Archive for May, 2011

DWI Defense Lawyers – Michigan Judge Deems Blood Tests from State Police Lab Unreliable

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

One does not need to be an experienced DWI defense lawyer to know that being arrested for drunk driving is not only serious, but a process. If a law enforcement official suspects that a motorist is operating a vehicle while intoxicated, they will perform numerous tests to see if they are correct. Besides basic, field sobriety tests, police and prosecutors use the results of blood tests to charge defendants with drunk driving–if their blood alcohol content registers above 0.08 percent, they were driving while intoxicated.

The results of blood tests are very powerful in drunk driving cases–not only can it convince a jury of a defendant’s guilt, it can also convince them of a defendant’s innocence. Because of the significant role that blood test results play in drunk driving arrests and legal cases, it is essential that the data are absolutely correct, and carries an error of margin. Without it, a crime lab implies that their results are absolute and the true result–essentially that if tested 100 times, the results would always be the same.

This reasoning prompted District Court Judge Peter Wadel to toss out blood evidence against a Michigan resident who was charged with drunk driving. Jeffrey Jabrocki was arrested for driving under the influence, and underwent two blood tests by police. One registered that Jabrocki had a blood alcohol content of 0.29, while the other said that his BAC was 0.30. Even though both are significantly higher than the legal limit of 0.08, because there was no stated margin of error, Judge Wadel concluded that there was too much “uncertainty in measurement” to be reliable scientific data. “Without an error rate, the lab leaves an inference that the test result is an absolute or true result,” Judge Wadel wrote. “This uncertainty needs to be accounted for.” Because of Judge Wadel’s ruling, prosecutors can still charge Jabrocki with drunk driving, but will not be able to use the blood test results as evidence.

As experienced DWI defense lawyers in Michigan, the law firm of Kronzek & Cronkright applauds the judge’s decision to question the reliability of crime lab testing, particularly in drunk driving cases. Being convicted of driving while intoxicated can change a person’s life forever, resulting in enormous fines, time behind bars, and a permanent stain on one’s reputation. If the legal system is going to charge drunk drivers with permanent consequences, it is important to at least do so with reliable scientific evidence. Without it, true justice cannot be served for anyone.

DWI Defense Lawyers – Michigan Lawmakers Look to Equal Drunk Driving Penalties for Boats, Snowmobiles

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Michigan DWI defense lawyers must stay alert to changes made in state drunk driving laws. The recently passed “super drunk” driving measures increased penalties for those who had blood alcohol contents registering far above the legal limit of 0.08. While this change has already increased the number of drunk driving fines in Michigan, legislators have made it clear that they intend on taking their fight against DUI arrests much further.

As a beautiful state that sees many seasonal changes, residents love the opportunity to go boating in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter. However, because so many people statewide take advantage of these fun recreational activities, increased participation creates the opportunity for more drunk driving and drug use. In Muskegon County alone, the many lakes are home to 12,600 registered boaters and their guests. “We’ve had boating accidents in the past that were alcohol-related¼ that resulted in death,” explained Deputy Todd Dunham, who controls the county’s marine and snowmobiling patrols. “Most of your snowmobile accidents that occur are alcohol-related,” he added.

While law enforcement officials in Muskegon were thrilled to escape the 2010 boating season without a single fatal crash, more than a dozen boaters were arrested for drunk boating. The snowmobile season is not nearly as promising—since 2005, over 130 snowmobilers have been killed in Michigan due to alcohol-related accidents.

The increasing number of drunk driving arrests involving boat and snowmobile operators has prompted legislators to take an active stance on the issue. Last year, a fatal drunk boating accident prompted State Representative Matt Lori to craft a series of bills that would level the playing field for drunk driving on all types of vehicles, including boats, snowmobiles, and off-road vehicles.

Although the 2010 bills never made it to a vote, Lori reintroduced a similar bill this year that would change the legal blood-alcohol content for boaters and snowmobilers. Currently, the legal limit for operating a boat in Michigan is 0.10, which is higher than the legal limit for persons operating a car while intoxicated. If the measure passes, it would lower the legal limit for boaters to 0.08, as well as make changes to address repeat offenders and those using drugs while operating a boat or a snowmobile. The law currently provides a ten year time limit to impose a felony drunk driving charge for people who have had two or more previous offenses. However, under the proposed change, if the violation occurs after two or more prior convictions the offender would be charged with a felony, regardless of the number of years that have elapsed since any prior conviction.

While Michigan lawmakers are hopeful that the measures will receive support, it is unlikely that they will be in place in time for the 2011 boating season. should changes be made, it will be much easier for law enforcement officials to target those operating boats or snowmobiles should they suspect one is driving while intoxicated. Because the penalties for drunk driving will be much stricter, it is even more important for arrested persons to contact the best DWI defense lawyer available. Not only will an experienced and skilled Michigan DUI attorney be able to explain the new laws to you, they will provide the legal advice and legal representation needed to defend you. Do not hesitate to contact counsel, as doing so can protect your personal freedoms and liberties from suspension.

Michigan DUI Attorneys – Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Test Thrown Out for Inaccuracies

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Michigan DUI Lawyers are celebrating the recent court ruling which seeks to create more objective standards for reporting the results of chemical testing in drunk driving cases in Michigan. In this case, Mason County  District Court Judge Wadell ruled that blood test results from the Michigan State Police crime lab are inadmissible in court. The judge reasoned that because the crime lab does not record or publish its margain of errors on blood alcohol blood tests, the test results are not reliable. Forensic evidence must be both relevant and reliable to be admissible in a Michigan court.

The legal limit for drinking and driving in Michigan is a blood alcohol content, or “BAC,” of .08 or less. The problem with crime lab blood tests being unreliable says Judge Wedell, is because a driver whose blood was measured at perhaps .08, .09, or .10 may actually be under the limit and therefore be innocent of a drunk driving crime. Similarly, a Michigan driver whose BAC was measured to be .07 or below may actually be guilty of intoxicated driving or impaired driving.

Being convicted of an OWI in Michigan is serious business. You could end up in jail, be required to pay fines, receive a suspension of your driving privileges and more. That is why you need Michigan’s expert dui attorneys. Serious drunk driving attorneys follow the latest developments in the Michigan DUI law and are skilled at presenting constitutional defenses.

The Michigan State Police say they plan to appeal this ruling. Currently, this new caselaw only applies in the 79th District Court but if defense attorneys have their way, a similar rule would apply in places like Ingham County, Clinton County and Eaton County. Only time will tell, and until then, Michigan DUI lawyers will be watching.