Articles Posted in DUI

Most people who pick up a 1st offense DUI do NOT have a drinking problem. That’s a simple fact. However, getting arrested for drunk driving can be a wake-up call for some individuals, and an opportunity for them to revaluate their relationship to alcohol. Plenty of people ask us about getting into counseling or therapy just to “look good,” for their DUI case. That misses the point entirely. In this article, we’re going to try and sort out when a DUI is just an episode of poor judgment versus when it may be a symptom of some kind of troubled relationship with alcohol.

A 1st offense DUI should have you examining your drinking behaviorFor all the clinical considerations involved in figuring out whether one has a drinking problem or not, many people have a “gut feeling” that something isn’t right. To be sure, there are those who are able to block out or mentally over-talk that little voice inside their head that says “something ain’t right here.” That kind of reasoning against the facts is called “denial,” and some people squander years, and even entire lifetimes, trying to convince themselves that things are okay when, in fact, they’re really not.

It’s actually rather common for those around someone whose drinking has become troublesome to recognize a problem long before the person him or herself does (if he or she ever does). On the flip side, it is unusual for outsiders to “see” a problem that’s not there. In other words, if the people around someone think his or her drinking has grown problematic, it’s quite likely that they’re right. This is especially true for anyone who is currently facing or who has previously had a 1st offense DUI. There’s a good reason for that, and it’s really important in the context of DUI cases.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I answer a lot of questions. Not surprisingly, many of them are the same: Am I going to jail? Will I lose my license? Will my work find out? These are typically the most pressing concerns people have right after a DUI arrest. However, there is a lot more to a DUI than the “big” worries people have early on. In fact, some of the most important aspects of a DUI case are things that will seldom cross someone’s mind. Those things make up the rest of the story, and that’s what we’ll focus on in this piece.

The big picture of a DUI arrest involves more than just staying out of jail.It is assumed that a good doctor or dentist will alway look out for his or her patient’s long-term interests, even if the patient doesn’t know what those are. A good lawyer will do the same, as well. The key difference, however, is that lawyers will always be asked the “big issue” questions like those mentioned above. Once those have been satisfactorily answered, most people will be content, even if they’re not entirely happy with what they hear. A lazy lawyer can, of course, just leave it there, but that’s entirely unfair to his or her client.

There’s always a story behind every DUI arrest. This is true whether a person was over-served at a bar, overdid it at a ballgame, or concert, or just consumed one too many somewhere else and then got behind the wheel. Thus, when someone calls us all freaked out about jail, and we tell him or her that’s not going to happen, many are happy enough, having heard what they want. The story, however, doesn’t end with that, or even when the court case concludes, either. In fact, it only ends when ALL the consequences of a DUI no longer matter, whenever that may be.

Everyone knows that a 3rd offense DUI charge (the proper term in Michigan is “Operating While Intoxicated,” or “OWI,” for short) is serious. Most people are also aware that a 3rd offense is a felony, and that the possible penalties are significantly higher than those for a 2nd offense DUI. This article will NOT be some scare tactic, fear-based marketing piece about all that. Instead, we’re going to look at how and why, despite what’s at stake, a 3rd offense DUI charge shouldn’t be handled any differently than either a 1st or 2nd offense DUI case.

The fundamentals are key to success in a 3rd offense DUI chargeFor everything we’re going to cover, the simple fact is that the very best legal defense almost always comes down to the fundamentals. The very finest practitioners of anything must first excel in the fundamentals. Consider any professional athlete: He or she runs, catches, throws or does whatever with practiced skill, and otherwise excels in all the basics, meaning the fundamentals, of his or her sport. In that same way, the finest musicians get to the top of their craft by years and years of repetition of the basic, fundamental stuff.

Every DUI case, whether a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense, is based upon the simple, fundamental charge that someone operated a motor vehicle with a bodily alcohol content of more than allowed by law. Think about automobiles for a moment: Whether an old “Model T,” a modern SUV, or even a jet-powered vehicle used to set land speed records, the fundamental thing they all have in common is some kind of power source (engine) that pushes them forward on wheels.

An effective and intelligent legal strategy is required to properly handle a Michigan DUI charge. The reader will likely come across terms like “aggressive,” “fight” and “tough” as he or she looks around online. None of those qualities are worth anything unless they’re part of a smart plan. Often enough, the evidence in a DUI case is solid, leaving little to actually fight, and that’s when strategy becomes even more important. If a case can’t be dismissed outright, then we must do what’s necessary to avoid as many of the legal penalties and negative consequences as possible.

A good result in a DUI case is a matter of strategyTo be viable, a plan must make allowances for all reasonable possible outcomes. In addition, it should take into account the “where” factor, meaning the location of the case. As I have often pointed out, controlling time (as in slowing things down) can be an important component of handling a DUI charge. However, if the case is assigned to a “rocket-docket” Judge who wants everything done yesterday, then there needs to be an alternative approach. It’s a losing strategy to rely on a tactic that’s guaranteed to fail.

Thus, a DUI plan must make allowances for the facts of the case, and everything relevant to it, like its location, the person’s prior record, if any, and his or her current life situation. This is not a bunch of meaningless marketing talk, either. For most people, a DUI simply reflects a single instance of over-indulgence and bad judgment. For others, however, it may come as a wake-up call that his or her drinking had become troublesome. Each person will have to decide that for him or herself.

If you’re facing a DUI in Michigan, you want the finest legal representation you can get. Many people think that the biggest obstacle that lies between them and the best DUI lawyers is only financial. It’s true you’ll never get top-shelf legal help for bargain basement prices. However, way too many lawyers charge high fees for nothing more than average services. Paying a lot is no guarantee of anything more than being out a lot of money. Ultimately, what a person needs is the best lawyer for his or her case, and how to go about finding that is what we’ll explore in this article.

The best DUI lawyers will provide you with helpful informationThis will NOT be some thinly disguised “hire us” promotional piece. Instead, we’re going to look at some general principles that apply across the board – and across the state of Michigan. I point that out because our firm concentrates its DUI practice in the Metro-Detroit area, meaning the courts of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and the surrounding counties. Although we’re in business to earn a living, we also realize that part of being the “best” lawyer for someone is to be the best fit for his or her needs, and location is an important part of that.

As a starting point, nobody should ever hire a lawyer or law firm that is arrogant or otherwise with whom it’s difficult to communicate. There has to be a certain kind “connection,” and this a means a lot more than just being told what one wants to hear. The world is full of poor saps who were suckered out of their money by being sold a bill of goods. It’s always easy to deliver encouragement and make things sound promising – and even better if you get paid to do that. The best DUI lawyers, however, explain things honestly, even if what they have to say is not all good news.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, as a Michigan DUI law firm, we see an uptick in calls around the seasonal holidays. With the Fourth of July just having passed, we’re ready for the post-celebration flood, so to speak. Most holidays often come with an increase in DUI arrests, no matter what the weather. In this article, we’re going to explore how a holiday DUI can be different – and should be differentiated from – a “regular,” non-holiday drunk driving case, and how that can be used to produce a better outcome.

A real DUI law firm can protet\ct you from a Fourth of July DUIIt may sound like a cliché, but the best thing anyone can do is avoid a DUI in the first place. The simple fact, however, is that nobody ever plans to get arrested for drunk driving. That just happens, and it’s always something of a surprise. In that sense, I’ve always wondered, who reads articles and watches videos about “What to do if You’re Pulled over for a DUI?” In the all likelihood, anyone reading this is almost certainly already facing a DUI charge, and looking for help.

After a person has been arrested, the issue becomes, what can we do about it? Of course, the best outcome is to just get out of the whole DUI charge completely dismissed. That can only happen, however, when the evidence is flawed in a significant way. When the evidence is solid enough to survive a legal challenge, then our focus, as a DUI law firm, must be on producing the best result under the existing facts. Specifically, this means avoiding as many of the legal penalties and negative consequences as possible. In terms of punishment, less is always better.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, we know that anyone who winds up facing a drunk driving charge would like to get some good news about his or her situation. That’s understandable. And to be sure, there usually IS some good news, even in such an unfortunate circumstance. For most people who have to go through the DUI process, things probably won’t turn out as bad as they fear. However, that fear can also be a huge motivating factor. When people are afraid, they are vulnerable, and easily drawn to the things they want to hear.

Real DUI lawyers tell you what you need to know, not just what you want to hear.This is especially true of those lawyers who make it sound like they have some secret, special technique to get DUI cases dismissed. The truth, however, is that it doesn’t work that way. In fact, the real “secret” to getting the best results in DUI cases is basic, old-fashioned hard work. The best DUI lawyers concentrate on the fundamentals. Good work is the key to good outcomes. In the context of DUI cases, that requires obtaining and carefully examining every last shred of evidence.

What separates the best DUI lawyers from everyone else is mindset one has while investigating the evidence. A lawyer can’t just “look it over.” That kind of lame effort won’t win cases. Instead, the lawyer must presume that there is some flaw (or flaws) in the evidence, and that his or her job to keep digging until it’s found. The whole “mindset” thing may sound trivial, but it’s actually very important. A fighter doesn’t go into the boxing ring to “see what happens.” Instead, he or she goes in planning to win, and determined to figure out a way to do just that.

Everyone arrested for a DUI wonders what’s going to happen, and what they can and should do about it. In this article, we’re going to change from the perspective of the DUI attorney, because I’ve examined all that in many previous articles. Instead, we’re going to look at what happens through the eyes of a person actually going through a Michigan DUI case. Although what we’ll cover is generally the same all over Michigan, it will be drawn from our firm’s experience in the Metro-Detroit area, meaning the courts of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and the surrounding counties.

I got a DUI - Now what?There is, of course, plenty of overlap between what the client and the lawyer experience in a DUI case. For example, both individuals must appear in court for certain hearings. However, to the client, it may sometimes seem that the lawyer is doing little more than merely “showing up.” As DUI lawyers, however, we are always working the case in some way or other.  Thus, while it may not look like we’re doing much, we might just be trying to use time strategically, in order to procure a better outcome in the case.

As a DUI attorney, I’m rather comfortable explaining things from my point of view. My team and I have, quite literally, handled thousands of DUI cases. However, we’ve always done that as lawyers representing someone else facing the charge. Although we know exactly “what’s going to happen” at every step along the way, and we can explain that to our clients, we’ve never actually been through a DUI as the person facing the charge. This article is going to be an attempt to do that as the person going through it. Now, with that in mind, let’s start:

Most people understand what it means to plead guilty to a criminal offense. It is an admission of guilt.  In practice, a person will often wind up pleading to a lesser charge as the result of a negotiated plea-bargain (more on that later). With the exception of those people who have personally done it, however, few know how a plea actually goes down in criminal and DUI cases. In this article, we’re going to look at EXACTLY how that happens. First, we’ll do a quick, general examination of pleas and plea bargains. Then, we’ll see, word for word, what actually happens when a plea is taken in court.

How a plea is taken in courtThere are legal reasons for why a plea is taken the way it is. A person can’t just walk into court and say “Guilty” to some charge or other. Before a Judge can accept a plea, it must be shown that the person is of clear and sound mind, and is proceeding of his or her own free will. In addition, the court must also find that there is what’s called a “factual basis” for the underlying plea. This means a person must be able to tell the Judge what he or she did that actually makes him or her guilty.

These technicalities are designed to prevent a person from taking the blame for someone else, or for something he or she really didn’t do. Also, the court needs to make sure nobody gets pushed into a plea by some outside pressure. In other words, the courts needs to be confident that any plea is solid. By asking the questions set forth below, the courts ensure a person cannot come back later and say something like he or she only pled because his or her lawyer instructed them to do so.

Nobody ever wants to find themselves in need of a lawyer because he or she has been arrested for a DUI. A recent conversation with a new client, however, made me think about this in a way I never had before. My client’s spouse said, “We felt kind of dirty just having to look for a lawyer. We aren’t the kind of people who need lawyers for stuff like this.” I wasn’t insulted by that statement, but I was a bit surprised by it, because I know how normal and upstanding our DUI clients tend to be.

DUI clients shouldn't stress out or feel badOur firm represents people from every walk of life. Without fail, our DUI clients are people with good jobs. They are the kinds of people who get involved in their own communities, even if it’s just helping out with their own kids’ activities. At least among those who hire us, each and every one of them feels a profound sense of embarrassment and worry that someone will find out about their DUI Most never thought they’d ever find themselves in the backseat of a police car, much less spending a night in jail.

In no way do our DUI clients resemble any definition of “criminal.” Yet for as otherwise upstanding as they may be, a DUI arrest puts them smack-dab in the middle of the criminal justice system. DUI cases are both criminal and traffic offenses (more specifically, a DUI is a criminal traffic offense). This is not meant to sound like some “suck up” sales-pitch, but my team and I simply don’t see our DUI clients as criminals, or as “dirty” in any way. Having represented thousands of people for DUI charges we see right past that, and look to the person, instead.

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