We represented a client that was was charged with the drinking and driving charge of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). What was strange is it happened over 2.5 years after he was arrested for the driving! Find out more about the current OWI Michigan laws from the Secretary of State here.
OWI Case Dismissed Due to Excessive Delay
There was no valid reason for the delay. One out of a thousand cases simply slip through the cracks. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be fair to the client who has moved on with his life after an arrest to start the process so long after he believed he would not be charged with a crime.
We filed a motion to dismiss based on the excessive pre-charge delay. In Michigan, a judge may dismiss a charge against a defendant where a substantial pre-charge delay prejudices the defendant’s right to a fair trial.
When a case is this old, evidence has been destroyed. The videos taken by the officer had long since been destroyed. The Michigan State Police keep blood evidence for a period of two years before discarding it. The MSP preserves the blood so that a defendant may obtain an independent test of the blood. This is done to see if there would be a different blood alcohol content result.
Low Blood Alcohol Content
The client’s blood alcohol content was a .04, about as low as it can get. This means his level of actual impairment was probably low as well. Any defense attorney would love to play that video in front of a jury.
A driver can be convicted of operating while intoxicated if the driver’s BAC is .08 or above.
A driver can still be convicted of a drinking and driving crime if the BAC is under .08, but the prosecution must show the driver’s ability to drive a vehicle was substantially compromised by alcohol.
We argued to the judge that the destruction of the evidence due to the long period of time between the arrest and charge meant the defense could not receive a fair trial.
Fortunately, the judge agreed with our argument. The case was dismissed and the client could move on with his life.
Further Reading on OWIs in Michigan
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ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.