Interviewer: Today we’re going to be talking about DUI. First of all, every state seems to call it something different. What do they call this offense in Michigan?
Attorney Tafelski: In Michigan, commonly people will sometimes use the word DUI or DWI, but technically it is OWI, which stands for Operating While Intoxicated; or OWVI, which stands for Operating While Visibly Impaired.
Interviewer: In all the years you’ve been practicing, how many OWI cases do you think you’ve handled?
Attorney Tafelski: I have to say I have handled hundreds of these cases.
Interviewer: Is there a common back story that clients have when they come to you when they’ve been charged? For example, do many of them claim, “I only had two beers,” or story similar to that?
Many People Are Stopped While Driving Close to Their Homes
Attorney Tafelski: Well, one of the most common stories is that they were almost home when they were stopped. They were very close to being home, and often they never were driving very far to begin with. The amount they drink varies.
Some people only have a couple of drinks. Some people know they had 10 or more drinks. So that varies quite a bit. One thing that does seem to be fairly common is people thought that they were driving a route or driving a distance that they could manage even with the alcohol consumption.
Interviewer: I guess people get caught when they’re close to home probably because they relaxed and they feel like, “Oh, I’m almost home,” and maybe their driving gets sloppy?
Initially, Many People Are Pulled over for a Driving or Traffic Infraction
Attorney Tafelski: Yes, that is true. Most of the time it’s some slight error, such as lighting a cigarette and they dropped their lighter. They were changing the radio station. They were trying to text somebody or look at a text or make a phone call. It’s usually something like that that causes them to make an error while driving, and that gets them pulled over.