Michigan Court of Appeals: People v Nowak


In this case, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a criminal defendant was not entitled to set aside his guilty plea after he pleaded guilty to OWI 3rd and driving on a suspended license. Judge Darlene O'Brien gave him a sentence of 1 year in jail on the DWLS charge and 1-5 years in prison on the OWI 3rd offense. It appears that there was habitual offender notice filed by the prosecutor's office, which may have been amongst the reasons why Judge O'Brien imposed such a harsh sentence. Normally, an OWI 3rd should not result in a prison term unless the accused has a particularly bad record. See "Felony Drunk Driving in Michigan: Prison for a Michigan OWI 3rd Offense?"


This case is also notable for three other reasons: 1) the court provides analysis when a guilty plea should be set aside, 2) the defendant was denied a Ginther hearing, and 3) the element of "operation" of the motor vehicle was weak. These issues are all discussed in the opinion. 

People v. Nowak

Mich: Court of Appeals, 2017
… accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles," (3) while
intoxicated. MCL 257.625(1); People v Hyde, 285 Mich App 428, 448; 775 NW2d 833 (2009) …
of a vehicle being operated by a person under the influence of intoxicating liquor with …