When dealing with being charged with a DUI/OWI there are many factors that play a role in determining how long the case will actually take to resolve.
Generally speaking drunk driving cases take up to six months, although some have taken up to a year or longer to fully complete. One of the central factors in aiding in the completion of such a case is the quickness in which the investigation is complete. In other words, how quickly we can collect the necessary information to properly and effectively defend you. Pleading guilty to any DUI/OWI charge will likely assist in speeding up the amount of time it takes to resolve the case, as opposed to waiting to go to trial. Also, depending on the court system, some judges may have more cases to handle, lengthening the time it takes to schedule hearings and in time, trials.
Michigan DUI Case Time Limit Factors
One of the most critical elements to the successful defense of a DUI/OWI case is a thorough investigation. This can also be one of the leading factors in the amount of time it takes to resolve such a case. When done correctly, this investigation can and should take a substantial amount of time. One of the reasons for this is simply due to the amount of time it takes the prosecution to release all reports and any other “discovery”, or any information gathered by the police which has been provided.
Other materials such as recorded footage or any type of breath analysis can also take time to retrieve from local authorities. All of these things are analyzed to ensure that none of your rights have been violated. On top of this, the amount of time it takes our investigator to actually complete the full investigation can also contribute to the amount of time it takes to resolve the case.
Unfair Court Rules
Back in January of 2006, a new court statute went into effect depicting a time regarding the length in which a DUI/OWI case must be resolved. Within 91 days a drunk driving case must be resolved. This shortens prior time restrictions, and can be considered costly and impractical. In order to ensure a fair trial, al the necessary information must be collected. This includes police reports, video tapes, and any other type of information regarding B.A.C. (blood alcohol content) taken from any type of machine. This information is not quickly obtained, making this time restraint even more of a burden.
There are feasible ways to speed the process up, however most of them require some sort of financial venture. Whether or not it requires hiring more staff to assist in processing everything, or implementing any number of machines to help some sort of financial commitment would be required. One response which may transpire from judges is setting a trial date before the necessary information is acquired. The problem however, is simply that only after all of this information is acquired can a successful decision be made as to whether or not the accused rights have been violated.
One example of things that may infringe on ones rights is a malfunction by one of the tests utilized in analyzing breath or blood. There are a variety of situations which can cause such testing to be inaccurate. However, if the proper time is not allowed to discover these malfunctions, they may go unnoticed and may not have the opportunity to be presented to the judge. Another factor which may lengthen the time it takes to complete the trial is the fact that criminal trials are held on specific days or weeks of a given month due to the fact that the accused have a right to trial by jury. Being as how juries are not always readily available, a case may be inevitably delayed.
These implicated time restraints can also be seen as a hindrance on judge’s discretion. Where at one point in time a judge was able to grant more time if they felt it was necessary to the completion of a fair trial, now they must finish within 91 days, which decreases the level of discretion which can effectively be exercised. Why can judges not take more time? One reason is due to the fact that if the trial is not completed in a well-timed manner, the chief judge must report their mishap and then a decision will be made as to whether or not corrective actions will be necessary, providing a powerful incentive to meet new time requirements. Unfortunately, this will not result in your case getting dismissed.
While this rule may seem practical to some, it is exceptionally detested by district judges and all others involved in trying to prepare a case in an effective manner. However, in September of 2006, this law was amended, adding an additional 35 days, turning the 91 day rule to the 126 day rule. This amendment pleased judges and prosecuting attorneys alike due to the fact that it allows for more time before a verdict must be reached. As previously stated, this allows more time for the collection of evidence, and in essence allows more time for the accused an opportunity to receive a fair trial. Still though, compliance with this rule is not a simple matter when given procedure of discovery.
Compliance and Discovery
Michigan’s grueling criminal discovery structure can be seen as a hindrance when trying to act in full compliance with time limitations in place. In order to effectively and properly defend an accused person, all of the information and evidence must be gathered. From beginning to end, discovery can be seen as a tedious process riddled with all types of road blocks. Generally, the discovery process can take four to six weeks minimum, although eight to ten weeks are often required.
Obstacles such as local police authorities and other chain of possession nuisances can hinder how long it actually takes for the discovery process to be completed. If the state police end up getting involved it can add additional complications due to the fact that supplementary paperwork is required. Another example of an obstruction can be seen if evidence needs to be requested/collected from various sources. The more sources involved, the longer the delay can be.
Once all of the evidence has been gathered and reviewed by the defense attorney the evidence is then presented to the accused and a “game plan” is devised. All in all, dealing with drunk driving cases can be a complex process and should be handled with the utmost professionalism and accuracy to ensure a favorable outcome.