Many OUI cases appear hopeless at the start; so why hire an attorney ? In our sample cases section, I describe many cases in which my clients have been acquitted after trial in sometimes seemingly hopeless cases. As I pointed out in my most recent blog, the overwhelming majority of OUI cases, like all criminal cases, do not go to trial. So what happens to the rest ?
The rest are settled by agreement or disposed of on pre-trial motions (a subject for a later date). Here is a real life example of an OUI case that I recently defended that did not go to trial, but nonetheless was a victory; virtually the equivalent of an acquittal.
I could not possibly have achieved this result for my client had I not spent over twenty years studying the forensic chemistry and forensic toxicology issues involved in successfully defending OUI cases. The names in my example have been changed to protect the identity of my client, the innocent. Herein after my client shall be referred to as Dude (apologies to fans of The Big Lebowski).
Defending a 7th Offense
Dude was charged with OUI for the seventh time. Several were dismissed in lieu of pleas to reduced charges (driving to endanger—-negligent operation of a motor vehicle without reference to alcohol) while I was representing him. This one appeared hopeless based on the “apparent” facts and his prior record. In this case, Dude crashed into the woods with a passenger who had minor injuries. According to a blood test, drawn at Maine’s top hospital and analyzed at the State forensic lab, Dude’s blood-alcohol concentration was reported at 0.23.
After numerous fights with the State forensic lab, I was finally able to obtain a thick stack of all of the documentation regarding the collection, storage and analysis of Dude’s blood sample. Two of the reasons that the lab gave for delaying the production of the documentation, that I repeatedly requested, were that it was irrelevant AND that I would not understand it. They were wrong on both counts.
After an in depth review of the materials that the lab provided, I sent a lengthy email to the prosecutor handling the case for the State. That email detailed the forensically unsound manner in which Dude’s blood sample was collected, stored and analyzed. The email was accompanied with references to State forensic guidelines which were breached as well as SOFT (Society of Forensic Toxicologist) Guidelines 2006 which, likewise, were breached.
Bottom line: The prosecutor, to his credit, agreed with my analysis— the blood test result would never see the light of day in a jury trial. He would be left with presenting evidence to a jury that Dude was involved in an accident and that his breath smelled like alcohol (it is not against the law to drink and drive UNLESS the State can prove that the driver had an excessive blood or breath alcohol concentration or was impaired by alcohol). The State could not prove an excessive blood-alcohol concentration because, as the prosecutor agreed, a judge would have excluded that evidence as unreliable. Likewise, the State may or not have been able to prove impairment due to the accident coupled with the mere odor of alcohol emanating from Dude.
The Result: The state agreed to MY offer to dismiss the OUI in exchange for a plea to disorderly conduct (making loud and objectionable noises) and a $100 fine. No jail. No loss of license. Dude was very happy. Me too.
Think your case is hopeless? Contact me for a free consultation (207) 879-4000 and we will discuss your options.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general, not specific, information about Maine law. The publication of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the author(s) and the reader(s).