Michigan OWI Cases Delayed By Covid-19
Covid-19 has had a substantial effect on many facets of everyday life. From the housing market to microchip production, it is difficult to find any part of life that hasn’t seen some kind of change to address the Covid-19 pandemic. As we enter the winter season, we are beginning to see surges again in metro areas, leading to even more delays on top of what we are already experiencing. During the pandemic, even the criminal justice system is not safe from delays. One part of the criminal system that has been affected is blood alcohol content results, or BAC results, from operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges. COVID-19 has changed how Michigan officials process OWI offenses, which threatens to hurt alleged offenders’ legal defenses.
How Does Covid-19 Affect OWI Cases?
Before the pandemic, if you were arrested for an OWI, you would be required to submit to a breath test to determine your BAC almost immediately. In these cases, unless you refused to take the breath test, breath tests were the preferred method of determining BAC. However, over the almost two years since the pandemic hit, how arresting officers are testing BAC has changed. In the past, blood draws to determine BAC were far more uncommon. The Blood test method was often the last resort to determine BAC, usually only administered if the arrested individual refused to submit to a field sobriety or breath test.
However, with the explosion of Covid-19, blood tests for OWIs have become the norm. Why? Simply because Covid-19 is spread through the air. Administering a breath test requires the arresting officer to be close to another person and interact directly with their breath. On the other hand, blood draws are administered by medical personnel, do not involve the person’s breath, and can be performed easily with minimal direct contact with another person.
OWI Case Delays
Using a blood test sounds like a safer way to determine a person’s BAC, which sounds great, so what’s the catch? Blood tests on a blood draw take a much longer time to process than breathalyzer results. Blood is drawn, sent to the lab, the necessary tests run, the results returned, and the report then sent to the prosecutors. The process for even one blood sample takes far longer than a breath test, which traditionally returns results immediately. In usual circumstances, even the delay posed by tests on a blood sample would not be as substantial. However, with blood draws becoming the standard operating procedure, the wait time for individual results has grown significantly.
More tests together with longer processing times have created a perfect storm for delays. The tests are backed up because of the increase in traffic, which leads to delays in results, which ends in a longer wait to conclude the OWI case. With the results taking longer, defendants face more unknowns, making their defense more uncertain. Other concerns, like the chain of custody for a defendant’s blood sample, present additional defense complications.
Michigan OWI Lawyer
If you have been charged with OWI in Michigan, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC is experienced in defending people charged with OWI. We are here to answer your questions, including how the current pandemic affects your case. We will carefully explain the legal options available to you, fight hard to defend your rights, and minimize the impact that these potential violations or charges could have on your life. To learn more about how Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC can help you or a loved one regarding OWI, call (231) 577-1580 or contact us online.
SCRAM Violations In Michigan
In Michigan, if the court has ruled that you cannot drink as part of a sentence, the court may outfit you with a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring device or SCRAM. The Michigan court uses these devices to monitor whether you consume alcohol while you are wearing the device. Due to questions of the reliability and effectiveness of the devices, though, whether law enforcement should rely on SCRAM devices has been hotly debated. Nonetheless, SCRAMs are still widely used to monitor offenders, and if you violate the restrictions imposed by the device, you could face additional legal consequences.
What Is A SCRAM Device?
A SCRAM device reads your vital signs and determines your blood alcohol level from your skin. SCRAM is the brand name for particular devices, with other companies producing devices with similar detection applications. Often, SCRAM is used to describe a device, even if it isn’t the particular brand, the same way people call a cotton swab a Q-tip.
What Does A SCRAM Device Do?
A SCRAM device is a monitor placed on your ankle and secured with a band. The device captures data like body temperature and your transdermal alcohol content, or TAC. TAC is alcohol your body expels through the skin as it’s processed. To determine your TAC, the monitor reads vapor or sweat that your body produces. The SCRAM absorbs the vapor or sweat to determine if there is alcohol in your system. If present, the monitor will identify these results and send notifications to law enforcement, prosecutors, and your attorney.
What Can I Do If My SCRAM Device Detects Alcohol?
As with many technologies, SCRAM devices have limitations. As the technology’s readings can be flawed, you can use these flaws to establish a defense if a positive SCRAM reading is reported by the device.
SCRAM Devices Detect Any Type Of Alcohol
SCRAM devices will read any kind of alcohol—not just ethyl alcohol—as a violation. Ethyl alcohol is the kind that we drink and is one of a few different everyday alcohols. Common alcohols like acetyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and methanol alcohol are found in everyday products like vinegar, auto fuel, and skincare products. This means that if your SCRAM device comes in contact with any products that contain these other alcohols, the device might read those alcohols as a violation, even if you have not consumed any alcohol. If this happens, you can argue that you came in contact with one of these other kinds of alcohol, which triggered the positive identification.
SCRAM Data Reporting Is Delayed
If the device reports a violation, the data is not immediately sent to the monitoring agency; the positive identification and notification can be delayed by a matter of days. Connectivity issues and testing protocols often cause these delays. Because of the delay, you cannot perform a confirmation test, which could prove you innocent. Because of these inaccuracies, you can argue that because there can be false positives and no means of confirmation, you cannot adequately defend yourself against an alleged violation.
Michigan SCRAM Violation Lawyer
To learn more about SCRAM violations in Michigan or how a criminal defense attorney can help you in your case, get in touch with Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC. We focus on alcohol-related criminal defense cases, including how to help you manage a possible SCRAM violation. Mr. Gurumurthy can provide you with valuable insights on your rights and options. To contact Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC, call (231) 577-1580 or contact us online.
Alimony Determinations In Michigan
When two people divorce, the court may order one spouse of the former couple to pay a certain amount of money to the other, called alimony. The court will order these amounts as the other spouse adjusts to support themself, now that their former partner in the marriage no longer supports them.
What Is Alimony?
In Michigan, alimony consists of court-ordered payments from one spouse to another for financial support. The court often will order that the spouse that will be better able to support themselves following the divorce be responsible for payments to the other. For example, a couple may consist of a spouse who has been “stay-at-home” for a long time and another who has been consistently working and will have a job after the divorce is finalized. In this case, the spouse who has been “stay-at-home” will receive alimony payments from the other due to diminished ability to support themselves if the other is in a better position to support themselves.
How Are Alimony Payments Determined?
Michigan law does not describe precisely how alimony is determined. However, while the Michigan alimony statute law does not lay out explicit rules, the court considers several factors when determining the amount of alimony to be paid. These factors include:
- The spouses’ age, health, ability to work, income, financial independence
- Past conduct
- Property awards to each spouse in the divorce proceedings
- Which spouse has custody over the couple’s children, if any
- Lifestyle during the marriage
- Duration of the marriage
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the court can—but is not required to—rely on these factors when determining whether ordering alimony payments is appropriate.
How Long Will I Be Responsible For Alimony Payments If The Court Orders Me To Pay?
If the court finds that alimony payments are appropriate, they must determine the amounts the spouse will be responsible for paying and for how long. The court generally imposes three lengths of alimony payments: temporary, short-term, and permanent/long-term.
Temporary alimony is support paid to the spouse for only a short time. Generally, the court orders this support for the duration of the couple’s divorce proceedings.
Short-term alimony is support paid to the other spouse until the circumstances that caused the court to order alimony payments are no longer present. This kind of alimony payment schedule occurs until the other spouse obtains further education, gets additional training, or finds a job.
The court orders permanent/long-term alimony in cases where the other spouse cannot support themselves because of some permanent condition, like advanced age or health complications
Can Alimony Payments Be Modified After They Are Ordered?
If circumstances change, either with the spouse paying alimony or the spouse receiving it, alimony payments may be modified. For example, suppose the spouse paying alimony experiences genuine hardship and can no longer pay the current amount. In that case, the court may reduce or even suspend alimony payments, depending on the circumstances.
Michigan Alimony Attorney
Questions about how alimony affects you in Michigan? You can benefit from speaking to an experienced family law attorney. Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC is focused on helping people with a variety of family law issues, including alimony, child support, custody, and divorce. We can help you determine the steps to accomplish your goals. Get in touch with Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC, by calling (231) 577-1580 or contacting us online today.
The Importance Of Paternity In Michigan
Establishing the paternity of a child can be crucial to their well-being. Apart from the benefit of simply knowing, a child’s paternity is particularly important in legal proceedings involving custody and child support. Today, there are increasingly more non-traditional family and relationship styles that can make determining a child’s paternity difficult. Nonetheless, it is still essential that the father’s identity is determined to best provide for the child’s needs when legal circumstances arise.
What Is Paternity?
Paternity is being someone’s father. While some are interested in determining paternity to understand their family history, establishing paternity is most important in legal proceedings involving children.
How Is Paternity Determined?
There are two ways to establish paternity in Michigan: by voluntarily agreeing that the man is the child’s biological father or DNA testing.
Before DNA testing, it was far more challenging to identify a person’s biological father. After DNA testing grew more reliable, it became easier to identify a child’s biological father. DNA testing will be used in most cases if there is a dispute between the mother and the alleged father. Generally, a doctor or a court-appointed forensic professional will take a DNA sample from the mother, the alleged father, and the child. Children obtain half of their genes from their biological parents. In the child’s genetic sample, medical professionals can confirm that the child’s parents are indeed their parents by matching gene sequences unique to the parents within the child’s genetic code.
The other method, voluntarily agreeing that the man is the child’s biological father, is also a potential method of establishing paternity. This method generally occurs at the hospital after the child is born. Unmarried parents will usually be able to establish paternity by filling out a form where the man agrees, for all legal purposes, that he is the child’s biological father.
Why Does Paternity Matter?
Paternity is essential for several reasons; however, the most common circumstances where paternity matters are in custody and visitation and child support cases.
Paternity And Child Custody Or Visitation
In cases where the mother and the biological father are no longer together in a relationship, the father must prove that he is the child’s biological father to pursue custody or visitation rights. If the father’s status as the child’s biological father is in doubt, the father must prove either by previous agreement or by DNA analysis that he is the biological father. After paternity has been established, courts will consider this—among other factors—to determine a custody and visitation schedule.
In most child support cases, the relationship between a mother and a potential father has ended, with the mother seeking child support from the possible father. To successfully obtain child support, the mother must prove that the man is the child’s biological father. In other cases, a man may challenge paternity. In those circumstances, the potential father is attempting to prove that they are not the child’s father and therefore not responsible for supporting that child.
Michigan Paternity Attorney
Paternity is a complex process in Michigan. Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC is a family law firm experienced at helping clients in cases of paternity, adoption, divorce, child custody, child support, and more. Founder Ravi R. Gurumurthy can explain your options and help you manage your paternity issue efficiently and effectively. Reach out to Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC, by calling (231) 577-1580 or contacting us online.