As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I deal with every aspect of DUI cases. Often enough, to do something like get a charge dismissed, this takes us deep into the finest points of the law. Lawyers are notoriously obsessed with details because cases stand or fall based upon them. Sometimes, though, it’s important to take a step back and look at the big picture. In DUI cases, we can break this “big picture” down into 3 distinct areas: The investigative phase, the court phase, and the “after” phase. In this article, we’ll look at each of them in turn.
The investigative phase comprises the stop (and/or initial police contact), as well as the interactions that lead to the arrest, including the field sobriety tests. It also encompasses the arrest itself, any and all chemical test(s) that follow, the booking and, ultimately, the person’s release from jail. The court phase covers everything from a person’s first notice to appear all the way through the sentencing and probation. The “after” phase is about life after the case is over, meaning the consequence of a DUI conviction, or the relief of having avoided it altogether.
DUI cases begin at the investigative phase. Most initial police contact begins with a traffic stop, or something like a response to the scene of an accident. Exactly how that leads to a person being arrested is very important. Every step taken here must be carefully examined by the lawyer. Almost every DUI case that get dismissed is tossed out of court because of some problem that occurred in the investigative phase. This includes things the failure to follow proper police procedure, lack of probable cause, or problems with the breath or blood evidence.