People v Rea: Drunk Driving Updates with Troy Michigan Expert DUI
Attorneys Recently the Michigan Court of Appeals heard a case involving an individual charged with operating while intoxicated after he drove drunk on his driveway. In People v Gino Robert Rea, the court determined that the charges of operating while intoxicated pursuant to MCL 257.625 should be dismissed because the defendant was not operating his vehicle in an area generally accessible to motor vehicles.
The court relied heavily on the facts of this case which were that a police officer responding to a neighbor’s complaint watched the defendant back his car out of his detached garage about 25 feet before stopping next to his house. He then pulled his car back up into his garage and was arrested when he was walking back to his home. His driveway is quite long and the officer admitted that defendant did not pull the car out past the front of his home at any point.
The relevant language of the drunk driving law is as follows, “A… person shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles…if the person is operating while intoxicated.”
The court found that the defendant’s actions in this case did not violate this statute as the upper portion of the Defendant’s private driveway is not an area that is “generally accessible to motor vehicles”. Rather, this area of a driveway is a place that is only accessible to a small group of vehicles: namely the homeowner or his or her guests.
Importantly, the court noted that another set of facts could yield a different outcome. Specifically, the court postulated that the bottom of a private driveway may be an area that qualifies as a “place open to the general public” or a place “generally accessible to motor vehicles.” Therefore, someone driving on the bottom portion of the driveway near the road could possibly be charged with operating while intoxicated.
Overall, this case stands for the idea that the area at the top of the driveway is not an area that is open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles so homeowners driving in this area cannot be charged with operating while intoxicated. However, the question of whether the area at the bottom of the driveway is open to the general public has not been decided. Homeowners should take care to avoid driving at all when under the influence of alcohol, including on the area at the bottom of the driveway.
If you have been charged with operating while intoxicated or “drunk driving”, contact the Troy Michigan Expert DUI Attorneys of Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. This is an intricate area of law and it is best to consult with experienced attorneys such as ours to ensure your case is handled properly.
For information about specific charges see the links below:
- Drunk Driving / DUI / OWI / OWVI
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)
- Obstruction of Police/False Information to a Police Officer
- Open Container / Open Intox
- Operating within the Presence of Drugs
- Superdrunk/High BAC
While everyone who has received a drinking and driving ticket wants to get it dismissed, it is actually an extremely rare occurrence. Especially in Oakland County, the police and prosecutors have convictions down to a science and are unlikely to drop a case unless it is extremely weak.
Our office has been successful in defeating charges and has identified a few common factors. First, if the police stop was not legal you stand a much better chance of the charge being dismissed. Second, if you were not read your rights any information that came in after it would have been reasonable expected you would be read your rights is out. Thirdly, if you were not actually seen by the police driving your car it can be difficult for the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you were drinking AND driving. Finally, in some cases if your breath tests were performed in violation of the police’s own policies we may be able to argue they are invalid in rare circumstances.
If this does not describe your case though, don’t despair, we will still work to get you a good result. At this point our efforts will shift to sentencing, and plea negotiations. We can try to avoid you being subjected to extensive terms of probation, court costs and fines, and alcohol education and/or counseling sessions. So how can i get a get a DUI/OWI/OWVI/OUI Dismissed? call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
So you got the dreaded Oakland County DUI, OWI, DWI, DWVI. While Macomb County and Wayne counties are somewhat more lenient with respect to DUI charges and sentencing, Oakland county is regarded as an extremely tough County. It is unclear why this may be the case, except that Judges must live in the district in which they sit. Oakland County has many cities that are perceived as young, hip, and fun places to go out and have a few drinks. Judges living in the county and seeing such behavior may feel the need to overcompensate to protect their own cities and families. Additionally, no Judge wants to be seen as “soft on drinking and driving” or risk the wrath of potential voters.
Unfortunately those who are charged in Oakland county pay the price. While a similarly situated Defendant in Macomb or Wayne County would be unlikely to do community service and would have fewer alcohol class requirements, an Oakland County Defendant is practically guaranteed to do at least community service and a significant amount of alcohol treatment programming. An experienced attorney in the tri-county area is familiar with these trends and the quirks of individual judges. We can work to ensure you get justice and to protect your rights. Ultimately we will force the prosecutor or city to prove their case against you, or work with them to get the charges against you reduced, modified, or even dismissed. When it comes to sentencing we can present factors that weigh in your favor to avoid jail time, court fees, and fines. When it comes to terms of probation we can try to get the shortest term, or the least invasive, whatever program can be successful for you. Due to the nature of Oakland county courts, it is very important to have an advocate when facing a DUI charge.
Our attorneys are regulars at metro Detroit courts, and are at Oakland County Circuit on a weekly basis. We know the judges, prosecutors and city attorneys who will be assigned to your case. We can put this experience to work for you and attempt to negotiate an early settlement saving you time and money.
Charged with a DUI / OWI / DWI / DWVI’s in Oakland County? To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.