Drunk Driving Cases Handled
by Attorney Patrick T. Barone

Case 22:

People vs. J. W.
43rd District Court - Ferndale
Judge Longo

Our client was observed traveling 54 mph in a 35 mph zone. According to the police report, "upon activating the over head the suspect immediately jerked his vehicle to the right lane almost striking a vehicle". The report further indicates that the driver/suspect fumbled through his wallet attempting to locate the requested documents (driver license, proof of service, and registration). The driver had a flushed face, watery bloodshot eyes, and slow hard to understand speech. His movements were slow and deliberate. The driver admitted drinking one glass of wine about "45 minutes ago". Upon exiting his vehicle, the driver's balance was "very unsteady".

The "alcohol influence report" indicates that the driver almost fell during the one-leg stand test, and therefore, the test was stopped. During this exercise, the driver also used his arms for balance, and put his foot down. During the alphabet task, his speech was slowed and slurred, and his balance was swaying. He was able to do the finger count, but again, his performance was slow and deliberate. He was able to pick a number between 13 and 15. After the field exercises, the suspect/driver was arrested. At the station a breath test was administered with a result of .08/.07. The driver was charged with operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor (OUIL).

After the pretrial in this case, we immediately set the case for trial. The trial date was adjourned several times, and on the final pretrial date, the client was out-of-town, and therefore unable to attend. We did attend, and were able to persuade the Court not to issue a bench warrant for our client's non-appearance, and did conduct a final jury pretrial. At this time we were able to persuade the prosecuting attorney to offer a reduced charge of careless driving, a civil infraction carrying only a fine and three points. The client plead guilty to this charge when he returned from his trip, and was received a small fine. His driver license was not suspended, revoked or in any way restricted, (he retained full driving privileges). Additionally, there was no jail time, no probation and no community service.

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