Troy MI License Restoration Blog

Thursday, April 27, 2017


The laws covering drunk driving in Michigan are the same whether you hail from the northern reaches of the Upper Peninsula or the southern most City in Michigan. How varying counties in Michigan deal with their drunk driving cases and how individual judges within those counties feel about how drunk driving cases should be resolved, however, vary widely.

Evaluating how different judges deal with drunk driving cases in Flint will be the focus of another article, for our purposes here, we will focus on the "nuts and bolts" of the course of a drunk driving case as it winds its way through the court system.

Upon being released from jail after "sleeping it off" (....when a person is arrested for drunk driving they cannot be released from jail until blowing zeros....) most people call an attorney with a lot of worry. They are clueless about the process and what to do.


Although I am licensed in the entire State of Michigan and can practice drunk driving law anywhere within Michigan, it does not make much sense from a logistical point of view for me to take a case that is hundreds of miles away. Distance plays a role in price as one can imagine. Familiarity with the court and the judge is another important factor. I handle cases that are within adjoining Counties to Genesee. For instance, Lapeer County, Oakland County, Shiawassee County and Saginaw County. Under certain circumstances I will venture farther out but not on a regular basis.


Determining how to approach a particular case is based on the information gleaned form the initial conversation. I will want to know where the incident took place. What was said and by whom? Was an accident involved? If there was an accident,was more than one vehicle involved?  How about a chase? Did you refuse a breath test? What was the basis for the stop? Did you perform field sobriety tests?

Every nuance that may be lost on the individual has importance to the attorney. How the stop was conducted is important. During every drunk driving case processing, the prosecuting attorney will obviously read the officers report(s) but in addition, at some point time will "talk" to that officer to get his/her feedback in determining how to resolve the case.

Most officers that get spit on, assaulted, mother fu---ed, or threatened with losing their job because the alleged drunk driver "knows somebody", will remember the encounter and this usually results in negative input!!

Regardless of how regrettable the behavior, it is necessary to divulge this so as not to disadvantage the attorney during negotiations.


After our initial conversation, a face to face consult takes place. This is the time where retainer agreements are signed and retainer money is paid. You will have been instructed to bring all paperwork and therefrom we will execute appearances, waiver of arraignment (if allowed by the particular court) and other various documents.

Once the court receives our appearance they will generate a court date for the attorney and client to appear. This is called the "pretrial".

Generally, before we appear at the pre-trial I have my client in for an appointment to go over what we are anticipating to accomplish and what, if anything, I may want my client to do. Depending on the circumstance, there are a number of things I recommend that my client look into in order to, for one, help them improve their situation but also to put them in as good a light as possible with the court. 

As a lay person who does not deal with the courts on a regular basis, the client would have no way of knowing that a large part of the courts docket is spent dealing with repeat offenders. Because of this I always want my client to look like they are being proactive (I find that once the client has "some skin in the game" so to speak, they are much better at follow thru.). The courts invariably take the client more seriously and helps pave the way, to the extent possible, to a more favorable resolution.

I cannot stress enough that at sentencing YOU WILL BE NERVOUS!! Preparation always alleviates some of that nervousness. The client that can rattle off a number of accomplishments is the happy and confident client.

Just consider the judge who has heard every allocution in the book! When a client fails to lift a finger it shows at this point and the attorney is left merely mumbling some trite tired anecdotal fix to the clients drinking and driving problem and sounds no more convincing than Clinton did when he claimed that he smoked pot but "didn't inhale".

Stay tuned for part two of this article which will discuss the varying stages of the court proceedings.

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| Phone: 810-232-3223
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