I handle a good amount of felony DUI cases in Wayne County each year, and my clients always ask me if there is a way to reduce the case to a misdemeanor. The answer is always, IT DEPENDS.
Depending upon your BAC level, prior history, if an accident or other offenses were involved, and your suitability for treatment and rehabilitation and some other factors, a decision will be made.
Typically I speak to the assistant prosecutor in court, and discuss if the case is ripe for consideration. The assistant knows his/her boss best, and will provide their feedback if a deviation letter is likely to get us a favorable answer. Even if the assistant is not sure or doesnt think so, we still take the shot, but its always good to have an advocate upfront.
I put together a letter, which highlights all of the proactive steps my client is engaged in, which NOBODY else is doing. My client looks like a rock star compared to other submitting the same letters. The letter points out all of these efforts, and discusses why the client's background, present situation and their future plans are worthy of this consideration.
We usually get an answer the next day in court. We've potentially created a non-felony option. My client will weigh this option vs other options such as filing motions and holding hearings, or potentially going to trial. My job is to create options, and put my client in the best position to make the best decision for their own life.
Michigan Drunk Driving Cutting a Great Deal with the Prosecutor in Your Case - Being Proactive Case Dismissal and Reductions
When charged with a DUI offense in Michigan, a client has two options. The client can sit back, let their attorney do their job, and hope that things work out in the end. The other approach has the client equally engaged on a daily basis; this is the proactive approach, which all of my clients must do from day one.
I am very selective in who I agree to take on as a client; I am looking for motivated clients who are looking to change the perception of their case on a daily basis. When a client is arrested and charged with a DUI, the perception of the police, prosecutor, judge and the community is my client is a dangerous person, and can’t be trusted to make good choices with alcohol or driving. When a client’s freedom and ability to drive can be taken away, it’s time to get serious about changing this perception.
If I agree to take on a client, I provide the tools and resources for that client to be proactive on day one. Each case is different, and each program is customized, but generally the program involves an alcohol screening and assessment, alcohol education and/or treatment, attendance at AA meetings, proactive volunteer work, alcohol and drug testing among other components.
If my client follows my lead, it helps open options for our case. All DUI cases in Michigan are either resolved with litigation (motions, hearings or trial) or resolution (plea bargain with prosecutor).
As a former prosecutor in Michigan and New York City, I have worked out 1000’s of deals on both ends of the table. All cities, township and county prosecutors have a different litmus tests for plea bargaining, and each case is different. Most DUI cases have some ugly elements to it; prior criminal history, prior DUI history, high BAC reading, accident, client is under 21, rude behavior by my client to the police, along with a handful of other potential issues.
When it comes to resolving these cases, I need to overcome many negative facts in my client’s case, and my words alone can only go so far. All clients have jobs they can’t lose, all clients need to drive to work and to take care of their family, nobody can afford to go to jail, and nobody wants a DUI on their record.
These factors DO NOT make you unique when charged with a DUI. The more successful you are, the more professional licenses you hold, and the better career you have, the higher the standard is set by the prosecutor and judge. Just because you’ve been a doctor for 30 years, doesn’t mean a thing to a prosecutor; if anything it will be held against you for knowing better than getting yourself in this situation.
While I present my client’s past, present and where they are going in the future, this is not enough to distinguish my client. Because my client has spent weeks if not months being proactive, I can drop these accomplishments on the prosecutor and distinguish my client from the other names in the prosecutor’s stack of files.
These proactive accomplishments can be the difference between having or not having a drunk driving conviction on your record, losing or keeping your license, going to jail, having an interlock on your car for a year, having your car immobilized more points on your license, higher fines, costs and driver responsibility fees and other major differences.
By following my proactive program, you are helping your case every single day, and putting yourself in the best position to reach the best resolution within the context of your case.
As the client makes progress on the program, I proudly share this information with the prosecutor in order to educate them on how you are different than their typical case. I have set a high bar with past clients, so prosecutors are almost expecting my clients to be rock stars.
I lay out the client accomplishments in a memorandum to the prosecutor along with proposed motion that I would file if the case cannot be resolved. As a former prosecutor I provide this information in a very respectful way to the other side, and keep the door open for resolution, but I am firm in the possibility of litigating the case. This approach gives my client the best of both worlds.
DUI Attorney & Former Prosecutor Jonathan Paul