Archive for May, 2010

MI State Law – New Michigan DUI Legislation Defines “Super Drunk” and Its Added Consequences

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Anytime a person is caught driving with a blood alcohol content over 0.08, they are immediately subjected to drunk driving charges. As these violations can instantly increase for a variety of reasons, it is important for experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyers to update all  citizens on the latest legislation that could potentially affect them. The most recent efforts of the state to curb intoxicated driving resulted in the “Super Drunk” bill, creating extra punishments for those who drive under the influence of excessive alcohol.

The new bill, effective on Halloween 2010, add criminal penalties for those convicted of Michigan drunk driving charges with a blood alcohol content registering 0.17 or more.  In other words, it instantly turns a 93-day misdemeanor into a 180-day misdemeanor, requiring successful completion of a year-long  rehabilitation and treatment program to ensure sobriety behind the wheel.

All motorists convicted of drunk driving are subject to losing their license for a period of time, regardless of how many offenses they have been accused of. Those who have no prior criminal history will almost certainly have their driving privileges suspended for at least a year. Additionally, while the motorist may be granted a restricted license after 45 days, they must install an interlock system in their vehicle and keep it there until the Secretary of State issues an order for its removal.

As seen by the new legislation put into place, being convicted of driving under the influence can change a person’s life forever. Not only will the suspect face numerous legal challenges, their reputation will almost certainly be compromised as well. Because of the significant impact these charges can have on your life, it is essential to be proactive in securing the best defense for your case. By contacting hard-working and aggressive Michigan drunk driving lawyers, you will not only receive superior legal advice and legal representation, but the chance to stay at home with your family, and not behind bars.

MI OWI Charges – Michigan Man May Escape Criminal Charges After Fatal Crash Under Unclear Marijuana Laws

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

If any person gets behind the wheel while intoxicated and crashes, causing injury to others, that individual will almost certainly be accused of criminal charges. Generally, this has included drivers that are under the influence of alcohol, as well as drugs, including marijuana. However, experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyers have seen this fine line become quite blurred over recent years, particularly with the implementation of statewide medical marijuana laws. The changes in policy could affect charges against people accused with operating while intoxicated, much like the recent case of a Michigan man who is facing vehicular manslaughter after crashing his vehicle after using marijuana, resulting in the death of a passenger.

On February 11th, Timothy Conant, 49, was driving on 20 mile road in Spencer Township when he struck a patch of ice, lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree. Unfortunately, the accident resulted in the death of Conant’s friend and passenger in the vehicle, Richard Wallington. Following the tragic incident, residual traces of THC were found in Conant’s system but he his blood alcohol content did not register as exceeded 0.08. Nonetheless, as a result Conant was arrested for Michigan drunk driving charges, as well as vehicular manslaughter.

However, the Michigan criminal defense attorney for Conant argues that neither of the charges against him fit the crime at hand. The unclear applicability of state marijuana laws, as well as previous decisions made by the state Court of Appeals indicates that Conant has a fighting chance of beating the charges against him. The argument for the defense is that the sheer presence of marijuana in a suspect’s system is not sufficient to guarantee impairment.

In the possibly precedent setting case, Justin Malik accidentally turned in front of an off-duty police officer in October 2008. Unfortunately, the impact of the crash killed the sheriff’s deputy, Christopher Yonkers. Following the incident, Malik’s blood alcohol content registered to 0.01 and he admitted to smoking marijuana prior to the collision. Despite this, neither the officers at the scene nor medical practitioners noted any signs of intoxication or impairment.

However, Barry County Circuit Court Judge James Fisher disregarded the claim that marijuana caused Malik to be impaired at the time of the accident. In his ruling, he stated that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act directly conflicts with state law regarding the drug as medically useless. “The presence of marijuana may be detected for days, but the impairment lasts only a few hours. (The law) criminalizes driving a motor vehicle days or weeks after consuming marijuana, long after any impairment has vanished,” Fisher explained. Especially considering the significant jail time awarded to anyone convicted of a driving case involving death, Fisher also emphasized that it is the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.

Because this case closely resembles Conant’s, his legal counsel believes defeating the charges against him is possible. At this time, Conant is released on a $5,000 bond, and is scheduled to attend a probable-cause hearing on May 25th.

Being accused of operating while intoxicated can be a scary experience for anyone to go through, even if the person is legally allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes. As seen by the case of Timothy Conant, the consequences can be severe and will almost certainly include jail time. However, it is important to use the case of Justin Malik as an example—sound legal advice and superior legal defense provided by Michigan criminal defense attorneys can not only clear your name, but also help prevent any jail time from being assigned.

Drunk Driving Charges – Woman Fakes Pregnancy to Avoid DWI Arrest After Police Chase

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Being arrested for driving while intoxicated can land anyone in hot water. However, the charges against the person instantly increase if the suspect provides false information to police officers during a traffic stop–a practice that experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyers would highly advise against. A recent case of a woman is a perfect example of this; after continuing to drive after officers tried to pull her over, she falsely claimed to be pregnant to escape arrest.

On April 23rd, Melissa Whyte, 31, was driving when she stopped to ask a local business owner for directions. The worker immediately noticed signs indicating that Whyte was intoxicated, and proceeded to notify law enforcement officials. Soon afterward, a police officer attempted to pull her over, but she sped up and continued to drive. The chase continued through two towns before finally being stopped in a nearby town by an officer that joined the hunt.

When she was eventually questioned, Whyte insisted that she was unable to stop for police because she was in “significant pain from a difficult pregnancy.” However, it did not take long for law enforcement officials to learn that she was not really pregnant. After completing a background check on Whyte, police also discovered that she was wanted in a different county for neglecting to appear on a previous drunk driving charge, and also for Michigan fraud charges. However, as a result of her latest arrest the counts against her have greatly increased–she is now being accused of another DUI, eluding, and other charges.

Being convicted of drunk driving is difficult enough for anyone to experience, let alone have numerous charges against you. If suspected of drunk driving, it is essential to cooperate with police officers at all times and watch what you say as it can and will be held against you in court. Conviction of a Michigan DUI will not only limit your driving privileges, but it can tarnish your reputation and result in jail time. Therefore, it is essential to be proactive in securing the best legal defense for your case. Contacting aggressive Lansing drunk driving lawyers will provide both sound legal advice and proven legal defense, designed to keep you on the roads and out of jail.

MI Drunk Driving – Victim’s Family in Fatal DUI Crash Supports Probation for At-Fault Motorist

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Often times, motorists are caught for driving while intoxicated after they cause an accident. These instances are particularly disappointing, as not only is the at-fault driver subject to legal consequences, there is a great chance that those in the car will sustained personal injury or die as a result. Because these cases are exactly what they are called, “accidents,” accused drunk drivers in this situation need to seek immediately the services of aggressive Michigan drunk driving attorneys to provide high quality representation, preventing jail time.

Owner of Scooters Bar and Grill in Mundy Township, Eric Smith, 46, found himself in that exact situation in 2007, after he crashed his vehicle while driving drunk, resulting in the death of a passenger. He was driving a Jeep around 4:00 a.m., when the car rolled over in a large backyard. Smith and two co-workers were injured in the accident, while 28 year-old Nicole Daunt was killed by the impact. Consequently, the bar owner was charged with operating while intoxicated causing death and injury, as well as negligent homicide.

However, in the end, Smith was offered a reduced sentence, and pled guilty to attempted negligent homicide–the Daunt family and good legal counsel played an influential role in arranging the bar owner’s lucky break. Instead of serving a lengthy prison sentence, Smith will spend a year on probation for his role in the drunk driving accident.

The victim’s father, Bob Daunt, 74, stated to the court that he doesn’t believe the crash occurred because of criminal activity, but instead a lapse in judgment. “We’ve had two and a half years to think about it, and my mind hasn’t changed since the day it happened,” Daunt insisted. Additionally, Smith’s Michigan criminal defense lawyer maintains that despite the criticisms of many anti-drunk driving organizations, the crash would have occurred even if alcohol was not involved. He explained, “I don’t think that Jeep tipped on a hill because alcohol was involved. There’s certain physics that happened to make it happen.”

It is almost certain that both of these factors significantly helped Smith in his plight to avoid jail time. However, his case does show the serious consequences that can be inflicted on the driver responsible for a drunk driving accident causing personal injury or death. It also highlights the importance of retaining experienced and trustworthy Michigan criminal defense attorneys for help. Doing so as soon as possible can ensure that the suspect may stay at home with family and friends, instead of sitting behind bars.