State of Michigan Agenda In Securing Drunk Driving Convictions
Generally speaking, the State uses four specific areas related to the case in order to secure a guilty verdict.
Those areas are:
- The physical appearance of the defendant as written in the police report;
- the results of a Field Sobriety Test if one was performed,
- Blood Alcohol tests, and
- the Pattern of Driving prior to the arrest if witnesses by the arresting officers.
In order to win a conviction, all four elements but be found in evidence against the defendant. If any one or more of these are found to be weak, missing or questionable, the case can be thrown out, or ajury may come to a not guilty verdict.
In the case of the reported driving pattern that police officers typically portray can be incomplete at best, and sometimes completely inaccurate due to lighting or weather conditions at the time of the arrest. Police often will only include what appeared to be faulty or erratic driving behavior in their report, many times portraying a worse
scenario than may be the case.
An experience drunk driving defense attorney will work on your behalf to bring to light the things you did correct during the incident. By pointing out the positive patterns and how those actions are consistent with sobriety, your attorney can successfully refute the State’s accusations and diminish the evidence
being brought against you.
Physical appearance at the time of the arrest can often times appear to be damning evidence of guilt. But not in the hands of a skilled drunk driving defense attorney. An experienced attorney can present opportunities to point out inaccuracies in the investigation done by the arresting officer. Sometimes bloodshot eyes are used as evidence of inebriation, when a good defense attorney will bring to light the presence of prescription medication, allergies, cigarette smoke or lack of sleep as the real reason for such an appearance.
While the presence of the smell of alcohol on your breath may sound bad, your attorney can argue it was actually perfume, cologne or a spilled drink on your clothing that contributed to the odor, and not due
to alcohol you consumed at all.
So called Field Sobriety Test findings can also be challenged by a skilled drunk driving defense attorney. No two people are capable of performing these physical dexterity test with the exact same skill level. Age, injuries, inner ear imbalances and a number of other reasons can inhibit the successful completion of a field sobriety test.
An experienced DUI attorney will point out that these tests are irrelevant in portraying you as an impaired driver. Your attorney will help the jury understand that physical agility is no indicator of driving ability.
The fourth critical component to a DUI conviction is the Blood Alcohol, or Chemical test. It is critical to the State’s case that these tests be validated and proven accurate thru a multi variant array of tests,
checks and cross checks. All measurements must be accurate and measuring devices must be proven to have been in good working order.
But even if all measurements are deemed to be correct, a skilled drunk driving defense attorney can find ways to challenge and refute the findings. For instance the blood alcohol level taken at the time of the arrest may be different than the time the blood was actually tested some time later. The alcohol level taken an hour later may be
in the illegal range but that is not proof your levels were illegally high while you were driving. Additional contributing factors to blood alcohol content are the defendant’s drinking history and patterns, the time of
their last meal, stomach absorption rate, the time of the last drink, drive times and of course the time of the tests. A good attorney will point out these discrepancies to the court.
The bottom line is this: there are a myriad or variables in ascertaining the evidence that the state will use to win a guilty verdict. Only a highly experienced drunk driving defense attorney is qualified to investigate every possible means available to make sure you have a valid legal defense.