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Accused of being high as a kite and smoking dirt weed


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The Charge – OWI (Accident and 17 nanograms of THC)

Set for Trial

Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 8:00 am. We arrived at the Roscommon District Court House and were prepared for a 2-day jury trial. We had been preparing for weeks prior for this ongoing case from two years ago (March 2019) that the prosecutor insisted on pursuing.

The Complaint

The Complaint against our client was an alleged OWI Operating While Intoxicated/ Under the Influence or a Controlled Substance. As with all OWI cases, we would also need to defend the lesser included charges of (Operating While Impaired).  ( link to both Statutes here). 

The prosecution had a lab report that stated there was a suspected 17 nanograms of THC and100 nanograms of Carboxy-THC.

Types of Charges

According to the information posted on the Michigan SOS site the following (current 3/20/21)

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) means that because of alcohol, controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance, you ability to operate a motor vehicle was visibly impaired.

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) includes 3 types of violations:

  1. Alcohol, drugs or other intoxicating substance in your body substantially affected your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
  2. A bodily alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08. This level can be determined through a chemical test. High BAC means the alcohol level in your body was at or above 0.17. This level can be determined through a chemical test.
  3. Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD) means having even a small trace of these drugs in your body, even if you do not appear to be intoxicated or impaired. This can be determined through a chemical test.

Case Background

In March of 2019, the police were called to the scene of a single car accident. The vehicle, a 2004 Saturn Ion with apprehensive steering issues, had hit an electric utility pole that caused the neighbors to lose power. The car was totaled.

Upon initial contact with the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) officer, my client explained the cause of the accident. The passenger tires of her vehicle got caught up in the gravel on the side of the road and she was pulled into the ditch. I lost control of the car and hit the pole.  

Within 6 minutes of arriving at the scene the ARIDE officer claimed the vehicle and my client smelled of burnt marijuana. No marijuana was found at the scene.

The ARIDE Officer claimed our client’s pupils were dilated. There were initial concerns from the ARIDE officer with my client’s ability to perform the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) because of the accident.

Within 9 minutes of arriving at the scene, and prior to any examination by the EMS/ Paramedics, one of the EMS declared that she had been smoking doobies and classified it as dirt weed.  “I think she reeks like doobies”. I think she’s smoking dirt weed but I think she’s high” were some statements by the EMS/Paramedic.

We could not wait to find out under oath how this EMS/Paramedic had the expert knowledge of recognizing “dirt weed”.

When the ARIDE Officer asked the victim of the accident (our client) if she was okay to do Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), our client indicated she felt “Fuzzy” from the accident. The ARIDE Officer asked the EMS/Paramedic if he thought our client could perform the SFST. The EMS/Paramedic looked at the totaled vehicle and stated there is not that much damage to the vehicle and I don’t see why she couldn’t take the tests (despite never conducting an examination of our client.

The ARIDE officer then went into the ambulance where our client was seated and being examined by an EMT. The officer was told that he wasn’t done yet, but if he needed to talk to her – he could. The ARIDE officer then told my client she had been cleared to do SFST.

Fail and Arrest (Standard Operating Procedure)

The ARIDE officer then had my client perform SFST and claimed she failed because she was “under the influence of marijuana”. None of the SFST have ever been established to show impairment for marijuana or cannabis). The ARIDE Officer also failed miserably at following the proper protocols in administering the SFST test. 

We were ready to address both of these issues on cross examination. 

My client was subsequently arrested, consented to a blood draw, and was taken back to the jail. Upon arrival at the jail, she was then tested by the Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE). That officer concluded my client was impaired by Central Nervous System Depressant CSN, contrary to the ARIDE officer.

We were additionally prepared and looking forward to addressing this issue on cross examination 

Back to the Trial

Today… we picked a jury, and prior to the opening statements and some issues about discovery and brady violations, the state decided to Nolle Pros (dismiss all the driving charges) in exchange for a civil infraction plea of responsible… and of course a fine.

What Is a Brady Violation?

The Brady Rule, named after a 1963 case decided by the United States Supreme Court, governs discovery issues in criminal trials. Under its terms, the prosecution must turn over all exculpatory evidence to the defense; this is evidence that is favorable to the defendant and, therefore, might exonerate him, or impeach the credibility of a state witness. The evidence must be material to the case, meaning that if it were divulged prior to or during the trial, it would affect the verdict.

But what about the dirt weed?

Although this case is considered a victory. We still feel like we were shorted somewhat on finding out how the declaration of “Dirt Weed” lead in part to the arrest.  We wanted to hear the explanation… we wanted to know how it was determined… that she was smoking “Dirt Weed”.  

That moment never came because the allegations of the alleged crime were Nolle Pros

A Strong Client is the Key to a Successful Outcome

Today… a victory for a client and another revealing look into the justice system.

I want to commend my client for having the courage to stand tall and fight for her rights.  She is also did not give in to the unbearable stress and pressure she has had to endure the last 2 years.

Many people do not fight back, or challenge these types of allegations. Despite the seriousness of the accident, she had confidence in the case and our defense that an accident does not automatically equate to the crime of driving under the influence of marihuana. Because sometime an accident is just and accident.

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Komorn Law PLLC

I want to thank the entire team at Komorn Law PLLC for the effort that was necessary to accomplish this outcome. Together we saved someone from a state manufactured conviction.

If you or someone you know needs an attorney who is equally driven to win as his clients. There’s just one name they need know… Attorney Michael Komorn of Komorn Law.

 I also want to thank all the folks at Komorn Law PLLC for all their efforts in achieving this result.  Attorney Alyssa McCormick, Attorney Allen Peisner, Attorney Jeff Frazier, Steve Miller, Jen St. Amant.  It was truly a team effort.

I also want to thank Attorneys David Rudoi and Bernie Joucuns for their efforts in assisting in prepping for trial.

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Komorn Law has been aggressive in fighting for the rights and reform for marijuana use for over 25+ years.

“There is no better attorney or law firm to represent a client regarding patients, caregivers or businesses out there.  They are the experts, they are the clear champions, they are the ones you need in the trench beside you when you’re out gunned by the prosecution” Steve

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This post may contain re-posted content, opinions, comments, ads, third party posts, outdated information, posts from disgruntled persons, posts from those with agendas and general internet BS. Therefore…Before you believe anything on the internet regarding anything do your research on Official Government and State Sites, Call the Michigan State Police, Check the State Attorney General Website and Consult an Attorney.

The post Accused of being high as a kite and smoking dirt weed appeared first on Komorn Law.

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