OWI with 0.26 BAC Amended to Reckless Driving
Our firm secured a recent victory in Madison Municipal Court. The facts of the case were somewhat unusual. The client, who had been drinking, called a family member from an apartment complex and sounded in distress. The family member believed the client had been unknowingly drugged and contacted police to investigate. When police arrived on the scene, they interviewed witnesses, including our client. She was clearly impaired and admitted to driving to the apartment complex earlier in the evening. However police were unable to determine exactly when she drove there. Authorities took her to the hospital for an evaluation. Medical personnel drew her blood, which showed an alcohol concentration of 0.26 percent. Several hours later, after placing her under arrest for OWI, law enforcement performed a legal blood draw, which had a reported value of 0.169 percent. Throughout negotiations, the prosecutor insisted on a conviction for OWI, reasoning the client was clearly drunk when police arrived at the scene and was in an elimination phase. Attorney Verhoff filed several motions in the case and sought to have the test result deemed inadmissible for trial. Although Attorney Verhoff did not dispute the client was intoxicated when police arrived, he told the prosecutor he did not believe the government could establish that she was impaired when she drove to the complex. Attorney Verhoff knew he was on solid legal ground to have the test result stripped of its presumption of admissibility. Moreover, he knew an expert would have difficulty estimating the client's alcohol concentration at some vague point earlier in the evening. After six months of litigation and just days before the motions were to be heard by the judge, the prosecutor threw in the towel, offering to amend the case to a reckless driving for a small fine. The client agreed to accept the amendment, saving her an OWI conviction, large fines, a significant license revocation, and an ignition interlock device order.