Articles Posted in DUI

In Michigan, the overwhelming majority of DUI cases are resolved through a plea, and very often, that involves a plea bargain. In this article, we’ll examine plea bargains and why they are such an important part of the DUI court process. Here’s a quick analogy to help explain: Most television sets go from a store to someone’s home through a sale, meaning a person buys it. Sometimes, a person is able to get a really good deal (a “bargain”) on a TV when the price is reduced. In that sense, the price reduction is a special kind of sale, just like a plea bargain is a special kind of plea.

vectorstock_30228921-copy-300x300Anytime a person stands before a Judge in court, and, while under oath, admits to having committed an offense, that’s a plea. Criminal and DUI charges get resolved in 1 of 3 ways: Most, as noted, are disposed through a plea of some sort. Sometimes, a case goes to trial, and the end result of that is the person is either convicted or acquitted of an offense. Once in a while, before any plea deal is reached. and before a trial ever takes place, a case get dismissed for legal reasons, usually because of a successful defense challenge to the evidence or the some issue regarding the law.

A plea bargain is a deal that reduces the original charge against a person to something less serious. In other words, in exchange for the dismissal of a more serious charge, a person will admit to doing something lesser, meaning an offense that carries less potential legal penalties and/or negative consequences. Not to be too simple about it, but we can break it down this way: A plea is the admission of guilt to an offense, while a plea bargain is just that, a bargain as it relates to the severity of the offense for which a person accepts responsibility.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I know what it means to properly fight for our clients. Key here is the word “properly.” If the reader has spent any time online, he or she has already found endless marketing messages about DUI cases. There is no shortage of lawyers who will fight everything to the last penny of your money, and there are also plenty who market themselves as having “affordable” or “reasonable” fees, which can often mean paying a cut rate price to have your case sold out and wrapped up as soon as possible.

lklkjkoi-300x285In this article, we’re going to discuss how to best handle a DUI case. No matter what, success is a DUI case is always best measured by what does NOT happen to you. For anyone facing a DUI charge, having it dismissed completely is always the best outcome. However, when, as in most cases, that can’t happen, then less really is more, in the sense that fewer legal penalties and negative consequences are always better. Those results don’t come about by being sold out, but, on the flip side, merely “fighting” everything, just for the sake of fighting, doesn’t produce any benefits, either.

Instead, the best results are always achieved by following a smart defense strategy. It may sound corny, but it’s also true that, as Michigan DUI lawyers, we sometimes have to stand fast and hold our ground, while others, the best outcome is achieved through an intelligent compromise. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that what should be done in any given case, and when to do it, is all dependent on the facts, and not just the facts of the case itself, but also things like where it’s pending, and the parties involved, including the prosecutor and the Judge.

If you’re facing a Michigan DUI charge and looking for a lawyer, the search process can be overwhelming. Every legal website is designed to get your business. Lots of effort goes into presenting an appealing message. What lawyer or law firm in their right mind wouldn’t do that? The next logical step after looking online is actually making contact with a lawyer or law firm, but then, and without exception, your inquiry is always seen as a potential new, paying case. Consequently, when you call any lawyer or law firm, they’re going to treat you as nicely as possible, hoping you hire them.

Comp3-300x287Can you imagine the opposite of that – a law firm being rude to a caller, and/or making it seem like her or she is a bother and his or her business isn’t wanted? We know from our own outgoing phone calls that some law offices seem to forget that whoever answers the phone is also “The Director of First Impressions.” When you’re calling around, anything less than a welcoming reception is a huge red flag, but there’s a lot more than that to comparing lawyers and finding the one that’s right for you. On top of everything else, anyone looking for an attorney needs to quickly become a savvy consumer.

Perhaps the most important lesson I want the reader to take from this article can be boiled down to one simple statement: Don’t be a sucker. Every legal website is online to sell services; ours is no different. Some of these provide a lot of information (of varying degrees of usefulness), while others rely more on reviews and testimonials. Although my personal preference is for information over tributes, neither approach is “right,” or “wrong,” and, even more important, whatever you find on a website is really not enough, by itself, to make a final hiring decision.

One thing my team and I know all too well from our work as Michigan DUI lawyers is that nobody is happy to find themselves facing a drunk driving charge. It certainly isn’t the kind of thing anyone wants to brag about, but for people in certain positions and professions, the quieter it can be kept, the better. For some, a DUI can be something of a double-whammy, bringing to their employer’s attention both the taint of an ongoing criminal case and questions about whether or not the person may have some kind of drinking problem.

C2-298x300This is also a concern for people who hold certain professional licenses, like those in the medical field. Unless a DUI charge is dismissed outright, a conviction will have to be reported to the licensing body, and that will give rise to concerns about both the criminal offense itself as well as the person’s relationship to alcohol. It is almost instinctive for someone in this position to become defensive and deny having any kind problem, if for no other reason than the fear of making things even worse. Having to report a DUI is bad enough, but nobody wants to add a potential drinking problem to the mix.

These are, of course, legitimate and important considerations, but it is also critical that anyone in this kind of DUI predicament NOT let them prevent him or her from also taking an honest look at his or her relationship to alcohol. In other words, while the goal for anyone facing a DUI is to get through it and avoid as many of the legal penalties and other potential negative consequences as possible, that should never stop him or her from at least privately questioning whether the whole thing was really a one-off, or if it may be the result of some kind of troublesome drinking behavior.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, it’s as good a time as any to stop and take a look at your relationship to alcohol. This isn’t going to be some “hit piece” about drinking, nor is it going to suggest that just because you got a 1st offense DUI you should quit drinking, or go to AA, or even counseling. Instead, what we’re going to do is talk about the idea of self-assessing your drinking behavior, even if you only drink once in a while, to make sure that you’re not overlooking anything.

vectorstock_27464542-300x264The kind of analysis we’re talking about here is only applicable in 1st offense DUI cases. Under Michigan law, anyone convicted of a 2nd or 3rd offense DUI will legally categorized as a habitual alcohol offender, and will, as a consequence, be presumed to have some kind of drinking problem. Beyond those legal implications, and as a practical matter, pretty much the whole world, including everyone in the court system, simply assumes that any repeat DUI offender at least has some kind of risky relationship to alcohol, even if that person rarely drinks.

In 1st offense cases, though, the question is far more one of risk, and measuring that risk. There is a solid reason for this, as numerous studies have shown that people who get just a single DUI in their lifetime have a statistically higher rate of drinking problems than the population at large. In other words, as a group, drivers who have never had a DUI have few drinking problems than drivers who have had a DUI. This is important for a number of reasons, some of which we’ll examine below.

If you’re facing a Michigan DUI charge, beyond just worrying about what’s going to happen, you no doubt have a lot of other feelings, as well, including anger about the whole situation. Although someone may wonder if it’s wrong to think this way (it’s not), many people do feel things like “This doesn’t seem fair,” and “I don’t deserve this.” Whatever else, feelings are facts, and in this article, we’re going to look at why feelings are important, and how some of them can have either a positive or negative impact on the outcome of your DUI case.

Scale2-300x288It’s normal for a person to get mad about being caught up in a DUI. This this can include anger at one’s self, but also with the police, and the whole legal system, as well. When an otherwise law-abiding person gets put in handcuffs, placed in the back a police car, and then taken to jail, it’s humiliating. Suddenly, someone who would never hurt anyone or steal a penny feels like he or she is being treated like a common criminal. It’s only natural to think something like, “instead of arresting me, maybe the police should have been out looking for burglars or rapists or car thieves or whatever…”

Although a DUI is a criminal offense, the overwhelming majority of people arrested for drunk driving are NOT criminals in any real sense of the word. Here, we need to understand the normalcy of all these feelings, but also realize that, while they’re okay to discuss within the confines of the attorney-client relationship, or among family and friends, expressing them to anyone in the court system can adversely affect the outcome of your case. There are numerous truths in life that, for various reasons, we just can’t complain about publicly.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, an important part of what team and I do everyday is address the concerns people have following a drunk driving arrest. Everyone with whom we speak is understandably worried about what will happen to them. Some people become extremely nervous, and it certainly doesn’t help that so many lawyer’s websites hype things up by using fear-based marketing to hawk their services. In this article, we’re going to flip that around, because some people are inclined to overthink their DUI and panic unnecessarily.

vectorstock_36314541-copy-300x300Let’s begin with a conclusion, and work from there: A DUI is nothing to laugh at, but it’s also NOT the end of your world, either. When handled properly, a 1st offense DUI charge can be made into more of an expense, and an inconvenience, rather than anything else. Of course, the court wants to make sure it’s a memorable inconvenience, but the real intention of the law is really to teach someone a lesson to not drive drunk again without ruining his or her life. As DUI lawyers, my team and I believe we have a moral obligation to make this clear and calm people’s fears, rather than play on them.

Of course, it can be profitable for some attorneys when people get all freaked out about a DUI charge and rush to hire a lawyer, in the much the same way that it’s good for business when people have furnace problems in the middle of winter and need a heating and cooling (HVAC) professional. However, the kind professional you need should never capitalize upon or exploit your fear. That’s taking advantage of someone, and it’s morally wrong at every level. In the context of a Michigan DUI case, the good news is most of the fear a person has about what’s going to happen is misplaced, because things will work out.

Dealing with a DUI charge can seem all-consuming. There is a legal process that must be followed, and for a while, it can feel as if it’s taken over your life. As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I accompany our clients through every step of this whole journey, so we know how draining it can be. In this article, I want to highlight the good news – that this situation doesn’t last forever, and that, no matter how strong the case against you may be, with some intelligent planning, you can put it behind you, and not let it define you. That may sound “cheesy,” but, fortunately, it’s also true.

Who6-287x300From the moment a person is pulled over, or has that first police contact, everything they deal with thereafter seems to be DUI-related. It’s almost like he or she has become the filler in a Michigan DUI burrito, and are all “wrapped up” in it. We’ll get into more specifics later, but for anyone facing a 1st offense DUI charge, this is likely to last at least 15 months, from point of his or her arrest until every the very last day of his or her probation. During that time, a person can experience a whole range of feelings, including anger, resentment (“I don’t deserve this!”) all the way to simple fatigue, and wonder if life will ever get back to normal.

For the most part, it will. Of course, a better defense strategy can make that happen sooner, and more completely. At the end of the day, though, assuming your DUI is the result of a simple lapse in judgment and isn’t a symptom of a deeper problem, you should pretty much be able to move past it completely unharmed. This is not some “hire me” lawyer sales-pitch, either, because the way to do this begins with you, and requires adjusting your mindset. The best lawyer in the world can help, but unless you are willing to do your part, his or her efforts won’t amount to very much.

In this article, we’re going to quickly go over the 5 main steps in a typical Michigan DUI case. The big problem with most articles like this is that they get bogged down by detouring into explaining things that don’t usually happen, like the TV ads for medications with all the disclaimers about possible side effects, and then close with something like, “in rare cases, heart attack, stroke and risk of death.” Although such warnings are required, the realistic chance of any of them happening is less than one in a million. Here, we’re going to look at what everyone really will go through. of wasting time examining things that are unlikely to happen in all but the rarest of DUI cases, we’re going to look at the way the legal process works in the real world, for over 98% of all people who go to court for a drunk driving charge. In practice, just about everyone begins their DUI journey with an arrest – although there are exceptions. The reader has no doubt been through that already, so we won’t bother explaining what has already happened. For my team and I, a case starts by requesting and gathering all of the facts leading up to and surrounding that arrest.

This requires finding out what went on before the person ever got behind the wheel (where he or she was, what they drank, and over what period of time, etc.), and what gave rise to the police contact in the first place, as well as everything that took place thereafter. In addition to obtaining the police report, we’ll also need to get any relevant dash-cam and/or body-cam video. This is all important because what happens in the court very much depends on the facts surrounding the arrest itself.

If you are facing a 1st offense Michigan DUI charge, there are 3 things you need to do in order to put it behind you, get ahead, and move on with your life. In this article, we’re going to shift the focus away from all the DUI lawyer’s legal maneuvering and wrangling to the 3 things that you should do in order to ensure the best outcome in your case. By doing them, you can avoid as many of legal penalties and other potential negative consequences from your DUI charge as possible, and minimize its impact in your life.

G1-300x257The first thing you need to do is adopt the right attitude. This isn’t meant in some generic, BS motivational way, but rather in recognition of the simple fact that your mindset can – and will – have a very profound and positive impact on how your case turns out. Of course, everyone who gets a DUI will swear to the moon and back that it will never happen again, so what we’re talking about here goes well beyond that, and requires a person to actually think this all the way through, to the point of actually making sure it never happens again.

In a recent 4-part article about getting out of a DUI charge as quickly, painlessly, and completely as possible, I pointed out that many people will say things like “I just want to get this over with.” While such feelings are understandable, in the real world, there is almost never a benefit to rushing through a DUI case. In fact, most often, better results come from slowing it down. One of our key takeaways from that discussion was the importance of a person adjusting his or her attitude and having the necessary patience to manage time and get the best result in his or her case.

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