Drunk Driving Cases Handled
by Attorney Patrick T. Barone

Case 11: 

Huntington Woods vs. D. H.
45B District Court,
Oak Park, Michigan 

OUIL

This client retained our office after being denied a license in his home state (he moved away from Michigan several years ago). He was denied a license because he had two unresolved drunk driving cases pending in Michigan. The client’s overall goal was to resolve the outstanding Michigan cases and the resulting license sanctions imposed, so that he would be eligible to be licensed in his state of residence. This case was the first one addressed in court. 

This case involved a September 1988 arrest for OUIL. The arresting police officer observed the client’s vehicle pulling out of a driveway then continuing down the street, running a stop sign. Upon contact with the driver, the police officer asked for the driver license and registration. The report states that "the driver took about four minutes to retrieve the registration fumbling through the wallet. I could tell he had been drinking from the trouble he was having with the papers in his wallet, and his fingers moved slowly. Also, there was the strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle".

Field sobriety exercises were administered, including the alphabet, finger-to-nose, heel-to-toe, and counting backwards. The report indicates that the client had trouble successfully completing each of these. His preliminary breath test result was .234. The report also indicated that during the field sobriety exercises, there was a strong odor of alcohol about the client’s breath and person. Also, that the female passenger was taken to the hospital for detoxification.

We filed our appearance, but the Court was unwilling to simply set aside the bench warrant issued back in 1988, so the client appeared with counsel for an arraignment on the bench warrant, and to schedule a pretrial. During the arraignment on the bench warrant, we approached the bench with a senior officer from the Huntington Woods Police Department. During this sidebar conference we were able to persuade the Court to agree to dismiss the original misdemeanor charge of OUIL in exchange for the client’s admitting responsibility for the civil infraction of careless driving. 

As a consequence of this plea bargain the client received only a small fine and three points on his driving record. He was not placed on probation, served no community service, and of course did not spend any time in jail.

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