OWI 2nd with a high BAC of 0.20, including a serious accident, dismissed at jury trial.
My client was involved in a serious accident just before Christmas two years prior to the jury trial in this action. His car had gone off the road, landing on a frozen lake with a passenger in the vehicle. His bodily alcohol content was very high, registering a .20. This is considered “super drunk” under Michigan law, and the charge carries significant penalties.
The charges were not filed were a long time. I have no explanation for the delay.
Speedy trial rights require a charge to proceed promptly after a person is arrested, and an 18 month delay is presumed to be prejudicial. In this case, speedy trial rights were violated, but that doesn’t guarantee a victory.
My client had defenses in this action, but the government waited, and waited, and waited. He moved. He got a new job a couple hundred miles away. He started a family.
When the prosecutor finally opted to file the charges, my client was forced to come back to Michigan, and he elected to proceed straight to a jury trial, insisting that he was innocent.
Now, you might be wondering, did he do it? Was he actually innocent? Did he get help? Those are all good questions that aren’t relevant because both you and I take an oath to presume that the accused is innocent, and he can’t be found guilty unless or until the prosecutor is able to prove his guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
On the day of trial, traveling several hundred miles yet again, the prosecutor was unable to produce 1) the police officer, 2) the blood draw nurse, 3) the alleged passenger, and 4) the state toxicologist. In other words, even though my client had taken a full day and a half to drive to Michigan, the prosecutor failed to produce a single witness.
Now, you might think that the prosecutor would apologize or offer an excuse, but you would be absolutely wrong. Instead, the state prosecutor was angry and vowed to reissue the charges. But unfortunately, at this time, any new case would almost 30 months old. Further prosecution is barred by the right to a speedy trial.