If you’re facing an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge, you need a dedicated OWI/DUI attorney to defend you. Our most recent victory in the 46th District Court is yet another reminder of this fact. Our client, Mike*, had already pled guilty in his case.
However, he felt as though there was more that could be done. He came to our firm seeking a second opinion. It ended up being the best decision he could have made.
Identifying Issues with OWI Cases
Most attorneys have no idea that police officers routinely screw up OWI investigations. Luckily, OWI investigations are almost always captured on dash-cam/body-cam. This means that we can review everything the officer had done.
After watching Mike’s videos, we determined that he actually passed all of the field sobriety tests, despite the officer’s version of events. Moreover, Mike had blown in a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) device only six minutes after smoking a cigarette (nicotine can alter PBT results).
We immediately filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and filed a motion to dismiss.
Cross-Examining the Police Officer
During our motion hearing to dismiss, I had the chance to cross-examine the police officer on his investigation. The officer was supposed to instruct and evaluate Mike based on the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) that were created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). I have attended the same training the officer had attended during the police academy, so I knew exactly how to attack his testimony.
Despite testifying that Mike had failed the field sobriety tests when questioned by the prosecutor, I was able to turn his testimony around. The officer admitted that he failed to properly perform the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN). He followed up that testimony by confirming that Mike actually performed well on the rest of the tests.
Finally, he admitted that he administered the PBT to Mike only 6 minutes after making contact with him. This is a violation of Michigan’s Administrative Rules. We concluded the cross-examination and left the decision up to the judge.
The judge took some time to review the evidence. After an hour-long discussion with myself and the prosecutor, the judge determined that the HGN test should be thrown out. She also determined that Mike did in fact “pass” the field sobriety tests.
Finally, she threw out the PBT test due to the officer’s failure to properly administer the test. Therefore, the judge determined that the officer lacked probable cause to arrest Mike. The case was dismissed, clearing Mike’s criminal record and his future.
Why Hire a DUI Attorney?
Many people wonder why they should hire a DUI attorney for their first offense DUI. The answer to your question can be given by Mike. Had Mike continued without an experienced DUI attorney, he would currently be on probation with a DUI on his record.
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford an attorney who specializes in DUI. Moreover, not every case has the appropriate facts to lead to a dismissal. However, you will never know if your case is winnable unless you invest in your defense.
*Name has been changed to protect client’s privacy.
Christopher Urban graduated from Oakland University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. In addition to graduating Summa Cum Laude, Chris was awarded the Donald I. Warren Award for Academic Excellence throughout his time at the university. Upon graduation, Chris began working as Mr. Morris’ driver for court appointments to gain experience before law school. Chris was awarded the Dean’s Scholar Full Tuition Scholarship to Wayne State University. During his time in law school, Chris was a member of the Wayne State Law Mock Trial Team, being named Vice-Chairman his third year. He also worked in the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic through Karmanos Cancer Center, providing legal services to low income individuals with cancer.
Chris brings a wealth of experience to the firm. He has performed numerous “ride-alongs” with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department and the Sterling Heights Police Department. In addition, he was an intern at the Detroit DEA Field Office. Finally, he is a published author (Sexual Victimization: Then and Now. ISBN 978-1483308173). Chris has attended the NHTSA Field Sobriety Test Seminar and the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) seminar.
Christopher is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD). Chris is one of a select few attorneys in Michigan to be a part of this prestigious college. He has attended the Summer Seminar at Harvard Law School, which focused specifically on OWI defense trial tactics. Moreover, he is preparing to become board certified as an OWI attorney. The NCDD holds the only specialty certifying test in DUI Law under the American Bar Association.