Articles Posted in DUI

Every DUI case is unique unto itself. Although everyone understands that, a lot of people still want to compare their situation to someone else’s. This is a natural tendency, but when it comes to DUI charges, it can also be very misleading. Comparing your DUI case to any other person’s can lead to serious misunderstandings. On one hand, it can cause a person to freak out for no good reason. On the other hand, it can result in someone being very disappointed if his or her case, which may seem similar, doesn’t turn out as well as that other person’s.

<img src="unique.jpg" alt="Your DUI case is unique ">The simple fact is that very few people really know the full details of anyone else’s case. Someone may actually know that so-and-so didn’t go to jail for his or her DUI, but beyond that, all anyone can know is what another person chooses to tell them. As Michigan DUI lawyers with more than 30 years of experience, we have, quite literally, “heard it all.” We have handled thousands upon thousands of cases. As a result, we have learned, countless times over, that how people describe things isn’t always spot-on accurate.

In real life, a person’s summary of his or her own case will often miss key points. It’s hardly surprising, then, that any such description is likely to be even less accurate when a person is trying to describe someone else’s DUI case. Chances are, when someone says, “a guy I work with got a DUI and all he had to do was pay a fine,” that’s probably not all that happened. Every single aspect of one case makes it different from all others, and there are countless aspects to each and every case. Indeed, there is a lot that goes into even the most garden-variety of DUI cases.

A 3rd offense DUI case must be handled properly. There is a lot to that, but in this article, we’re going to keep it short. We’ll examine the 3 things that most affect what can and will happen to you. Of course, the first hope for anyone facing a 3rd offense felony DUI charge is to get out of it completely. If that’s not possible, then the goal is to get out of it as much as possible. This means avoiding as many of the legal penalties and negative consequences as we can. To do that, however, we need to get past a number of things, including the 3 that we’ll discuss below.

<img src="police car.jpg" alt="A 3rd offense DUI case must be properly handled. ">First, and although it seems obvious, we need to recognize the seriousness of the whole 3rd offense DUI situation. This goes well beyond the fact that, in Michigan, a 3rd offense is a felony. We’ll get to the legal stuff later. For now, the very idea that a person has been arrested a 3rd (or subsequent) time for drunk driving is enough. Perspective matters here, because for the person facing the charge, it can seem like bad luck. To everyone else, however, it’s a sure sign of dangerous behavior, and a serious problem.

Practically speaking, anyone who gets a 2nd DUI looks like someone who didn’t learn their lesson the first time. By the time they rack up a 3rd offense, the outside world sees them as an outright threat, at least on the road. The simple fact is that nobody who DOESN’T have a drinking problem racks up 3 or more DUI’s. Most people never get a single DUI. Plenty of people get one, but the vast majority of them never pick up another. By the time a person has been arrested a second time for drunk driving, society generally sees him or her as having a problem.

As Michigan criminal, DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, every case we take begins with a consultation, and all of them start with a phone call. In a recent conversation I had with Ann, our senior assistant, I mentioned I had recently read that a lot of people facing a criminal or Michigan DUI charge feel intimidated to pick up the phone and call a lawyer. What Ann said in response was so simple, yet brilliant, that it became the inspiration for this article: “The worst part about not calling a lawyer is not calling.”

 <img src="nervous woman.jpg" alt="Call about a Michigan DUI charge. ">We’ll come back to that statement shortly, because as our talk progressed, it became clear that I was not seeing the full picture of what she meant. I had thought, at least up until that moment, that the main reason people would be afraid to call (or otherwise contact) an attorney was a fear of being “hounded.” I can relate to that, because it’s the very reason I don’t want to give out my contact information online. Plenty of sites offer something like a “free quote,” but the catch is that you must provide a phone number and/or email, first. Then, they never leave you alone….

It turns out there is more to people’s reluctance to call a lawyer than just that. I know that a lot of lawyers can be jerks, but we’re not. However, someone facing a Michigan DUI charge who finds us online doesn’t know that. He or she has no clue that we’re down-to-earth, friendly, and just genuinely nice people. What Ann made clear to me is that there is more than just the fear of being “chased” after providing contact details that makes a person hesitant to call. Unfortunately, it’s largely being put off by the smug attitude of some in the legal profession.

If you need a lawyer for either a criminal or DUI charge, or you need legal representation to get your driver’s license back, then you should be looking for an answer to these questions: “Why should I hire you?” and “What can you do for me?” A person should always have clear answers to those questions. If not, it means he or she plowed ahead without having made an informed choice.

MSJ2-300x267Unfortunately, this happens more than the reader might imagine. In the criminal and DUI world, this is particularly true when people act out of fear. Too many will sign on with the first lawyer who calls them back after-hours, or over the weekend. In license appeal cases, this often happens when a person chooses a lawyer based primarily on price. Neither of those is the right way to secure quality representation. In fact, they reinforce the notions that a good hiring decision should be explainable by answering the questions posed above.

Of course, while the answers to those questions needs to be clear, they also have to make sense. They must be tempered by reality. Anyone facing a criminal or DUI charge would love to hear that some lawyer has the special and unique ability to make his or her problems go away. However, that’s not how things work in the real world. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop some law offices from tying to sell themselves that way. Accordingly, the first order of business for anyone who is a potential consumer of legal services is to first filter through the marketing hype.

What does it mean to be a real Michigan DUI lawyer? Recently, our office spoke to a man who was looking to get his driver’s license back. He had been directed to do so by the lawyer that was handling his still-pending, 3rd offense DUI case. As a full-time Michigan DUI law firm, we not only field inquiries about “normal” DUI cases and license appeals, we also get some really bizarre requests, as well. As we explored this caller’s situation, we couldn’t help but cringe at the thought that he had actually paid some lawyer for the advice and representation that prompted him to contact us.

<img src="DUI law book.jpg" alt="DUI lawyer law book. ">To be clear, we don’t know who lawyer is (other than having been identified as “he”), but whatever else, if what his client told us is even remotely true, it is the worst DUI legal strategy we’ve ever encountered. There are countless legal reasons that would prevent a person who has already lost his or her license for multiple DUI convictions from winning a license restoration appeal while he or she is facing a new, 3rd offense DUI charge.

Any Michigan DUI lawyer handling such a case should know that trying a license appeal would be a complete non-starter. And this brings us to the point – that you, as a potential customer of legal services, need to follow the age old advice of “buyer beware.” There is a significant difference between a dedicated Michigan DUI lawyer and some general practice attorney who will “take” a DUI case.

In our roles as Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I handle a lot of High BAC (super drunk) cases. Chances are, anyone reading this article has either been arrested for, or is looking for information on behalf of someone who was cited for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) with a BAC of .17 or greater. Most people only learn about this enhanced DUI charge when they have to deal with it. In this article, we’re going to look at what High BAC offenses are all about, and also examine why they’re usually not as bad as they often seem at first.

DG4-292x300Even if the evidence in the evidence is strong in a High BAC (super drunk) case, my team and I can often negotiate a plea bargain down to a lesser offense for our client. This will allow a him or her to avoid a conviction and potential penalties for the more serious offense by taking a deal and pleading guilty to something less severe. Of course, the first order of business in every DUI case is to try and find a way out of the matter completely, but when that can’t happen (and to be fair, such outcomes are far more the exception, rather than the rule), a plea bargain that avoids a super drunk conviction is always a good thing.

Although the full history of Michigan’s DUI laws is long, and complicated, the short version is that ever since 2003, the bodily alcohol content (BAC) limit in Michigan for drunk driving has been .08 (it had previously been .10). The super drunk (High BAC) law was enacted later, in 2010. The idea was to provide additional and more significant penalties, as well as increased “protections” to the public. This was to take the form of license restrictions in those cases in which a person get caught driving with a bodily alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit.

If you are facing a Michigan DUI charge, the most important thing to you is getting out of it as painlessly as possible. When you go online, you get inundated by the endless legal marketing of lawyers fighting for your attention. To be sure, some of what you encounter may be enlightening, and even helpful, but when all is said and done, getting the best result in your DUI case is the only thing that matters. As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I live by the motto that success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you. Let’s explore what that really means…

<img src="win.jpg" alt="Get the best results in your DUI case. ">Everyone begins their lawyer search looking to find the “best” representation possible. Some people, understandably, have only a limited financial ability, but as I often point out, while a person will never get top quality legal help at bargain prices, it is also true that many lawyers charge way too much for nothing more than just average services. In reality, there’s a far greater risk of overpaying for mediocre legal help, rather than anything else. As with many other things in life, cost (meaning price), does NOT equal value. In DUI cases, only results equal value.

Imagine you were driving across the country and your vehicle broke down on some lonely highway in the middle of the desert. You would, of course, grab your phone and try to find help. Imagine, while you were doing that, a van pulled up with the name “Pete the Plumber” on the side. Next thing you know, a guy hops out, introduces himself as “Pete,” looks under you hood, and says he can 100% fix your problem right then and there, He then proceeds to do just that. You wouldn’t care that it was “Pete the Plumber” and not “Mike the Mechanic” who got you back on the road because you got the best result!

If you’re facing a 2nd or 3rd offense DUI charge in Michigan, then you may have at least heard or seen the term “sobriety court.” In this article, we’re going to do a very brief overview of Michigan sobriety court programs and what they’re all about. At the most basic level, they are intensive treatment programs, run in certain courts, by specially designated Judges. The very term “sobriety court” reflects the underlying goal of these programs, which is to help someone charged with a repeat offense DUI quit drinking and get sober.

dude-300x272Michigan launched its sobriety court program as part of a 2011 initiative. At the time, the program was authorized for 3 years, in a handful of courts, but it worked so well that it has since been been made permanent and expanded all over the state. Although they are all authorized under one law, each program is unique to the court that runs it, meaning there are differences from one place to another. Some are of longer duration than others, and even though they are all “intense,” each has its own set of requirements, with some being more demanding than others.

In fact, sobriety courts have proven themselves to be a great tool for people who want the help they offer. Here, I must admit that when the sobriety court idea was first announced, I was skeptical. As a Michigan DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyer, I spend pretty much all day, every day, dealing with alcohol-related driving issues. Although I thought the intention behind the idea was good, I wondered if these programs could produce any meaningful results. It’s not like I was “against” sobriety courts, but rather I just feared that that they’d come up short.

In part 5 of this article about 3rd offense DUI cases in Michigan, we wrapped up our examination of a person’s relationship to alcohol. There, we reiterated 2 key takeaways for anyone facing a 3rd offense DUI charge: First, the law (along with everyone in the court system, and just about everyone else in the world) simply concludes that the person has a drinking problem. Second, even if the person facing the charge thinks differently, this is the most important time to for him or her to just shut up and not argue the point, because that will only make things worse.

Jail-3-300x282Instead, anyone facing a repeat offense DUI, meaning anyone facing his or her 2nd offense, much less dealing with drunk driving charges for a 3rd (or even subsequent) time, needs to at least get out of his or her own way and stop trying to win a losing argument. Although it really is beyond dispute that anyone who has racked up 3 or more DUI’s has a troubled relationship to alcohol, the simple fact is that he or she can’t be forced to believe that unless and until he or she is ready. For some, this realization comes as the result of his or her last DUI, while for others, it never happens.

One concern that everyone shares, regardless of what they thing of their relationship to alcohol, is about getting locked up. Not surprisingly, the biggest fear anyone facing a DUI charge has is going to jail. Remember, there is nothing higher in Michigan than a 3rd offense, so for plenty of folks, a 3rd offense charge actually comes after more than 2 prior offenses. In the context of a true 3rd offense DUI case (meaning one in which the person only has 2 prior DUI convictions), the good news is that jail is NOT a certainty. This all needs to be explained a bit…

In part 4 of this article about 3rd offense DUI cases in Michigan, we briefly looked at the role of evidence. In particular, we saw how a lawyer can make things worse by not looking at the big picture before plowing forward and trying to fight a DUI charge without an intelligent plan. We then noted that anyone charged with a 3rd offense drunk driving is going to be perceived as having a drinking problem, and even if he or she disagrees with that, this is the time to shut up and not argue that point, because that will only make the person’s situation worse.

vectorstock_1875776-297x300Years ago, because the work of our firm is concentrated specifically in DUI and driver’s license restoration cases (which are a direct result of having racked up multiple DUI’s), I realized how beneficial it would be for me to expand my understanding of alcohol and addiction problems. Although my team and I spend all day, every day, working with alcohol and drug-related issues, I wanted to learn the clinical side of things, as well and recognized the value of being able to see the whole picture, and not limit my knowledge only to the things at issue in DUI and driver’s license restoration cases.

To do that, I went back, in-person, to the University classroom and completed a formal post-graduate program of addiction studies (before I got my law degree, I earned my undergraduate degree in psychology, so this really was an extension of that). Although some what I heard confirmed things I already knew through our firm’s work, the program really broadened my grasp of how alcohol and substance abuse problems develop, and how they are diagnosed and treated, as well as the many ways people can and do recover from them.

Contact Information