Prosecutors are loath to dismiss or reduce drunk driving cases in Michigan. This is because so many people watch DUI cases so closely, everyone from MADD to the Michigan State Police watch and track what happens to each and every person arrested for intoxicated driving in Michigan. If a prosecutor gives a non-alcohol reduction or even dismisses a case, they usually will have a pretty darn good reason for doing it.
That’s where good lawyering comes into play. A case we handled recently at the Barone Defense Firm had a significant delay in prosecution, and this eventually lead to us being able to make a deal whereby the accused drunk driver plead guilty to a careless driving as well as a disorderly person, which was taken under advisement and will be removed from this client’s record after probation. The original charge of OWI was dismissed.
The facts of this case were not good. The accused was involved in a two car accident. The dispatch indicated that she was trying to leave the area. When police arrived they noted (in the written report) a “strong odor of intoxicatingly liquor emanating from her person.”
The arresting officer administered the three standardized field sobriety tests. According to the report, the driver put her foot down on the one leg stand after four seconds. The driver was also unable to walk a straight line properly, and “failed” the horizontal gaze nystagmus. The driver was therefore arrested for OWI and taken back to the police station. After waiting 20 minutes the police asked the client to blow into a DataMaster. However, after two “technical refusals” the officer stopped the breath test, and obtained a warrant to draw blood. The blood was eventually tested, with a result of .136 grams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
Once the case was filed, after a significant delay, we filed a motion to dismiss. We argued that the delay caused “prejudice” meaning it was harmful to our client’s ability to defend the case and also caused undue stress while waiting for charges to be brought.
The matter was set for hearing more than once, and each time we went to court, as well as in between times, we attempted to persuade prosecutor and to negotiate a result that would be favorable to this client. Eventually we succeeded, and we were also able to persuade the judge to go along with the deal. Also, the judge imposed very minimal conditions on the probation; when all is said and done, and for all practical purposes, this client will only need to pay a fine and be done with it.
This particular client’s main concern was with keeping the offense off the driving record so that it would not pose future problems with employment. This negotiated settlement met that objective and the outstanding result made the client very happy with the outcome.