Thursday, October 29, 2015

OWI-1st (Prescription Drugs) Reduced to Reckless Driving

This was a perplexing case.  SH, who was coming home from working as a nurse at a hospital, was called in for weaving all over the road.  She was pulled over and performed so poorly on the field sobriety tests that it was one of the worst videos we have ever seen.  Yet, SH had not consumed any alcohol or illegal drugs.  Nevertheless, she was arrested for OWI and blood was drawn, returning a positive test for Lorazepam.  With her career as a nurse on the line, she hired Attorney Matthew Murray and he began working on the case immediately.  The prosecutor initially refused to do much even though SH was within the therapeutic range for her Lorazepam prescription.  This was based in part on how bad the driving was and how poorly SH performed on the field sobriety tests.  The prosecutor believed the municipal court judge would not have a problem finding AH guilty.  A week before trial, however, the prosecutor came around when it was apparent we were serious about fighting the charge.  It was also apparent that we would be appealing the case to a jury trial at the circuit court level if we did not prevail at the municipal court level, something we have done several times against this prosecutor.  Given our past successes, the prosecutor thought a guilty verdict at a jury trial would be difficult and agreed to reduce the charge to a Reckless Driving ticket, which consists of only paying a fine.  SH was completely spared of an OWI conviction. She also never lost her license and her career was saved.  She could not be happier.  Neither could we.  These prescription drug cases are becoming more frequent and, as in this case, can be completely involuntary.  These are the kinds of cases that should not result in convictions and the loss of careers.  Unfortunately, prosecutors still pursue convictions and it is an honor and a privilege to help those in this very difficult situation.