Man Drives into Lake Michigan, Charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

September 15, 2015
by The Law Office of Steven L. Schwartz

Marina in Gdansk

Earlier last month, a man drove his car into Lake Michigan near Waukegan Yacht Club and as a result was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving. According to one local news source, the man was in the process of parking when he drove over the ledge and into the water.

Witnesses to the incident told police and reporters that one man in the car got out and swam to safety, while the other stayed in the vehicle and finished smoking his cigarette. The man who was swimming was allegedly laughing as he was backstroking his way to safety.

An employee of the yacht club saw the incident and jumped in the water to help the passenger, who was still in the vehicle several moments after the accident. Another employee located a life preserver and tossed it to the man swimming ashore. Both occupants of the vehicle were taken to the hospital for “precautionary reasons,” although neither was injured.

Police called the K-9 unit out to the scene to scour for evidence. It is not clear what, if anything, was recovered. Police did not initially arrest the man for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, three days after the incident, police showed up at the man’s home and arrested him for two counts of driving under the influence of drugs. The exact substances that were alleged, however, will not be known until the official toxicology results are returned.

Driving Under the Influence in Michigan

While this incident took place in Illinois, the DUI and OWI laws in Michigan are very similar. At issue in the case above is the prohibition against driving while under the influence of drugs. In most cases, Michigan drivers are not permitted to drive while they have any controlled substance in their body. While there may be exceptions made for allowable amounts of some prescribed medications, if the values are too high to be considered “therapeutic” or safe, even prescription medication may result in criminal liability.

Defenses to Intoxicated Driving

To prove a case of intoxicated driving at trial, the prosecution must show that the driver was in control of the vehicle and that they were intoxicated. In many cases, the prosecution will rely on breath tests to approximate a blood-alcohol content. In other cases, the police will request a blood draw. In either case, the results of the test may be challenged if the police did not follow acceptable protocols. If the test results are successfully challenged, they will not be admissible at trial.

Have You Been Arrested for a Michigan DUI or OWI?

If you have recently been arrested for driving under the influence in Michigan, make sure to speak with a dedicated Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner your attorney is able to get to work preparing your case, the better the odds that you will see a favorable result at or before trial. Drunk driving cases are taken very seriously in Michigan. Be sure you take the charge as seriously as the police and prosecutors do. Call (240) 930-5019 to set up a free consultation with Attorney Steven Schwartz today.

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