In this case our client was charged with drunk driving (in Michigan called OWI) because he was OUIL (operating under the influence of liquor) and charged with a violation of Michigan’s implied consent law for refusing a breath test. But, before we get the details of the case, here is some information about attorney Michael J. Boyle.
Michael J. Boyle was recently promoted to the position of Senior Trial Attorney with the Barone Defense Firm. What follows is a sample case that Mr. Boyle recently handled for a Barone Defense Firm client. As you can see, it was a total slam dunk for the client, and example of Mr. Boyle’s excellent trial and overall litigation skills.
In 2007 Mr. Boyle was certified as practitioner of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in accordance with the standards set forth by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). He has also been certified in the use of the BAC Tracker software, allowing him to perform complex calculations related to the metabolism of alcohol using six different formulae. He is also a 2006 graduate of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan Trial Lawyer’s College, and is working toward certification with Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College.
This case, which for confidentiality we will call “People v G.M.” was in the 57th District in Allegan as well as at the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) of the Secretary of State. The charge again was OWI (OUIL only not UBAL). There was also an alleged Implied Consent Violation.
The result was a total victory because the jury said “NOT GUILTY” and the implied consent case was dismissed. Thus, Mr. Boyle was able to avoid a conviction and there was no jail time, no driver license sanction and in fact no penalty of any kind. In other words, Boyle was able to make the case go away. For the client this made it like the arrest never happened.
Here are the Facts of the Case and Description of the Trial Victory:
Client was stopped after deputy claimed that the truck he was driving was “having trouble staying in his lane.” The officer stated at trial that our client “crossed the fog line and was traveling at an excessive speed with turn signal on, all while straddling the center line.
Upon contact with the driver the officer indicated that he heard slurred speech and that our client had difficulty speaking and seemed dazed. Furthermore, that there was strong odor of alcohol. He also testified that the driver had bloodshot and glazed eyes, admitted to drinking, and had balance problems when exiting his truck.
There was also testimony at the drunk driving trial regarding the three standardized field sobriety tests (FSTs) including Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), One Legged Stand, and Walk and Turn. The officer testified that the driver (our client) failed all three. Also that he had a .127 PBT (preliminary or portable breath test).
Once arrested, and transported to the jail, a deputy there testified that our client refused the DataMaster test. On cross-examination we were able to clarify that this was a “Technical Refusal” meaning that the driver agreed to take the test but the breath test machine (DataMaster) rejected the breath sample. This was an important fact in the overall defense of the case.
During the trial we also established during cross-examination that the HGN test was the most reliable test of the three test standardized field sobriety test battery, and that our client actually PASSED this test. Furthermore, that the heavy Carhartt overalls (which were tossed onto the Defense table), heavy steel-toed boots (dropped onto the floor), and tracking a deer for hours through a muddy field, would prevent client from a flawless performance on the other FSTs.
After deliberating for just a few minutes, the jury unanimously agreed, came into the court room and said our two favorite words “NOT GUILTY.”
Here is a Description of the Implied Consent Case:
At the Implied Consent Hearing, based upon the available testimony of the deputy and the BAC Evidence ticket, we argued that the Refusal was not a technical refusal but caused by operator error. We presented the DataMaster Manual in support but Hearing Officer ruled in favor of the Deputy and denied our Petition. We appealed to the Circuit Court and won.
This is because the Circuit Court agreed with our arguments, and reversed the ruling of the Hearing Officer as we were able to show that the hearing officer’s opinion agreeing with the deputy and not our client was “arbitrary and capricious,” or stated differently, “clearly an abuse or unwarranted exercise of discretion” and “not supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record.” For more information on this topic see “When a Breath Test Refusal is not a Refusal.”
Our hat goes off to Boyle and our client for this terrific victory!