I was out drinking with some friends. My buddy dropped me off at home and I decided to sit in our truck and have a few cigarettes before going inside my home. (We don't smoke in the house) My neighbor called the police because he thought something suspicious was going on. I did not drive anywhere at all. The prosecuter still wants to charge me just because I had the keys in the ignition. I was on private property and had no intention of driving anywhere. Basically I'm being charged with an owi for operating a radio while intoxicated. I'm afraid that if I go to trial and lose I'll get more jail time.
In Michigan, having control of the vehicle is good enough to be charged with drunk driving/ In the drivers seat with keys? They can charge you. Your better argument is that you were not on a public road.
Keys in the ignition is enough to show control. However, they still have to prove you were operating the car on a public road. That is the key element the prosecutor will have a difficult time with.
Under no circumstances should you fight this alone. Make sure you are represented by an experienced OWI attorney- one that makes drunk driving defense a substantial portion of his practice. There may be other ways to challenge the evidence in the case as well. There are a lot of variables in a DUI case.
You need to discuss this in very great detail with an experienced drunk driving defense attorney. The circumstances you describe certainly make it sound like a weak case for the prosecution. If you were not in an area open to the general public nor generally accessible to motor vehicles, then the drunk driving statute does not apply, but those terms are subject to interpretation. Also, what constitutes operation of a vehicle can be debated. These are very fact-specific issues. Theoretically, going to trial does not justify a harsher sentence. Get an attorney right away! Sincerely, Frank B. Ford
The information contained in this answer is intended to convey general information. Nothing contained in this answer is intended as specific legal advice. Although the content is believed to be accurate as to Michigan law, no guarantee is made that it is accurate and up-to-date. This is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship.
Yes you should fight this. There are several excellent defense attorneys in the Grand Rapids area who can assist you in presenting a viable defense, especially where there is no evidence of you operating while intoxicated or impaired on a public highway or road open to the public. Best of luck.
I agree with these other fine attorneys. You definitely want to fight the charges. Having an OWI conviction will cost you more than just the fines that the court assesses. You need to have an OWI attorney represent you on this and make sure you do not say anything to the police or the prosecutor. Even trying to explain your version can backfire on you so make sure you are represented. Good Luck!
The comments listed here do not create an attorney-client relationship. The comments are for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice. This attorney is only licensed in Michigan and does not give legal advice in any other state. All comments are to be considered conversational information and you should not rely on these comments as legal advice or in place of retaining an attorney of our own. The comments here are based solely on what you have provided and therefore are general in nature and with more specific facts or details a different answer or outcome could result. The legal system is not a perfect science and this attorney does not guarantee any outcome.
This case is worth fighting. You were not operating the vehicle within the meaning of the statute. Get a good OWI attorney right away. Good luck.
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