Sample Drunk Driving Defense Cases
The following is a brief listing of some of the cases that Joe Cross has challenged. In every case, he represented his clients fairly, honestly, and zealously. In many of the cases, he achieved results that were beyond the wildest expectations of client.
Michigan OWI Acquittal
Mr. Cross represented a gentleman who registered a .16 on a blood test after having an accident and ending up in a ditch on the side of the road. He had registered a .11 on a Preliminary Breath Test at the scene of the accident. The case went to trial after the prosecutor refused to reduce the OWI charges.
As part of his strategy, Mr. Cross made the arresting officer perform field sobriety tests in front of the jury. By police standards, the officer failed.
Mr. Cross then argued that the field sobriety test performance of his client did not show that he was intoxicated. A chart was then drafted that suggested that the client's blood alcohol level was rising throughout the night, and Mr. Cross argued that there was reasonable doubt as to whether the client was actually intoxicated above the legal limit at the time of driving.
RESULT: 6 minute NOT GUILTY VERDICT. The client went home to his wife and children free of the burden of a conviction.
Michigan OWI Second Offense Dismissal
Traverse City, Michigan
Mr. Cross represented a woman charged with OWI 2nd Offense. She had registered an unusually high blood alcohol level (.21) on the DataMaster instrument used to test her breath.
The woman had been at a local bar with friends when they left to attend the casino. On the way to the casino, the client was stopped for passing too close to a police vehicle at the side of the road, and for not slowing down.
Mr. Cross located a witness that could attest to the fact that the client had applied her brakes when passing the police vehicle. A motion was filed and an evidentiary hearing was conducted where Mr. Cross cross-examined the sheriff's deputy on the witness stand. The deputy reluctantly acknowledged that he was unable to determine the client's speed as she passed his vehicle. Mr. Cross also brought to the Court's attention that based on the width of the client's vehicle and nature of the roadway, she was not required to change lanes.
Based on the deputy's unreasonable stop of the client's vehicle, Mr. Cross moved for suppression of the stop and all evidence flowing therefrom. The motion was granted.
RESULT: CASE DISMISSED. PROSECUTOR APPEALED: DECISION UPHELD ON APPEAL, CASE DISMISSED.
Michigan OWI Dismissal
Mr. Cross represented a gentleman who drove his car off the road. He had been drinking earlier in the evening. The client left the scene of the accident. A nearby resident telephoned the police, and the client was later questioned by his police at his residence.
The police arrested the client and took him to jail where he was required to provide a breath sample for alcohol testing. He blew over the legal limit and was charged with OWI.
Mr. Cross filed a motion to suppress the blood alcohol evidence based on the delay between driving and the testing of his client's breath.
RESULT: OWI DISMISSED. Prior to the court rendering a ruling, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charge of OWI based on Mr. Cross's legal brief in exchange for a plea to a non-alcohol related charge of "failure to report accident." No appeal could be taken by the prosecutor.
Michigan OUID Dismissed
Mr. Cross represented a gentleman charged with Operating Under the Influence of Drugs, or OUID.
The arresting trooper believed the client was under the influence of marijuana and heroine. Mr. Cross requested extensive evidence from the prosecutor with regard to the testing procedures and blood evidence obtained from the client.
The results were ultimately produced by the Michigan State Police Crime lab and Mr. Cross moved for dismissal of the charges based on questionable test procedures and insufficient trace amounts of drugs in the clients system to justify an allegation that the drugs affected the client's ability to drive.
RESULT: OUID DISMISSED. CHARGE REDUCED TO $100 CIVIL PENALTY FOR TRAFFIC VIOLATION.
Michigan OWI Dismissed
Mr. Cross represented a gentleman charged with OWI after being stopped by police, allegedly failing field sobriety tests, and ultimately registering a .14 based on a blood test.
The client had refused to submit to a breathalyzer. Mr. Cross understood that the client would likely lose his license for 1 year for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test. Mr. Cross, however, used this information to his client's advantage.
Mr. Cross negotiated with the prosecutor to reduce the OWI charge to a non-alcohol related charge that would eventually drop off the client's record. In exchange for the reduction, Mr. Cross offered to have his client accept responsibility for the breath test refusal and lose his license for one year.
Mr. Cross then convinced the prosecutor that the penalty to his client of losing his license would be severe in light of the fact that his client owned a business and several vehicles that required him to drive. The prosecutor agreed and reduced the charge to the non-alcohol related offense of reckless driving.
Upon securing this agreement, Mr. Cross filed a motion with the Circuit Court asking for a hardship license under the Implied Consent statute. An order was then signed by the Court allowing the client to drive to and from work and in the course of employment.
RESULT: OWI DISMISSED AND REDUCED TO NON-ALCOHOL OFFENSE; CLIENT OBTAINED HARDSHIP LICENSE FOR IMPLIED CONSENT VIOLATION.
Michigan OWI Second Offense Dismissed
Mr. Cross represented a woman who was charged with OWI 2nd Offense.
She had been stopped by officers while she was driving away from a bar, and was forced to perform field sobriety tests. The officers told her she failed, and she was promptly arrested and charged with OWI 2nd Offense after also failing a breathalyzer test.
The woman retained an attorney who advised her to accept a plea to the reduced charge of OWI 1st Offense.
Not satisfied with this advice, she called Mr. Cross for a second opinion.
Mr. Cross advised her that pleading to an OWI First Offense would still result in a loss of license for at least one year. Due to her work, she could not afford such a license sanction. Mr. Cross accepted her case and agreed to take the case to trial.
Prior to trial, Mr. Cross investigated the case and learned that his client had been wearing high-heeled shoes at the time of the stop. The police had not offered her the chance to remove her shoes during the field sobriety tests.
Mr. Cross also questioned the motive of the police for stopping her vehicle. The police had claimed that an object appeared to be obstructing her rear view mirror. Mr. Cross determined that the obstruction (an object hanging from the mirror) was insufficient to justify the stop, and he prepared a motion asking the Court to suppress the stop and throw out the case.
The prosecutor reviewed the motion, and agreed that the stop and field sobriety tests may have violated the law.
RESULT: CASE DISMISSED. No reduction necessary, full dismissal without appeal.
No Felony Conviction for an OWI Third Offense and Resisting and Obstructing
Traverse City, Michigan
Mr. Cross represented a client charged with OWI 3rd Offense and Resisting and Obstructing. In all probability, the client was facing significant prison time.
The client's goal was simple: avoid a felony conviction on his record, avoid prison, and minimize jail time to less than one year.
No reductions or plea bargains were offered by the prosecutor, and the Traverse City court remains one of the toughest in the state on sentencing.
The case was bound over (or transferred) to the circuit court level on the felony, and Mr. Cross filed a motion to suppress the stop and dismiss the case.
Prior to arguing his motion in court, the prosecutor offered to reduce the OWI 3rd Offense to a 2nd Offense, and to dismiss the other charges.
Mr. Cross explained to his client that the reduction would result in the case being transferred back to the district court level, which meant the client could not be found guilty of a felony. Sentencing would also be limited to 1 year or less, and no prison time could be imposed. The client opted to accept the plea bargain, and the case was transferred back to district court.
Once transferred, Mr. Cross asked the district court judge to accept his client into "treatment court," which is normally forfeited if not entered into at the inception of the case. The court granted Mr. Cross's request, and the client entered treatment court. (The advantage to that treatment court is that the client can only be sentenced to a maximum of 21 days in jail.)
At sentencing, Mr. Cross offered a strong argument to limit the 21 days to 10 days jail with work release. The court again granted the request and offered compliments to Mr. Cross on the record for achieving such a favorable result for the client and society on a 3rd offense felony OWI charge.
RESULT: 10 days jail with work release on an OWI 3rd Offense and Resisting and Obstructing charge.
No Jail on a Third Offense Michigan OWI
Bay City, Michigan
Mr. Cross represented a gentleman charged with OWI 3rd Offense and Resisting and Obstructing.
Similar to the above case, Mr. Cross determined that his client's ultimate goal was to avoid jail and a felony conviction.
Mr. Cross met with the prosecutors and negotiated a reduction to an OWI second offense. The client jumped at the opportunity to limit the conviction by pleading guilty to the second offense.
After Mr. Cross secured agreement to the reduction, and after the case was contained at the district court level, Mr. Cross requested that the defendant be made eligible for a treatment court program. He met with probation officers on several occasions and secured the agreement of probation to recommend treatment court despite the client's background on alcohol-related cases.
RESULT: NO JAIL ON A 3RD OFFENSE REDUCED TO A 2ND OFFENSE. 1 YEAR PROBATION.