Articles Posted in DUI Defense

In a development that has sent shock waves across the state of Michigan, the MSP has investigated potential fraud by the Datamaster DMT breathalyzer device. The state of Michigan has told law enforcement to stop using those machines in drunk driving cases because of discrepancies in maintenance and certification for vendor intoximeters. To gain insight into this issue, we spoke to leaders in the criminal law community. shutterstock_69162454-199x300

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has built a firm that is known as the top defense team in the state of Michigan. When asked about the issue, Grabel stated, “This will create a floodgate of appeals. Our phones have been ringing off the wall with people wanting to investigate old plea deals. This is the type of thing that not only hurts the defendant but can also compromise the judicial economy.”

William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Senior Associate at Grabel and Associates. Amadeo is known as the top criminal defense lawyer in Washtenaw County and provided insight when he said, “I’ve reached out to a couple of prosecutors on this matter as Pittsfield Township is one of the police agencies that have been affected. Where this issue stands are still up in the air, but a lot of this will depend upon the degree of error. We will have to study the difference between the BAC taken from the datamaster and blood draws. The reality is that those charged with a super drunk (0.17) may not have a great appeal depending upon their plea, but those with a traditional OUI may have a fantastic opportunity to fight an issue. As for cases that went to trial, that is going to be very interesting because evidence may be tainted.”

An alcohol interlock device is quite simply a breathalyzer that is connected to your car. You blow into the interlock device and as long as you are sober then you are able to start your car. If the interlock device detects alcohol in your breath, then it will not allow you to start your car and will send out a notification of your failed breath test. One can be required to install an interlock device in their car by one of two ways: 1) If your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your DUI arrest was at .17 or higher, commonly known as super drunk, or 2) If your license was revoked due to drunk driving convictions. In either situation, the interlock device must stay installed in your vehicle for a minimum of one year. In this article we examine how an interlock works, things to watch out for, and what it is like to live with an interlock installed in your vehicle. iStock_000016894637_XXXLarge-2-300x200

Where is an interlock installed exactly and how does it work?

An interlock device is installed somewhere on your dash or center console. These devices can be fairly discreet but are obviously still visible within the interior of your vehicle. The device measures your breath sample by blowing into a mouthpiece attached to the device which will then measure your BAC. If a passing breath sample is not given, then the interlock device will serve as a disruption between your car starter and ignition. Some interlock devices also come equipped with a camera which will take a picture of the user blowing into the device to prove their identity. If the device detects alcohol and prevents the user from starting the car, the car is then usually “frozen” out for a period of time before the interlock will allow for another test to start the car. Note: most interlock companies do not install interlock devices on motorcycles due to the dangers involved.

A Michigan bill has been introduced that would lower the BAC for OUIL’s from .08 to .05 which would make Michigan and Utah the only two states in our country to have such a strict standard. The National Transportation Safety Board made this recommendation in 2013 and have publicly stated that such a reduction would lower fatalities by 11%. To gain insight on how this would affect the state of Michigan, we spoke to top criminal defense attorneys in our state to gather their point of view. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has built a team that is known as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about the potential bill, Grabel was quoted as saying, “This is a bill that is being pushed hard by State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud with the goal of protecting families. In Lansing, this would change the culture that we currently are living in as many people know what their limits are under the current law. With the potential change, it would alter how people socialize and spend their money. The safest thing to do is not to drink and drive under any circumstances but this new bill will create a tremendous influx of criminal prosecutions, and for those defendants’ with prior convictions, it could certainly lead to more incarcerations.”

William Amadeo is a Senior Associate at Grabel and Associates and a partner at Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Amadeo had quickly developed a reputation as a top criminal attorney throughout the state of Michigan but provided commentary directed at his home county when he said, “In Washtenaw County, there have been much traffic stops for “Impaired Driving” and the problem with the impaired statute is how vague it is. One could be tired and charged with impaired. If a comparison study of how Utah law is being applied to how Michigan legislation may be conducted, we are going to see OUIL’s and “Impaired Driving” prosecutions reach an all-time high in our state and a county such as Washtenaw is going to have a logjam in the District Court. As litigators, we need to be prepared for what is on the horizon.”

In the state of Michigan, we have one of the most unique versions of drunk driving laws in that the statutes come in a variety of flavors that often lead lawyers confused in their hopes of making a plea bargain for their clients. We learn that their lack of knowledge can lead not only to embarrassment among their peers but to severe consequences for their clients. While the topic is not one that is easily digestible, we have to understand that a less tolerant view of the issue is forthcoming and while this analysis may not be ripe for discussion, the seasoned criminal defense lawyer should tell their clientele what is coming down the road because without this knowledge there may not be light at the end of this legislative tunnel. car keys with alcohol

Since 2013 there has been a push by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to lower the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) required for legal intoxication from 0.08% to 0.05%. This made national news on May 13 of that year when USA Today Journalist Bart Jansen published a piece on the issue. Since then, it was almost an afterthought until May of last year when the state of Utah passed a bill lowering the BAC to 0.05%. While many feel that this may not affect the state of Michigan, all one has to do is listen to Judge Cedric Simpson or Justice Nick Holowka explain to people the danger of the current law and the push to actually make the law more treacherous for those that do not follow the rules. While the two justices listed above go out of their way to educate people, a change in the law could be a change in circumstances that all may not be aware of. Lawyers need to stay one step ahead of the legislation to truly advocate for their clients.

Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates is a renowned leader in criminal defense in the state of Michigan. When asked about the change of the law, Grabel stated, “Many do not realize the change this will create. This also has the potential to lower Michigan’s Super Drunk laws significantly. While there is no precedent for ex post facto laws, there is a danger of what is to come for those that drink and drive. The best advice that we can give is simply not to drive while intoxicated but should that occur, our firm has a 6-step plan which has been helpful in protecting clients with the understanding it is truly a joint effort between the attorney and the client. We can lead the client to protection but the client needs to also have accountability.”

There was a time when the drunk driving laws in the state of Michigan had a friendly overtone to them but as most things in our state, things are constantly changing. The reality is that Michigan has transitioned from the auto capital of the world to a state that is competing to be the leader in the marijuana industry and with these changing times, forgiveness for drunk driving offenses has taken on an entirely new persona. With tougher laws, we are going to need tougher lawyers. Perhaps nobody in the state of Michigan is tougher on defending drunk driving offenses than Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

When asked about these changing times, Grabel stated, “In June of this year, our legislature sent a clear message to their citizens and that message was that drunk driving laws were going to get tougher. There was hope that the laws would revert back to more forgiveness as it was in 2003 but message was shot down.”

The history of Michigan and the state’s views on drunk driving laws has been colorful to say the least. In 2003, legislators approved changing the per se blood alcohol content level for concluding a driver is intoxicated from 0.10 to 0.08. But lawmakers at that time included a 10-year “sunset” on the law. The sunset meant that the law would expire in 2013 but it was that year that the legislature passed an extension of that sunset, making the 0.08 limit good until Oct. 1, 2018 and with it a clear message that drunk driving would in the state of Michigan would receive no forgiveness.

In Michigan, the drunk driving laws may seem like an insurmountable fight for litigators in the field.  As one famed litigator once OUIL and blood tests in Michigansaid, “Getting an OUIL in the state of Michigan is the equivalent of going to a doctor with stage 4 cancer, there is not much that can be done.”  While this famed litigator and law school professor is entitled to his opinion (and requested anonymity in our research), there are many others in our state that support his comments. Even though accepted by a vast majority in our industry, these comments are not valid. One such attorney who has been at the forefront of drunk driving litigation is Scott Grabel.

Mr. Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and his firm has evolved into a top law firm across the state of Michigan.  One of the ways he has obtained his notoriety is with his knowledge of drunk driving laws and his success in winning and mitigating what seemed like impossible cases.  When asked about this topic, Mr. Grabel stated, “The first thing that people do not realize is that there are only two primary ways to measure one’s blood alcohol content.  The first is the breath test, in which there are often calibration issues.  The second is a blood test.  In this utilization of blood is where we have found the greatest amount of success.” Continue reading

Make no mistake about it, the laws across the United States have become progressively more car keys with alcohol severe for those that have been charged with drinking and driving.  In the state of Michigan, the need for creative and diligent counsel has become more than a luxury, it has evolved into a necessity.  Depending upon the facts and jurisdiction that the defendant is being charged with, a jail sentence can become a reality for even those convicted on a first offense. One thing people do not realize is that Michigan, unlike many other states, does not allow for a drunk driving conviction to disappear with an expungement. Continue reading

Recently, a 23-year-old woman passed away due to injuries she suffered as a passenger in a vehicle involved in a three-car accident. According to news reports, Thomas Walters of Virginia Beach did not stop at an intersection, which resulted in a rear-end collision. He is now facing criminal charges including driving under the influence. on-the-rocks-2-268881-m-300x276

Penalties for DUI that results in the death of another person differ from state to state, however in Michigan those charged with DUI causing death may face up to 15 years behind bars along with possible fines of up to $10,000. Restitution and vehicle forfeiture or immobilization are also possible, and prosecutors may determine the offender should face murder charges. This is an extremely serious situation for anyone facing such charges; the consequences are life-changing.

When facing serious criminal charges including those involving DUI, it’s critical to obtain the legal guidance and support of an attorney who is fully dedicated to his or her client, and most importantly securing the best possible result. Unfortunately, many criminal defense law firms focus more on building a sizeable client base than providing outstanding legal guidance. Our firm focuses heavily on skilled representation for those charged with various drunk driving offenses including those that result in the injury or death of someone else as well as repeat offenders or individuals charged with “Super Drunk” offenses.

What began as a dispute between neighbors over loud music resulted in the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that it is not illegal to operate a vehicle in your own driveway after drinking too much. bottles-300369-m-225x300

According to a report at Michigan Public Radio Network, a man was charged with OWI after a neighbor called police repeatedly because of loud music. Apparently, the man who had consumed a substantial amount of liquor was sitting in his car in his own driveway, listening to music. When police arrived, an officer witnessed the man back his vehicle out of the garage, then drive it back in.

Because he never left his driveway, the defendant argued there was no crime committed. In a two-to-one decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed, finding the charge was not supportable as that specific area of the driveway was not generally accessible to other vehicles or the public.

Recently, 51-year-old Lisa Jacobs, a prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, resigned her position after being arrested for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. iStock_000016750168_Large-2-300x200

According to a news report at CBS Miami, Jacobs had been a prosecutor with the office for 18 years. At the time of the incident which occurred on I-95 near the Hallandale Beach Blvd. exit, Jacobs’s children, ages 10 and 14, were in the vehicle with her.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper said that Jacobs had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and was unable to maintain her balance. Jacobs admitted that while at the Outback Steakhouse, she had three glasses of wine before leaving to pick her children up from Cooper City.

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