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Drunk Driving Defense

The first element in a OWI defense is to challenge the Stop. The police can not stop you on a mere whim. They must have stopped you for a reason. It's called a Terry Stop http://definitions.uslegal.com/t/terry-stop/.  In Terry the Court said "there must be a reasonale articulate suspcious that criminal activity is afoot."

In other words, the Police must have a reason to Stop you. It can be a civil infraction. But I will tell you I know the Police bend the rules a lot to make a stop stick. You need an attorney that is going to investigate to make sure all the elements of the stop were proper. An illegal stop is grounds for dismissal of your case.

After a cop stops you if they suspect you are drinking and driving they begin an investigation to determine proable cause to arrest you.  

Almost every police report reads the same. Smelled alcohol, glassy eyes, fumbled for wallet, slurred speech, fumbled getting out of car, ect. Sometimes I think they zerox these reports. It is important to remember in as much detail what happened from the time of stop to the time of arrest. This can be very helpful in my investigation. These assembly line reports can be ripped apart in the right circumstances. For example, tired eyes, prolonged setting in the car can cut off circulation and cause you to stumble, bad breath, alcohol has no odor, beer spilled on clothing, bad lighting, ect.

Often the evidence that the police gather on a "Field sobreity test" can be challenged or explained. The most common Field Sobreity tests (FST) are one-leg stand, finger to nose, walk the line, and the famous Nystagmus test.  http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/alcohol/SFST/appendix_a.htm

http://horizontalgazenystagmus.com/  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physiologic_nystagmus

The Police use this FST to determine probale cause.These tests are so slanted in favor of the Police they should be illegal. Often the Police has already made up their mind that are going to arrest you so they get sloppy in carrying out these tests. You need to remember these tests are designed for you to fail. You are standing along side the road, with red lights flashing and cars wizzing by you on an uneven road surface and you stumble a little and you are arrested.

Probable cause can be challenged. Through proper investigation sometimes you can get your case thrown out because the police have not done a proper job on the arrest.

The police also use a PBT or Prelimanary breath test to determine probable cause. This is a test they give you at the scene of the arrest. It is not admissible in court. But if the other evidence up to the point of being given the PTB is weak then the results of the PBT should be challenged on the grounds that there was no probable cause for arrest.

These are just a few of the Pretrial defenses that are availible in defending your case. Don't assume that just because you have been arrested for a OWI that you have to plead guilty.

There are defenses at trial as well. Usually the most overwhelming evidence against you is the Blood test or breath test. There are defenses against them too. The Michigan State Police crime lab is overwhemed with boold tests. http://michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1593_3800-15901--,00.html  Do you think they don't make mistakes? Everybody makes mistakes.  http://michigansnextgovernor.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/michigan-state-police-crime-lab-overburdened/ The very procedure used by the police is slanted in their favor. You  can hire an expert witness to rebut all the evidence against you.

The most common chemical evidence against you is the breath test. There is a myth out there that these breath test are set in stone evidence. Many things go wrong with breath machines. Face it machines malfunctions. Radio frequency, cell phones, bad filters, alcohol in the mouth,burping, smoking,blood in mouth, all cause interference and inaccurate readings. Only an attorney who does their homework can uncover if this is the case with you.

Michigan uses the DataMaster for breath tests http://npas.com/ . These thing are not know for accuracy. There are hundreds of chemicals in the human body that can test as alchol in the breath testing device. http://www.alcohol-test-info.com/Datamaster_2000_Breath_Alcohol_Test.html .

When you are considering hiring an attorney you need to remember if you are in trouble you want an attorney like Doug Dern and Associates. You know you are going to get the best defense for your money. You are going to get an attorney who knows and who cares. If you think have been the victim of over zealous police work or if you think you are innocent please give me a call. Come in to my office lets set down and discuss your options. Let's see if you can fight this thing. My cell number is 248-882-0838 call me anytime. I really want to help you through this tough time.


“where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the person with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, … he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him” (p. 30).

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/terry-v-ohio#ixzz1Nt8iHSmS


Michigan OWI Laws  http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(ym3xzmm4f435jxbcl3t1sjyh)/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-Act-300-of-1949.pdf

Michigan Secretary of State license laws http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-1627---,00.html

Substance Abuse Agencies http://www.michigan.gov/documents/SA_CA_Contact_List_150817_7.pdf

Michigan Drunk Driving pentalies http://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/drunk_driving/michigan-dui.htm