How to Win a DUI in Allegan County: A Case Study
If You Aren’t Ready to Try a DUI, Then You Probably Won’t Win
This past month, we represented a client who was charged with Operating While Intoxicated in Allegan County based on two DataMaster DMT test results of .09. The client was pulled over by an Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputy after allegedly rolling through a stop sign near the Saugatuck, Michigan exit on I-196. Our client was adamant that the DMT readings were incorrect as the amount of alcohol he consumed that evening, in his opinion, could not have resulted in a .09 BAC amount. We did our own calculations based upon his recitation of the number of drinks he consumed and agreed that the DataMaster DMT result seemed too high.
As we do in our of our drunk driving cases, we requested copies of the testing logs for the DataMaster DMT device that tested our client, the testing logs the preliminary breath device that was used on our client, the dashboard camera videos from the patrol vehicle of the officer who arrested our client, and the video from the booking room where our client submitted to the DataMaster DMT test. Our firm requests all of these items in every drunk driving case to look for errors and mistakes made during the administration of the field sobriety tests, preliminary breath test, and DataMaster DMT test. We also look for inconsistencies between the police report and the dashboard camera. For example, the police report will often indicate that the client exhibited a number of clues of intoxication during the field sobriety tests when the video actually reveals that no clues or present or that the test was administered incorrectly.
Due to our thorough approach to drunk driving cases, prosecuting attorneys know that clients represented by Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law are willing to fight drunk driving charges and exploit these errors and inconsistencies at trial. The truth of the matter is that the majority of drunk driving cases result in guilty pleas in one form or another. Because of this fact, prosecutors are sometimes unprepared to actually try the case on trial day because such trials happen relatively rarely. In one of our most recent Allegan County drunk driving cases, after our attempts to negotiate a non-drunk driving conviction resolution to this case, we set the matter for a trial. We prepared all week, flew in a expert witness to testify about the inaccuracies of the DataMaster DMT machine, took photographs and prepared exhibits to demonstrate the problem with the arresting officer’s administration of the field sobriety tests, and prepared our client for testifying in the event he chose to do so. We were ready. The day before the trial, we received a phone call from the assistant prosecutor handling the case. The state had subpoenaed the wrong records custodian to authenticate the DataMaster DMT logs for the device used on our client. The correct record custodian was unavailable at deer camp and would not be available for two weeks. Accordingly, the assistant prosecutor could not proceed with his case. Rather than seek an adjournment from a frustrated trial judge who was eager to have this matter resolved, the prosecutor agreed to allow our client to plead to careless driving, a civil infraction, and the having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor that had no effect on our client’s driving record or his ability to drive. Our client was thrilled, accepted the offer, and sentenced to a $400.00 fine.
This result was possible only because we were ready to take this matter to trial, as was our client. Sometimes you win the case at trial. Sometimes you win the case for other reasons – like deer season. Unexpected things happen when you take cases to trial – but you have to take the case to trial. The moral of the story is this: If you are not willing to fight, then you are never going to win.
If you have been charged with drunk driving in Allegan County, Kent County, Ottawa County, or other counties in Western Michigan, contact the attorneys of Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law at (616) 458-5500 or (231) 924-8700 for a free consultation and let us fight for you.
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