The Arrest and immediate Aftermath
Being arrested for a DUI is stressful. You’re pulled over, put through an investigation you don’t understand, and then arrested. The police let you out of jail the next morning, and there’s no indication of what will happen next.
Often, you may not even be notified of a court date for months down the road. For example, if there was a blood draw, the blood would be tested by the Michigan State Police before charges were filed. A few months or more may pass before you learn of the charges.
Will Your License Be Suspended?
There may be immediate driver’s license considerations that require your attention. A refusal of the blood or breath test offered by the police officer could result in a one-year driver’s license suspension. This is not the preliminary breath test given at the side of the road, but either the breath testing machine at the police station or a blood draw performed by a medical professional. For most people, a one-year license suspension is a consequence more severe than the probation requirements.
In this situation, you have 14 days to request an Implied Consent hearing in which to challenge the one-year suspension.
This is a strict timeline in which to act. The police officer should have given you a form to fill out and send to the Secretary of State requesting a hearing. An attorney can also request the hearing for you. Again, the 14-day rule is strict and requires immediate attention.
Where there is no refusal of the test, you will still have a full valid license enabling you to drive.
Before going to Court
What can you do until notified of your court date? Obviously, if you’re on this web page then you are doing your research.
Not to sound self-serving, but speak with an attorney. Prior to the case starting is when an attorney will gather information and begin evaluating the case for potential challenges. This takes time. We must obtain discovery from the prosecutor and file Freedom of Information Act requests. For example, a standard FOIA request to MSP in blood draw cases take about a month to process.
Once the case has begun in court, many courts hold attorneys to very tight timelines that almost feel designed to hurt the attorney’s ability to properly investigate the case. The sooner the attorney can get started, the sooner the evidence and case against you can be analyzed.
Once we have made a full evaluation of the case against you, we will schedule a time to speak and explain everything to discuss options.
What Can the Client Do Before Court
Many attorneys encourage clients to take certain steps before going to Court, such as attending AA meetings, taking voluntarily taking alcohol tests, or counseling. Many potential clients calling me ask if taking these actions will help their case.
The answer is yes and no. These actions may impress a judge enough to lower bond conditions while the case is pending. These actions also may impress a prosecutor.
However, there is no guarantee such actions will make a difference. I don’t counsel clients to take these actions where there is no tangible benefit. For example, if you are not a problem drinker, then daily AA attendance may show you the harms of substance abuse but will probably not benefit you directly. I do not like to give clients the illusion that extreme efforts on their part will be the difference between a sweet deal at court and no deal, especially where the person may not be a problem drinker.
Having said that, there may be occasions where a person should consider serious steps toward sobriety before going to Court. Perhaps the person has a history of alcoholism, or the DUI arrest involved a high blood alcohol content and a nasty car accident.
Every person is different. What I like to do is speak with a person to understand the individual situation, to tailor appropriate steps before going to Court.
Contact Us at 734.883.9584
Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.