In 2003 there were 340 deaths related to drinking and driving. The legislature acted to lower the BAC threshold for drinking and driving from .10 to .08. By 2011, drinking and driving related deaths had dropped to 253. The law lowering the limit was originally temporary. It would have reverted back to .10 on October 1st. The Senate unanimously voted to retain the .08 threshold. This was not entirely unexpected based on the relatively recent passage of the “Superdrunk” law. It seems the Michigan legislature aims to take a hard line with respect to drinking and driving offenses across the board. If you or someone you know is charged with a drinking and driving offense, it could have serious repercussions with respect to driving privileges and your criminal record. An experienced attorney can minimize this effect.
Late last month, a 47 year old man who had been drinking decided he had some pressing errands that couldn’t wait for him to sober up. Whether a lawnmower is Mr. Walton’s vehicle of choice, or he was trying to avoid drinking and driving is unknown, but he fired up his lawnmower to head to the store. Police spotted the lawn mower parked at a local store, observed him exiting and begin to drive it. Upon determining Mr. Walton was intoxicated the police pulled him over and he was promptly arrested for felony drinking and driving. As the original article notes “Michigan law doesn’t care whether it’s a lawn mower or a Lamborghini, if you drive a motor vehicle while intoxicated” you are subject to arrest for drinking and driving. Pursuant to Michigan law, any vehicle with a motor is covered. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drinking and driving offense of ANY kind contact Garmo &Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.
If you have ever been pulled over and suspected of drinking and driving, you might know there are a series of tests officers administer prior to the BAC known as field sobriety testing. This can include walking heel to toe, saying the alphabet backwards, and or following an object with your eyes and not your head tests (HGN). While in the past I had thought this was only to see if you were able to directions, it turns out there is a biological reason behind the last test. If you have not been drinking (absent some major neurological disorders), your eyeball will pan across a landscape following object at a consistent pace. If you have been drinking though, it will jump from frame to frame across your field of vision. Think of it like the difference between a continuously variable transmission and stick gear shifting. As such, it is impossible to mask this biological reaction. On the other hand, the interpretation of this result is entirely up to the officer so there is very little way to independently confirm the officer’s findings. If you have gotten this far in the process though, there is probably other evidence that is sufficient to uphold your DUI absent extenuating circumstances. Very, very few DUI/OWI/OWVI/DWI offenses get overturned entirely. At this point, it is best for you to focus on minimizing the consequences through strong representation. An experienced attorney knows the ins and outs of metro Detroit courts, various judge’s proclivities, and can work to negotiate a lenient plea agreement and sentence for you.
Recently the Michigan Legislature acted to prevent state BAC limits from reverting back to .10, keeping the limit at .08. To allow otherwise would have rendered Michigan ineligible for significant federal highway funding which is tied to the lower BAC limit. The National Transportation Safety Board issues safety regulations, many of which have become law. Their victories include lowering the limit to .08 in the first place, and raising the drinking age from 18 to 21. They have decided to make their next fight lowering the BAC limit again, this time to .05. Citing Australia and Ireland who have lowered their rates to .05, the NTSB states that the US is practically alone in having such a high BAC limit. They allege that Australia saw 8%-18% reduction in drunken driving deaths. That seems like a fairly large margin of error.
For your reference here is a map of BAC limits around the world.
It seems if this were really such a problem, we would be hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence of people being pulled over, breathalyzed, and blowing between .05 and .08. In our experience, this is pretty rare. Most clients who have been arrested for Drinking and Driving offenses blow at least a .10, plausibly because until that point of inebriation driving impairment is not often visible.
Feds want states to lower legal blood alcohol level limit
If there is one thing that makes Judges scared, it is the idea of having to explain to voter’s why they are perceived as being soft on drunk driving. The result is basically a competition to see who can be the toughest on drinking offenses. A secondary effect, is that in the legal world the social drinker seems to be becoming extinct. If you find yourself charged with an alcohol related crime, or dealing with an alcohol related driver’s license restriction the court is basically going to presume you have at least an alcohol problem, and more likely that you are a full-blown alcoholic. One problem that we see when people represent themselves is their initial and natural response is to try to disprove this presumption. When we represent someone we see this as an opportunity. The court is anxious to see you rehabilitated, and if we can work with this presumption, we can show the court through counseling, AA, and periods of sobriety that you are committed to staying sober and following the court’s instructions.
Navigating the legal world can be challenging if you are inexperienced, but an able lawyer can put their experience to work for you. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
While everyone who has received a drinking and driving ticket wants to get it dismissed, it is actually an extremely rare occurrence. Especially in Oakland County, the police and prosecutors have convictions down to a science and are unlikely to drop a case unless it is extremely weak.
Our office has been successful in defeating charges and has identified a few common factors. First, if the police stop was not legal you stand a much better chance of the charge being dismissed. Second, if you were not read your rights any information that came in after it would have been reasonable expected you would be read your rights is out. Thirdly, if you were not actually seen by the police driving your car it can be difficult for the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you were drinking AND driving. Finally, in some cases if your breath tests were performed in violation of the police’s own policies we may be able to argue they are invalid in rare circumstances.
If this does not describe your case though, don’t despair, we will still work to get you a good result. At this point our efforts will shift to sentencing, and plea negotiations. We can try to avoid you being subjected to extensive terms of probation, court costs and fines, and alcohol education and/or counseling sessions. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Biomarkers are a blood protein that can be indicative of the not only the presence of alcohol, but also usage patterns, alcohol dependency, and relapse in the case of alcoholics. They can be identified rapidly and with a high level of certainty by a simple blood test. The only confounding factor yet identified is the presence of alcohol in household and personal hygiene items such as mouthwash or hand sanitizer. Previously labs could identify indirect residue of alcohol consumption based on effects primarily to the liver and other measures of body chemistry. These tests are direct as they test for analytes of alcohol consumption. They are therefore more reliable.
What does this mean for you? If you are on bond or probation, subject to alcohol testing, or required to be abstinent as a condition of your driving privileges the level of supervision you face may be about to go up. On the other hand, as the tests become more specific and fine-tuned, there is less of a chance of a false positive and could be used to your advantage. Currently probation officers and roadside tests use PBT testing, or at the very best the datamaster. PCT is notoriously unreliable and the datamaster may give rise to many implied consent violations for those who are unable to perform the test. An experienced attorney can work to get you off of probation faster, or to get a type on non-reporting probation so that you don’t have to submit to the uncertainty of drug testing, regardless of the procedure used.
So you got the dreaded Oakland County DUI, OWI, DWI, DWVI. While Macomb County and Wayne counties are somewhat more lenient with respect to DUI charges and sentencing, Oakland county is regarded as an extremely tough County. It is unclear why this may be the case, except that Judges must live in the district in which they sit. Oakland County has many cities that are perceived as young, hip, and fun places to go out and have a few drinks. Judges living in the county and seeing such behavior may feel the need to overcompensate to protect their own cities and families. Additionally, no Judge wants to be seen as “soft on drinking and driving” or risk the wrath of potential voters.
Unfortunately those who are charged in Oakland county pay the price. While a similarly situated Defendant in Macomb or Wayne County would be unlikely to do community service and would have fewer alcohol class requirements, an Oakland County Defendant is practically guaranteed to do at least community service and a significant amount of alcohol treatment programming. An experienced attorney in the tri-county area is familiar with these trends and the quirks of individual judges. We can work to ensure you get justice and to protect your rights. Ultimately we will force the prosecutor or city to prove their case against you, or work with them to get the charges against you reduced, modified, or even dismissed. When it comes to sentencing we can present factors that weigh in your favor to avoid jail time, court fees, and fines. When it comes to terms of probation we can try to get the shortest term, or the least invasive, whatever program can be successful for you. Due to the nature of Oakland county courts, it is very important to have an advocate when facing a DUI charge.
Our attorneys are regulars at metro Detroit courts, and are at Oakland County Circuit on a weekly basis. We know the judges, prosecutors and city attorneys who will be assigned to your case. We can put this experience to work for you and attempt to negotiate an early settlement saving you time and money.
To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Were you charged with misdemeanor of open intoxication after drinking in a vehicle? Even having an open beverage in the vehicle is sufficient in some circumstances to run a foul of MCL 257.624a. For example, you may not have an “open” (but recorked) bottle of wine in the passenger compartment of your car unless it has no trunk and is not within easy access of any occupants. If you have been charged with this demeanor, it is a serious crime with serious ramifications. You may be assessed high court fines, incarcerated, and will have a permanent criminal record. An experienced attorney may be able to question the validity of the stop and search. Further, through negotiations with the Prosecutor or City attorney we can try to negotiate a modification, reduction, or dismissal of charges. At Garmo & Kiste, PLC we frequent Metro Detroit court’s and have experience with the attorneys and judges assigned to your case. Our goal is to get you sentenced pursuant to a diversionary program whereby after completing a period of probation or other court terms such as community service the crime will be removed from your record. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.
257.624a Transportation or possession of alcoholic liquor in container open or uncapped or upon which seal broken; violation as misdemeanor; exception.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who is an operator or occupant shall not transport or possess alcoholic liquor in a container that is open or uncapped or upon which the seal is broken within the passenger compartment of a vehicle upon a highway, or within the passenger compartment of a moving vehicle in any place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, in this state.
(2) A person may transport or possess alcoholic liquor in a container that is open or uncapped or upon which the seal is broken within the passenger compartment of a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles in this state, if the vehicle does not have a trunk or compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the container is enclosed or encased, and the container is not readily accessible to the occupants of the vehicle.
(3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor. As part of the sentence, the person may be ordered to perform community service and undergo substance abuse screening and assessment at his or her own expense as described in section 703(1) of the Michigan liquor control code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1703. A court shall not accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for a violation of this section from a person charged solely with a violation of section 625(6).
(4) This section does not apply to a passenger in a chartered vehicle authorized to operate by the state transportation department.
If you are driving a personal vehicle and you refuse to submit to a PBT it is only a civil infraction. However, it is much more serious if you are driving a commercial vehicle. Refusal of a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) in a commercial vehicle is a 93-day misdemeanor and or a fine of up to $1,000.00. This is before the Secretary of State imposes its licensing restrictions. In order to keep you out of jail, save you money, and preserve your livelihood it is imperative to retain an experienced attorney. An experienced attorney can investigate the cause for the stop and preliminary breath test. Through negotiation with Prosecutors or the City Attorney assigned to your case, we can attempt to get the charges reduced, modified, and/or dismissed. Additionally we can attempt to get you sentenced pursuant to a diversionary program so that once you have completed a term of probation or other court terms the charge will be removed from your record. We can ever represent you in a Driver’s License Restoration hearing for the Secretary of State.
To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.