by Attorney Patrick T. Barone
City of Auburn Hills vs.
52-3 District Court
OUIL 2nd Offense
During the pretrial process the prosecutor offered no reduction, so client
decided he had no choice but to proceed with trial. The police report
indicated that the reporting officer observed the clientís vehicle "swerve
over white line hitting the shoulder. Vehicle then changed lanes from
left to right, twice without signaling. Vehicle got onto the M-24 interchange.
I observed vehicle cross over white line to left, and then exit onto N.B.
I-75. Vehicle then crossed the white lines to right twice on N.B.-75"
The report further indicated that driver had a strong odor of intoxicants,
bloodshot eyes, and slightly slurred speech. The officer administered
six field sobriety "tests", including the alphabet, counting
backwards, horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), "standing Romberg"
(also known as the modified position of attention test) the heel-to-toe,
and the one-leg stand. The driver hesitated on the first try for the alphabet,
and missed the letter "m". He did complete the number count,
but the HGN indicated jerking eyes at maximum deviation, and prior to
45 degrees (supposedly this indicates intoxication). The driver could
not successfully complete the other tests, lost his balance several times,
was hopping on one leg, and could not touch heel-to-toe. The report also
indicated relative to his balance that the client was staggering and swaying.
The case did proceed to trial, and through the voir dire process we believed
we were able to obtain a jury that was favorably predisposed to the defendant.
During this process of jury selection we were also able to point out some
of the weaknesses in the prosecutionís case. The case was scheduled to
continue a few days later, and just before the arresting officer was set
to take the stand, the prosecutor offered to dismiss the charges, and
instead to allow the client to admit responsibility to the civil infraction
of careless driving. The Court accepted the plea, and dismissed the OUIL
HERE to go back to the sample cases.