Monday, December 19, 2016

Another Hat Trick for Attorney Murray

Case #1: OWI/PAC - First Offense Amended to Reckless Driving

After recently moving to the area, MB was drinking casually at home on his day off when he decided to go to the grocery store. On the way, distracted by his GPS device, MB lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree. When law enforcement arrived, they smelled alcohol, put MB through field sobriety tests, which MB allegedly failed, and then arrested him for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). They also cited him with Failing to Maintain Control of Vehicle. MB was then brought to the station where he submitted to an evidentiary breath test with the reported value being .08, which is .001 over the legal limit. MB was then issued another citation for Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC).

The difficulty with the .08 was the timing of the drinking history. MB told the officers that he stopped drinking an hour before the accident. With a preliminary breath test on scene above .10, and the evidentiary breath test not occurring until two and a half hours after drinking, the prosecutor asserted that MB would have been well above a .08 at the time of the accident and refused to budge.

Given the prosecutor's inflexible position, MB and Attorney Murray appeared the morning of the jury trial ready to try the case. Prior to beginning, Attorney Murray offered one more time to settle the case with a Reckless Driving citation and, after some pressing, the prosecutor agreed. Ultimately, MB pled to two citations for Reckless Driving and Failing to Maintain Control of Vehicle, which come off a driving record after five years. An OWI or PAC charge remains on your driving record for 55 years. While this was a case that we believe would likely have resulted in Not Guilty verdicts (at least as to the OWI and PAC charges), MB was very happy with the outcome and this makes us happy.

OWI/PAC - Third Offense Amended to engligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Disorderly Conduct to Avoid Any Consequences to Client's Commercial Driver's License

RD hired Matt Murray to represent him on an OWI/PAC - Third Offense wherein he was pulled over for erratic driving and an equipment violation. The officer detected the strong odor of intoxicants, slurred speech and glassy eyes. RB initially admitted to a couple beers, but later admitted to "four, five or six." RB failed the field sobriety tests, a preliminary breath test registered a result of .134 and a blood test returned a result of .18. To make matters worse, RD looked drunk on the video and had a CDL, which he needed for work.

Attorney Murray reviewed all the records and recordings he could find and ultimately filed two motions. The first challenge was to the field sobriety tests and whether there was probable cause to administer a preliminary breath test. RD informed the officer that he had knee problems, which was simply disregarded at the time by the officer. The other issue was that on the morning this occurred, the temperature was so frigid that you could see the backup officer walking abnormally on the video due to the cold. So, how is someone supposed to perform field sobriety tests if it is so cold that an officer cannot even walk normally? Attorney Murray also filed a motion challenging RD's second offense, which would have dropped RD's conviction down to a first offense given that his first offense was more than 10 years old.

Prior to the motion hearing, Attorney Murray worked out an agreement with the prosecutor to simply charge RD with two criminal charges of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Disorderly Conduct. RD was placed on probation for two years and ordered to serve 10 days jail, likely at home on electronic monitoring. A fine was also imposed. However, no license revocation or ignition interlock device was imposed which would have ended RD's career as a commercial vehicle mechanic. This was also a fantastic result because the minimum jail term for a third offense is 45 days jail and at a .18 blood test, he was facing much more than 45 days. RD is thrilled, not only because his career is saved, but because he will only have to miss a week of his daughter's sporting events. Another very happy client.

Operating While Intoxicated - First Offense Amended to Citation for Inattentive Driving

This was a situation in which MT was taking his prescriptions as prescribed but they had awful side effects, causing terrible driving and terrible field sobriety tests. The side effects were so bad that the officer arrested MT for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). While MT may have been impaired by his prescriptions, Attorney Murray was able to prove through experts that MT was taking his medications as prescribed and confirmed the levels of drugs in MT's system were consistent with taking the medications in accordance with his doctor's instructions.

Surprisingly, the prosecutor initially dug in his heels and scoffed at the suggestion that the case be amended or dismissed. Ultimately, the prosecutor did the right thing and agreed to amend the charge to a minor traffic ticket for inattentive driving. MT avoided a lengthy license revocation, having to comply with an alcohol assessment and counseling, and the fine was significantly reduced. Not to mention, the ticket will come off MT's driving record after five years, whereas the OWI would be there for 55 years. MT was extremely pleased with this fantastic result.