by The Schwartz Criminal Defense Firm
The holidays are fun times to get together with family and friends. They are also very dangerous times on the roads and highways. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), nearly 2,600 people lost their lives in fatal crashes during December 2010. Reportedly, alcohol impaired drivers were involved in 30% of those accidents.
The Michigan State Police, in conjunction with local police departments and sheriff’s offices, are taking part in a grant funded patrol effort to decrease the number of drunk drivers and to reduce the number of serious or fatal crashes. Drunk driving patrols will be enhanced in 22 Michigan counties from December 27, 2012 through January 1, 2013. The motto this year is “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” During campaigns like this, state troopers and all other officers involved will be out in force, looking for drivers who are operating while intoxicated (OWI).
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is under .08, it is not illegal to drive a vehicle. If you have consumed alcohol and are pulled over, an investigating officer may smell alcohol on your breath and surmise that you might be intoxicated. Once an officer makes this conclusion, even if erroneous, you may be facing a charge of operating while intoxicated.
During a police stop, there are many things to be considered. Did the officer have a reason to stop you? Did you submit to a breath test? If so, was it properly administered? What is the reliability of the breathalyzer used? Were field sobriety tests (FST) the primary basis for the OWI arrest? Field sobriety tests are generally very subjective and your coordination, or lack thereof, is subject to the discretion of the officer. Because of the subjective nature of FSTs, they can be inconclusive.
Enjoy the remaining holidays and keep our Michigan roads and highways safe. Avoid driving after drinking and use a taxi or a designated driver for transportation if you feel tipsy. Getting pulled over and arrested for an OWI will damper your spirit and can have long term implications.
In addition to the embarrassment and humiliation, making a bad decision to drive after drinking can be very expensive. It can also result in you losing your job, being unable to find one, getting into a college or university, and obtaining loans for a home or car.
If you or a family member has been charged with an OWI, it is imperative that you seek advice from a Michigan criminal defense attorney who handles DUI/OWI cases.
Attorney Steven L. Schwartz, at the Law Office of Steven L. Schwartz, can help you. He has been a criminal defense attorney in Detroit for over two decades and comes from a long line of lawyers in his family. He will aggressively fight for a dismissal of all charges, work for a not guilty verdict or seek to negotiate reduced charges.