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Jail or prison time could follow victimless drunk-driving episode

If any of us made the choice to drive under the influence, we wouldn't have to be involved in an accident (let alone injure or kill another driver) to land in very serious trouble with the law. Last month, police officers witnessed a car that was being driven erratically in the wrong lane on an interstate near Ann Arbor. The driver had allegedly sideswiped another motor vehicle, then collided with a couple of roadside barriers before making an attempt to flee. State troopers who arrested the driver said that he was "heavily intoxicated." The man remains detained for DUI and bail has not been posted.

The man has now been charged with several offenses, including operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resisting and obstructing police and fleeing and eluding authorities. Though no one was hurt by his actions, given the various charges filed against him, he could find himself suffering some severe consequences. I am of the firm belief that we, as a collective whole, should keep roads and highways in Ann Arbor safe. At the same time, I also believe the punishment should fit the crime.

While there is no information available as to whether or not this man is a first- or second-time offender, if he is sentenced to extended jail time (under Michigan state law, second time offenders can face five days to one year of consecutive jail time) his life will almost surely be altered for the worse. Even one week's jail time can pose a danger to employees. Considering the nature of his offenses, and under the statute of state law, the man will likely be forced to suffer a mandatory 6-month driver license suspension at a minimum. No matter what the circumstances, prosecutors have an interest in obtaining a conviction, but a qualified attorney usually explores a variety of avenues in the best interest of a client and may even work with the judge toward achieving an acceptable outcome.

In my opinion, fighting for the rights of one's client, being fair-minded and being compassionate are not mutually exclusive. The aforementioned case is one that specifically calls for an attorney who specializes in DUI/DWI/OUI. When any of us or any of our loved ones face drunk driving charges, it becomes a priority to ensure we secure the best possible defense.

Source: AnnArbor.com, "Man accused of driving drunk while traveling wrong way on I-94 remains jailed," Lee Higgins, Aug. 16, 2011.

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