DUI – The Quick Start Guide to Successfully Handling your Case
If you are facing a DUI charge, you undoubtedly want useful information right away. In the following sections, we’ll examine the realities of how they play out in the real world, because that’s where your case is going to be handled.
First, understand that by “DUI,” what we really mean is “OWI,” or Operating While Intoxicated, the actual legal term for drunk driving in Michigan.
When you’re looking to find representation, you should always check out your options and compare lawyers. Never be in a rush to make a hiring decision. The simple truth is that there is absolutely no downside to being an educated consumer. If your case is anywhere in Greater-Detroit area (meaning any court in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, or the surrounding counties) make sure you contact our office, as well.
All of our consultations free, confidential, and are done over the phone, right when you call.
MAKING THE CALL
It can be intimidating to pick up the phone, but your quest really starts when the phone is answered. Whoever picks up becomes the “Director of First Impressions,” and that’s important. My team and I are really friendly people who will always be glad to answer your questions, explain things, and even compare notes with anything some other lawyer has told you.
When you call, we’ll ask a few important questions:
- Where were you arrested?
- What is your charge (OWI, High BAC, OWI 2nd Offense, OWI 3rd Offense)?
- What happened?
- When did it happen?
- Did you take a breath test or a blood test?
- If so, do you know the results?
We’ll want to know as much as possible about what was going on before, during, and even after your arrest.
WHERE IS YOUR CASE? Our firm has extensive experience handling DUI cases in the Greater-Detroit area courts. This enables us to give you accurate information about what can happen, what’s likely to happen, and what will happen in your case. We can provide this kind of insight because what we know what do to actually make things better for you.
MEETING WITH THE ATTORNEY
We will meet, but it can be either remotely or in-person. When we do, we’ll go every relevant detail of your case that’s available. My team and I will make sure that you fully understand how things work in the court where your case is pending. We will let you know what you’re realistically facing.
In addition, we’re always available to explain what we’re doing to get your case dismissed, or negotiated to a lesser offense. The goal, of course, is to avoid as many of the legal penalties and negative consequences as possible.
HANDLING YOUR CASE
First, we will obtain all of the evidence, including the police report and any police in-car video. Many of the things that can result in the dismissal of a DUI charge aren’t obvious. My team and I will meticulously evaluate the evidence to see if there is anything we can use to challenge it.
Every part of the case and every last bit of evidence, must be carefully examined. This includes everything from the initial police contact through the breath or blood test results.
We’ll never do less.
Good work is the key to getting good results. In that regard, here are 2 things about DUI cases that you can take to the bank:
1. DUI cases are never won by accident
2. DUI cases never dismiss themselves
As Michigan DUI attorneys, we understand both the nuances of the law, and the science behind the analysis of the chemical evidence. My team and I know how to win cases, get them dismissed, and otherwise produce the very best results possible.
We do the kind of good work necessary to make that happen.
We will undertake a careful evaluation of everything, from how the police officer tested you on the side the road to whether the machine that analyzed your breath or blood sample got it right. Problems with the evidence can render it inadmissible or unreliable, and must always be used to your fullest advantage.
In most drunk driving cases, we can spare you from having to go to court for the first proceeding. This is called an “arraignment.” Our office will file papers with the court to waive it, meaning that you won’t have to show up.
If you are required to attend you arraignment, you’ll be advised of the charge against you and a bond will set. Usually, whatever amount you paid to get out of jail will be approved and no further money will be required by the Judge or Magistrate.
Whether your arraignment can be waived of not, you won’t have to appear in court again until later. This will be for the first substantive proceeding, called a “pre-trial.”
At the pre-trial conference, we meet with the prosecutor and discuss the case. First, of course, we look for a way to get the charge (or charges) dismissed. With our extensive DUI experience, we know if the evidence is good enough to withstand a legal challenge. If not, we know how to successfully challenge it and keep it out.
The truth, however, is that most cases are not screwed up badly enough to get them tossed out of court. In these far more common situations, we will negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to have your charge(s) reduced and otherwise get some relief from the penalties you are facing.
MANDATORY ALCOHOL SCREENING
A key aspect of Michigan DUI cases is the legal requirement that a person must undergo a mandatory alcohol evaluation:
- Prior to being sentenced by the Judge, you will have to meet with a probation officer. You will be interviewed by him or her, and take a written alcohol screening test about your drinking habits and history.
- Every answer you give has a point value, and the test is scored numerically.
- The higher your score, the more likely you will be seen to have a drinking problem.
- Obviously, the lower your score, the better. We’re going for better.
- Here, our firm can help you more than anyone. I have completed a post-graduate program of addiction studies. That give me both a clinical and practical understanding of the development, diagnosis and treatment of alcohol problems.
- My team and I will use that knowledge to produce better results. We know how alcohol evaluation tests work and how your answers will be interpreted. As a result we can give you an unmatched advantage before you ever sit down to take it.
The takeaway, of course, is that good test results mean a better outcome at your sentencing. Anything less than the best possible test results will get you ordered into all kinds of counseling or treatment. This is true even if you really don’t need it.
That’s where my team and I come in, because we will avoid as much of it as possible in your case.
THE SENTENCING RECOMMENDATION
By law, after the alcohol screening test and the probation interview have been completed, the probation officer must send a written sentencing recommendation to the Judge, who will read it prior to your sentencing. The written recommendation advises the Judge what terms and conditions to order for you. This includes things like classes, counseling and/or treatment. In other words, the recommendation tells the Judge what to do to you.
It is extremely important that you are thoroughly prepared for the alcohol screening test and probation interview.
Make no mistake about it, the sentencing recommendation is really the “blueprint” for exactly what is going to happen to you.
In the real world, every single Judge out there follows the probation officer’s sentencing recommendation very closely, if not to the very letter.
The sentencing is where you stand in front of the Judge to find out what is going to happen to you. This is where all the consequences we’ve been talking about are handed down.
At the sentencing, the Judge first reads the recommendation, listens to your lawyer, then to you, and ultimately decides what to order. He or she will then rule on you’ll be required to do (like continue testing), and what you’ll be forbidden from doing (like drink alcohol) while on probation.
Unless your case gets dismissed, this is what we will have been working toward from our very first meeting.
Never forget, success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you.
Here, less is always more. As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I will make sure that we avoid as many of the potential negative consequences as possible and produce the very best results in your case.
No lawyer can do more, and we will never do less.