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People vs. R.B.

Court: Novi Michigan

Here our client was stopped for having an improper plate. Upon contact, the arresting officer noted a “strong odor of intoxicants”. The driver was unable to properly recite the alphabet, and also could not properly count backwards. At this point the driver was asked to exit his vehicle.

The arresting officer next asked the driver to stand on one leg. The officer’s narrative report indicates “he started the task, did not count out loud as directed, lost balance at the count of four”. He started again, this time losing balance at count of five. The next task administered was the heel-to-toe. Here the report indicates that the driver started before the instructions were complete, counted the wrong number of steps, did not walk in a heel-to-toe fashion, and walked with his hands in his pockets (rather than down at sides as instructed). The roadside breath test indicated a breath alcohol level of .12. The driver was arrested, and taken back to the station for another breath test. This second breath test came back at .13 and .12.

After completing discovery we scheduled the matter for trial. On the day of jury selection we were able to persuade the Court and prosecuting attorney to allow a plea of guilty to the lesser included offense of reckless driving. All of the original charges were dismissed.

This reduction in the charges benefited the client because it resulted in a driver license sanction of only a 90 day suspension. This was far better than the one-year revocation that would have been imposed if our client had been convicted of any alcohol related traffic offense. The other major advantage to the client was that at the conclusion of the 90 day suspension, his license would be returned upon the payment of a reinstatement fee. Had the one-year revocation been imposed, then our client would have had to request a hearing with the DLAD and prevail at the hearing to attempt to have even restricted driving privileges restored. If he were not to prevail at this first hearing, he would have had to wait an additional year before re-applying. Also, even if he did prevail, he would probably have had to install an ignition interlock on his car and drive with only restricted driving privileges for the next year. Only after this one year period would he even be eligible for full restoration. Consequently, this reduction to a reckless driving from an OWI 2nd was a significant benefit and a victory for the client.