Drunk Driving Cases Handled
by Attorney Patrick T. Barone

Case 10: 

State of Michigan vs. B. W.
42nd District Court New Baltimore, Michigan
Two Separate Cases of OUIL

The client retained our office after being arrested for an OUIL on March 10, 2001. The police report indicated that the subject vehicle was traveling at excessive speed, and crossing over the center line several times. After the stop, the arresting officer noticed "a lot of slurring in the driverís speech". The driver admitted to drinking 2-3 beers, but later admitted to drinking large quantities of alcohol. The arresting officer also wrote that "in his attempt to do the field sobriety test, S1 was stumbling around almost falling down several times". Also, that the officer "had to assist S1 away from the road to keep him from stumbling onto the road". When asked to perform the finger-to-nose test, the driver allegedly said "I"m fucked up, you know it and I know it".

On May 8, 2001, the client was again arrested, in the same jurisdiction, and again charged with OUIL, making his second OUIL arrest with 7 years. (While he could not be charged with the enhanced crime of OUIL 2nd, if convicted of both, some of the same sanctions apply, most notably, the one year mandatory license revocation).

In this second case the arresting officer observed the clientís vehicle cross over the center line, then strike the car in front of his. The report indicated that he "failed" the alphabet and counting tests, and that all "six visual clues" were apparent in the HGN (follow pen with eyes test). The blood alcohol level was 0.17.

Both cases were set for trial. On the day of jury selection for the first case, I was able to persuade the prosecutor to offer a very enticing plea bargain. The deal we worked out was for the client to plead guilty to an impaired driving on one file, and to a reckless driving on the other file. This amounts to just one alcohol related offense, and benefited the client in several ways, the first being that he avoids the mandatory one year license revocation, and will not have to request a license and have a hearing (and perhaps be denied) at the conclusion of that one year period. (see Driver License Restoration Cases) Instead he loses his license for a period of 90 days after which his license will be returned upon only his application to the Secretary of State, and payment of the reinstatement fee.

The plea agreement also avoids the mandatory minimum 90 day period of vehicle immobilization. Fines and costs are lower, and there is no mandatory period of incarceration. This result was far better than having the client take the risk of being found guilty of two OUILís within 7 years, with all the mandatory and discretionary sanctions associated with two such convictions.

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