Archive for the ‘Drunk Driving Charges’ Category

Michigan DUI Lawyer – Michigan Court of Appeals Further Defines “Operating” for Purposes of Drunk Driving Charges

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Though we often refer to drunk driving as DUI or OWI, the truth is that in Michigan, drunk driving is actually called Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). [It is illegal in Michigan to operate a vehicle “upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person is operating while intoxicated.”

As you can imagine, there is quite a bit of gray area as to what it actually means to “operate” a vehicle. For example, what if a person is passed out drunk in their driver’s seat with car engine running and in gear with their foot on the brake? (The Michigan Supreme Court decided this was “operating” a vehicle in People v. Wood). Or, what if a vehicle owned by the drunk defendant is sitting on the road and causes another car to get in an accident? (The Michigan Court of Appeals held in People v. Lechleitner that the “defendant” was operating the vehicle until he could return the vehicle to a position of safety).

Recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals revisited the legal issue of what constitutes operating a car for the purposes of the OWI law in Michigan. In the case, People of the City of Plymouth v. Brittney Lynn Longeway, a doorman at a martini bar told a police officer that he observed some females hit a concrete barrier with their vehicle when they arrived at the bar and also that they later appeared drunk when leaving the bar. The police officer observed that the female driver had the reverse lights of the vehicle on but then put the car back in park. The car’s wheels never moved. The driver was charged with Operating While Intoxicated and she argued that, based on past case law and statutory language in Michigan, she was not “operating” the vehicle. Her argument lost at the District Court level but won at the higher Circuit Court level. The prosecutors appealed, however, and the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the defendant was “operating the vehicle.” In deciding this, the appellate court looked to the drunk driving statute that says operating means being in actual physical control of the vehicle. Starting the car, applying the brakes, shifting gears into reverse, and then putting it back into park are all signs of the driver being in actual physical control, according to this ruling.

Many people ask us why they need a drunk driving lawyer if they blew a .08 or more blood alcohol content on their Preliminary Breath Test or DataMaster Test. It’s possible that there may be legal challenge issues in your case, such as whether you were actually or legally operating the vehicle. An experienced OWI attorney can fully examine all the facts of your case and prepare a defense strategy. Contact a drunk driving attorney today.

Guest DUI Blog – What to Do if a Cop Pulls You Over for DUI

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

You’re pulled over on the side of a road, with your engine turned off. The reflection of bright lights from the police car behind you irritates your eyes. The police officer on duty stands outside of both vehicles, and checks over the information listed on your license and registration. He begins asking you how many drinks you’ve had that night. Are you required to answer?

  • You have the right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment makes it completely legal for you to refrain from responding to the police officer’s inquiries. Your refusal to answer his questions cannot be held against you in a court of law, but if you choose to answer, then a prosecuting attorney can use the officer’s testimony against you. Testimonies based on slurring or stumbling perceived by a police officer can be subjective and manipulated, so it’s best to exercise your right to plead the Fifth.
  • Stay inside your car unless the officer asks you to get out. Jumping out of your vehicle when a cop pulls you over can send out the wrong message. The police officer might mistakenly think that you are armed and might feel threatened. Whatever wrongdoing he suspects of you will only increase if you are not careful, so just sit still and try not to offend anybody.
  • Do not consent to performing field sobriety tests if you feel uncomfortable. Field sobriety tests include having a driver suspected of being intoxicated walk a straight line, balance on one foot, touch his finger to his nose, etc. These tests check for signs of poor coordination before official chemical testing for blood-alcohol level. You are not required to take these sobriety tests if you feel they may be manipulated and used to incriminate you later. You may safely remain silent and refuse.
  • Make an informed decision either to take or to refuse chemical testing. Every state has Implied Consent laws which rule that any licensed driver who chooses to operate a vehicle has automatically agreed to chemical testing requested by a member of law enforcement. Chemical testing includes breath, blood or urine tests. In most states, refusing chemical testing will automatically give prosecutors grounds to revoke your license. Sometimes the consequences are more severe. To find out whether it is better in your state to refuse or to submit to chemical testing, contact a local DUI lawyer.

Sometimes a police officer will arrest you on suspicion of a DUI even if you refuse chemical testing. Whatever the case is, consulting a DUI lawyer who has your best interest in mind will ensure that your rights are defended properly. Many citizens convicted with a DUI do not realize that there are many legal rulings designed to protect them. A DUI lawyer has experience using these protections to defend you. He or she can determine whether the test leading to your arrest was properly administered and whether the machine used to convict you was properly calibrated. With legal assistance you have the potential to save your time, money and reputation.

About the Author: Christopher McCann is an Orange County DUI lawyer and criminal defense lawyer. McCann is a practicing lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann and generally writes on topics related to criminal defense and DUIs. McCann was voted as a “Rising Star Attorney” in 2010 by Southern California SuperLawyers Magazine.

Michigan DUI Attorneys – Man Shows up Drunk in Court and Leads Police on High Speed Chase

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Recently, a man was at the 55th District Court in Mason, Michigan on charges of Operating While Intoxicated. The man was in court to enter a plea when the judge noticed the man appeared drunk and asked him to take a breathalyzer test. That is when the man refused and walked out of the courthouse. He got into his vehicle and drove away, hitting an Ingham County deputy in the process. That deputy followed the man onto US 127 North. The man led police officers on a high speed chase with speeds of up to 128 miles per hour, and eventually came to a stop after hitting a semi truck. When police arrested the man, they registered his blood alcohol content as .205, which is almost three times the legal limit of .08 in Michigan. The man is now facing a further OWI charge, a felonious assault charge, and a fleeing and eluding charge.

As top drunk driving defense attorneys, we know that going to court to face a judge on drunk driving charges is unnerving. However, it is never a good idea to consume alcohol before appearing in court. In general, judges like to see that defendants are remorseful for their actions and have learned a lesson. This man is clearly in more legal trouble now than he would have been had he showed up for court sober.

Being charged with drunk driving in Michigan is a scary thing, especially for those people who have never had to face criminal prosecution. That is why it is best to contact a skilled and experienced OWI lawyer immediately. Your attorney can help you with the entire criminal process and will be there with you every step of the way to work towards achieving a favorable outcome.

Michigan Drunk Driving Attorneys — Holiday Season Brought Drunk Driving Arrests

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

We are officially past the 2011 holiday season, which was a time to get together with family, friends, and coworkers. Many of these gatherings involved the consumption of alcohol. On nights like Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, Michigan State Police and county and local patrol officers were on the lookout for drunk drivers. Judging by the number of calls we have received, many people were arrested for drunk driving during the holidays.

We are often asked, “Will I go to jail for drunk driving?” The penalties for an Operating While Intoxicated case depend on whether this is a person’s first drunk driving offense, second drunk driving offense within 7 years of the first, or third drunk driving offense in a lifetime. Sentencing also depends on whether the person’s blood alcohol level was high enough to be considered a Super Drunk offense.

Hiring a drunk driving defense lawyer is an excellent idea for those people charged with a drunk driving offense. This is because the attorney may not only argue that the charges should be dropped, but they may also argue against the imposition of any jail or prison sentence. At Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC, we have successfully kept many of our clients who were charged with OWI out of jail.

If you have been charged with drunk or drugged driving, contact an attorney today.

Michigan Drunk Driving Defense – Drunk Driving App Available Today!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

The Michigan Drunk Driving Attorneys are pleased to announce their first drunk driving tip-card application. This app is currently only available for the Android Operating System (OS) and requires version 1.6 or higher. This app is designed to work within the web-browser of your phone, and features tips on how to handle being pulled over by a police officer, what you can and cannot refuse during this roadside stop, and a quick contact form to instantly submit an e-mail to one of our DUI attorneys.

Please remember to drive safely and designate a sober driver when you are out with friends and drinking. If you do find yourself arrested for a DUI, we have an attorney on call 24/7 at 866-7-NoJail. That is (866) 766-5245.

Michigan Drunk Driving Defense Attorney App
Note: To install this app, please enable the install ‘unknown sources’ setting on your phone.

Michigan DUI Lawyer – Michigan State Police Drunk Driving Crackdown

Monday, September 19th, 2011

The Michigan State Police recently completed a drunk driving crackdown in Michigan. During such crackdowns, there are more state troopers searching for signs that someone is driving while drunk. Michigan drivers are not subject to sobriety checkpoints, which are legal in other states. However, efforts to crack down on Michigan drunk drivers usually result in hundreds of extra drunk driving arrests.

Though many people typically call drunk driving offenses “DUIs,” the actual names of drunk driving crimes in Michigan include Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) and Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI). Regardless of the name of the crime, a person convicted under Michigan drunk driving laws can expect to face any or all of the following: payment of multiple fines and fees, loss of a driver’s license, jail or prison time, community service, installation of an ignition interlock devise, and random urine tests.

One frequently charged Michigan crime is called Operating with the Presence of Drugs (OWPD). This is where someone uses drugs like Marijuana, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Meth, or Heroin and operates a vehicle on a public road in Michigan. Depending on the drug, officers may be able to arrest the driver if there is even the smallest amount of the drug in the body, even if the driving was not impaired by the drug. Prior drunk driving crackdowns in Michigan have led to numerous arrests for OWPD.

If you have been arrested for a drunk driving crime in Michigan, now is the time to contact a very good drunk driving lawyer. Your lawyer can review your case to determine if the police violated any of your constitutional rights during the drunk driving arrest. Law enforcement is required to follow a strict set of procedures when deciding whether you were intoxicated or impaired while operating a vehicle, and if those procedures were not followed, a top flight Drunk Driving Attorney may be able to use this fact to your advantage.

Our attorneys strive to offer clients the best possible defense. However, as you might expect, our advice is always that people who have consumed alcohol or any substance which impairs their ability to drive should never get behind the wheel.

Michigan Drunk Driving – Former NBA Star Jalen Rose Sentenced to 20 Days of Jail Time for Drunk Driving

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Jalen Rose—born and raised in Detroit, Michigan—played NCAA basketball for the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the famed “Fab Five.” He then went on to play in the NBA for 13 seasons. In March, he was arrested in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan, on drunk driving charges, to which he pled guilty in May.

On Wednesday, July 27, Jalen Rose was sentenced to 20 days in jail for drunk driving. Judge Kimberly Small presided over the sentencing in the 48th District Court in Oakland County, Michigan. To skilled Michigan DUI attorneys, she is known for being tough on people who drink and drive. Judge Small told Rose at his sentencing, “I don’t care if you want to get drunk — have at it. I do mind when you get behind the wheel of a vehicle and use it in a way that can kill all of us.”

In Michigan, the most common drunk driving crimes are called Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI), and Operating With the Presence of Drugs (OWPD). If there is a minor in the vehicle at the time of the violation, the driver will most likely also receive Child Endangerment charges in Michigan. Depending on whether this is a person’s first, second, third, or subsequent drunk driving offense, the penalties vary. For Jalen Rose, this was his first drunk driving offense, and it would have been quite possible for Rose to be given a sentence that included no jail time. Rose’s lawyers have publicly stated that they feel Judge Small abused her discretion by making an example out of such a public figure.

If you have been charged with a DUI crime in Michigan, you need to hire an attorney who is skilled at defending such cases. Fortunately, the attorneys at Kronzek and Cronkright have over 80 years of combined experience practicing criminal defense in Michigan, which includes drunk driving defense. We have delivered very favorable results for our clients all over the state of Michigan.

DWI Defense Lawyers – Michigan Under 21 Drunk Driving Defendant Postpones Pre-Trial Conference

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

One does not need to be an experienced DWI defense lawyer to know that drunk driving arrests are a very big deal. If convicted, the penalties for drunk driving are severe, and can include many life-changing consequences. Because of the harsh punishments associated with driving while intoxicated, it often takes time for a DWI defense lawyer to prepare their case and gather evidence. Sometimes, it is even necessary to postpone court appearances, so that the defense is fully ready to present their defense. Such are the circumstances in a Michigan drunk driving case involving an underage intoxicated motorist who struck another vehicle, killing the other driver.

In January 2011, Kelley Nagle, 20, was driving a Chevy Trailblazer south on Dequindre Road in Sterling Heights when she attempted to pass another vehicle in front of her, but ended up cruising into oncoming traffic and colliding head–on with a Ford Ranger. The driver of the other vehicle, Annette Evans, 53, was pinned in her car before being removed by emergency rescue services. Although she was rushed to the emergency room, Evans was pronounced dead.

The drunk driving penalties that Nagle faces are severe. After performing tests, law enforcement officials determined that Nagle’s blood alcohol content was 0.23 at the time of the accident–almost three times the legal limit of 0.08. Had this been her first offense, she could have been charged under Michigan’s new super drunk law, which enforces harsher punishments for “excessively intoxicated” motorists. However, since this is Nagle’s second drunk driving offense (the first was in 2009), she has also violated the terms of her probation which will likely work against her in court. Prosecutors are currently charging her with the 15-year felony of Operating While Intoxicated causing death and the one-year misdemeanor of Operating While Impaired.

With all the drunk driving consequences Nagle is facing, it is no surprise that this is the second time her drunk driving attorneys have asked the court to postpone the Pre-Trial conference. Especially when dealing with a minor, cases of drunk driving are very complex and defending them takes great skill and experience. This is why it’s essential for every person arrested for a DUI, DWI, or OWI in Michigan to immediately contact knowledgeable DWI defense lawyers. Doing so will not only ensure the best legal advice and legal representation, it will also guarantee you the best defense possible in your drunk driving case. Do not hesitate to be proactive to secure your defense. Your personal liberties and freedoms are at stake!

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.