Defenses to DUI/OWI Charges

Stressed and tired woman at the wheel in her car worried she is getting a DUI/OWI Charge.

Michigan DUI/OWI charges carry harsh penalties, including fines, jail time, and suspension of your driver’s license.

To defend against Michigan DUI charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. When you work with Elmen Legal, I will challenge the evidence against you and how it was obtained and will fight to have the charges reduced or even have the case dismissed.

Looking at the police report, you might think the evidence against you appears to be strong. But an experienced DUI defense attorney can pick apart the evidence and challenge whether it should be considered. By excluding certain evidence, I can make it harder for the prosecutor to secure a conviction, which can lead to a significant reduction in the charges or, in some cases, dismissal of the case.

Were You Driving?

It may sound obvious, but a critical component of DUI charges is that you must have been driving. You cannot be convicted of a DUI if you were not operating the vehicle. For example, showing that you did not have the keys or were using the vehicle as shelter until you sobered up enough to be able to drive can eliminate this critical element of a DUI case and result in a reduction in the charges or having the case dismissed.

Did the Police Have Probable Cause?

Before placing someone under arrest, the police must have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. If the police did not have probable cause to believe you committed a crime, any evidence obtained after that point cannot be considered.

Probable cause is a relatively low threshold. If you were weaving, speeding, driving erratically, or waiting too long after the light changed to green, the police might have been justified in stopping you. Even a minor offense like having a tail light out can be sufficient justification for the police to initiate a traffic stop. But a thorough analysis of a DUI case should consider whether the police officer had probable cause.

Similarly, the police officer must have probable cause to believe you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer must be able to point to specific, articulable facts that caused them to believe you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is common for a police officer to cite an “odor of alcohol,” glassy or bloodshot eyes, confusion, lack of coordination, slurred speech, or lack of fine motor skills as probable cause to believe that a suspect was under the influence. But by challenging the sufficiency of this evidence, I may be able to negotiate a successful resolution.

Were the Field Sobriety Tests Properly Administered?

Police officers commonly ask DUI suspects to perform a series of “tests” that are intended to assess whether they are under the influence. Common Field Sobriety Tests include:

  • Standing on one foot
  • The walk and turn
  • Horizontal nystagmus gaze test
  • Reciting the alphabet backward
  • Answering a simple math problem
  • Counting backward
  • Touching your finger to your nose

To be admissible in court, these tests must be administered according to guidelines set forth by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA). If the police officer did not administer the tests according to the guidelines, the results are unreliable and should not be considered as evidence.

Was the Blood Alcohol Test Given Correctly?

To be admissible as evidence that you were under the influence of alcohol, the Breathalyzer test machine must have been properly calibrated and checked for accuracy, the police officer must have been trained in how to use it, and the test must have been properly administered. If the police officer did not follow these protocols precisely, the test results are unreliable and should not be considered in a DUI case.

It is also important to note that the Breathalyzer can only test for the presence of alcohol. It does not test for the presence of marijuana or other intoxicating drugs.

Other Drunk Driving Defenses

In addition to challenging whether the police had probable cause and the accuracy of the various tests that are administered to prove someone was guilty of DUI/OWI, you may have other defenses available. For example, if you were not read your Miranda rights or if you asked to speak to an attorney and the police did not let you, you may be able to challenge the circumstances of your arrest and the admissibility of any evidence that the prosecutor will use to try to convict you of DUI/OWI.

Contact Elmen Legal for Aggressive Defense Against DUI Charges

Defending against Michigan DUI charges can be highly technical and quite complex. If you have been charged with a DUI/OWI in Michigan, improve your chances of a successful outcome by working with an experienced DUI defense attorney.

When you work with Elmen Legal, I will explain the elements of the charges against you and thoroughly investigate your situation to identify areas where we can challenge the evidence. I will also provide advice and help you make decisions about how to move forward with your case.

Elmen Legal proudly represents people who have been charged with DUI/OWI in Ann Arbor, Saline, Pittsfield Township, Chelsea, or Ypsilanti, in Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Ingham, Livingston, and Oakland Counties.

Learn more about me and why clients choose to work with Elmen Legal. Then contact me today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how I can help. Call me at (734) 707-8915, email robert@elmenlegal.com, or complete the online form.

Categories: Drunk Driving / OWI