Skip to main content
A Better Partnership
December 08, 2010

COA Opinion: A person that leaves a vehicle in a dangerous position on a roadway "operates" that vehicle for purposes of Michigan's drunk driving law

On December 7, 2010, the Court of Appeals published its per curiam opinion in People v. Lechleitner, No. 293577. In this case, the defendant was intoxicated and lost control of his vehicle on the freeway, hitting guardrails and then ultimately coming to rest in the middle of the freeway, blocking two lanes. As a result of other vehicles swerving to avoid defendant's vehicle, a fatal crash occurred. On appeal, defendant challenged the trial court's conclusion that, at the time in question, he was "operating" a motor vehicle within the meaning of the applicable statute. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling, adopting the reasoning in People v. Wood, 450 Mich 399; 538 NW2d 351 (1995). Specifically, it reaffirmed Wood's holding that once someone intoxicated puts a vehicle in motion, that person continues to "operate" the vehicle until it is placed in a position that does not pose a significant risk of collision.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.



+ -