Troy MI License Restoration Blog

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Regarding this series, although we could go much deeper into the anatomy and analysis of a drunk driving charge in Michigan, for the lay person, an abbreviated outline of the procedure would in my mind be most beneficial. Generally, when my clients sit down across my desk they are not asking me to educate them on the legislative history of the drunk driving laws in Michigan and how they may compare and contrast to the laws of other States, etc.

NO.....they want to know what's gonna go on when they  go to court!! And even on a more base level they become concerned about things like, "how am I gonna know when to go to court and where do I go and where do I sit, etc.". 

So "KISS", keep it simple stupid!!! 

At this stage all preliminary discussions between the attorney and client have taken place . The attorney is well versed in the facts regarding the stop, has reviewed dash cam video, police reports and conducted interviews with relevant defense witnesses. It's now time to explore resolution with the prosecutor.

When we get to court there will be a sea of humanity along with us. This is why I like to get to court early and get in and out so as not to keep my client in court any longer than possible.

I will instruct my client to get comfortable and sit wherever but don't disappear. Often I will suggest sitting in on courtroom proceedings so they can get a feel for the judge and his/her courtroom and how they process defendants/cases.

Soon after the scheduled time for the proceeding has arrived,the prosecutor will waltz in, usually a little late. A throng of attorneys will descend upon him/her and the negotiating begins.

Sometimes if I am trying to get the prosecutor to agree on a resolution that he/she may not want to extend to everyone else (the old...."if I do this for you then I'll have to do it for everyone....slippery slope argument), I will wait for the room to clear out and willingly go last. Sometimes it works.

At any rate, this is where the rubber hits the road. Either we are able to resolve the case and agree on a plea disposition or set the matter for trial. Generally if all the evidence points to drunk driving, a plea to a reduced charge is generally the most prudent approach. Of course all attending citations we argue should be dismissed (often times, this move alone saves the client considerable cost and helps offset the cost of representation).

The important take-away from this is that, if the evidence points to terrible odds for a win at trial, we modify our approach and get the most out of the situation.

In this scenario, after discussions with the prosecutor have taken place, I go find my client and discuss what took place. The client either agrees with the plea "offer" or we say thanks but no thanks and approach the court clerk, indicate we were not able to resolve the matter and that it needs to set for trial. The file will be put up on the judge's bench and the file will be "called" and the judge will give us a date to be back in court for our trial.

On the other hand, if the client wants to resolve the matter and "get it over with", I then prep my client for the plea.

We go over pertinent information and I help the client formulate their responses to the questions posed to them by the judge, prosecutor and myself. After this question and answer phase called "the plea", the judge, (assuming everything went well with the Q&A), will accept the clients plea and schedule us to be back in court for the final proceeding....sentencing.

Before the judge lets us leave, he/she will instruct the client to do various things one of which is to report to the probation department to schedule a pre-sentence interview. This interview will not be conducted right then, just scheduled.

This interview, when held, will generate what is called the pre-sentence report. This report is what the judge reads before he/she decides how to fashion a sentence for the client. Thus, the interview is a fairly important phase of the process.

Knowing how to conduct this interview will determine how the client will be weighted down with obligations to the court as part of probation.

I am very hands on regarding how I suggest to the client what and how to say things; it is also a benefit many attorneys skip. However, in reality, the probationary period sometimes far exceeds the amount of time spent in court to get to probation. So it only makes sense, as far as representation goes, to ensure, to the extent possible, that probation is not overly burdensome for the client.

In our final segment of this series we will discuss sentencing and probation.

For more information on drunk driving in Michigan or other topics please visit our website at: 

For an appointment please call 810-232-3223 in Flint or 248-498-2525 in Troy.


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| Phone: 810-232-3223
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| Phone: 248-498-2525

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