Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Michigan may result in a serious felony conviction. Fatalities caused by an impaired driver may lead to a sentencing of up to life in prison. At Lucido & Manzella, P.C., we recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your particular case, including when determining if pleading no contest may be a valid option for a defense strategy.

As reported by the Detroit News, a 23-year-old Michigan man who was charged with killing five people while driving under the influence was able to plead no contest to numerous charges. The driver was charged with a total of 19 felony offenses including five second-degree murder charges. Because the defendant chose to plead no contest, it was not necessary for him to admit to any of his offenses nor deny them in court.

Allegedly, the driver did not possess a valid driver’s license and was found to have had a blood-alcohol level of .15, which is twice the legal limit, when he ran his Subaru Impreza through a stop sign and slammed into a Cadillac. The driver of the Cadillac survived, but his three Macomb County passengers did not. Two of the three passengers in the Subaru were also killed in the crash.

When you decide to plead guilty or no contest in Michigan, you generally waive your right to a jury trial. In some circumstances, you may prefer to move forward to a judge’s decision and sentencing rather than face a jury.

Our page on criminal defense provides more information on how you may exercise your rights when charged with committing a crime.