DUI Attorneys in Macomb County, MI
There are also nearly 3,300 miles of road in Macomb County – which is a lot of opportunity to be stopped on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI).
Our Macomb County OWI defense attorneys are committed to helping those facing these serious charges. Without good legal representation, defendants can be railroaded by overzealous police and prosecutors. There are many instances wherein faulty breathalyzer tests, blood tests, field sobriety tests and civil rights violations go unchallenged.
As experienced OWI lawyers, we work tirelessly to represent your rights within the:
- 37th District Court in Warren
- 38th District Court in Eastpointe
- 39-A District Court in Roseville
- 39-B District Court in Fraser
- 40th District Court in St. Clair Shores
- 41-A1 District Court in Sterling Heights
- 41-A2 District Court in Shelby Township
- 41-B District Court in Clinton Township
- 42nd District Court in Romeo
- 42nd District Court in New Baltimore
- Macomb County Circuit Court in Mt. Clemens
These district courts have jurisdiction of all misdemeanor cases (where penalties do not exceed one year in jail). They also oversee preliminary examinations in more serious felony cases. These courts handle arraignment, sentencing (for misdemeanors) and setting and acceptance of bail.
If you have been arrested for OWI in Macomb County, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation to review your rights and legal strategies.
Breathalyzer Testing in Macomb County
Convictions on OWI charges in Mt. Clemens and throughout Macomb County often rely heavily on the results of a breathalyzer test. In Michigan, the device most commonly used is the DataMaster Transportable (DMT) breath alcohol testing instrument. Although judges and juries tend to give a great deal of weight to these scientific results, the good news is there are numerous successful challenges we as defense attorneys can employ.
Per MCL 257.625, one can be deemed intoxicated if he or she has a breath-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. Almost all drivers suspected or arrested for drunk driving are asked by police to take a breath test. Refusal to take a breath test – when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person was OWI, is a violation of MCL 257.625c, Michigan’s implied consent law, punishable by an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension.
The first thing to note is that the alcohol tested in the breath is not what impairs you. Rather, it is the alcohol in your blood (and subsequent impact to the nervous system) that determines impairment. To ensure the results are relevant, law enforcement will convert the breath alcohol concentration to blood alcohol concentration using a partition rating (difference between breath alcohol v. blood alcohol), with the assumption that the ratio is 2,100:1 (210 liters in breath sample to 100 milliliters in the blood). Put another way, the partition ratio presumes for every molecule of alcohol detected in the breath, there are 2,100 molecules of alcohol in the same volume of blood.
But here’s the thing: Not everyone has the same partition rating. This could potentially lead to wrongful conviction of OWI because one’s blood-alcohol concentration might in fact be less than the 0.08 standard, but the inaccurate conversion from breath concentration to blood concentration skews the results.
This was demonstrated in a 2012 study published in the Syracuse Journal of Science & Technology Law. Researchers noted the variability between breath-alcohol concentration and blood-alcohol concentration in individual subjects is large – with values ranging from 900:1 to 3700:1. As the study author reports, “The use of a standard 2100 to 1 ratio is not scientifically sound… and it is impossible to determine where this ratio truly lies at the time the breathalyzer is used.”
It often comes down to something called the hematocrit, which is the component of blood comprised of red blood cells. High hematocrit means a lower portion of water in the blood. Hematocrit varies between men and women, with women having lower hematocrit, which leads to wide inaccuracies in the results between genders. But hematocrit isn’t factored into BAC calculations.
Beyond this, there are external and physiological variations. Factors like temperature and humidity can change the outcome of the breathalyzer test, as does the force of breath supplied by an individual. Some studies have shown that individuals with smaller lung capacities will inevitably produce a higher breath-alcohol concentration result, a margin of error not accounted for. In fact, these variables can result in a margin of error of 50 percent or more, which does not meet the confidence level required in Michigan criminal cases.
On top of that, some officers aren’t properly trained and certified to conduct the test. This too can be a point of contention in the pending criminal case.
Breathalyzer tests are often carried out roadside, though some are conducted back at the station following arrest. It should be noted sobriety checkpoints were deemed unconstitutional in Michigan, despite the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Michigan v. Stitz, which affirmed the right of states to allow such practices. In Michigan, law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion that one committed a crime or traffic violation before a stop is initiated and a breathalyzer test requested. When an officer lacks an insufficient legal basis for a stop, the “fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine” (also known as the exclusionary rule) comes into play. There are, however, some exceptions.
Our DUI defense attorneys are closely familiar with the science behind DMT breathalyzer machines and will work diligently to successfully challenge inaccurate or faulty results, as well as procedural flaws in police practices leading up to the test.
How to Beat a DUI in Macomb County
We should firstly note that because Michigan legislators favor the term “operate” as opposed to “drive” in state statutes pertaining to impaired motorists, the correct technical term for the charge is OWI (operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated) versus DUI (driving under the influence). Still, many people routinely use and more readily understand DUI, so we use both terms here.
A recent Michigan Drunk Driving Audit revealed there were more than 2,180 people arrested on OWI charges in Macomb County in a single year.
When it comes to how to beat a DUI in Michigan, there are several effective strategies we consider. As previously mentioned, there are potential challenges to breathalyzer results, as well as motions to suppress evidence obtained in unlawful stops and searches that violate Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights.
We will carefully examine all the evidence, including:
- Witness testimony
- Written statements
- Audio or video recordings
- Physical objects (i.e., vehicles, clothing, bottles, etc.)
- Digital evidence (including data stored in cell phones)
- Scientific findings (including blood test results, etc.)
- Demonstrative evidence (i.e., charts, displays, models, etc.).
From there, we will piece together a defense that will involve challenge to one or all factors that put you at a disadvantage. That could mean discrediting a witness with damaging testimony. It could mean casting doubt about the angle of a photograph or the conclusions of an expert witness model of the scene.
If you have questions or concerns about your Macomb County OWI case, allow our dedicated attorneys to answer your questions and help you navigate this confusing and difficult ordeal.
For a free consultation contact us online.