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Michigan DUI Accident Cases - Additional Considerations for Chemical Test Results
Recent Michigan court decisions have impacted how chemical test results are handled in terms of admissibility, but the Wager and Campbell decisions have not really impacted the is single-car accidents. It would appear that the prosecution will have to establish a time of the operation of the motor vehicle to make any test relevant. These types of cases are potentially ripe for suppression of test results if the prosecutor can't show when the accident occurred/driving took place. Despite this common sense, courts in Michigan are still hesitant to jump on this bandwagon.
MCL 257.625a(6)(a) provides that the amount of alcohol or the presence of a controlled substance as shown by chemical analysis is “presumed to be the same as at the time the person operated the vehicle.” If the prosecutor can't show when you drove the car, it will be difficult to show the relevancy of test results.
The presumption as to the “relation back” of test results to the time of operation is also present in the Michigan jury instructions. The statutory presumption and accompanying jury instruction provide one of the most problematic aspects of the trial of a drunk driving case. The statute and the jury instructions pit the prosecutor’s burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt against a presumption that seems to improperly shift that burden.
If you have a single-car accident case where the time of operation is unclear or frankly unknown, you could potentially have your chemical test suppressed if handled in the proper fashion.