September 30, 2013
by The Law Office of Steven L. Schwartz
Earlier this week in Chicago, a 17-year old driver struck and killed a pedestrian who was on his way to celebrate his birthday. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, the police began following the driver for running a stop sign. As the driver noticed the police following him, he attempted to evade them, running several other stop signs and traveling at speeds in excess of 50 M.P.H. Ultimately, the driver struck and killed the victim, and then crashed into the porch of a nearby home.
Officers found the driver a few blocks from the scene hiding in the bushes and arrested him. After arresting the driver, officers allegedly discovered that the driver had evidence of marijuana use in his blood and urine. There was also marijuana found in the center console of the car. The driver was then charged with reckless homicide, aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. A judge set the driver’s bail at $500,000.
DUI Laws in Michigan
In Michigan it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is over .08%. While there is no accurate calculation for BAC, as a general rule, drinking two drinks in an hour will put an average-sized male at near the legal limit. It is also against the law to operate a vehicle while “visibly intoxicated,” regardless of the driver’s actual BAC. This may be based on a police officer’s subjective observation of a driver, rather than any scientific proof.
A DUI charge, however, does not take into account any damage or injury caused by the driver. For example, in the case above, the driver allegedly hit and killed a pedestrian as well as crashed into a home. In cases like this, the driver might be charged with a DUI (for driving under the influence), reckless homicide (for allegedly causing a death while driving under the influence), and also for any property damage he may have caused.
In general, prosecutors will try to charge as many offenses as they can in order to “stack” up a potentially long prison sentence. This, many prosecutors feel, gives them better bargaining power over defendants when they enter into plea negotiations. In such cases, it becomes even more important to have an experienced Michigan DUI attorney at your side.
What to Do If You Have Been Charged With a DUI-Related Offense?
In Michigan, DUI laws are strictly enforced and depend on a variety of factors such as age, whether there are any minor passengers, whether it is a repeat offense, etc. In most cases, courts have discretion in how severely to punish a DUI offender. If you have been charged with a DUI-related offense, you are facing the very real possibility of significant fines and maybe even prison time. With the help of an experienced Michigan defense attorney you are in a better position to get the case dismissed or at least end up with a more favorable outcome. Click here to schedule a free initial consultation, or call (248) 266-8720.
- Repeat Offenders in Michigan Drug Cases May Face Longer Prison Sentences, Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published September 17, 2013.
- Detroit High Speed Chase Results in Shooting of 2 Officers and 1 Suspect’s Death, Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published April 4, 2013.