Drunk Driving Cases Handled
by Attorney Patrick T. Barone

Case 21:

People vs. R.C.P.

44th District Court

Royal Oak, Michigan

OUIL 2nd Offense

Client was stopped by Michigan State Trooper J. Huggins after leaving a bar in Royal Oak. The Trooper observed the subject vehicle (a motorcycle) speeding, and passing other cars. The passenger was observed swinging her hands in the air while riding on the rear.

Upon contact, the narrative police report indicates that both riders smelled of intoxicants, had reddish eyes and unsteady balance. There was an admission to drinking six beers. The balance was unsteady, and the driver swayed as he exited the vehicle.

The driver refused the one-leg stand, but was positive for all six visual clues on the horizontal nystagmus test. He also failed to touch heel-to-toe on one step in each direction, and counted 10 steps rather than 9 as directed. He was arrested for drunk driving, and his blood was drawn. The blood test showed an alcohol level of 0.10.

All of the pretrial procedures were handled by another attorney, and this office was brought in as the trial attorney. Our goal was to show that there was little observable evidence of intoxication, and to show that there was a reasonable doubt as to the reliability of the blood test result. Consequently, we insisted that all the persons who handled the blood testify at the trial.

On the day of trial the prosecutor was unable to produce the lab tech that tested the blood at the Michigan State Lab. Consequently, we were able to negotiate a reduction to the charge of reckless driving. The result was a 6 month period of probation, 6 pts on the driving record, and a 90 day suspended license. This result was far better than could be obtained in any other way than a not-guilty verdict at trial. On the other hand, if the client had been found guilty at trial, the punishment imposed by the Court would have been far more severe, and the driver license would have been revoked for one year.

All though we believed that the client had an excellent case for trial, he decided that it was in his best interest, all things considered, to accept the reduction and plead guilty to the reckless driving. He was sentenced the same day.

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