Republished with permission – by ATTORNEY MATTHEW NORWOOD – originally published November 3, 2019
These posts are in no way encouraging drunk driving, but just providing a guide to individuals who are not criminals or bad people, but just someone who made a mistake.
The first thing any person should do, sober or impaired, is to not give any law enforcement a reason to pull you over. Every driver should regularly check their car’s equipment to make sure it is in proper working order. Make sure your headlights, taillights, and license plate light all work. If one of those items are out, then you are driving around with a target that “screams pull me over.” In Genesee County, the Grand Blanc police regularly pull drivers over for defective equipment.
Driving a car with expired plates or tabs also puts you at risk of getting stopped by the police. Today’s police cruisers have the technology to read other car plates to alert the officer if the car’s insurance has lapsed, the registration has expired or if the owner of the car’s driver’s license is suspended. Also, I have noticed cars with license plates that cannot be read because of rust, old age, dirt or snow. Yes, Michigan law requires a car’s license plate to be in a clearly legible condition.
Further, make sure you and your passengers are wearing your seat belts. There are stings every year to look for people not buckling up. Do not have anything hanging from your rear-view mirrors, such as parking passes, air fresheners, or that garter belt you caught from your brother’s wedding in the ’80s. If you still have a garter belt hanging in your car, you have bigger problems than drunk driving.
In Michigan, the law says you cannot have an automobile’s front driver and passenger windows tinted. If they are factory-tinted windows, and not aftermarket window tint, the officer can still stop you. You will be able to get out of the window tint ticket, but not your OWI or DUI.
If a windshield is cracked, an officer can stop your car to make sure you can see clearly. Be aware that any visible cracks may set you up for a traffic stop. Similarly, loud mufflers or music may literally shout “pull me over.” If you want everyone to hear your favorite song, just know that you can be pulled over for it. Once a police officer pulls you over, you’re one step closer to an OWI or DUI charge.
Grand Blanc is notorious for looking for the smallest infraction to pull a vehicle over. Some common civil infractions that they use is touching the centerline, fog line and swerving. This is a great issue to fight because Michigan roads are comparable to Afghanistan, and Michigan law requires a car to stay in its lane as practicably as possible. Speeding, even 1 mph over the limit can be a reason to stop a car.
Stopping is a common issue an officer looks for. Make sure your car comes to a complete stop. Once you feel the jerk of your car completely stopping, then you can go. The officers are trained to look at your wheels to see if you are rolling through the stop sign or light. Where you stop can also be an issue. This is a favorite of the Grand Blanc Police, make sure you stop before the actual stop sign, and be aware of not stopping past or on the stop bar if painted on the street or crosswalk. It’s okay to roll up after you have stopped. Be aware Michigan law requires you to come to a complete stop when leaving any driveway. Grand Blanc and Fenton police have been known to sit on bar parking lots.
Finally, turn signals. Use them. Use them when you are turning and use them when you are changing lanes. If you are turning from one street to another, you must turn into the correct lane if it’s a two-lane road. If turning right, you must turn into the lane closest to the right, and if turning left, you must turn into the closest lane to the left.
Again, please do not take this as an encouragement to drink and drive. The best way to avoid an OWI or DUI charge is to have a sober designated driver or call a ride-sharing service. But good people make mistakes, and they need someone to help navigate them through the treacherous judicial waters in Genesee County, Grand Blanc, Fenton, and surrounding areas. I am here to help you and to protect your rights and you can reach me anytime at (810) 235-4639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t let who you hire as your attorney be your second mistake.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for an OWI or DUI charge, and you need help navigating the bail system, please reach out to us right away!