Articles Posted in DUI Defense

Our drunk driving defense team is often asked this question: how do I find a top-rated DUI lawyer in Michigan? For OWI Michigan charges, our lawyers for DUI in Michigan always answer this question the same way – there is only one way to find a top-rated Michigan DUI lawyer, and that is by finding one who has honestly and objectively developed the reputation for getting great results.

And there’s only one way for those facing DUI charges to do that, and that one way is the hard way. The best Michigan DUI attorneys have earned it by knowing Michigan DUI laws from every angle. That includes being willing and able to go to trial to win, and also knowing when a plea bargain is going to provide the likely best outcome.

OWI vs DUI Michigan. Do not get confused about acronyms for the criminal charge of impaired driving. Nationally, DUI is the most widely used, but in Michigan, OWI is written into our intoxicated driving statutes.

A recent news report outlines some of the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Michigan Democratic state Rep. Mary Cavanagh of Redford, and as true with many media outlet stories it seeks more shock than substance.  To help elaborate on substance, and dispel some myths and misunderstandings about drunk driving laws, this article addresses the following three topic:

  1. A second DUI arrest does not necessarily mean enhanced DUI penalties, driver license sanctions or conviction,
  2. Being unable to stand on one leg is only a part of standard field sobriety tests, and;

Why Does Michigan’s Law of Implied Consent Exist?

The first DUI laws went in the books all the way back in the 1950s when cars where just starting to become very common. Back then, there were no breath tests, so that law enforcement tool in a DUI investigation was not available to police officers. That only happened ten years later, in the 1960s. Technology has improved a lot since then, and the law has changed too, because the law of implied consent is younger than the first breath tests. Back in the “olden days” people could refuse a breath test in a drunk driving case without an possible sanction. That is no longer true, and today, there are serious consequences if you unreasonably refuse to to a breath test.

The Michigan Law of Implied Consent

Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Plea Bargaining

Attorney Patrick Barone of Barone Defense Firm is a criminal defense law firm near me that represents clients accused of sex crimes, whereby if convicted, they would probably have to add their name to Michigan's se offender registry (SORA).If you are facing criminal charges, the criminal justice system seem overwhelming. It doesn’t matter if you’re facing drunk driving, drug charges, sex crimes or white collar crimes in the State of Michigan, the same system of felony criminal procedures apply.

Many Michigan DUI charges and other criminal cases like sexual assaults, child pornography and drug crimes, are resolved through a process called plea bargaining. A plea bargain is what happens after your attorney discusses your case with the prosecutor and explains why it is appropriate to amend or reduce the charges you are facing with the court. Sometimes the reduction in charges to a lower criminal offense will lessen the impact on your drivers license and possibly jail time as well.

Most of the time if you are pleading guilty it is because your lawyer has successfully engaged in plea bargaining with the prosecutor. Consequently, preparation for court when pleading guilty really begins to take place almost as soon as you first hire your lawyer. Therefore, the total preparation will take place over several weeks or months, and sometimes even years before you are set to appear in court. At a minimum the following things should have occurred before you plead guilty.

  1. You’ve reviewed all the discovery with your attorney.
  2. You’ve discussed possible defenses with your attorney.

Michigan Drunk Driving Lawyer Explains Proximate Causation

Michigan DUI lawyer Patrick Barone knows Michigan DUI law and how to beat a DUI.Patrick Barone, considered by many to be among the best DUI lawyers in Michigan, has indicated that a drunk driving causing death case is one of the most difficult kinds of criminal law cases to defend. The concept of proximate causation is one of the reasons these cases are so difficult and complicated.

What is Proximate Cause?

In a criminal case, after your arrest but before your conviction or acquittal, you will be on bond. There are several mandatory and many discretionary terms and conditions of bond, and these have been previously discussed. A show cause is what happens when someone does something on bond contrary to what’s been ordered.

The most common allegations of a bond violation that we see at the Barone Defense Firm related to alcohol and drug testing. Often, a client will miss a drug or alcohol test, which is the most common alleged bond violation, followed by a positive drug or alcohol test.

A bond violation is a serious matter because it is considered a contempt of court. After the court receives notice from the monitoring agency that there’s been an alleged violation, the court will issue a show cause order. The purpose of a show cause order is to require you to appear in court to show cause why you should not be held in contempt of court for violating a court order. Because the judge has ordered you to do something (test according to a set schedule), and it is alleged that you violated that order, unless you have a defense to the allegations, you will be found in contempt of court. See, e.g.,  People v Mysliwiec, 315 Mich App 414, 417 (2016).

The top rated Michigan Drunk Driving Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm have handled dozens of OWI cases involving auto accidents where a death has occurred. In many of these cases the question of causation is an important one. The reason is without causation there can be no “causing death.” However, the issue of causation is not at all straightforward.

To establish causation in an OWI causing death case, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, both factual and proximate causation. See, e.g., People v. Schaefer, 473 Mich. 418, 703 N.W.2d 774, (2005). Even though drunk driving causing death is a criminal matter, both factual and proximate causation are civil concepts and come from negligence law.  This is why civil cases can be consulted to better understand these concepts.

What is Factual Causation?

Being charged with a crime is most certainly one of the most traumatic events you can experience, and then attempting to retain the right attorney or law firm might also feel like a daunting task. The Criminal Defense Trial Attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm understand that difficulty and that trauma, therefore we want to address some important factors in hiring the right trial attorney for your case.

Trial is an Endangered Species

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) recently published a report that 3% of all criminal cases in State and Federal Court are resolved through Trial compared to 20% of cases from 30 years ago. A related article lists that some of the reasons for this decrease include fear of what is known as a trial penalty or trial tax, meaning a worse sentence after a loss at trial. This is balanced against the fact that a lesser sentence can be arranged as part of a plea agreements. Certainly, another reason is the lack of ability or lack of experience of the trial attorney themselves.  The very fact fewer cases reach trial every year is reason enough to seek an attorney that does not have significant trial experience, and who will not be afraid to go to trial.

Michigan drivers are sometimes stopped under suspicion of intoxicated driving after a concerned citizen calls 911. The validity of these traffic stops are highly fact-specific, and depending on exactly what is reported to 911, the stop may or may not be sufficient to support a DUI conviction.

One case in Michigan where the DUI traffic stop was deemed to be invalid, and the drunk driving case dismissed, is People v. Pagano, 507 Mich. 26, 967 N.W.2d 590 (2021). In this intoxicated driving case the Michigan Supreme Court specifically found that the traffic stop based only on the 911 was insufficient to establish a reasonable suspicion that the driver was drunk. Because the stop was therefore legally invalid, the Court had no other choice but to dismiss the case outright.

In Pagano, the 911 caller reported that they had observed a woman driving while yelling at her kids and generally behaving in an obnoxious manner. While the caller indicated that they believed the driver was intoxicated, no other information was provided in support of this contention. However, the caller did provide much identifying information relative to the car being driven, including the license plate number, the make model and color of the car, and the direction the vehicle was traveling.

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