Category Archives: Traffic Citations/Laws

Livonia, Michigan Tops List For Most Speedtraps

According to the website www.speedtrap.org Livonia, Michigan ranks highest in the United States and Canada for its number of speedtraps.  The city averages 27.9 speedtraps per 100,000 residents well above runner up Windsor, Ontario’s 17.6.

What does that mean for you? Slow down in Livonia or face  high odds of speeding tickets and fines.  Hopefully stories like this will help the city to recognize it may need to resurvey appropriate road speeds.

If you would like to fight your Michigan traffic ticket call Daniel Ambrose at 248-624-5500 or visit our website www.ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Holly Valente, Traffic Citations/Laws

Rules For Teen Drivers Relaxed

LANSING — Teens with Level 2 graduated driver’s licenses will be allowed to drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. if they are going to school-related functions or other authorized activities under legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The governor’s office said Thursday that Snyder signed the bill Wednesday.

The measure expands the exceptions to restrictions contained in a state law that took effect earlier this year. The existing exceptions let teens drive to work during those hours.

The graduated license program increases privileges as young drivers grow older and gain experience. It ends when they turn 18.

If you have a question about a traffic citation contact Daniel Ambrose at (248) 624-5500
Ambrose Law Group

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Filed under Traffic Citations/Laws

Talking While Driving: The Law

In Michigan, it is legal for a person to talk on their cell phones while driving. However, just because it is legal, it doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for you to get in trouble. If a driver becomes distracted while talking on their cell phone and accidentally swerves in and out of their lane or seems to be distracted, the police may pull them over for numerous infractions, including but not limited to: careless driving or something like improper lane use.

 Remember texting and driving is illegal. Read our articles about the texting law here  

If you have received a traffic infraction contact Daniel Ambrose at (248) 624-5500

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Filed under Kristen Guralczyk, Traffic Citations/Laws

Children On Motorcycles

You often hear about ages for children to ride in the front seat, or to be out of a car seat or booster seat while driving in a vehicle but what about when riding on a motorcycle? Believe it or not, there is no minimum age for a child to be able to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. There is however, an exception that is based on size rather than age.

 

According to Michigan’s Vehicle Code MCL 257.658a, “A passenger shall not ride on a motorcycle unless his or her feet can rest on the assigned foot rests or pegs except… due to permanent physical disability.” So, it’s kind of like riding a roller coaster at a theme park; as long as you’re tall enough, you can ride. This seems a little strange since you could have an extremely tall 7 year old or an extremely short 15 year old and the 7 year old can ride but the 15 year old can’t. That is why when it comes to seat belt restraints the state enacted not only a size requirement but an age one as well. It seems that would make more sense.

 

Kristen@ambroselawgroup.com

If you have questions about the law in Michigan contact Ambrose Law Group at (248) 624-5500
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Filed under Kristen Guralczyk, Traffic Citations/Laws

MIchigan Seat Belt And Child Restraint Laws

With The Woodward Dream Cruise only a short while away, many older cars that were built without seatbelts will be appearing. Lots of families will be out cruising not just for the cruise but in the nice summer weather in general. What happens if you are driving in or have a child riding in a car that is not equipped with a seat belt?

 

As long as that car was manufactured BEFORE January 1, 1965 you are allowed to drive and child restraint requirements do not apply under federal law or regulation. However, if the car was manufactured AFTER January 1, 1965, the vehicle must be equipped with safety belts for the driver and one other front seat passenger and all child safety seat belt laws apply. (MCL 257.710d).

 

In regards to children in safety seats, the law states that any rear seated passengers that are between the ages of 4 and 15 must wear a properly fastened safety belt. Also, children up to the age of 4 must be properly restrained in a child safety seat no matter where they are seated in a vehicle. A child that is under the age of four must be placed in the rear seat of the vehicle UNLESS all seats are currently occupied by children that are 4 years old our younger. In that case the child maybe put in the front seat in a proper child restraint system. If the child restraint system is a rear-facing system, it may only be placed in the front seat IF the front passenger air bag is deactivated.

 

An exception to all and any seat belt rules under 257.710e(e) is that a person may be exempt from wearing a safety belt, or a driver is not liable, if they possess written verification from a physician that the operator or passenger is unable to wear the belt due to medical or physical reasons. 

Kristen@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Kristen Guralczyk, Traffic Citations/Laws

US Supreme Court Updates Exclusionary Rule for Automobile Searches

The US Supreme Court on Friday ruled that evidence from an objectively unconstitutional automobile search can still be admissible in court as long as the search took place prior to court decisions that recognized stronger protections in the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, the April 2009 decision in the case Arizona v. Gant overturned prior precedent and required police to get a warrant to search a car when an arrested suspect posed no realistic threat to officer safety (view ruling). Willie Davis was arrested over two years earlier in Greenville, Alabama when that rule did not apply.

Davis had been riding in a car driven by Stella Owens who was pulled over from drunk driving. During the stop, Davis and Owens were put in the backs of separate patrol cars and searched. Davis, a felon, had a revolver inside the pocket of his jacket. Davis challenged the seizure, and as his appeal was being heard, the Gant decision came down. Nevertheless, the Eleventh US Circuit Court of Appeals found that the search of Davis was indeed unconstitutional, but the evidence should be admitted. The supreme court majority led by Justice Samuel Alito agreed that the exclusionary rule should not apply.

“Exclusion is not a personal constitutional right, nor is it designed to redress the injury occasioned by an unconstitutional search,” Alito wrote for the majority. “The rule’s sole purpose, we have repeatedly held, is to deter future Fourth Amendment violations.”

The majority reasoned that police officers following the binding precedent set by appellate courts could not be deterred from conduct that at the time was neither illegal nor reckless.

“The search incident to Davis’s arrest in this case followed the Eleventh Circuit’s Gonzalez precedent to the letter. Although the search turned out to be unconstitutional under Gant, all agree that the officers’ conduct was in strict compliance with then-binding circuit law and was not culpable in any way,” Alito explained. “Under our exclusionary-rule precedents, this acknowledged absence of police culpability dooms Davis’s claim…. It is one thing for the criminal to go free because the constable has blundered. It is quite another to set the criminal free because the constable has scrupulously adhered to governing law.”

Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissent arguing the majority decision ultimately erodes the protections of the Fourth Amendment by creating yet another “good faith” exception to the constitutional right. This, Breyer and Ginsburg argued, would accelerate the number of illegal searches as lower courts followed the high court’s lead and allowed more illegally seized evidence to be admitted.

From  thenewspaper.com

If you have questions about search of your vehicle contact Daniel Ambrose at (248) 624-5500

Dan is a Michigan criminal trial lawyer with over 15 years of experience in Oakland and Macomb Counties

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Filed under Traffic Citations/Laws

Man Causes Fatal Crash Texting While Driving, Sentenced To 30 Days

A Lapeer man who police say caused a fatal crash while texting and driving has been sentenced to just one month in jail and 12 months of probation. It was the first case of its kind since the state passed a ban on texting while driving last August.

Some lawmakers say the penalties under texting-while-driving laws aren’t harsh enough, and need to be changed. Penalties for drunk drivers who cause a fatality are much harsher — some states include a four-year minimum prison sentence and a permanent driver’s license suspension.

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Filed under Traffic Citations/Laws

Driving While “Intexicated”

The Lakeshore Traffic Safety Committee unveiled its “Intexticated” program to police and reporters Thursday, at a closed course in downtown Muskegon. The committee is made up of law enforcement and other community leaders from Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Mason counties. A $5,000 grant from the Office of Highway Safety Planning helped pay for the car and other materials, as did $5,000 in local donations.

Capt. Mike Poulin, of the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office, said the program normally starts with a classroom lesson on the dangers of distracted driving. Students then go to a traffic cone course and get used to handling the Global Electric Motors car, a small vehicle resembling a golf cart, that is legal to drive on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.  “Once you’re comfortable with it, then we introduce these distractions,” he said.  One instructor rides in the passenger seat and tells the driver when to turn, while another instructor sends text messages. The object is to try to answer the text message and make the necessary turns without hitting cones. Most of the participating officers hit at least one cone.  Read the full story here.

A study by the University of Utah found that using a cell phone while driving affected a driver as much as having a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol concentration, whether the phone was hands-free or not. According to The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, in 2008 and 2009, 16 people were killed and 783 injured in Michigan wrecks  in which drivers were using cell phones.  So not only is it very dangerous to text and drive, it is now costly. 

 

Last April, the Governor signed into law the ban on texting while driving and on July 1, 2010, it went into effect.  The law makes it illegal to write or read a text or email message while driving. Using a GPS and using a cell phone are still legal. The law makes texting a primary offense, that means the police can stop you for it alone, just like a seat belt violation. Read the Texing While Driving Law here.

Find out how this well-intended law may be violating your constitutional rights here.

If you have a question about a DUI Charge contact Dan Ambrose at (248) 624-5500 or visit our website

Samantha@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Drunk Driving/OWI/DUI/OWVI/DWI, Traffic Citations/Laws

Federal Court Endorses Warrantless GPS tracking

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled in favor of police officers who attach GPS tracking devices to vehicles without first obtaining a warrant. They feel it does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

What this means for you:

A police officer can attach and activate a GPS device to your car, giving them real-time info on your location. No warrant is necessary.

Read the full article here 

and a copy of the ruling here 

Holly@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Constitutional Rights, Traffic Citations/Laws

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

“Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide,” ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. “No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure.”

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

“Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,” a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device’s capabilities. “The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.”

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

“With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity,” Fancher wrote. “A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched.”

The national ACLU is currently suing the Department of Homeland Security for its policy of warrantless electronic searches of laptops and cell phones belonging to people entering the country who are not suspected of committing any crime.

Read the article here 

For more coverage on this topic read the freep.com article here 

Do you think police should be allowed to use technology like this during police stops?

Personally, I consider my phone very private.  Many people have information about their jobs and family on their phone.  I would be very upset if someone accessed that information without my permission or knowledge.

Holly@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Privacy Laws, Traffic Citations/Laws