From the moment you get pulled over until the time your case is heard in court, you can several take steps to improve your OWI case outcome. Some of these steps are quite simple, yet many people fail to take advantage of them. A drunk or drugged driving conviction can seriously jeopardize your career and personal life, so you owe it to yourself and to your family to take the charges against you seriously and to put up a good defense. Hiring a good lawyer is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your case, but you must never forget that the most important element of your OWI case is you.
At Davis Law Group, we succeed in defending OWI cases through a combination of aggressive advocacy and sound counsel. From the earliest stages of the criminal justice process, we inform our clients of the issues at stake in their case, and how they can improve their outcome by asserting their rights. When the client and their counsel are on the same page, the case generally gets much better results. If you want to work with an experienced Detroit OWI attorney, call us today at (313) 818-3238 or our online contact form for your free consultation.
1. Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent During and After Your Arrest
It’s a common myth that you can talk your way out of a drunk driving arrest. We’ve all heard of someone who’s done it, but where is the hard evidence to back up their claims? As criminal defense lawyers, our conclusion after working on hundreds of OWI cases tell us that the less our clients say to the police, the better their case outcome. The Constitution of the United States guarantees your right to remain silent during your arrest and criminal prosecution, so it’s best to exercise this right.
The problem with talking to the police is that what you say, and how you say it, can be twisted around and used as evidence against you at trial. The arresting officer will testify in detail about the statements you make. If you tell the officer that you only had two beers, but the results of your blood alcohol concentration test later shows that you likely had much more, the judge or the jury will have reason to doubt your honesty and credibility. Furthermore, talking to the officer may give them the opportunity to testify about your slurred speech and the odor of alcohol on your breath.
2. Call a Lawyer As Soon as Possible
In addition to your right to remain silent, the Constitution guarantees you the right to be represented by a lawyer during the criminal justice process. Just like the right to remain silent, your right to an attorney is essential and you should take advantage of it. Not only are lawyers equipped with the education and experience to successfully advocate for you, but they will also be familiar with the particular court and judge that will hear your case. This means that they are in the best position to determine what strategy and tactics to use to win your case.
During the first steps of your criminal prosecution, the assistance of a lawyer is particularly important. The most effective defense to an OWI charge is to attack the prosecution’s evidence with a motion to suppress. If successfully performed, this motion can result in the prosecutor not having any evidence to use against you, which in turn can result in the dismissal of your case before trial. Your lawyer can use the police’s mistakes or failures to follow proper procedures as the basis for a successful motion to suppress.
3. Don’t Accept a Plea Deal Before Talking With a Lawyer
Most criminal cases do not make it to trial. The defendant simply pleads guilty to the offense after the prosecutor offers them a deal. These deals usually involve the assurance of a lenient sentence, of a conviction for a lesser offense such as reckless driving. While accepting a plea deal might be the best case outcome you can hope for, it’s virtually impossible to know this for sure unless you consult with an attorney first.
When considering a plea agreement, you need to consider several factors, such as the strength of the prosecutor’s evidence, your likelihood to succeed at trial, the possibility of negotiating better terms to the deal, and the possible collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. You can’t expect the prosecutor to honestly advise you about your options–their interest is in securing another criminal conviction with the least effort possible. So unless you are a legal expert, the only way you can effectively determine whether a plea bargain is a good option is to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
4. Get Your Driver’s License Back
If you refuse to take or fail to pass a breathalyzer or blood test after your OWI arrest, the State of Michigan will automatically suspend your driver’s license. This driver’s license suspension is the result of an administrative action that is separate from your criminal case–although a judge may sentence you to additional driving restrictions after your conviction. Fighting the administrative suspension of your license can greatly benefit your OWI case.
At the administrative hearing, the state will present its evidence and your lawyer is allowed to challenge it. Even if you don’t win at the hearing, it will allow your lawyer to test the strength of the prosecution’s evidence and the credibility of its witnesses before the criminal trial. If you do win, you get your driving privileges back, which means you can keep taking your kids to school, going to your job, and attending your court dates. You may also apply for a restricted driver’s license to keep driving after the revocation of your privileges.
5. Take the Process Seriously and Don’t Give Up Hope
We all know the criminal justice system is seriously flawed. It’s a system that needlessly incarcerates millions of people–a disproportionate number of whom are people of color. It’s a system that seeks to punish instead of rehabilitating. It’s a system that favors the rich over the poor. For these reasons, many people have a fatalistic attitude when they get caught up in the criminal justice system. But we urge you not to become another unfortunate statistic, and to fight against your charges.
With a good lawyer by your side, you stand a real chance of avoiding the consequences of a criminal conviction. By showing up to your court dates and making a good impression–by playing the game–you can also increase your chances of obtaining an acceptable case outcome. In our experience, clients who approach their cases with a proactive, can-do attitude fare the best in the criminal justice process. So take the first step in fighting back against the system and call Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 or our online contact form for your free consultation.