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    My New Drunk Driving Website

    Hi everybody, as always, thank you for visiting my site and for your support.  In return, I can assure you that I've been fighting the good fight every day trying to end the unjust treatment of minors who are forced to suffer the extreme consequences of being charged with an MIP.  That being said, as many of you know, my practice includes representing people accused of misdemeanor and felony drunk driving.  I will drunk driving cases all of the time and just like MIP cases, I am shocked at the lack of knowledge and experience that most lawyers have who moonlight as drunk driving defense attorneys.  In response to this, I created which just like this site, discusses in great detail defenses, courts, possible sentences, and many other aspects of being charged with a drunk driving.  Also, the defenses that I discuss on are pertinant to MIP cases, as alcohol is the key factors in both charges.  So check it out if you have a minute and as always, thank you for your time!!!

    Jim Amberg


    MIP Appeal Hearing 

    Recently, I posted regarding the ongoing situation with the 52-3 Rochester Court regarding the failure to follow the Oakland County Circuit Court's Order to not give my client WWAM weekends for an MIP probation violation.  I then immediately appealed this unjust decision and we had our day in the appeals court.  Here are the videos of the hearing, enjoy!!!



    Judge Nicholson Refuses to Follow Circuit Court Opinion and Order

    I have seen many strange things happen in Court, but my experience on Monday may take the cake.  On Monday, I argued the Sowell case on remand from the Circuit Court.  In Mr. Sowell's case, Judge Julie Nicholson of the 52-3rd District Court brought Contempt of Court charges against him for allegedly violating the Judge's order to attend a probation meeting.  Due to circumstances out of his control, Mr. Sowell was not able to make the meeting, although he repeatedly attempted to change the meeting date without success.  I got on the case right at the time that Mr. Sowell was scheduled for his Contempt of Court trial.  We then had a trial, and even though the prosecutor's only witness admitted not having any evidence Mr. Sowell willfully violated his probation, Judge Nicholson found him guilty of Contempt of Court.  Because this was so outrageous and such an injustice, we appealed the verdict and the Oakland County Circuit Court overturned Judge Nicholson's ruling.  Additionally, the Circuit Court issued a written opinion which can be downloaded by clicking here. A major ruling in the opinion was that Judge Nicholson was prohibited from giving Mr. Sowell WWAM Weekends as punishment.

    On Monday, Mr. Sowell and I walked into Judge Nicholson's court in order to finally put this matter to a close.  Even though the probation department had recommended jail and WWAM weekends, I was confident that Judge Nicholson would follow the law.  Instead, Judge Nicholson again sentenced Mr. Sowell to WWAM weekends, completely in violation of the Circuit Court's Order and Opinion.  In Michigan, a District Court Judge is bound by the rulings of the Circuit Court on appeals involving their cases.  What Judge Nicholson chose to do by not following the Circuit Court's opinion was to completely violate Mr. Sowell's Constitutional Rights as well as her oath as a judge to uphold and follow the law. 

    Needlesstosay, our emergency motion for stay of sentence pending our appeal of Judge Nicholson's illegal sentence was immediately granted by the Circuit Court, who will soon be hearing our arguments about why a District Court Judge can't choose when to follow the law just because they don't like the decision of their Superior Court.  Ultimately it makes me wonder how Judge Nicholson is so quick to jail people for supposed violations of her Orders, yet she had no problems violating the Circuit Court's Order to her. 


    Field Sobriety Tests in MIP Cases

    Yesterday I finished the last of three criminal drunk driving jury trials I had in the last week and a half.  In two of the trials, a major issue was the field sobriety tests performed by the officers.  In MIP cases, many times officers will perform field sobriety tests if the young person enforces their rights and refuses a preliminary breath test.  I have seen officers do everything from performing gaze nystagmus tests to simply stating that the young person smelled like alcohol.   For reasons ranging from what people see on tv to an overall belief that cops should always be believed, attorneys seem to think that field sobriety tests are valid methods of determining whether somebody has consumed alcohol.  This could not be further from the truth.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has three major field sobriety tests which are taught by the Michigan State Police to new officers, as well as taught during advanced drunk driving detection classes.  The three tests are the Heel-to-Toe Walk, the One-Leggeed Stand, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.  Although we are made to believe that these tests are accurate, in fact these tests are highly subjective and have a high rate of failure.  In the trial I just finished, the arresting officer even testified that they had witnessed many people who failed the sobriety tests, yet they were sober.  If you or your child is charged with an MIP because of field sobriety tests, do not plead guilty because the accuracy of these field sobriety tests are very defensible, as was indicated by the jury in the trial I just finished.


    This Site is a Continuing Project

    My goal with is to compile as much information as I can on the subject of Minor in Possession laws and charges in Michigan.  I already have a regular website which details all of our firm's respective criminal practice areas. (  However, as I, along with a few courageous attorneys from Oakland County and throughout Michigan, have made it our mission to inform the public about the shocking reality of being charged with an MIP in Rochester, Hudsonville, Bloomfield, and the many other courts in Michigan which feel extreme punishment is necessary for a quasi-criminal charge.  Please bear with me as I will attempt to add at least a page a day on the site until it is finished.  My goal is to inform and share my experiences to everybody and anybody who has ever been affected by an MIP charge.