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New Law Makes it Easier for Michigan Drivers to Avoid a Drunk Driving Arrest

Sep 2nd, 2016 DUI Stops DUI Enforcement

On September 8, 2015, Governor Snyder signed into law House Bill 4193, making it easier for Michigan drivers to avoid a DUI arrest.

According to the new law, during a traffic stop you may now show a police officer an electronic proof of insurance on your phone.  This electronic proof of insurance would be considered prima facie evidence that you have properly insured your car.

So why does this make it easier to avoid a DUI arrest in Michigan?  Well, one of the first things a police officer will be looking for in a DUI investigation is whether or not you are able to provide a proof of insurance.  In other words, the officer will be trying to determine if you are drunk from how you respond to his/her request to provide driver license, registration and proof of insurance.

The reason for this is that this simple request is considered a “divided attention test,” and if you fumble through your car, or your wallet in trying to locate your proof of insurance, or if you drop the document when handing it over to the officer, or hand him the wrong document, then any of these things will be considered evidence of intoxication.

For many drivers, especially young drivers, locating and displaying an electronic version of the proof insurance will be much easier than with the traditional paper document.  In these instances, allowing a phone or electronic copy, rather than a paper copy, will make it that much more difficult for the police officer to collect evidence of your intoxication.

Also in the new law:

  1. The police officer may only view the copy of the certificate and is prohibited from manipulating the device to view any other information on the device.
  2. A person who displayed a certificate of insurance using an electronic device would does not give consent to any further searches of that device by law enforcement; and
  3. The police are not liable for damage to your phone that might occur as a result of a police officer’s viewing of the device, regardless of who was in possession of the device at the time of the damage.

The bottom line is this, it’s not illegal to drink and drive, so if you plan on drinking any amount of alcohol, and then driving, it’s a good idea to have your driver license, registration and proof of insurance handy – just in case.  Doing so might just result in your avoiding a Michigan DUI arrest!