The Detroit News reports that Detroit Pistons basketball star Ben Wallace was recently charged with Michigan drunk driving after being stopped and arrested over the weekend for erratic driving on Telegraph Road at Long Lake. He was driving a 2007 Cadillac Escalade and was arrested around 3 a.m.. Wallace was also arrested on Michigan weapons charges. The Detroit News reports Wallace was given a breathalyzer test that showed he had a blood alcohol count of 0.14%, which is above Michigan’s legal limit above of .08%.
In a search conducted pursuant to the stop, police discovered an unloaded semi-automatic pistol in a backpack in the passenger area with a fully loaded magazine. The police report states that the .28-caliber FNH semiautomatic pistol was registered to Wallace’s wife.
Bloomfield Hills 48th District Court Magistrate Judith Holtz arraigned Wallace on the OWI misdemeanor as well as the weapons charges. This was Wallace’s first drunk driving offense.
Being arrested and charged with a Michigan drunk driving offense, weapons charges, or any other Michigan crime may have serious consequences. It is important to contact an aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately to protect your rights and begin preparing your defense. Often, errors in police conduct may lead to charges being reduced or even dismissed.
In an ironic twist, Wallace had originally been assigned to Oakland County District Court Judge Kimberly Small who has earned a reputation for handing down unduly harsh sentences to first time offenders. This past summer, Small sentenced for NBA and Michigan basketball star Jalen Rose to 20 days in the Oakland County Jail along with one year’s probation for a West Bloomfield Township drunk driving incident. Small stated she imposed such a harsh sentence in order to “send a message” about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
However – here Wallace’s alleged weapons possession may have spared him from jail. In Michigan, where a crime is committed while the accused was in possession of a firearm, state guidelines require minimum two-year prison sentence in addition to penalties for the underlying crime. If you face such charges, an experienced weapons charge defense attorney can help provide an effective defense. Spectators commented that as the result of the stiffer penalties accompanying the weapons charges, it may be possible for the case to be heard in the Oakland County Circuit Court where judges are less likely to jail first time drunk driving offenders.
Wallace’s case will reportedly be heard by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalena Kumar, who is known for more “tempered and measured” sentences than Small.
For more information or if you have been charged with any Michigan criminal offense, contact the aggressive Michigan criminal defense law firm of Grabel & Associates for an immediate response.