Examining and Challenging the Evidence
Everyone facing a DUI would love to hear that the evidence against them can be challenged, and thrown out. Before any move is made to challenge the evidence, however, it must be carefully and critically examined by a knowledgeable DUI attorney who is familiar with all of Michigan's laws. Only after a thorough inspection can any conclusion be drawn about the probability of a successful legal challenge to the admissibility of any evidence.
It goes without saying that any real Michigan DUI lawyer is going to direct his or her first efforts to analyzing the prosecutor’s evidence. Any lawyer worth his or her salt will want to know if they are dealing with a case that is solid, or not. And that assessment is critical to producing the best outcome possible in each and every case.
Let’s look at an example. I represented someone who was arrested for a DUI after being spotted driving erratically, and he refused the breathalyzer tests, both in the back of the police car, and at the station. Usually, and as a matter of routine, when someone refuses a breath test at the station, the police will obtain a warrant for a blood draw.
In this case, the police never obtained a warrant, and there was no blood sample drawn. My client was charged with DUI and released the next morning.
Because the prosecutor had no chemical evidence of my client’s bodily alcohol content (BAC), his case was compromised. Even though the officer noted that my client was stopped for driving erratically, seemed intoxicated, and had trouble with his balance, those observations, standing alone, and without a BAC meant the case against him wasn’t solid.
As a result of this, I was able to get the prosecutor to agree to drop the DUI charge. Instead of eating a DUI, my client pled responsible to a civil infraction for refusing the chemical breath test and for his erratic driving. He was spared thousands of dollars, tons of hours dealing with this, and loads of negative consequences.
Of course, this is one of many examples.
This wouldn’t have happened without first examining the evidence in his case.
In many cases, however, the evidence against the individual is much more compelling. Many of my DUI clients admit to having had a few too many before they were pulled over. They knew, when they saw the police lights in their rear-view mirror, that it was going to be a long and unpleasant night. And the police are thoroughly trained in gathering evidence in DUI cases. Beyond their extensive training, most officers have more than enough time under their belts before they’re out, alone, making traffic stops. The larger point here is that the police are good at zipping up a DUI case, thus you need an attorney who is detail-oriented.
There are all kinds of evidentiary details within any case that must be examined by the lawyer. This is why it is almost always impossible for a lawyer to assess the quality of a DUI case before reading the police report and examining all the other evidence, or assessing the lack of it.
As I noted, examining that evidence carefully and critically is the first order of business in any DUI case.
Challenging evidence for the sake of simply challenging it, however, is not a good idea. By doing that, a person will likely forgo the opportunity to have their lawyer work out some kind of plea and/or sentence bargain that could considerably soften the blow of a DUI case based upon solid evidence.
Evidence should only be challenged when the risk versus reward payoff makes it a winning proposition. In other words, this is done when it seems likely that the challenge will be successful, or if there’s no negative consequence to challenging the evidence and losing.
And as I’ve pointed out several times, above, a decision to challenge any of the DUI evidence, or not, can only be made after it has been carefully and critically examined. If you are facing a drunk driving charge in the Detroit area, and you want to hire a lawyer capable of thoroughly evaluating the evidence in your case, you should call me.