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Oakland County Sentence on Drunk Driving Causing Serious Injury and Death Substantially Reduced
The client worked in Auburn Hills and had gone home for lunch. She drank several mixed drinks at home, then headed back to work. It had snowed that morning, and as she went over the overpass of Opdyke at M-59, she lost control of her car. This happened as she changed lanes to speed ahead of a driver stopped at a red light. Changing lanes at a high rate of speed caused a chain of events to occur which ultimately resulted in her crossing three lanes of traffic, thereby hitting another car head-on, almost immediately killing the driver, and leaving the passenger, who was the driver's wife of 50+ years, with serious injuries. There was another vehicle involved which was occupied by a Rochester District Court clerk, and the driver of that car was also injured. Our client had a blood test more than an hour later, and the result was a 0.10% blood test result.
After our accident reconstruction expert examined the crash site, we argued that undulations in the road and the snow cover combined to create a supervening intervening event, which broke the chain of causation. We also made arguments relative to the reliability of blood, thereby questioning intoxication.
Later, once we worked out a sentencing deal, our client pled no contest to operating while intoxicated and causing a serious impairment. The client also pled no contest to operating while intoxicated causing death. This is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not less than $2,500.00 or more than $10,000.00, or both."
During sentencing negations with prosecutor and judge, and based on a sentencing memorandum using our arguments on causation and intoxication we were able to obtain a much better sentence, potentially saving client almost two years in prison.
The original sentencing guidelines provided for a minimum sentence of 43 to 86 months, with the maximum being 15 years. However, through negotiations with prosecutor and judge, we were able to agree on a guidelines range of 36 to 71 months. This resulted in a substantially better sentence for this client.