by Attorney Patrick T. Barone
City of Ypsilanti vs. L.
14A2 District Court
OUIL / UBAL 1st
The client was stopped for
going through a flashing red light without stopping, and for pulling straight
out of a parking lot, again without stopping first. Upon contact with
the driver, the officer noted a strong odor of intoxicants, and that the
driverís eyes were bloodshot and glossy. The driver stated that he didnít
know how much heíd had to drink.
The driver was ordered out
of the vehicle and asked to perform a finger-to-nose test. The arresting
officerís narrative report indicated that he tried three times, but was
"unable to perform it in such a manner where I felt comfortable in
letting him drive. His coordination was off". He was able to say
the alphabet, but in counting backwards did so slowly. His breath test
results were 0.10.
It was suggested to this client
that he might have a very good case to present to a jury, but after a
great deal of thought, the client decided not to proceed to trial. Instead
we engaged in plea negotiations with the prosecuting attorney, and ultimately
persuaded the prosecutor to reduce the charge to the non-alcohol related
charge of reckless driving.
It should be noted that in
most instances it does not make sense to plead guilty to a reckless driving,
because the client can nearly always plead to the alternative charge of
OWI, which is an alcohol related offense, but which does not carry mandatory
suspension of driving privileges. However, because of the very particular
and individual circumstances of this client, this was an excellent result.
This is because the client was a law student, and was therefore appropriately
apprehensive that an alcohol related conviction on his record might have
a deleterious effect on his future employment opportunities. He also was
about to leave Michigan to the City of Chicago to complete a summer internship
with a law firm located there. Consequently, he was able to accept the
imposition of the mandatory 90 day suspension of his driving privileges
that are always imposed by the Secretary of State upon receiving notice
of a conviction for reckless driving. For this client, a reckless was
an excellent result, and made the risks associated with trial not worthwhile.
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