Anyone facing a DUI charge needs clear and honest information. As Michigan DUI lawyers, our firm defines itself by the way we communicate and provide knowledge. In this article, we’re going to sketch out what can be thought of as a kind of  lawyer’s guide to finding the right representation for a DUI charge. This will not be some kind of thinly disguised “call me” piece, but rather a candid look at how to find a DUI lawyer, even for people who live well outside the geographic area where my team and I practice.

09unloobbb2-270x300With the exception of personal injury cases, there is probably no other area of law where one can find more lawyers competing for business. Here, in the Greater-Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer, Livingston, St. Clair and Washtenaw Counties), that often leads to attorneys fighting for a piece of the same pie, so to speak, and sometimes gives rise to “fear-based marketing” that characterizes the lawyer or firm as uniquely able to save the reader from all kinds of scary-sounding potential penalties, many (if not most) of which aren’t really likely in the first place. It’s probably very much like that just about everywhere.

To be sure, the simple fact is that success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you. That’s the gold standard by which every law firm should operate, and certainly the one by which ours does. The reason anyone hires a lawyer in the first place is to either avoid as many of legal penalties and negative potential consequences from a DUI charge as possible and to otherwise minimize any that can’t be escaped outright. The attorney’s job, of course, is to use his or her experience, knowledge and skill in order to accomplish this.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we have to follow the same legal process when handling a license appeal regardless of whether our client is male or female. Yet for as much as a license reinstatement case will be the same for both men and women, there are also differences, and some of them can go all the way back to the underlying DUI cases that caused the revocation of a person’s license in the first place. In this article, we’ll see how and why the experience of winning back one’s driver’s license can be different depending on one’s gender.

vectorstock_22680981-229x300In the previous article, I did a brief overview of how going through a DUI case can be different for a woman versus a man. Just as there, I must first admit here that, in addition to not being any kind of expert on gender issues, and precisely because I’m male, I am obviously not coming at this subject “from the inside.” That said, my 30-plus years of experience as a lawyer and my formal post-graduate education in addiction studies have at least enabled me to be aware of the fact that how people experience things can be different based upon their own unique backgrounds, and that includes things like where they come from, their different life experiences, and, of course, their gender.

Although it may not be that important in the larger scheme of things, I am the only male in our office, so at least everyone else here has that “insider” perspective. No matter what, though, the absolute key to winning a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal is proving one’s sobriety. Even though this requirement is the same no matter who is appealing, the whole process of getting sober can be different for men versus women. In our roles as Michigan driver’s license restoration, recognizing this fact is important, because in any given case, we have to make sure that, where relevant, it gets pointed out in the appeal process.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, we represent plenty of women. Although the actions that give rise to a drunk driving charge generally have nothing to do with gender, it is also true that in some cases, men and women will experience a DUI case differently. Precisely because I am a male, I cannot even pretend to do anything more than acknowledge this reality, and understand that it exists. Even so, the simple fact of recognizing that the experience of going through a DUI can be different for women than for men is important, and is at least a start.

knmnmnmn-300x300The inspiration for this somewhat short article came from a recent discussion with my wife as we talked about the general misery for anyone facing a DUI charge. She wondered aloud if some aspects of the process wouldn’t automatically seem more burdensome to a single mom than a single man without children. From there, we had a back and forth about all the things that could be different, and those we thought could at least “feel” different, regarding the DUI process, just based upon a person’s gender. In a completely un-scientific way, we both came to realize that there is really a lot to all of this.

As a busy DUI law firm, my team and I concentrate on handling drunk driving and driver’s license restoration cases. As it turns out, the other 2 lawyers and all the support staff in our practice are female. They weren’t hired with any consideration of their gender, but rather because of their sheer intelligence, experience, and skills. If I spend too much time heaping praise on them, then this would be far more of a promotional piece rather than an informational article, but the bottom line is that I truly believe my associates are brilliant, and they would be the lawyers I’d want representing me if I found myself in a legal jam.

In part 1 of this article, we began examining the important role of the alcohol screening that is mandatory in all Michigan DUI cases. As we noted there, that screening is really a written “test” that is administered as part of a larger process called the “PSI,” short for “Pre-Sentence Investigation.” The whole point of the screening and PSI is for the probation officer assigned to a given case to generate a written report and sentencing recommendation that is sent to the Judge, who will use it as a basis for deciding what kind of consequences, conditions, and penalties to impose.

kjhkjhkjhkjhkjhkjhkjkjhkh-300x280Toward the end of the first part, I pointed out that this is so critical because every Judge, in every court, follows the probation officer’s sentencing recommendation very closely. The simple fact is that no Judge is ever going to depart in any significant way from what his or her probation department has recommended and then order a sentence that is different from what was suggested. In a very real sense, the sentencing recommendation can essentially be looked at as a blueprint for what is going to happen to someone as a result of his or her DUI charge.

As I often point out, the gold standard that my team and I follow, as Michigan DUI lawyers, is that success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you. Given that the sentence ultimately imposed is a direct result of what is recommended in the PSI, then the goal, of course, should be to procure a more favorable recommendation in the first place. Because of the critical function of the alcohol screening within the PSI process, it is imperative for anyone going through a DUI to perform, meaning “test out,” as well as possible on it.

In a recent article, we looked into why, in Michigan DUI cases, the court system must and will thoroughly examine a person’s drinking habits and history. In this piece, we’re going to really zero in on that and focus in on a critical stage in every OWI case – the Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) and the mandatory alcohol screening that’s part of it. We’ll examine what happens there, and why my team and I, as Michigan DUI lawyers, put so much effort into preparing our clients for it.

nmnmnmnn-300x292The whole point of hiring a lawyer in the first place is to avoid as many of the legal penalties and negative consequences as possible from a drunk driving charge. Thus, and as I often point out, success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you. Whatever penalties are or are not imposed, though, will be decided at the sentencing. This is important, because the mandatory alcohol screening and PSI ultimately culminates in a written sentencing recommendation being sent to the Judge advising him or her exactly what to order (and what not to order) as a person’s sentence.

In practice, the alcohol screening is really the single most important factor in determining what that recommendation will be, and, therefore what kind of sentence will follow. This screening, variously referred to by different courts as an “alcohol assessment,” a “substance abuse assessment,” “substance abuse evaluation,” “substance use evaluation”(or just an “assessment” or “evaluation”) always refers to a person completing some kind of alcohol or substance use questionnaire, which, in proper clinical lingo, is actually called a “screening instrument.”

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, my team and I concentrate in winning back driving privileges for people who have had their licenses revoked as the result of multiple DUI convictions. No matter what, in any and every license appeal case, the focus is, and always be, upon a person’s drinking; specifically, when he or she last drank, their decision to quit, and his or her resolve to never drink again. In every way possible, license reinstatement cases are all about proving sobriety.

Ivectorstock_8679001-300x300n other words, the whole point of the driver’s license restoration in Michigan process in Michigan boils down to whether or not a person can prove that he or she has given up drinking, and is truly committed to remaining alcohol-free for life. The way the Michigan Secretary of State (and just about everyone else in the world) sees it, anyone whose license has been revoked after racking up multiple DUI’s is too dangerous to be allowed on the road, unless and until he or she can prove they’re not a risk to drive drunk again, and that, in turn, is done by showing themselves to be a safe bet to never drink again.

Underlying the consideration of restoring driving privileges for those who have lost them as the result of 2 or more DUI’s is that the simple proposition that people who do not drink are exactly zero risk to drive while intoxicated. These are the only people who have a chance at winning a license appeal. As we’ll see, the written law is clear that a person must not only prove that he or she has been completely abstinent from alcohol for a “legally sufficient” period of time, but also that he or she has both the ability and the commitment to never drink again.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, one of the things we often have to explain to people is why the court is so interested in their drinking habits and history. This is particularly relevant when someone facing a DUI wants to explain, up front, that he or she isn’t a big drinker. However true or not that may be, some people think that just because they say they don’t drink a lot (or very often), then that’s enough, and no further inquiry is warranted.

vectorstock_8427855-300x300Michigan law, however, requires any person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a DUI offense to undergo a mandatory alcohol use assessment (variously called a “substance abuse evaluation,” an “alcohol screening,” or simply a “screening”) before he or she is sentenced by the Judge. This is done to determine whether he or she has, or otherwise identifies as being at risk to develop an alcohol problem. This really the single most important part of the whole DUI court process, but our focus here will be on why that’s the case, rather than what to do about it, which we’ll examine in a future installment.

The primary reason underlying why the court system is so interested in a person’s alcohol use may not even be consciously understood by those work in it. Many people within the court system only know that things are done the way they are essentially because that’s the way they’ve always been done. In other words, everyone just accepts that a person going through a DUI case must be screened for a potential alcohol problem before being sentenced simply because the law requires it. Why this requirement ever came about in the first place is important, however, and really helps put things into perspective.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, my team and I speak with people every day who need to get back on the road. Among the most common things people tell us, as they inquire about a license appeal, is that they completed their probation, paid all of their court fines, and attended all required classes and/or counseling. That’s all well and fine, but in the context of a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, simply having complied with the court’s orders in a prior DUI case is far from enough to win. In this article, I want to explain why that’s true, and then turn to the things that really matter.

pocrop-300x286Our firm handles more than 200 driver’s license appeal matters per year, but we talk to loads more people than that, so the number of individuals with whom we communicate is really in the thousands. As my team and I have learned from all those interactions, many people mistakenly believe that what the court had ordered them to do as part of the sentence for their DUI’s is enough to qualify them to win a license restoration case. To be sure, some of the things a person has done as part of his or her probation order can be helpful to a license appeal, but usually, that’s about as far as it goes.

It’s understandable that a person may think that having completed court-ordered counseling is enough to win back their license but, as noted above, that’s simply not the case. The law requires that part of the sentence for a 2nd or 3rd offense DUI include some kind of rehabilitative counseling or treatment. This is mandatory, both in terms of the court being required to impose it, and the person being required to do it. If someone fails to complete what a court has ordered, then his or her probation will be violated, and he or she can be sent to jail.

In our role as Michigan criminal defense lawyers, we handle a lot of indecent exposure cases. I have written more about this topic than any other attorney local to the Greater-Detroit area, and hope these articles are helpful to anyone facing this kind of charge. While there are a lot of elements to these cases that can essentially be examined to death, the bottom line is that a person charged with either indecent exposure or aggravated indecent exposure needs a lawyer who can produce the best (as in most lenient) possible results. In this piece, we’ll examine the landscape of indecent exposure offenses and look at how to do that.

Skinny1flash-265x300There are 2 different kinds of “indecent exposure” charges: regular, or simple indecent exposure, and “aggravated indecent exposure.” Simple indecent exposure is a misdemeanor offense, while aggravated indecent exposure is treated as a felony offense. We’ll get into the specifics of each later, but it’s important to note that sometimes, the term “indecent exposure” is broadly used when speaking of either offense. Throughout this piece, and where relevant, I will make sure to distinguish each specific offense from the other, while at other times, especially when referring to both charges as a class of offense, I will simply use the term “IE.”

Also, however politically incorrect it may be, I’m going to proceed on the assumption that any reader dealing with an IE charge is male. Our firm has handled countless indecent and aggravated indecent exposure charges over the decades, and with only one – and therefore very notable exception – they have all been for men. That one odd case involved a young woman attending a music festival who had dressed in short-shorts that some ticket-happy police officer thought were just too short. As it turned out, I was able to quickly get that entire case dismissed outright.

As veteran Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I have literally seen and heard it all. In the course of speaking to so many people facing DUI charges, we often have to explain why things that some of them think are important don’t really matter, at least as far as “helping” their cases goes. In this article, I want to examine 4 of the most common excuses or explanations that people offer in the mistaken hope that it can somehow “help” or otherwise get them out of their DUI charge, and make clear why they don’t matter.

oihpiuhpiu-300x275In truth, people come up with all manner of things to try and “excuse” what led up to a DUI arrest, but the few we’ll review here tend to sound like they might carry some weight, and that’s why they’re mentioned so often. It is, of course, basic human nature to do this, and just about everyone charged with a DUI will do it to some extent. Accordingly, it becomes part and parcel of the lawyer’s job to address these misconceptions and help the client understand how things really work, and what actually matters in terms of the evidence in any given DUI case.

This may be disappointing, but as I often point out, a person will be far better served by a lawyer who tells him or her what they need to hear, rather than just what they want to hear, and that really is the point of this installment. TV and movies often portray some testy Judge banging a gavel and dismissing a criminal case, and that can create the mistaken impression that things actually work like that.

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