The story of a Michigan woman who is negotiating a plea bargain over drinking and driving charges demonstrates that a guilty plea may be the best course of action in some DUI cases. The woman could face a conviction under the state's "super drunk driving" laws if her case goes to court. Though every defendant is entitled to a trial, the serious punishments available under the elevated DUI law could make a guilty plea in exchange for reduced charges an option worth considering.
A conviction for drunk driving in Michigan can carry serious penalties, even for a first offense. The court may suspend your driver's license for six months, require you to perform up to 360 hours of community service and force you to pay thousands of dollars. Perhaps most seriously, you can be locked up in jail for up to 93 days in jail.
When readers in Lansing think of police and prosecutors targeting people for drunk driving charges, they likely imagine people driving cars, trucks, motorcycles -- heavy, fast-moving gas-powered vehicles. One of the policies behind Michigan's DUI laws is that such vehicles are potentially dangerous if the driver is impaired. But what readers may not realize is that using some motorized tools while legally intoxicated could expose them to criminal prosecution -- even if the public is seemingly not in as much danger.
A man convicted of causing the death of another man in a DUI car accident in another state is asking the court to allow him to receive treatment in a substance abuse facility instead of spending at least four more years in prison. The man and his attorney say that he would be a law-abiding member of society if his prison sentence were suspended, reduced or otherwise amended.
We recently posted about drunk driving charges stemming from the operation of a motorized vehicle other than an automobile. In that case, a man in Indiana was arrested for operating a motorized shopping cart while under the influence of alcohol. Well, closer to home a man was arrested in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, for operating his riding lawnmower while drunk-- he was charged with felony DUI.
It may seem like a car accident involving an intoxicated driver and serious injury to another person would automatically lead to felony charges against the driver in Michigan. But before filing charges, prosecutors must examine the evidence. They are expected to files charges that fit the evidence. This includes situations where the accused drunk driver is not responsible for causing the accident.
When a person is pulled over for a traffic violation and drunk driving is suspected, the Michigan state trooper or Lansing police officer can perform a field sobriety test and ask for a chemical breath test. The driver can refuse the breath test, although it is required under state law. Anything that is 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration or higher is considered impaired.
In our previous posts we have alerted our Lansing readers that criminal charges are often enhanced when more than one allegation exists. A robbery is made more serious if a gun is used. A drunk driving charge is made more serious when the blood alcohol concentration is twice the legal limit. Likewise, a drunk driving charge is made more serious if there is an accident, or worse yet, a fatal accident.
Our readers in Lansing may not be surprised that a fatal car accident, caused by drunk driving, could result in some time spent behind bars. One might not expect however, that the parent of a fatal DWI crash victim argued for leniency for the driver.
At 2:25 in the morning, one can be fairly sure that any police officers who are driving about are keeping a keen eye out for drunk drivers. For one such driver, the relatively minor infraction of failure to dim his bright lights resulted in a drunk driving arrest.