Articles Posted in DUI

It goes without saying that the best result when facing a criminal charge is to get out of it completely. Everyone hopes the whole thing can just go away. That can and does occur sometimes, but only when the lawyer uses an intelligent defense strategy. Before that can happen, however, the whole situation, and every piece of evidence within in, must be carefully examined. This all sounds great, but beyond that, what does it really mean? In this article, we’re going to explore that.

Fighting a criminal charge requires an intelligent planWe live in the Information Age. Police body-cam video is in widespread use as we begin 2023, and that’s growing. Soon, it will be largely universal, and that’s good. No matter what, there are 2 sides to every story. Even a routine and polite citizen-police interaction can be perceived differently by either party. Video evidence is neutral. To be sure, video is far from perfect, but it can certainly be beneficial in a criminal case. Sometimes, that can just mean providing a person with the clarity to know that the case against him or her is solid.

That shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. It would be impossible to count the number of times my team and I have heard one thing from a client, and then seen another on the video. In DUI cases, for example, people will often say things like the officer “said I swerved.” Sometimes, people disagree, genuinely believing that their driving was fine. Later, when watching the police dash-cam video, they’ll see that their driving wasn’t fine, and at least not feel so bad about the traffic stop. Of course, that’s not as good as finding a way to beat the criminal charge, but even merely erasing doubt is a good thing.

Everyone knows that a 3rd offense DUI case is a felony, and is serious. The last thing anyone needs is some lawyer going on and on about it, only to ramp up his or her anxiety even more. The good news is that, if you’re facing a 3rd offense, things probably aren’t nearly as bad as you fear. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that you can get through this relatively painlessly. This article is going to focus on the big picture, and how you can get relief from the stress of a 3rd offense DUI charge. That starts by handing the whole thing over to a good lawyer.

Drunker-3-300x265Specifically, this means putting the case, your worries, and all strategy concerns into your attorney’s care. This article is not going to be some thinly disguised promotional piece for our firm. Of course, we’re Michigan criminal and DUI lawyers, and in we’re in business to earn our incomes. However, what we’ll cover here applies to everyone, including people who live outside of our geographic practice area. Our criminal and DUI practice is concentrated in and limited to the Metro-Detroit area, meaning Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and the surrounding counties.

It’s a great relief to hand over a 3rd offense DUI case – and all the stress that goes with it – to a good and honest lawyer. However, a person is still going to have to put in a little work to find that person. As much as my team and I are open for business, we also realize we’re not the right lawyers for everyone. By the same token, not everyone with a 3rd offense DUI case in our local are is the right kind of client for us, either. We’ll come back to this later, because it’s an important part of how someone should approach his or her quest for the best representation.

A Michigan DUI case is a scary thing. After being arrested and released from jail, it’s normal for a person to start gathering information. People want to know what they’re facing, and what can be done about it. Everyone hopes their case can be dismissed. Sometimes, however, a person can get lost in his or her “research.” There are so many DUI websites that a person can almost drown in them. For many, there comes a point when they just want to hand everything over to a lawyer who they know will produce the best outcome possible. That’s what we’ll examine here.

How to get the best result in your Michigan DUI case Pretty much everything about a Michigan DUI case is complicated. That’s not meant to intimidate the reader, but rather set the foundation for our discussion. There is a lot to even the most “garden variety” DUI case. So much, in fact, that there is a whole subset of attorneys, like my team and I, that can honestly call themselves “DUI lawyers.” This goes beyond knowing the nuances of the law, and includes things like understanding how a specific strategy, including techniques like timing, can play a role in producing a more favorable outcome.

When all is said and done, nothing matters more in a Michigan DUI case than results. An attorney becomes a “DUI lawyer” by regularly handling DUI cases, and having a practice that concentrates upon them, like our firm. Even a brilliant legal scholar is going to have to spend years to become a real “DUI lawyer.” This is true for any practice area, really. It’s the actual experience of having dealt with real life cases thousands of times over that gives a lawyer the well of knowledge to draw from in order to know how to best handle a particular case.

A 2nd offense DUI charge is serious. The reader undoubtedly knows that, and fear-based marketing scare tactics aren’t going to help anyone’s situation. In this article, we’ll look at 2 key aspects of 2nd offense DUI cases that can be positively influenced by competent Michigan DUI representation. We’ll begin by examining a major concern – losing the ability to drive. Then, we’ll get to the good news – that in many 2nd offense cases, jail can often be avoided altogether.

2nd offense DUI and the 2 key things you should knowLet’s start with an important but often overlooked facet of Michigan law. Anyone arrested for (and convicted of) a 2nd offense DUI within 7 years of the date of his or her 1st DUI conviction is legally categorized as a “habitual alcohol offender.” There are several key consequences to this, 2 of which will significantly impact anyone convicted for his or her second DUI. The first is that, upon conviction for his or her 2nd offense, the person’s driver’s license will automatically be revoked.

This is done by the Michigan Secretary of State, and not the court. Understand that “revoked” means taken away for life. This is very different than the mere suspension of a driver’s license following a 1st DUI conviction. There, a person simply has to wait a specified period of time (either 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year) and then he or she can regain full driving privileges upon payment of the mandatory reinstatement fee.

It sucks to be facing a violation of probation. It may be  crass to put it that way, but dressing the situation up with nicer words doesn’t make it any better. If you’ve been violated, you need to protect yourself. As Michigan criminal and DUI lawyers, we avoid using scare tactics, but the simple truth is that a violation of probation IS serious, and requires the best legal help you can find. Being on probation means you’ve already gotten a break and avoided jail once. Now, you’ve got to do it again.

Probation violation - you need to be kept out of jail.There are 2 ways to do that: Either you go back and prove to the Judge that the violation is wrong, or, despite a screw-up on your part, you manage to get yet another break. That really sums up the whole situation. Ultimately, the alleged violation is either correct, or it’s not. Consider the most common kind of probation violation – drinking alcohol. There are times when a positive test result is wrong. That doesn’t happen often, but it does, sometimes. If the result is wrong, then that must be proven to the Judge. Merely saying so is not evidence, nor is it enough to win.

If a person did drink in violation of his order probation order, then the Judge must be convinced that he or she deserves another chance to prove themselves. That’s a tall order, and getting that break requires a special kind of lawyer. Knowing the law and understanding the evidence is always important, especially when your case turns on proving it wrong. If the alleged violation is not “wrong,” however, then the thing you need most is a lawyer who can talk the Judge out of sending you to jail.

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.

DUI cases in Michigan - the 3 phases of an OWI chargeThe 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.

In a recent conversation I had with someone about our law firm, I pointed out that we are more than just a collection of Michigan DUI lawyers. I explained that we’re really a “DUI team.” Beyond the 3 lawyers in our office, both of our legal assistants are heavily involved in the handling of all our cases. In fact, we call on of them our “sobriety court guru” because she manages all the logistics to get some of our 2nd and 3rd offense DUI clients into these programs. This requires all of us to work together. It also requires each of us to have specific knowledge about how all the local courts handle DUI cases.

A DUI team can protect you betterSometimes, we have to transfer a 2nd or even 3rd offense DUI case from one court that doesn’t have a sobriety court program to another court that does. We’ve even transferred cases across county lines. The work required for this can be complicated. Thus, experience with how different courts do things is critically important. Being a DUI “team,” though, involves a lot more than just dealing with sobriety court issues, which are only a small component of the whole DUI universe. Indeed, that term, “DUI universe,” is both accurate and instructive here. DUI cases really can be a whole world unto themselves.

This is in no small part due to the fact that every court is unique. Each has its own way of doing things. As a group, everyone in our office knows all of these idiosyncrasies. We are familiar with the different procedures required to obtain police reports and videos from the local cities. This degree of knowledge is the direct result of working together specifically on DUI cases everyday. Even though we often have different roles in that work, my team and I ultimately all pitch in and work as a team on our DUI cases.

What are the DUI driver’s license penalties for 2nd and 3rd offense cases? The explanation is rather straightforward, but almost always gives rise to more questions. Usually, people respond by asking things such as: “What about…” or “Is there a way to…?” The answers often result in a sense of frustration that’s expressed in responses like, “Well, how do they expect me to get to work?” In this article, we’re going to break down 2nd and 3rd offense DUI penalties in simple terms.

License penalties in DUI casesTo begin, the reader should understand that, in Michigan, if a person is convicted of a 2nd DUI within 7 years, or a 3rd DUI within 10 years , he or she is categorized as a “habitual alcohol offender.” There are 2 important consequences that follow from a conviction for either a 2nd offense DUI within 7 years, or 3rd offense DUI within 10 years: First, the person’s driver’s license gets revoked. Second, he or she is legally presumed to have an alcohol problem.

When the Michigan Secretary of State revokes a person’s driver’s license for multiple DUI’s, it imposes a lifetime revocation. This is VERY different than the simple suspension of a driver’s license. A revocation means a person’s license is completely taken away, and for good. The lifetime part means that, unless and until he or she files and wins a formal driver’s license restoration appeal, his or her license will be gone – as the term implies – for the rest of his or her life.

Where a person is arrested for a DUI is one of the most important aspects of the case. This is particularly true in the Metropolitan-Detroit area (meaning Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and surrounding counties) where our firm handles criminal and DUI cases. A drunk driving arrest with the very same facts can play out much differently depending on location. Some courts (and Judges) are just plain tougher than others. In fact, there are sometimes significant differences between different Judges in the very same court.

DUI case - the location is very important in Metro-DetroitWhen it comes to DUI cases, we can place every court into 1 of 3 general categories: tough, lenient, or what I call “middle of the road.” There are more that fall in the middle rather than in either the tough or lenient categories. Within that larger middle group, there is quite a bit of variation. To be clear, this article will not “rank” any of the local courts. After all, any such ranking would ultimately be nothing more than my opinion (even though it would be based on 30-plus years of extensive experience.) Whatever else, that’s the kind of subject best discussed confidentially.

Instead, this article stick to the larger point that, in DUI cases, “where” is a dominant factor. Perhaps the most significant (and disappointing) thing about this is the reality that there is nothing that can be done about it. A DUI case happens where it happens. Nobody plans to go out and get arrested for drunk driving. In a very real way, every DUI is an accident of geography. For as true as that is, however, the simple fact is that, at least for the person facing the charge, some places are better than others.

A regular part of being Michigan criminal and DUI lawyers is handling probation violations. Although it all means the same thing, the actual term used for this proceeding varies from court to court. In the Metro-Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and the surrounding counties), it is most often called a probation violation, or “PV.” Some courts use the term “VOP” (violation of probation). Yet others call it a “show cause,” requiring one to appear and “show cause” to the court why he or she shouldn’t be violated.

A probation violation means not complying with the probation orderWhatever the label, if you’re alleged to have violated probation, you need help to get past it and stay out of jail. A probation violation occurs in 1 of 2 ways. The first is that a person does something he or she has been ordered NOT to do. The second occurs when he or she does NOT do something he or she was ordered to do. That sounds straightforward, but it misses a lot of what actually happens to people in real life. Many probation violations occur because a person simply doesn’t comply with the Judge’s orders. However, there are plenty of exceptions to that, as well.

It is a simple fact that some PV’s are unintentional. Others are just plain wrong. Breath and/or urine test results can be inaccurate. Urine samples can get mixed up. Sometimes, as the saying goes, “$hit happens.” Unfortunately, in the context of a probation violation, that “$hit” can be rather deep. We always have to remember that just being on probation is, in and of itself, a break. Probation is always an opportunity to prove one’s self while staying out of jail. It is the alternative to jail. In that sense, a person has to do everything possible to remain in compliance.

Contact Information