407 E. Broadway, Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
Why Spencer Law is the Expert
We focus exclusively on aggressive criminal defense and represent clients statewide. If you or someone you know is under criminal investigation or charged with a crime don’t wait! Call Spencer Law today for a free consultation.
Q. My car insurance recently lapsed. I don’t have the money to renew it until next month. Can I get in trouble for driving without insurance?
A: Yes. Michigan law makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail to operate a motor vehicle without insurance (otherwise called security). Also, even if you have insurance, if you get pulled over and don’t have a copy of your insurance in the car with you, you can be cited with a civil infraction for not having proof of your insurance.
Q. I recently got pulled over, and the officer said that it was because I had my work parking pass hanging from my rear-view mirror. The officer said that it was causing a vision obstruction. Is that legal?
A: Yes. Under Michigan law, an officer can pull you over if he believes that you have any item that obstructs the vision of the driver.
Q. I received a letter in the mail from the prosecuting attorney’s office after I received a nuisance party ticket saying that if I paid a fine and did some community service hours, it would not go on my record. Is this legitimate?
A: Yes. This is known as a “pre-charge deferral.” The prosecutor will not issue formal charges against you if you comply with the requirements of the deferral.
Q. When I get pulled over, do I have to do the sobriety tests that the officer requests? What about taking a PBT?
A: No. You are not required to take sobriety tests at any time. However, you should always decline them in a polite and courteous manner. Do not get argumentative with the officer. In regards to a PBT, it is a civil infraction (same as a speeding ticket) for refusing to take a PBT. However, refusing the breath tests if you are lodged at the jail, will result in a loss of your license and driving privileges.
Q. Is marijuana legal in the City of Mount Pleasant? What happened to what was on the ballot last year?
A: Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Regardless of what Michigan or any of its cities, townships, or villages has to say. The city attorney will likely not prosecute these cases but the County Prosecutor’s Office will.
Q. Can I still get charged with drunk driving if I am below a .08?
A: Yes. .08 is the legal limit. If you blow over a .08, you can be charged with Operating While Intoxicated. However, if you blow below a .08 and it is clearly affecting your driving, you can still be charged with Operating While Visibly Impaired.
Q. Should I talk to the police if they are questioning me?
A: Always speak to an attorney first. If you’re just a witness to something, it is probably not necessary to talk to an attorney, but if you feel as though you may have done something wrong, it is always best to consult with an attorney first regarding your situation.
Q. I got a ticket and they gave me an “Appearance Date” with a date and time. What is this?
A: This is your arraignment date. It is most likely that you will be charged with a misdemeanor once the police officer submits a report to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. At the arraignment, the magistrate or judge informs you what you are being charged with and the maximum possible penalties. In Isabella County, if you hire an attorney, we can waive these hearings so you do not have to go.
Q. What is HYTA?
A: HYTA stands for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. It allows individuals between the ages of 17-20 to petition the Court to allow them to keep their case non-public and be put on probation. If they successfully complete the terms of probation, the case is dismissed and nothing ends up going on their record. Michigan law changed in 2015, to allow, with the prosecutors consent, individuals from ages 21-24 to receive this special status as well.
Q. What is 7411?
A: 7411 is a statute number in the State of Michigan. It is “lawyer slang” for MCL 333.7411. This statute applies to first time drug offenses and operates the same as HYTA as discussed above. If you successfully complete all of the terms of probation, you will not end up with a drug conviction on your record. This is exceptionally important in these type of cases because any drug crime, whether you are driving at the time or not, will suspend your Michigan Driver’s License.
Tip of the Month
MCL 257.652 requires all vehicles to come to a complete stop when exiting from a private driveway, alley, or parking lot. This means that even if you see no cars coming when you’re turning onto Mission, you still must come to a complete stop when exiting the parking lot. Failure to do so could result in 2 points added to your Michigan Drivers License. This is also a common reason that citizens get pulled over for drinking and driving.
As always, be careful and know the law!