Drunk Driving Arrest in Washtenaw County
According to the latest Michigan State Police Drunk Driving Audit, there were 850 DUI arrests in Washtenaw County. Of the 850 arrested, 609 were men, and 241 were women. These numbers don’t tell the complete story of DUI offenses in Washtenaw County, because these numbers are always viewed in a worst case scenario point of view.
In the same time frame, there were 2,271 injuries caused by traffic accidents, and 23 deaths in Washtenaw County alone. While most DUI arrests don’t involve a serious injury, or death, the prosecutor, judge and the community view this non-result to be lucky, rather than the logical outcome. When you’re arrested and charged with a DUI in Washtenaw County, you’ll be viewed as a dangerous drunk driver no matter how things ended on the road.
When a client contacts me about a DUI in Washtenaw County, they tell me about their family, their job, and all the responsibilities they have. Some clients are extremely remorseful about what happened, while some are already complaining about being arrested and charged, and want the case thrown out. While some cases do get dismissed and thrown out due to a problem with the violence or the actions of the police department, most cases are simply catching the person in the worst situation possible, drunk behind the wheel of their vehicle. People react very differently to feeling like they are not in control of their case, and their entire future is now at stake.
The first thing I do with any potential new client is call a timeout. Things are moving fast for the client, but moving very slow for me, because I handle hundreds of these cases each year. The client has usually never been arrested for anything, especially not drunk driving, and they need this timeout to re-focus on the process, and put together a game plan. I apply my mindset to my client, and we go over everything about the case, and about their own life.
It’s important that I gain a full understanding of their life, and what lead up to this moment in time; I also need to know where they are heading in life with their goals and dreams. I’m quite blunt in telling the client that their past and future are relevant to our plan, but the prosecutor and the judge really don’t care, because all of this was in place when you were arrested.
An example being the following: the client tells me that he drives a company car for a living, and must go jobsite to jobsite, along with domestic and international travel on a weekly basis, and he “cannot afford a DUI on his record”.
My first response is that nobody wants a DUI on their record, and although you have some additional circumstances that make having a DUI conviction bad for your life and career, you seem to understand the consequences, and likely knew them before you put yourself in a bad position with the law. I’m blunt about this to my client, because he/she needs to understand how the judge and prosecutor sees the case. If you had all of that on the line, why would you even risk putting yourself in this situation?
Once we’re clear on that perception, we can get to work on putting my client in a position where he/she has real power. A client does not have leverage or a bargaining position based on something that was in place when the offense occurred, but they can take complete control of their case in the present moment with a proactive program. The past and the future don’t empower a client, but the present can.
I discuss my proactive program in great detail earlier in this book; for now, I want to focus on the inside the courtroom plan, and some specifics about each court in the County. Each DUI case in Washtenaw County has two paths; the proactive empowerment path where a client could earn a dismissal, a reduction and participate in determining their own outcome/sentence, and the path of contesting the charges for a dismissal or a not guilty verdict.
My clients go down both paths, until we have created all realistic outcomes based on the specific facts of their case. Here is my process, which I call the Information Gathering Stage.