There’s DUI news today in LaGrange County, Indiana, where an Ohio man was arrested and found to have a BAC level 3 times more than the legal limit in Indiana. BAC laws have long since governed what constitutes a DUI in the state of Indiana and other states. The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) reading helps police officers and prosecutors understand just how intoxicated someone was while they were operating a motor vehicle. Someone with just a .06% BAC is going to behave much differently, and more impaired, on the road than someone with zero alcohol in their bloodstream. The results can be catastrophic on the roadways and police officers are well aware of this in Indiana.
Michael Graeff is a 48-year-old man from Akron, Ohio who decided to drive through the state of Indiana on a wrong day. He was apprehended by police who noticed that he made an illegal U-turn on the roadways and then literally drove into the path of a Ford F-450 with very little attention to what he was doing. The incident occurred around 3:00 PM on the Indiana Toll Road.
A state trooper was immediately summoned to the scene because it was suspected that Graeff was driving drunk. Under the law in the state, he was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated Endangerment charges and booked into the LaGrange County Jail. This charge is a bit more serious than a DUI charge. It means that not only was the person driving while intoxicated but they caused endangerment in the process of doing so.
Even though no one was injured in Michael Graeff’s wild ride on the Indiana Toll Road, it’s obvious that there could have been. His extremely high BAC level could have meant that he could be tried on aggravated DWI charges that increase the danger of an accident occurring in the commission of the DWI. Someone who has a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.15% is much more likely to cause an accident on the roadways than someone who is driving with a level lower than that. This shows in Graeff’s endangerment charge which likely wouldn’t have come at a lower BAC.
Graeff’s BAC will present a problem for his attorneys. Indiana crash stats show tragic statistics of people who choose to operate a motor vehicle while as intoxicated as Graeff was. For example, 59% of fatal accidents involving people who had been drinking were caused by drivers with a BAC higher than 0.15%. Graeff’s BAC was almost double THAT number. According to DUIwise, a helpful website for people who have committed DUI offenses, Graeff will definitely need a good attorney on his side for his case, not just because he was driving while intoxicated but because he endangered people while doing so. A U-turn while drunk could have resulted in a head on collision with loss of life. Graeff is exceedingly lucky that this didn’t occur and that all he is facing is an Operating While Intoxicated Endangerment charge.
The site would also have some strong advice about ways Graeff could successfully beat the DUI charge ahead of him. Most people simply plead guilty and give up early on in a DUI case, but DUIwise.com correctly points out that fighting a DUI charge is almost always the best thing to do. A seasoned DUI lawyer is going to know all the many ways that a person can “beat” a DUI. Graeff could potentially learn something from some of the advice on this website.
For example, many people successfully question field sobriety tests, assert that officer’s failed to read Miranda Rights, or make “rising BAC level” arguments that successfully shed doubt on their charge. It’s amazing how many ways there are for even the clearest cut cases of DUI to get out of the charge or perhaps have their charge reduced to something that is less damaging to a driving record.
Nothing hits insurance rates quite as hard as a DUI arrest. Graeff will almost certainly see a huge spike in his car insurance rates- once he’s able to drive again at all. Even a first offense DUI can result in a 90-day license suspension. For working people, this suspension can take a horrendous toll on their ability to earn a living and take care of their lives. In all scenarios, a lawyer tries their best to see that even the clearest cut cases of DUI are tried fairly in court and that the perpetrator has the opportunity to get help before they are sentenced to jail.
In many cases like Graeff’s, a good attorney is able to get a DUI marked down to a lesser charge, meaning that someone with 3 DUIs might only have 2 on their record or other examples such as this where one of the DUIs doesn’t actually count on the record. This can bring welcome relief in insurance rates or can even mean that someone with a DUI appears not to have one and can have a better chance of rehabilitating themselves.
For now, Graeff faces an uncertain future and a very serious charge. Not only did he drive while intoxicated 3 times more than the legal limit, but he made a very costly mistake on the road that resulted in an endangerment charged tacked onto the DUI. Perhaps a lawyer will be able to get some of the charges dropped or reduced to a lesser charge, but for now, Michael Graeff will face the music soon in LaGrange County. Maybe the next time he travels through the state of Indiana, he will do so while sober and look out for the public good. Thanks to the alert state troopers and those guarding Indiana’s roads, Graeff was able to be arrested before he actually hurt somebody on the road. In so many of these cases, the defendant isn’t arrested until they have done something far more deadly than committing a U-turn. Everyone, in this case, came out of it with a chance to do better next time.