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Criminal defense against DUI may soon face tougher laws

Recently, a Michigan man was arrested after an accident in which a 62-year-old mother and grandmother died. The 50-year-old man allegedly drove through a red light and collided with the woman's SUV. Police arrested him for drunk driving and say his license was suspended for a previous DUI conviction. Now, because many are saying that lenient laws for drunk drivers may be responsible for this tragedy, the man's criminal defense may need to be handled delicately.

The man already had two prior DUI convictions when police encountered him a third time in 2010 driving with a blood alcohol content apparently three times the legal limit. However, because that encounter was attached to a working domestic violence call involving the man, police did not request a warrant for his arrest for the DUI. As a third DUI, that arrest would have resulted in a felony charge.

Earlier this year, the man reportedly rolled his car but walked home before calling 911. Police smelled alcohol on his breath but did not arrest him because he claimed he started drinking after he got home from the accident. Family members of the deceased woman say that stricter laws for DUI offenses may have kept the man off the road and prevented the accident that took the life of their loved one.

There is call for change in the Michigan laws regarding drunk driving. Among those proposals are mandatory ignition interlock systems and increased jail sentences for all offenders. While the driver in this case may benefit from alcohol treatment, his criminal defense attorney will likely be fighting to protect the man's rights against the emotional backlash of the circumstances and the risk that the court will make him an example of tougher laws.

Source: woodtv.com, "Could Michigan do more to stop repeat drunk drivers?", Susan Samples, March 1, 2017

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