Category Archives:Traffic

Commercial Motor Vehicle License Penalties

iStock 000009557999Medium 300x300 Commercial Motor Vehicle License PenaltiesCommercial Motor Vehicle License Penalties:

Everyone understands that drinking and driving not only puts yourself and others at risk of serious injury, but it also endangers your ability to have an Operator’s License. The stakes are even higher if you are one of thousands of people that have a commercial motor vehicle license (CMV license), especially if you rely on the CMV License for employment reasons. This may be because Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) are particularly dangerous because they weigh more than 26,000 pounds. (MCL 257.7a)

Your CMV License may be suspended for up to one year if you are convicted of a number of offenses including Operating While Intoxicated and Operating While Visibly Impaired while operating a CMV or even a noncommercial vehicle.

Effectively, any convictions or license suspensions for anything related to a violation while operating a noncommercial vehicle count against the you as if you were operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time the offense occurred. (MCL 257.319b(7)) In fact, if you are convicted or found responsible for a combination of two of these types of offenses, your CMV license can be revoked for life.

This law may seem unfair but there are options available to individuals in these types of situations. For example, under MCL 257.319b(1)(e), if your CMV license was revoked, you may be eligible for reissuance of the CMV license after 10 years.

Many people base their livelihood on having a Commercial Motor Vehicle License. If you have lost or are in danger of losing your CMV License or Operator’s License, Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We’ll discuss your options and help you take the wheel again.

Failure to Stop Within A Sure and Clear Distance in Michigan

iStock 000010402104Small 300x300 Failure to Stop Within A Sure and Clear Distance in MichiganFailure to Stop Within A Sure and Clear Distance in Michigan:

One of the most common traffic civil infractions that our office handles are Failure to Stop Within Assured Clear Distance (sometimes called failure to stop within a sure and clear distance). Pursuant to MCL 257.627(1), this civil infraction carries a two point penalty on your driver’s license. Often this ticket is written in conjunction with a traffic accident, but it is also often written on its own. While an accident will remain on the record of both parties involved forever, in some cases this ticket can be negotiated down to an impeding traffic charge. Impeding traffic carries no points and will not abstract on your record. This is an advantage because the fewer points on your records, the lower your insurance rates will be.

Points remain on your traffic record for 7 years. As such, failing to deal with a ticket now could mean that down the road you are ineligible for programs to reduce future tickets. This is why it is important to treat every traffic ticket seriously, in order to preserve your clean record. A clean record is very important to preserving your ability to get deals on traffic tickets in the future, keeping your insurance rates low, and avoiding driver’s responsibility fees. Driver’s responsibility fees are routinely assessed against drivers with too many points on their record, and will continue to be assessed until your points fall below a certain threshold. These fines are costly and completely avoidable with some preventive attention.

Our traffic ticket attorneys work in all major metro Detroit courts including but not limited to Troy, Madison Heights, Sterling Heights, Rochester Hills, Warren, and many others. We are familiar with court policies and the city attorneys or prosecutors who work in each court. As such, we are able to get the best deal available in your circumstance. One factor that really helps the kind of deals we are able to negotiate is your attitude with the police officer when you were pulled over. A good attitude can often mean a better deal is available down the line.

To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.

Failure to Stop and Identify at the Scene of a Property Damage Accident 257.618

iStock 000038399572Small 300x300 Failure to Stop and Identify at the Scene of a Property Damage Accident 257.618

Hundreds of car accidents occur in Michigan every day. If damage to your car and a delay in your day isn’t frustrating enough, you may even receive a ticket if you don’t follow the exact protocol following the accident.  Under Michigan Vehicle Code 257.618 the driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he has been involved in an accident upon public or private property that is open to travel by the public shall immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall remain there until the requirements of section 619 are fulfilled or immediately report the accident to a police station or officer.

Failure to Stop and Identify at a Property Damage Accident is commonly called Hit and Run. It is a 6 point misdemeanor offense and carries a hearty fine,  and possibly jail and/or probation. Section 619 dictates that the driver of a vehicle who knows or has reason to believe that he or she has been involved in an accident with an individual or with another vehicle that is operated or attended by another individual will do the following:

Give his or her name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is operating, including the name and address of the owner, to a police officer, the individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which he or she has collided.  Then the driver must show his or her license to the individual or driver of whose car was struck or a police officer and do everything to reasonably assist in securing medical aid for anyone injured.

If you have been involved in an accident, fail to meet these requirements and the accident results in damage to a vehicle operated by or attended by any individual, the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment or, more commonly, a fine of $100.00.  Tickets for this offense are very common in Michigan.  Many drivers that are involved in an accident want to get the whole ordeal over with as soon as possible but it is advisable to take the requisite actions in order to avoid paying a fine on top of any repairs that might need to be done.   However, if you were involved in an accident and received a ticket of this nature, there are resources you can use to ensure this ticket does not cause issues in the future.  The attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC have a great deal of experience with tickets of this nature in the courts of Metro-Detroit.  If you would like more information, please call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

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Rochester Hills, Michigan Traffic ticket Attorney

iStock 000037294526Small 300x300 Rochester Hills, Michigan Traffic ticket AttorneyDid you receive a traffic ticket in Rochester Hills, Michigan?  Traffic tickets are more common than we like and being a few minutes late could turn into a few points on your driving record.  If you get too many points, your license can be suspended or even revoked.  This is why it is best to take steps to prevent points from being placed on your driving record in the first place. The Michigan Vehicle Code assigns points for each violation but only after you have been convicted or found guilty of or responsible for a civil infraction.  Points placed on your driver record remain there for two years from the date of conviction and cannot be removed by the Secretary of State.  If you received a ticket in Rochester Hills, Michigan and would like more information about traffic law or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

The following is a list of points associated with common traffic convictions:

Six Points:

  • Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or other felony involving use of a motor vehicle.
  • Operating under the influence of liquor or drugs.
  • Failing to stop and give identification at the scene of a crash.
  • Reckless driving.
  • Unlawful bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or more.
  • Refusal to take a chemical test.
  • Fleeing or eluding a police officer.

Four Points:

  • Drag racing.
  • Operating while visibly impaired.
  • Under age 21 with any bodily alcohol content.
  • 16 mph or more over the legal speed limit.
  • Failure to yield/show due caution for emergency vehicles.

Three Points:

  • Careless driving.
  • Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign or improper passing.
  • 11 through 15 mph over the legal speed limit.
  • Failure to stop at railroad crossing.
  • Failure to stop for a school bus or for disobeying a school crossing guard.

Two Points:

  • 10 mph or less over the legal speed limit.
  • Open alcohol container in vehicle.
  • All other moving violations of traffic laws.
  • Refusal of Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) by anyone under age 21.

For more information about traffic law or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Failure to Yield to Emergency Responder

iStock 000013606386Small 300x300 Failure to Yield to Emergency Responder

Failure to yield to an emergency responder is a surprisingly common offense in Michigan. It frequently occurs when a police officer is attempting to pass through traffic or has pulled someone over to the side of the road. MCL 257.653 gives us the details of this offense and some clarification about what is expected of other drivers.

Under 257.653, when an authorized emergency vehicle approaches with its lights and sirens on, the drivers of other vehicles are required to yield the right of way and pull over to the side of the road until the emergency vehicle has passed.  If you fail to do this, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Under 257.653a, if there is a stationary emergency vehicle with its lights on, other drivers are required to move one lane away or, if this is not possible, to reduce speed to such that is safe.  Violating this provision results in a misdemeanor.  This is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days.  The primary concern here is that the police officer will likely need to exit his or her car in order to address situations.  Therefore, it is safer if drivers give them extra space.

Under 257.653b, approaching and passing a garbage or recycling truck or other type of utility or road service vehicle that is giving off visual signals like lights, other drivers are required to reduce speed.   This is also a misdemeanor even though it is not an emergency vehicle.

Though these instructions are guided by common sense, it is easy to forget to obey them, especially if you’re in a hurry.  If you have been charged with failure to yield to an emergency responder or vehicle, contact the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.  We are an experienced law firm and regularly represent clients in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Lapeer County, making us ideal representatives for your case.

Michigan Seat Belt Safety Law & the Police

iStock 000020896732 Small 300x300 Michigan Seat Belt Safety Law & the PoliceLess than half of Michigan Police Officers comply with the Michigan Seat Belt Safety Law?

A recent national study states that 50% of police officers do not buckle their seat belts when driving a car. This compares with 86% of the nation generally. This study comes on the heels of the Los Angeles Police Department’s 2012 statistics which showed that 37% of police officers involved in accidents were not wearing their seat belts at the time. Additionally, national failure of officers to wear a seat belt is the leading cause of officer mortality, above even shooting deaths.

While new officers to the force often use their seat belts at the same rates as others. However, some may emulate senior officers and avoid using them. Additionally, many older police cars do not have functioning seat belts, or the belts have been tied back or cut out. This is because of a perception on the force that police officers are susceptible to a sudden brutal attack from behind. In such a scenario, which is very rare, a seat belt may be an impediment to an officer who needs to access weapons quickly. In reality, while this situation may occur occasionally, it is far more common for an officer to be injured or die as a result of a failure to wear a seat belt.

Michigan Seat Belt Safety Law & the Police: While many states have exempted police officers from their seatbelt safety laws, Michigan’s law does not appear to exempt police officers specifically. It is unclear if there is no exemption because Michigan police officers regularly use their seat belts, or for one of the above discussed reasons. This means Michigan’s statistics could vary significantly from the national average However, there is still a decent likelihood that if you are pulled over for a seat belt violation the cop who pulled you over was not buckled up either.

http://www.detroitnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013312250027

To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.

Michigan Drinking and Driving BAC limit stays at .08

iStock 000005607391Large 300x300 Michigan Drinking and Driving BAC limit stays at .08 Michigan Drinking and Driving BAC limit stays at .08:

In 2003 there were 340 deaths related to drinking and driving. The legislature acted to lower the BAC threshold for drinking and driving from .10 to .08. By 2011, drinking and driving related deaths had dropped to 253. The law lowering the limit was originally temporary. It would have reverted back to .10 on October 1st. The Senate unanimously voted to retain the .08 threshold.  This was not entirely unexpected based on the relatively recent passage of the “Superdrunk” law. It seems the Michigan legislature aims to take a hard line with respect to drinking and driving offenses across the board. If you or someone you know is charged with a drinking and driving offense, it could have serious repercussions with respect to driving privileges and your criminal record. An experienced attorney can minimize this effect.

To retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

See also, http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013304240087

Can you get a dui for driving a lawn mower? Bloomfield Township Man’s Arrested for Drinking and Driving a Lawnmower

iStock 000020399975Medium 300x300 Can you get a dui for driving a lawn mower? Bloomfield Township Man’s Arrested for Drinking and Driving a LawnmowerCan you get a dui for driving a lawn mower?

Late last month, a 47 year old man who had been drinking decided he had some pressing errands that couldn’t wait for him to sober up. Whether a lawnmower is Mr. Walton’s vehicle of choice, or he was trying to avoid drinking and driving is unknown, but he fired up his lawnmower to head to the store. Police spotted the lawn mower parked at a local store, observed him exiting and begin to drive it. Upon determining Mr. Walton was intoxicated the police pulled him over and he was promptly arrested for felony drinking and driving. As the original article notes “Michigan law doesn’t care whether it’s a lawn mower or a Lamborghini, if you drive a motor vehicle while intoxicated” you are subject to arrest for drinking and driving. Pursuant to Michigan law, any vehicle with a motor is covered. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drinking and driving offense of ANY kind contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.

 

HGN (Horizontal Nystagmus Gaze) Testing

iStock 000001230998Medium 300x300 HGN (Horizontal Nystagmus Gaze) TestingHGN (Horizontal Nystagmus Gaze) Testing

If you have ever been pulled over and suspected of drinking and driving, you might know there are a series of tests officers administer prior to the BAC known as field sobriety testing. This can include walking heel to toe, saying the alphabet backwards, and or following an object with your eyes and not your head tests (HGN). While in the past I had thought this was only to see if you were able to directions, it turns out there is a biological reason behind the last test. If you have not been drinking (absent some major neurological disorders), your eyeball will pan across a landscape following object at a consistent pace. If you have been drinking though, it will jump from frame to frame across your field of vision. Think of it like the difference between a continuously variable transmission and stick gear shifting. As such, it is impossible to mask this biological reaction. On the other hand, the interpretation of this result is entirely up to the officer so there is very little way to independently confirm the officer’s findings. If you have gotten this far in the process though, there is probably other evidence that is sufficient to uphold your DUI absent extenuating circumstances. Very, very few DUI/OWI/OWVI/DWI offenses get overturned entirely. At this point, it is best for you to focus on minimizing the consequences through strong representation. An experienced attorney knows the ins and outs of metro Detroit courts, various judge’s proclivities, and can work to negotiate a lenient plea agreement and sentence for you.

To retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

What is Michigan's BAC Limit? Federal Government follows Michigan Trend, Supports Lower BAC Limits

iStock 000003703160Medium 300x300 What is Michigans BAC Limit? Federal Government follows Michigan Trend, Supports Lower BAC LimitsWhat is Michigan’s BAC Limit? Recently the Michigan Legislature acted to prevent state BAC limits from reverting back to .10, keeping the limit at .08. To allow otherwise would have rendered Michigan ineligible for significant federal highway funding which is tied to the lower BAC limit. The National Transportation Safety Board issues safety regulations, many of which have become law. Their victories include lowering the limit to .08 in the first place, and raising the drinking age from 18 to 21. They have decided to make their next fight lowering the BAC limit again, this time to .05. Citing Australia and Ireland who have lowered their rates to .05, the NTSB states that the US is practically alone in having such a high BAC limit. They allege that Australia saw 8%-18% reduction in drunken driving deaths.  That seems like a fairly large margin of error.

For your reference here is a map of BAC limits around the world.

http://chartsbin.com/view/2037

It seems if this were really such a problem, we would be hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence of people being pulled over, breathalyzed, and blowing between .05 and .08. In our experience, this is pretty rare. Most clients who have been arrested for Drinking and Driving offenses blow at least a .10, plausibly because until that point of inebriation driving impairment is not often visible.

To retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100  for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.