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City of Auburn Hills vs. B.P.

Court: 52-3 District Court Rochester, Michigan
Charge: OUIL 2nd Offense

During the pretrial process, the prosecutor offered no reduction, so client decided he had no choice but to proceed with trial. The police report indicated that the reporting officer observed the client’s vehicle “swerve over white line hitting the shoulder. Vehicle then changed lanes from left to right, twice without signaling. Vehicle got onto the M-24 interchange. I observed vehicle cross over white line to left, and then exit onto N.B. I-75. Vehicle then crossed the white lines to right twice on N.B.-75”

The report further indicated that driver had a strong odor of intoxicants, bloodshot eyes, and slightly slurred speech. The officer administered six field sobriety “tests”, including the alphabet, counting backwards, horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), “standing Romberg” (also known as the modified position of attention test) the heel-to-toe, and the one-leg stand. The driver hesitated on the first try for the alphabet, and missed the letter “m”. He did complete the number count, but the HGN indicated jerking eyes at maximum deviation, and prior to 45 degrees (supposedly this indicates intoxication). The driver could not successfully complete the other tests, lost his balance several times, was hopping on one leg, and could not touch heel-to-toe. The report also indicated relative to his balance that the client was staggering and swaying.

The case did proceed to trial, and through the voir dire process we believed we were able to obtain a jury that was favorably predisposed to the defendant. During this process of jury selection we were also able to point out some of the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. The case was scheduled to continue a few days later, and just before the arresting officer was set to take the stand, the prosecutor offered to dismiss the charges, and instead to allow the client to admit responsibility to the civil infraction of careless driving. The Court accepted the plea, and dismissed the OUIL 2nd Offense.