Pulled Over? Here is How to Handle It

What is the correct way to handle a traffic stop? We are certain that many drivers wished they had had this article to read before their own traffic stop.

No matter who you are or what kind of driver you consider yourself to be, traffic stops are always stressful and for many, quite frightening.

One of the main fear-inducing issues is caused by the fact that you may not always know why you are being stopped, and this mystery causes many drivers to say and do things that make this type of incident even worse than it needs to be.

Before we tell you the best way to act if you’re pulled over, let us tell you exactly what to do:

Pull over and turn off your car.
Turn on the inside dome light in your vehicle so the police officer can see you, and see inside of the car.
Roll your window down at least ¼ of the way.
Rest your hands on the steering wheel.

Don’t Be Surprised If It’s You

Too many drivers are on the road feeling as if they will never be the ones on the side of the road with the red flashing light behind them. You are probably wrong about this fact. Every driver in a lifetime of driving will get pulled over at least once. Being aware of this fact takes the edge off when it’s your turn, and you won’t come off with an unnecessary attitude.

Don’t Treat the Police Like Your Friend

A policeman pulling you over on the road is not your friend. He or she is pulling you over to determine if your violation is solved by a warning, a ticket, or arrest. Be professional and answer their questions. It wouldn’t be wise to try and start a casual conversation.

Be Courteous and Polite

Show the cop your best side and your most professional personality.

If you feel you are being asked to do something unlawful, verbally refuse and resist. Never physically resist as this will cause the need for an arrest. If you are arrested, do not resist. An arrest will not be devastating unless you are convicted. You are not in trouble simply because you are arrested.

Under the Influence? What to know about Marijuana

Marijuana laws can be confusing; in some states, recreational marijuana is no longer criminalized.  But in Michigan, recreational marijuana is illegal.  Alcohol, on the other hand, is legal.  Yet should you get caught driving intoxicated, there are serious legal consequences.

How much marijuana is required to be considered “under the influence?”

The argument is still unresolved as to just how much THC in the system one needs to be considered legally impaired. Studies have determined however that drivers with a THC measurement of 5-10 ng/ml seem to be impaired to the point that they tend to have a higher risk of causing an accident. These same studies have shown that marijuana smokers with THC measurements at 5 ng/ml or below appear to be no more at risk for causing an accident than a completely sober driver.

How long does marijuana remain detectable in the system?

This is another complex determination. Though one dose of marijuana can send THC levels above 100 ng/ml 10 minutes right after the inhalation, THC levels can also decrease very quickly within 3-4 hours dropping below 4 ng/ml. Also, frequent marijuana users can have high THC levels even after days of abstaining from the drug. This fact generates serious concern for those who are legally taking medical marijuana for pain and illnesses.

The best advice that can be given to drivers is to abstain from marijuana; and if you are legally taking medical marijuana, always carry proper identification with you if you must drive. If you have any questions or concerns on the matter, make sure to contact us today!

The Difference between Felonies and Misdemeanors

How can a layperson tell the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor? To begin with, the terms “felony” and “misdemeanor” are characterizations of the seriousness of a crime. All states label crimes by their level of seriousness, and felonies and misdemeanors are the two main categories.

Generally, one can say that the amount of jail time a criminal could face is the main difference between a felony and misdemeanor. But there are other factors that differentiate the two categories of criminal acts and it’s important that we all have an overview of both.



  • Severe crimes, such as murder, assault, rape, grand theft and robbery
  • The convicted criminal could face more than 1 year in state prison
  • Complete loss of all 2nd Amendment rights, such as voting, acting as a juror, and holding public office


  • Less severe criminal acts, such as shoplifting, domestic fights, and disturbing the peace
  • 1 year of incarceration is the maximum fine/punishment one can receive for a misdemeanor
  • Those convicted of misdemeanors retain all of their 2nd Amendment rights

Depending upon the state, certain crimes may be felonies, while in other states they are considered misdemeanors.  Marijuana possession is one of these crimes that may differ in seriousness from state to state.

What Happens If I Get a OWI In Michigan?

OWI- the letters we don’t want to see on any correspondence or ticket received from law enforcement. Driving under the influence of any substance, legal, or illegal, is unsafe, quite dangerous to you and others, and just plain old bad decision making.

Having an OWI on one’s driving record is a restricting experience and can cost a driver his privileges, and many times, his job. For most of us, our transportation is essential to our livelihood and our daily family schedules and activities; and with a OWI, we often have to rearrange, not just our lives, but the lives of those around us.

Every state may vary slightly in its rules of giving out an OWI, and how they enforce this driving restriction, but if you are a resident of Michigan, you may wonder what having a OWI on your record entails.

Here is your answer:

In the state of Michigan, “drunk driving” is the label given to anyone driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. If a driver is caught with illegal drugs in their system, such as marijuana, cocaine, or GHB, the prosecution will not legally bear the burden of proving that you were impaired, just simply that you had any of these drugs in your system.

Refusing to take a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test, will not help you if you are pulled over in Michigan for driving under the influence. The state has what is called an, “implied consent law,” which means that if you refuse the tests, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for a year, and in addition to any monetary and criminal penalties you receive, six points will be added to your license.

For those who are not of the legal drinking age of 21, the law is even stricter for those caught driving under the influence. If a minor is caught with even an unopened container of alcohol while driving or parked in a lot, he or she will be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. If the underage driver has alcohol in their system, of 0.02% or greater, they will be arrested.

Drivers can be charged with a list of violations depending upon the situation:

Operating while visibly impaired (OWVI)

Operating while intoxicated (OWI)

Operating a vehicle with any presence of a schedule 1 drug or cocaine (in other words, even if you do not appear impaired, if there is even a trace of any of these drugs in your system, you can be prosecuted).

There are various fees that a driver could face after their court hearing; including monetary fines, license suspensions and restrictions, vehicle immobilization, community service, and incarceration. So remember, it is wise, safe, and lawful, to avoid driving if you are under the influence of any substance, legal or illegal.

If you have any more questions about your OWI, please contact The Law Office of Joseph F. Awad today!

The Truth about Tricking a Breathalyzer Test

Breathalyzers came onto the scene quite a few years ago, and thanks to this form of technology, many drunk drivers have been tested and faced fines and punishment for driving under the influence. There are many tall tales and misconceptions about what a breathalyzer is capable of. Drivers often wonder if it can be tricked or if it can yield false results. Here we offer you the facts separated from the fiction on the truth about breathalyzer tests.

Myth: You can use a breath mint or breath freshener to trick a breathalyzer.

The Truth is: Breath fresheners only cover up the odor of alcohol but will not lower the amount of alcohol found in your system. Be especially careful with trying to rinse quickly with a mouthwash. Many contain alcohol and can raise your readings.

Myth: Smokers are more difficult to read, than non-smokers.

The Truth is: Acetaldehyde is the culprit of this myth. It is a compound found in heavy smokers and can possibly throw off the readings of lower cost units made from semiconductors. Professional grade fuel sensor breathalyzers cannot be fooled by this substance and this is the type of breathalyzer that most law enforcement officers carry.

Myth: Sucking on a penny can help you beat a breathalyzer test.

The Truth is: This is a total urban myth and there is no truth in it. A penny, nor any herbal formulas or secret elixirs can trick a breathalyzer.

Myth: Breathalyzer results can be used against you in court.

The Truth is: Not always. The purpose of a breathalyzer is for screening purposes while patrolling the roads and highways. They are for assisting officers in the detection of alcohol and illegal substances. The results are not always admissible in a court hearing.

Myth: The breathalyzer is 100% correct and accurate.

The Truth is: Commercial breathalyzers can always detect the presence of alcohol but its accuracy can vary greatly. Professional breathalyzers are highly sensitive and therefore highly accurate. Semiconductor breathalyzers are not as sensitive and are for more personal use than anything. All breathalyzers, commercial and professional grade, need to be calibrated periodically to remain reliable and accurate.

Can The Police Force Me To Take Field Sobriety Tests

Most people are not aware that field tests are completely voluntary! My experience with Michigan OWI arrests is that most people who are pulled over are just too nice to tell the police they do not want to take field tests. As a matter of fact, you should always decline to take field sobriety tests since, in my experience, these tests are designed to measure what you did wrong and almost always disregard what you did correctly. What winds up in the officer’s police report are all the missteps and slurs and none of the things you did to affirm that the officer has no right to arrest you for drunk-driving. Everything the officer claims you did incorrectly with your field sobriety tests is just one more reason they will use to convince a judge that your DUI arrest was valid. It stands to reason that the fewer errors you commit, the fewer reasons the police have to try and justify your arrest. Performing NO field sobriety tests deprives the police of many of the reasons they would later use against you. There is no law or statute that can force you to take field sobriety tests. There is no legal consequence for failing to take dexterity tests offered by the police in Michigan. With the exception of the preliminary roadside breathalyzer, you cannot be punished for simply and politely declining to take field tests. While it’s important to be polite and courteous during an OWI investigation, it is also important to ensure you do not willfully assist the police in arresting you for DUI. Let the police do their role provided you perform yours – making sure you have the protection of the law, realizing that giving the police everything they ask for will do more harm than good 99% of the time when it’s time to go to court on your offense.

If you were recently arrested for a DUI in Michigan, part of your legal defense requires a careful look at your field test performance. If you took the tests, as most people do, your attorney will need to carefully analyze the tests you were given, the method used in assessing your performance, and the “score” or conclusion the officer made on the basis of the field tests you offered. If the police improperly instructed you on the procedure to take the test provided, and/or if the police provide you the test incorrectly, your attorney can challenge the conclusions the officer tries to draw from the field tests you take. This can go a long way in properly defending your drunk-driving charge. Every aspect of your case matters! As an OWI attorney, I am committed to scrutinizing every aspect of your case. If the police and prosecutor intend to use all of your mistakes against you, make sure you have an attorney by your side committed to holding the police accountable for the mistakes they routinely make, as well. Call me direct at (734) 507-1333 to discuss your DUI case. I will provide free and candid advice you will find invaluable as you address your case. I will discuss your options and give you a clear plan of action to properly defend your case. You deserve the benefit of every doubt and police error your case carries. Be sure you have an Attorney committed to giving you every advantage in court.

Can An Officer Take Blood Even After a Refusal To Give It?

If you refuse to take a breath, blood, or urine test offered by the police officer after your arrest, he or she cannot take it without your consent. However, in almost every case, an officer will seek a court order, or warrant, for the involuntary taking of your blood by a qualified medical professional. It this case, it would not be illegal for the police to forcibly restrain you at a hospital while a nurse draws your blood. That blood will be set to the Michigan State Police crime lab for analysis of blood alcohol content. However, bear in mind that the proper protocol for taking your blood and for testing it must be done legally in order for the results to be admitted against you in court. Contact Attorney Joseph Awad for a review of your case and an initial determination if the blood draw in your DUI case can be challenged or thrown out.

Our Article On First-Offense DUI Laws Up On Gather.com

We have just published an article on Gather.com that gives an overview of Michigan first offense DUI laws. The article explains that in Michigan, driving under influence is a serious crime, and a defendant who was found to operate a vehicle while intoxicated due to alcohol can face heavy fines, license suspensions or even jail time; the offense is even more serious if illegal drugs are involved.

Given the consequences of a DUI arrest, it makes sense to get only the best representation in Michigan, which is why MI DUI lawyer Joseph Awad’s experience with contesting drunk driving charges is invaluable in any DUI case.

New article on First offense DUI Laws in Michigan

Check out this article about Attorney Joseph F. Awad’s knowledge of first offense DUI laws and how he can help you receive a favorable legal outcome. If you are facing your first DUI charges, Attorney Awad can often help you minimize or altogether avoid the consequencesof a first offense DUI, including a reduction or elimination of fines, jailtime, and even community service. Click here to learn how he can help you!

‘Super Drunk’ Law Targets Drunk Drivers

The Michigan city of Bloomfield Hills has taken another step in the war against drink driving. The city recently voted to put the “super drunk” law into effect locally. The “super drunk” law primarily targets first time offenders which have a BAC level of .17 or higher, which is twice the legal limit—hence the “super drunk” moniker. Those in violation of the law can expect harsher penalties, like fines of up to $700, double jail time and the immobilization of the offender’s vehicle with an in-car Breathalyzer.

The “super drunk” law had already been passed on a state level but now it can be enforced on a local level allowing the city to collect fees from offenders.

Since the penalties for drunk driving are going up it’s even more important to have skilled legal representation. Feel free to contact Michigan DUI lawyer Joseph F. Awad for help with such matters.