Avoiding Harsh Penalties for a Drunk Driving ChargeJan 16, 2017, by Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, OWI in
If you’ve been charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI), you face the possibility of severe penalties including fines, jail time, revoked driving privileges, increased auto insurance premiums, and the costs of litigating your case. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid all or some of these penalties with the help of a Detroit drunk driving lawyer.
From challenging the prosecutor’s evidence to negotiating a plea agreement, there are several strategies for defeating or minimizing the effect of a Michigan drunk driving conviction. For this reason, you should never accept a guilty plea offered by a prosecutor before you consult with an attorney. The prosecutor may portray the plea arrangement as your best hope when in fact, their case against you might be built on flimsy or even illegally obtained evidence.
Challenging the Evidence May Be the Most Effective Strategy
Taking an OWI case to trial can be expensive. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to defeat your charges before your trial starts, during the initial stages of the criminal process. One of the most effective ways of doing this is filing a motion to suppress, which is a request to the judge to order the removal of all illegally obtained evidence from your case.
The police have to abide by strict procedures when collecting evidence of crimes. They cannot pull cars over without a valid reason to believe the driver has done something illegal. An arrest must be based on probable cause. Officers must inform the people they arrest of their rights, and blood alcohol content (BAC) testing must be performed by the book. If the arresting officer in your case didn’t follow any of these principles, the evidence they collected, as a result, may be suppressed from the case.
Your lawyer will closely examine the evidence the prosecutor intends to use against you and determine whether any of it might be subject to a motion to suppress. If the motion is successful, the prosecutor will be without the evidence necessary to sustain the charges against you. In this case, your DUI lawyer can file a motion to dismiss your OWI charges.
It’s Still Possible to Mitigate OWI Penalties if You Get Convicted
If the motion to suppress fails, the next stage of defending your case will be the trial, where your lawyer’s goal will be to show that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether you were actually drunk driving at the time you were arrested. The outcome of an OWI trial depends on many factors, such as the strength of the prosecutor’s evidence, the reliability of their witnesses, and your attorney’s ability to present evidence that points to your innocence.
Before committing to the expense of going to trial, you and your lawyer will have to honestly assess your situation. If the cards are stacked against you, it may be in your best interest to plead guilty. But this doesn’t mean you stop fighting. Instead, your lawyer will leverage the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case to negotiate the guarantee of a more lenient sentence or a conviction for a lesser offense, such as operating while visibly impaired (OWVI). Only if the prosecutor makes a good offer should you consider pleading guilty.
Every case is different and requires a thorough and strategic approach. If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible to maximize your chances of achieving a good case outcome. At Davis Law Group, we have a proven track record of successfully defending against our clients’ OWI and OWVI charges.
To learn how we can help in your case specifically, call us today at (313) 818-3238 for a confidential consultation.