Interviewer: What are some of the top misconceptions people have about the OWI process when they come to see you?
It Is a Mistake to Believe You Will Receive Preferential Treatment from the Court If This Is Your First Offense
Attorney Tafelski: Well, in our area, one of the main misconceptions people have is that because they have a good job or they have a family, or they’ve never been in trouble, that somehow they’re going to get special treatment from the court. That’s not really true.
Drunk driving is probably the most political crime there is. Pretty much every court in Michigan is concerned about Mothers against Drunk Driving and they are concerned about going easy on a drunk driver. If that person subsequently injures or kill somebody else, then the local news crew showing up, asking them why they went easy on that driver.
The Offense of Drunk Driving Is Taken Very Seriously
It’s a very political issue and it overrides concern for the defendant. In other words, what often happens is people who themselves are strongly against drunk driving and have always voted for tough judges and tough prosecutors and never been in trouble all of a sudden find themselves or their loved one in trouble.
They’re a little bit surprised at how serious the court system takes these cases. In the local district courts where these cases are handled, this is pretty much the most serious type of case that they handle.
Is There Such a Thing as “Mercy” from the Court?
Interviewer: Is there such a premise as mercy from the court, by the way, that people can surrender themselves upon or that is another misconception?
Pleading for Mercy from the Court Is Not a Good Strategy
Attorney Tafelski: Yeah. Well, it’s kind of a misconception. Sometimes people do just say to the court, “Please go easy on me,” but the reality is that’s not the way that you get the best outcome. There are a lot of things that you need to do to properly position yourself to get the best outcome.
Your Profession and Standing in the Community Have Little Impact on How the Case for OWI Will Proceed
Interviewer: Are people mistaken in thinking that, “It’s not that serious. I’m a good person. Why would the state waste all this time and money to prosecute me?”
Attorney Tafelski: Yes. Many people will assume, “I’m not public enemy number one. I’m a good person. I have a good job. I have a family.” All that is true of course, but that’s a typical case for drunk driving. That’s the common case for drunk driving, that you’re a good person and you have a job and a family.