The first stage of a DUI case is the arrest. If an officer observes you driving erratically or otherwise has a suspicion that you are violating the law, he has a reasonable suspicion to pull you over. This guide will take you step-by-step through a DUI Case
First Physical or Breathalyzer Test and Arrest
If the officer observes signs of alcohol or drug use, or otherwise suspects you of alcohol or drug use, the officer can ask you take a physical test or a breathalyzer test. If the results of the physical tests or breathalyzer test indicate intoxication, the officer has probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Second Round of Alcohol Testing in the Police Station
Once arrested and taken to the police station, the police will engage in a second round of alcohol testing on a device called a Datamaster. The driver will be detained overnight. The driver may be released the next day, or may be arraigned.
Arraignment: Reading of Rights, Charges and Potential Penalties
At arraignment, the criminal defendant is advised of his rights and the charges and potential penalties are read to him. Attorneys may be present at this stage, but often they are not. In many cases, the presence of a skilled attorney can have a significant impact on procuring a low bond on behalf on a defendant.
Possible Sentences in a DUI Case
If a defendant has a prior alcohol related driving offense within seven years of the present offense, the prosecution can charge an individual with a OUIL 2nd offense, which is a misdemeanor with a potential of one year jail time as opposed to a misdemeanor for a OUIL 1st offense with potential jail time of 93 days.
If a defendant has been convicted of two or more alcohol related driving offenses within his or her lifetime than an individual can be charged with a OUIL 3rd offense, a five year felony. If an individual is charged with a OUIL 3rd offense a criminal defendant has a right to a preliminary examination within 14 days of arraignment. At the preliminary examination the prosecuting attorney calls witnesses and presents evidence to support the charges against the defendant. At this stage the prosecution must show probable cause that the crimes charged were in fact committed.
In addition if any individual(s) where injured or killed as result of the alleged intoxicated driving or if children were in the vehicle at the time of operating the vehicle, other more serious criminal charges could be charged against an individual such OUIL causing death or serious bodily injury, or OUIL/Child Endangerment.
Pretrial Conferences: Pleas and Evidentiary Issues
Whether the DUI is charged as a misdemeanor or felony, pre-trial conferences are held before trial. The parties discuss evidentiary issues and may engage in plea bargaining. Motions may be heard regarding the evidence to be presented at trial. Having a skilled aggressive criminal defense lawyer well versed in Michigan DUI defense ensures that every aspect of a case is analyzed to give an individual the best opportunity to beat their case, or at a minimum get the best possible resolution under the circumstances.
Selecting the Jury
Next, jurors are selected. If the DUI is charged as a misdemeanor, seven jurors are selected from the jury pool after questioning by the court and the attorneys known as voir dire. If the DUI is charged as a felony, 13 jurors are selected. As previously discussed the decision to charge a felony DUI or misdemeanor DUI is within the discretion of the prosecuting attorney. Trial is held soon after jury selection. To obtain a guilty verdict, the prosecution must show every element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defendant is convicted the case proceeds to sentencing.
Call Grabel & Associates Now for a Free Consultation
At Grabel & Associates, we have defended many individuals through all steps of their DUI case, including trial. We will investigate all evidentiary issues and avenues for obtaining the most favorable outcome. If you face DUI charges, call us for an experienced Michigan DUI defense attorney today for a confidential consultation at (800) 342–7896.