Flint, MI DUI Attorney
Although driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI/DWI) is one of the most common crimes in Flint, the police are far from lax in their efforts against it. In an effort to prevent drunk driving-related injuries and deaths, they can and do pull over anyone they reasonably suspect could be driving drunk. But sometimes, in their eagerness to keep the streets safe, they also pull people over without reasonable cause or perform illegal searches of people's vehicles. Some prosecutors, likewise, in their effort to discourage this dangerous activity, are overly aggressive in their claims or push for sentences that do not fit the crime. For all of these reasons and more, if you've been arrested on DUI charges, you need an experienced Flint, MI DUI attorney with a proven track record of obtaining justice for his clients.
The Flint DUI Process
The first step in fighting a DUI is to know what to expect. If you're arrested for a DUI in Flint, you'll be taken to the police department for processing, and will then appear before the 67th District Court on Saginaw Street for your arraignment. At this point, you will hear the exact charges against you and will either plead guilty or not guilty before the judge.
If you plead not guilty and your case goes to trial, it will either be heard at the District Court (for a misdemeanor) or the 7th Circuit Court down the road (for a felony). Whether you're charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you should always make sure you have an experienced and aggressive defense attorney present at your trial in Flint, since the effects of even a misdemeanor conviction can have a tremendous impact on the rest of your life.
Remember that many things – not just the amount of alcohol in your system – factor into the outcome of a court case. Wrongdoings by the police, including illegal stops or searches, poorly performed sobriety tests, and failure to read you your Miranda Rights can render evidence inadmissible or even cause the entire case to be dismissed. An attorney who knows the ins and outs of the court system and specifically the legalities surrounding DUI cases is absolutely essential to ensure your best case scenario.
Your Rights In A DUI Stop and Court Case
You have certain rights that cannot be violated in the police or prosecutor's pursuit of justice. For example, when you are stopped for a suspected DUI, you have to right to:
- Refuse to take a field sobriety test
- Refuse to take a preliminary breath test*
- Refuse to allow the police to search your car
- Remain silent
- Record the stop
*Important note: you only have the right to refuse a preliminary breath test administered before your arrest. If you are arrested and brought to the police station, Michigan's Implied Consent Law comes into effect and your refusal to take a breath test will result in the suspension of your license.
In addition to these rights, the police have certain restrictions that are designed to protect your rights as well. For example the police cannot:
- Stop you without probable cause that you committed a crime or infraction
- Arrest you on DUI charges without probable cause that you are drunk
- Arrest you without reading you your Miranda Rights
- Search your car without your permission
- Force you to confess to drinking or make you take a sobriety test
If the police violate any of these restrictions, any evidence they gained by the illegitimate action is inadmissible in court and a skilled attorney can work this to your advantage.
If you are arrested on DUI charges, don't despair! Your case is not over. There are many ways in which an experienced attorney can challenge the charges against you. Some of the most common defenses that we've used to effectively challenge convictions for many of our clients are based on the following truths that the police may not tell you.
- Field sobriety tests are difficult to administer properly.
A field sobriety test can only be used as probable cause for an arrest if they were performed correctly. Unfortunately, even though these are some of the most commonly issued tests and frequently used as justification for an arrest, they are difficult to do correctly and many police officers are undertrained. If the police officer did not adequately perform the test, he may have made an arrest without probable cause.
- Your BAC can rise between the time of the stop and the time of the breath test.
Alcohol takes time to absorb into your blood stream, which means that if your BAC was only borderline when you took the Breathalyzer and you performed well on the sobriety test, you may have been legally sober when you were pulled over, even if you breathed above a 0.08% at the police station.
- Blood tests are not always accurate.
Although less common than an inaccurate Breathalyzer test, blood tests can show false positives, especially if you are on specific types of medications.
- “Probable cause” is not always probable cause.
The police must have both probable cause that you committed an infraction (of any type) to pull you over and probable cause that you were drunk to arrest you on a DUI. Probable cause to pull you over can be anything from weaving in the road to a broken tail light - but the police must show a legitimate reason. Likewise, you cannot be arrested for a DUI on a police officer's whim. You must show some sign of being intoxicated – which is difficult if you politely refuse to perform the sobriety tests or confirm or deny your sobriety.
- Police make mistakes.
Although the Flint police department has some of the finest officers in Michigan, people make mistakes. In an effort to keep the streets safe, some officers get overly zealous and make bad arrests or fail to wait for permission to perform a search. When this happens, the evidence they gathered through these illegitimate means must be thrown out, which can greatly weaken their case against you, or even result in a dismissal.
Call Grabel & Associates for Your Best DUI Defense
If you've been arrested for a DUI, you may feel like your case is already over. But nothing could be farther from the truth. With a competent DUI attorney, you can fight wrongful accusations or bad police work and keep overly-zealous prosecutors from pushing for unfair penalties. At Grabel & Associates, we have a stellar record of helping our clients achieve their best-case scenarios and will aggressively work on your behalf. Call us today at 1-800-342-7896 or contact us online now.