license will be suspended for two years.
If you refuse to take the test under the Implied Consent Law or if the test shows your BAC is .08 or greater, your driver's license will be destroyed by the officer, and you will be issues a 625g paper permit, which allows you to drive if your license was valid at the time of arrest, until your case is resolved in court.
After the officer completes the FSTs, if he or she determines that the driver failed the tests, the officer will arrest the driver for driving under the influence (DUI). If the driver was administered the PAS breath test in the field, and the driver blew more than the legal limit, the officer will also use that result as "probable cause" to arrest. In a normal DUI case, the officer will place the driver under arrest for DUI.
For the officer to make this arrest, the officer must have probable cause to believe that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the driver's ability to drive the vehicle is impaired. At this time, the driver is placed in handcuffs and taken for a chemical test. The chemical test may be either blood, breath, or a urine test, if drugs are suspected. This test is used to determine the level of alcohol in the driver's blood. This is called the BAC test, or the Blood Alcohol Test. The officer, if possible, will give the driver a choice of which test he or she would like to take. The DUI suspect is required by law to take a chemical test. However, in most cases the police will not force you to take a test. Instead, you will just be punished more severely by both the DMV and the court for the refusal. If the driver does not take a test, then the Dpepartment of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend the driver's license for a significant period of time of at least one year; in some cases, the suspension may be longer.
If the DUI suspect chooses a breath test, then the driver will be asked to follow the instructions of the officer. The officer will ask the driver to blow two seperate times into the machine. At the conclusion of the test, the officer will know the result of the test. The officer will then complete the arrest report and any other supplemental forms.
If the DUI suspect selects the blood test, then the police will need to comply with strict rules on the removal and handling of the blood. The sample will be sent out to an approved testing site, and the results will not be known for several weeks.
The DUI suspect will then be booked into the jail with a bail that must be made in order for him or her to be released with a future court date.
For more information about the various defenses for your DUI case, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Miles Murphy at Plachta, Murphy & Associates. Mr. Murphy can be reached at 616-458-3994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Call : 616-458-3994