According to Michigan law, if he was convicted or pled guilty to another OWI offense, his license would be revoked for 1 year. Josh obviously hoped to avoid this, along with avoiding the accompanying jail time.
The First Meeting
Shortly after his arrest, Josh arrived to our office. I explained to him our process and how we litigate OWIs. Since it was a blood draw case, I informed Josh how he would be formally charged about 3 months from the date of the blood draw.
Typically, blood test results take a while to develop. Eventually, charges were brought against Josh in February 2019. Then, we walked him into court on the warrant and received a Pre-Trial date.
Reviewing the Police Report
In the meantime, I reviewed police reports and video from the incident. I needed to determine if the officer held a valid reason to stop the vehicle. Additionally, whether there was probable cause to arrest him, and whether or not the blood draw was done properly.
In order to determine if these issues were worthy of motions, I watched the videos several times. Luckily, the officer wore a body camera. Subsequently, the video did not show any poor driving by Josh, despite the police report stating otherwise. At this point, I knew that the rest of the police report would be greatly exaggerated.
In the video, the officer asked Josh to exit the vehicle and engage in some field sobriety tests. Usually, officers don’t administer these tests properly. However, most attorneys don’t know the proper technique. Unfortunately, this means a lot of officers get away with conducting poor work.
Furthermore, I determined that the officer improperly instructed and evaluated nearly every test. This is the exact ammo I needed to file motions to dismiss. If the officer did not do his job properly, he could not have established probable cause to arrest Josh.
Nevertheless, police arrested Josh and drew his blood.
Filing the Motion to Dismiss Charges
After the arrest, I filed a motion to dismiss due to lack of probable cause to arrest. Step-by-step, I explained the field sobriety tests in my motion to show just how poorly the officer had done. We then arrived at court for his scheduled pre-trial, where the prosecutor asked me about the motions. She appeared eager to know the short and sweet version of the contents of the motion.
After I explained to her what I saw, she said she would review them and get in touch with me. About a week later, I received a call from the prosecutor. She agreed to drop the charges if he pled guilty to a miscellaneous traffic misdemeanor and paid a fine.
Accepting the Plea Offer to Freedom
Once I got off the phone call, I knew I needed to have a conversation with Josh. This offer meant the prosecutor was worried about her evidence. It’s unlikely that the judge would have granted our motion, due to her bias towards Josh. Therefore, I explained to Josh that he could either go to trial and show a jury that he was not under the influence of marijuana, or accept the plea and finish the case.
Eventually, Josh agreed to take the plea deal.
However, the judge was unhappy with the plea offer and threatened to deny it. The prosecutor actually came in and admitted that she possessed shaky evidence and this offer meant a fair resolution. Hesitantly, the judge accepted the plea offer. She lectured Josh, but ultimately she required him to pay a $300 fine. There was no probation ordered, and his fine was covered by his bond money.
Because we never relented in our conviction that Josh was innocent, he walked out of court that day a free man with a valid license.
*Last name has been omitted to respect client’s privacy
Attorney Morris is trial lawyer who has been providing high-quality legal representation in the areas of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years. He’s known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he’s dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is always prepared to successfully take on complex legal issues. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society, and is the only forensic lawyer-scientist in Michigan. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He’s also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris is consistently chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit and for DUI/OWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. He has also been chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense.
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