Jalen Rose Drunk Driving Sentence Raises Issue of DUI Sentence Fairness

When former NBA star Jalen Rose was sentenced to 20-days in an Oakland County Jail for a first-time Michigan drunk driving offense, Judge Kimberly Small told the courtroom that the sentence was used to “send a message that there will be serious consequences” for drunk driving.

Rose’s sentence is harsh for a first time offender with a clean criminal record and a history of philanthropy and community service. According to the Detroit Free Press, most judges in the metro Detroit area as well as nationwide sentence first time offenders to time served. Where a driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC) is above 0.17%, then the sentence may include a few days in jail. Rose’s sentence, whose BAC registered 0.08% at the scene, far exceeds the typical drunk driving penalty.

If you have been arrested on a suspicion of a Michigan DUI/OUI it is important to contact a Michigan drunk driving defense lawyer immediately to protect your driving privileges and begin preparing your defense. In many cases defenses exist to the arrest that can result in charges being reduced or dismissed, and keep you out of jail.

Even if you have failed a BAC breath test, the results can be challenged. Law enforcement may have administered the test incorrectly or under improper conditions. Sometimes the machines themselves are erroneously calibrated, leading to incorrect results. Similarly, blood test results may be challenged. Flaws in test procedures such as improper administration, excessive time delays and human error can lead to unreliable results.

Here, Rose’s BAC levels were conflicting, measuring .08% with a breath test and .12% on a blood test.


An experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer can point out flaws in drunk driving tests, many times leading to charges being dropped or reduced. Aggressive Michigan drunk driving lawyers know when it is possible to seek to suppress the results of chemical tests, as well as challenging any field sobriety tests (FSTs) that may have been administered. FSTs are notoriously unreliable due to the amount of police discretion used in determining whether a driver has passed or failed these roadside tests. In some cases even the drunk driving stop may be challenged. Police may lack the probable cause necessary to stop the vehicle in the first place. A Michigan DUI defense attorney can evaluate each drunk driving charge and immediately being preparing your defense based on the fact of your case, pointing out errors and helping you avoid a DUI conviction and the loss of driving privileges.

Even if a conviction is unavoidable, a skilled Michigan DUI defense lawyer can help you find ways to reduce the long term impact of a conviction on your auto insurance and driving privileges – such as by finding DUI education classes.

Unfortunately, as pointed out in the Rose case and recent articles in the Free Press and USA Today concerning the location of your drunk driving stop overzealous prosecutors and judges may
attempt to send a message by imposing unnecessarily harsh sentences.

Contacting an aggressive Michigan drunk driving defense firm immediately may be the best way to protect your driving privileges and keep you out of jail.

For more information or if you are facing any Michigan drunk driving charge, contact the dedicated Michigan criminal defense attorneys at Grabel & Associates immediately to begin preparing your defense.