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Reliving or Reenacting a Michigan DUI Arrest

If you have been charged with DUI in Michigan, you may feel overwhelmed, especially if this is your first encounter with the law. You are probably unsure of what to expect, and this uncertainty may be causing emotional upheaval and sleepless nights. You may find yourself replaying the incident over and over again in your head, wondering if things could have played out differently.

The best way to get over this anxiety is to get clarity on your case and focus on the process of obtaining the best possible resolution.

Recalling the Events of the Arrest

When you sit down to consult with your OWI defense attorney, you will be asked to recall as many details as you can about the incident. Some of the major points that will help your attorney build your defense include:

  • What were you doing prior to driving?
  • Did you drink before driving and, if so, how much did you have to drink?
  • What reason did the officer cite for pulling you over?
  • Did the officer ask you to perform any field sobriety tests?
  • Did you tell the officer you had been drinking prior to driving?

Timing of the Chemical Test

If you were arrested and charged with OWI, the chances are high that you submitted to some form of chemical BAC testing—either breath, blood, or urine. The timing of the chemical test can be a crucial element of the defense, as your BAC—or blood alcohol content—at the time of the test could be higher or lower than it was at the time that you were actually driving.

Rising BAC

When you consume alcohol, your BAC does not immediately spike. It takes time for your body to absorb the alcohol and for you to feel its intoxicating effects. This is why it is important for your attorney to know exactly how much alcohol you consumed and how quickly you consumed it.

For example, consider a man who drinks three beers in one hour. At the end of the hour, he gets in his car to drive home and is pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of OWI. By the time this man has been taken into custody, transported to the police precinct, and subjected to the chemical BAC test, well over an hour may have passed since he stopped drinking.

According to the rising blood alcohol theory, this man’s BAC at the time that he was tested will be significantly higher than it was when he was actually driving.

Retrograde Extrapolation

In contrast to the rising BAC theory, many state prosecutors use evidence based on retrograde extrapolation to try and show that the defendant’s blood alcohol level at the time of testing was actually lower than it was at the time of driving. Retrograde extrapolation is based on a formula developed in the 1930s by a Swedish scientist who studied the body’s absorption, distribution, and elimination of alcohol. Today, toxicologists and forensic scientists use the formula to determine a person’s BAC at an earlier time based on their current BAC reading.

The problem with retrograde extrapolation is that it is based on very controversial science; in fact, some states do not even allow it to be discussed by expert witnesses in DUI trials.