In Michigan, the drunk driving laws may seem like an insurmountable fight for litigators in the field. As one famed litigator once said, “Getting an OUIL in the state of Michigan is the equivalent of going to a doctor with stage 4 cancer, there is not much that can be done.” While this famed litigator and law school professor is entitled to his opinion (and requested anonymity in our research), there are many others in our state that support his comments. Even though accepted by a vast majority in our industry, these comments are not valid. One such attorney who has been at the forefront of drunk driving litigation is Scott Grabel.
Mr. Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and his firm has evolved into a top law firm across the state of Michigan. One of the ways he has obtained his notoriety is with his knowledge of drunk driving laws and his success in winning and mitigating what seemed like impossible cases. When asked about this topic, Mr. Grabel stated, “The first thing that people do not realize is that there are only two primary ways to measure one’s blood alcohol content. The first is the breath test, in which there are often calibration issues. The second is a blood test. In this utilization of blood is where we have found the greatest amount of success.”
In Michigan, the current law states that one is legally intoxicated if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is measured at 0.08 or higher. This determination can vary depending upon body type, the tolerance of the individual that is drinking and the amount of food in one’s system. While the 0.08 threshold is now universally adopted across the United States, the process of obtaining a 0.08 can be where the rubber meets the road.
“When an officer takes a blood test, there is a strong possibility for success. The blood test provides a qualified attorney more options to defend his client than does the breathalyzer,” said Grabel. He continued by saying, “The Michigan State Police Forensic Division (FSD) has reported an uncertainty in the .010% ballpark range. While that number changes every year, we have to remember that the blood samples are mailed out. There can be a delay in sample collection or reporting of samplings can be deceptive. The FSD is a very strong group but they are highly overworked. It is our job to display when mistakes are made in the blood samples and we have developed a system that is on top of that issue.”
While the issue of drunk driving is not an easy topic to tackle, there are a few lawyers that have evolved as leaders in the field. While not the least expensive in the field, they may very well be the most qualified.
William Amadeo is also an Associate at Grabel and Associates and is a contributing writer for the websites “We Love Ann Arbor” and “We Love Dexter” along with other websites across the Midwest.