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OWI Cases

Blood Testing in OWI Cases

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The vast majority of criminal defense lawyers and OWI defense attorneys routinely accept the scientific reliability of a laboratory blood test report from the Michigan State Police crime lab. To be an effective advocate, an attorney must take a closer look at the drug analysis. Blood testing and analysis is a form of science called “forensic science.” The problem with forensic science and its political connection to law enforcement is that it often ignores the most basic scientific principles, such as the use of blind studies for example. Errors in laboratory testing are routinely ignored and results are often extrapolated from data and not proven to be true.

Metrology and Analytic Chemistry’s Connection to OWI Defense

Metrology is the study of scientific measurement. The MSP lab’s report is a statement regarding the scientific measurement of the amount of alcohol per milliliter in a blood sample. Surprisingly, many scientists with MSP know little to nothing about metrology even though they routinely give expert opinions on the issue. Metrology is concerned with the concepts of validity of the process, accuracy of findings, mathematics used in calibration, and the calculation of uncertain measurements.

Analytic chemistry is the science of using techniques and methods to separate, identify, measure and/or qualify matter. Instrumental analysis is a part of analytical chemistry. This type of analysis focuses on the use of technology to conduct the separation, identification and quantification of unknown substances. A highly experienced and skilled DUI defense attorney will not only look to the technique used to analyze the blood but also the method used, which are two distinct and equally important factors. A method is the procedure in which the testing is done and the technique is the manner in which the method is used. Both the technique and the method must be supported by valid science.

The Process of Blood Testing

There are three basic parts in the blood testing and analysis process: separation, identification and measurement. The Michigan State Police crime lab used chromatography for separation. Chromatography techniques can be gas or liquid. The type of chromatography used by MSP to determine the level of alcohol in a blood sample is called headspace gas chromatography. Identification is the process of recognizing what substances are detected in the analysis. Measurement is the process of identifying an unknown thing, a spectrogram in the case of blood analysis, comparing it to known data measurements to determine the type of substances identified. This would be similar to seeing a picture of an individual and then trying to find that person in a catalog of pictures of identified subjects.

Defenses to Blood Test Results in OWI Cases

The three basic scientific avenues of defense in OWI blood test cases are attacking the sample integrity, metrology used, and the testing instrument’s reliability. Any one of these three areas can be impacted by human error, equipment error or a combination of both. An effective and thorough defense in these cases requires obtaining and reviewing all of the necessary laboratory records, the calibrations, standards, controls and the results of all of the analyses done in the same analytic run. Additionally, the defense lawyer may decide it is necessary to get documentation regarding maintenance of the equipment and calibration records for subsidiary equipment such as scales, pipettes, etc…

Blood Draw for OWI Case

A jury in an OWI case must be reminded that there was a time in history when it was generally accepted that a person could be determined to be a witch if that person, while bound, would float or sink in water. An innocent person would sink and a witch would float. At that time, this test was considered highly credible and authoritative. The science today is only as reliable as our beliefs and is subject to imminently becoming outdated through future advances in technology and science.

Attorneys for OWI Defense in Michigan

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is highly skilled and knowledgeable in defending OWI cases using facts, the law, the constitution, medicine and science in formulating defenses. Any weakness in the government’s case is a strength in the defendant’s case. We leave no stone unturned in defending a client and advocating for the best possible outcome. If it is possible to get a charge dismissed or reduced, we will do what is necessary to win the case. Call us today for a free consultation at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and a highly experienced criminal defense attorney will promptly contact you.

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Is a warrant always needed for blood draws in DUI or OWI cases?

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Is a warrant always needed for blood draws in DUI or OWI cases?

The answer is no!! In the case of Missouri v McNeely, the United States Supreme Court decided that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood may support a finding of urgency in a specific case, but it does not do so in every case. Courts must evaluate each case to determine if a warrant was required to draw blood.

Facing OWI Charges in Michigan?

Mr. McNeely was stopped for suspected operating under the influence of alcohol. He refused to take the roadside breath test and, while on the way to the police station, indicated he would not take the test there. The police officer took him directly to the hospital and blood was drawn from Mr. McNeely without a warrant. The blood results showed Mr. McNeely was intoxicated and he was charged with operating while impaired. The defendant moved to have the test results suppressed and the trial court agreed. The trial court determined that the, “exigency exception to the warrant requirement did not apply because, apart from the fact that as in all intoxication cases, the defendant’s blood alcohol was being metabolized by his liver, there were no circumstances suggesting the officer faced an emergency in which he could not practicably obtain a warrant.”

So, depending on the level of urgency, a police officer may be able have a blood draw in DWI cases without a warrant. Courts must now evaluate that question on a case by case basis.

Experienced Michigan OWI defense attorneys

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are experts in representing people charged with committing crimes. Criminal defense work is all they do. Our attorneys have decades of experience in representing people charged with drunk driving or other alcohol and drug related offenses. If you are charged with OWI and any alcohol or drug offense contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for their expert representation. We can be contacted at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.

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LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

Another Operating While Intoxicated – OWI Reduced to Reckless Driving.

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OWI Reduced to Reckless Driving

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. was able to get an OWI reduced to reckless driving. The allegation was that the client was operating while intoxicated by the consumption of alcohol. This charge was in Wayne County, Michigan. When Loren Dickstein was retained, he went promptly to work diligently and thoroughly reviewing the police reports, records and recordings relative to the case. When it was time for Court, Mr. Dickstein was prepared to show the prosecuting attorney why they were not going to be able to convict our client of this offense. He was able to convince the prosecutor that the field sobriety tests were not performed correctly and why the client was likely not under the influence. The prosecutor agreed to dismiss the OWI charge and the client pled guilty to reckless driving.

It is important that people who are faced with criminal charges make sure that their rights are protected. It happens too often that people plead guilty to just “get it over with”. If Mr. Dickstein was not prepared and did not have the expertise to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the original charge, our client would likely have had an alcohol conviction on his criminal record now. Alcohol convictions can have far-reaching negative effects on someone’s personal life, employment, and other things.

At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., our Michigan criminal lawyers approach every case as if it involves our own family. The defense of any criminal charge requires experience, knowledge, diligence, and tenacity. These are all qualities that the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. Although the odds are stacked against the defendant relative to getting an OWI reduced to reckless driving or getting charges dismissed, achieving extraordinary results is always our top goal when possible. If you are in trouble, please call us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance form.

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Michigan’s premier criminal law firm specializes in the zealous and fearless defense of those charged with felonies and misdemeanors in Michigan. We handle DUI/OWI, domestic violence, weapons and violent crimes, retail fraud, probation violations and all other federal and state criminal offenses.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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Prior Drunken Driving Charges Can Result in Felony DUI Charges

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In 2006, the State of Michigan modified its drunk driving law to provide that any prior alcohol conviction (DUI, OWI, DWI, OWIN, etc…) can be used to enhance new drunk driving charges to a felony regardless of when it occurred. This amendment is commonly referred to in Michigan courts as “Heidi’s Law.” Prior to 2006, the law provided for a 10 year limitation in which prior convictions could be used to enhance a misdemeanor OWI to a felony OWI. The problem with “Heidi’s Law” is – can prior convictions be used to make a present crime more severe, when that was not the case when the prior conviction occurred (older than 10 years)? A Michigan Operating While Intoxicated Attorney may refer to this as “ex post facto” laws or “after the fact”. An ex post facto law is one that (1) makes criminal an innocent action done before the passing of the law, and punishes such action; (2) makes a crime a greater offense than it was when committed; (3) imposes a greater punishment than the law did at the time the crime was committed; or (4) alters the legal rules of evidence so that a defendant can be convicted on lesser evidence. Ex post facto laws are unconstitutional at both the Federal and State levels.

Drunk Driving Defense - Michigan

In many cases since 2006, it has been argued by aggressive DUI defense lawyers that “Heidi’s Law” is an ex post facto law and should be declared unconstitutional. In other words, they are requesting the court dismiss OWI charges because of a constitutional violation. These cases argued that a present offense of drunk driving should not be able to be enhanced to a felony unless the prior convictions were not within 10 years of the current charge or at least after Heidi’s Law was passed. Despite the best efforts of some of Michigan’s most respected and passionate defense lawyers, Michigan Appellate Courts have disagreed and found that there is not a constitutional violation. The appellate rulings have affirmed various circuit and district court rulings that the person’s old, prior convictions can be used to enhance current charges. So, “Heidi’s Law” is has not been found to be unconstitutional.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

The fine lines and interpretations of law that are necessary to protect a person charged with a crime enforce the need for that person to have a lawyer by his, or her, side every step of the way through the criminal process. Although representation of a client in an driving under the influence case can be difficult and complex, it is the defense lawyers job to keep fighting no matter what the odds or the challenges. A great criminal defense attorney should be affordable and willing to work tirelessly to defend their client. Felony DUI charges are prosecuted in every jurisdiction in Michigan but counties that are notorious for aggressively prosecuting these offenses include Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County and Livingston County.

Experienced DUI Attorneys – Call Us Today

If you or someone you love is charged with a drinking and driving offense, please do not hesitate to call one of the highly experienced Michigan DUI attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or kindly complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.

Get Help Now

“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.