A recently published article in the Detroit Free Press mentions the arrest of a 30-year-old Romulus woman for charges of DUI causing a serious injury after she allegedly caused a chain-reaction accident on Interstate 94 and later fled the scene of the crash. According to the report, the woman has been convicted of two prior DUI charges in Michigan and was also driving on a suspended license, resulting in additional charges. Although the article states that the woman was operating the vehicle involved and that she failed a preliminary blood alcohol test, she remains innocent in the eyes of the law unless she is convicted of a crime.
According to the article, the accident happened at about 11:45 PM on an evening in late September of this year. At the time of the accident, the highway was wet with heavy rain. It is not clear if the defendant admitted to being drunk while she was behind the wheel, or exactly how long it took for police to apprehend her after the accident, which involved a total of six vehicles and resulted in several serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Although it is possible that the weather conditions or the actions of other drivers involved caused or worsened the accident, the woman’s alleged flight from the scene of the crash paints her poorly in the eyes of the law. Her apparent intoxication after her apprehension and the incriminating statements that were attributed to her in the article suggest that she may be criminally liable for the crimes charged, although prosecutors must still prove multiple elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt at trial to secure a conviction for the charge of DUI causing a serious injury.
Michigan state law has a graduated penalty system for drivers who are convicted of multiple DUI offenses during a certain time period. After their first DUI, defendants are required to have an ignition interlock system installed in their car and face a minimum of a one-year license suspension. For a second DUI within seven years, a defendant will face a minimum of five days of jail time or 30 days of community service, as well as a larger fine. Defendants convicted of a third DUI charge are subject to a minimum 30-day jail sentence and other increased penalties. Because of the increasing severity of punishments for subsequent DUIs, it is important for drivers accused of a second or third DUI to obtain skilled legal representation.
Although many of the penalties for subsequent DUIs in Michigan are mandatory, there are ways for people accused of these crimes to avoid facing the harshest punishments. In addition to the legal defense that a skilled Michigan DUI defense attorney can offer in support of a dismissal or acquittal, the law also allows defendants to plead guilty to reduced charges that do not necessarily trigger the minimum penalties for a subsequent DUI.
With prosecution and court approval, defendants may be allowed to plead to a charge of reckless driving involving alcohol, which is not technically a DUI. Authorities are known to accept plea agreements to reduced charges for a variety of reasons. If a defense attorney is able to bring attention to procedural or evidentiary errors that could threaten the case, prosecutors and judges are often eager to accept a conviction for a lower charge rather than risk exposing mistakes that may have been made in the law enforcement or prosecution process.
If you or someone close to you has been charged with a DUI, whether it is the first or the fourth such charge, a qualified Detroit criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your case and give you a realistic overview of your options and expectations. The Michigan criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven L. Schwartz have the experience and skill necessary to help you face serious criminal charges head-on. Our respected Oakland County criminal defense lawyers have been practicing in the region for over 20 years. We have offices in Bloomfield Hills and Franklin, and we represent clients accused of misdemeanors and felonies throughout the Detroit metro area. Contact us by using the online form or by calling (248) 266-8720 to schedule a consultation today.