Every case is different and these are only some of the cases Attorney Ed Sternisha has handled. No attorney can guarantee the outcome of a case. These are listed as an example of the effort Ed puts into each case.
Case: State of Michigan v. A.O.
Charges: (1.) OWI-1st, (2.) Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated, (3.) Concealed Pistol License Holder Possessing Firearm While Intoxicated.
Client was stopped for speeding 43mph in a 25mph zone and subsequently arrested and charged with the three crimes listed above. Attorney Ed Sternisha’s meticulous investigation revealed that there were no speed limit signs posted anywhere on the street for drivers traveling in the direction where the client was driving. After several back-and-forth court proceedings, an evidentiary hearing was held to determine the actual speed limit for that road.
In an unusual move, Attorney Sternisha called the County Clerk, the County Road Commission Director, and a Lieutenant from the Michigan State Police Headquarters in Lansing as defense witnesses. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court, agreeing with Attorney Sternisha, held that the enforceable speed limit on the road in question was 55mph, not 25mph. As such, because the client was only traveling 43mph and therefore not speeding, the traffic stop never should have occurred. The court then granted the defense motion to suppress all evidence and dismiss the case.
Outcome: All charges were dismissed. ** This Case Has Been Appealed And The Michigan Court of Appeals Agreed With Attorney Sternisha. The Prosecutor's Office Appealed Again And The Case Is Currently Pending Review In The Michigan Supreme Court. **
Case: City v. D.B-P.
Charges: OWI-High BAC "Super Drunk"
Client was stopped for allegedly crossing over the double-yellow center-line causing an oncoming vehicle to "slow down and swerve to avoid being struck." A careful review of the police officer's dashcam video led Attorney Ed Sternisha to discover that not only did the client never cross over the painted lines, the oncoming vehicle never slowed down nor did it swerve at all. With the traffic-stop being invalid, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss all criminal charges and the client simply paid a small civil fine.
Outcome: All criminal charges were dismissed.
Case: State of Michigan v. H.B.
ANOTHER DUI DISMISSED! Did you know that someone having a diabetic reaction to improper “sugar levels” can appear to be intoxicated? When Ed's client was pulled over for poor driving, she informed the police officer that she was diabetic. The officer never had the simple blood test done to see if her diabetes was the reason or even a contributing factor of her behavior. He arrested her for drunk driving and it was left to Attorney Sternisha to do the investigating. Ed's client wears an insulin pump to supply her with regular doses of insulin throughout the day. As it turned out, that particular pump was recently recalled by the manufacturer because it could give improper doses of insulin, thus causing hypoglycemia. A person experiencing hypoglycemia may act confused, unsteady, have blurred vision, slurred speech, and more. These are the same signs an intoxicated driver may exhibit. With the date approaching, the trial was ultimately cancelled because the prosecutor dismissed the criminal charges and Ed's client would only pay a civil fine for careless driving. Keep in mind that diabetes is not a “Get out of Jail Free Card.” Simply because someone has diabetes does not mean they can drive drunk and get away with it. Because, in this case, Attorney Ed Sternisha was already able to win a suppression motion throwing out the breath test results on other grounds, the prosecutor was not left with a very strong case. When you add to it that his client was wearing a defective insulin pump which could provide “Reasonable Doubt” to the jury, the prosecutor made the right choice and his client would avoid a criminal conviction. This is another example of why you should “Call Ed Instead!” Each case is different and one small fact can change the entire case. Remember, drunk driving is dangerous. If you drink, call a cab. If Arrested, “Call Ed Instead!” (616) 233-CALL-ED
NOTE: About two months before the scheduled trial date, Attorney Ed Sternisha was able to win a Suppression Motion when he argued that the state trooper improperly coerced his client to submit to a breath test. The judge agreed with Mr. Sternisha that the officer gave incorrect information to the driver after she was arrested and as such, she could not have knowingly given consent. The breath-test results were tossed!
Outcome: Breath-Test Results Suppressed, then Criminal charges dismissed in exchange for a minor civil-infraction traffic ticket.
Case: State of Michigan v. C.S.
Charges: (1.) OWI-2nd Offense, (2.) Refusing P.B.T. (3.) Implied Consent Refusal
Client was stopped for allegedly failing to use his turn signal prior to turning at an intersection. While carefully reviewing the police officer's dashcam video, Attorney Ed Sternisha discovered what appeared to be the blinking of a turn signal on the rear of the client's pickup truck. At the Implied Consent hearing with the Michigan Secretary of State, Attorney Sternisha presented the video and questioned the state trooper who made the stop. The trooper agreed that he could see the blinking of a turn signal on the back of the client's truck. At that time, the hearing officer dismissed the Implied Consent Refusal and the mandatory 1-year driver's license suspension was cancelled.
Later at court, Attorney Sternisha presented the same video to the judge and asked that the criminal charges be dismissed as well. Although the prosecutor objected and claimed the officer simply made a mistake, the judge ruled that to him, it appeared as though, from the officer's position near the intersection, the officer could not tell if the client did or did not use a signal and therefore said, "If you can't tell, you can't stop him." The judge then dismissed the criminal charges.
Outcome: All charges were dismissed.
Case: City v. R.H.
Charges: OWI-High BAC "Super Drunk"
Client was originally charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) with a High BAC (or Super Drunk). Although the arresting officer testified under oath that the defendant made a series of erratic turns, drove on the wrong side of the road, and refused to stop for the emergency lights, Ed was able to clearly show that none of that was true. When the officer testified that the defendant had slurred speech, poor balance, and failed the alphabet, Ed was again able to show that those statements too were false.
Ed even employed an investigator who used photos to demonstrate in court that the streets the officer claimed the incident took place on were not even the same streets shown in the officer’s own dashcam video. In the end, the officer’s credibility was shot and Ed’s client only paid a small fine for a minor traffic violation that will not cause him to have a criminal record. The OWI criminal charges were DISMISSED!
Outcome: All criminal charges were dismissed.
Case: State of Michigan v. D.L.
Charges: (1.) OWI-2nd Offense, (2.) Drunk & Disorderly, (3.) Driving on a Suspended License
Client was arrested and charged with Operating While Intoxicated - 2nd Offense, Drunk & Disorderly, and Driving on a Suspended License (DWLS) after his ex-girlfriend called the police claiming he was trying to break into her home. The police arrived and found the client on the porch of the apartment complex and were told by the ex-girlfriend that he arrived one hour prior. Even though he had been on the porch for an hour with a half-empty bottle of 100-proof liquor, the police felt that because he must have driven to that location and he was now intoxicated, he should be charged with drunk driving. Even though a blood test conducted two hours later returned a result of .14% BAC, Attorney Ed Sternisha was able to convince a jury that there was no possible way to determine if the client had any alcohol in his system at the time of driving. Because he was standing on the porch with the bottle of liquor for an hour, the jury agreed with Attorney Sternisha and found the client Not Guilty of OWI-2nd, Not Guilty of Drunk & Disorderly, and only found him guilty of DWLS.
In this case, DUI Attorney Ed Sternisha used the prosecutor's own evidence, including police photographs and a recording of the original 911 call to demonstrate to the jury that the client was not guilty of what he was accused of.
Outcome: Jury verdict of Not Guilty of OWI-2nd and Drunk & Disorderly. Only guilty of DWLS.
Case: City v. R.V.
Client was arrested and charged with Operating While Intoxicated - 1st Offense after an officer pulled him over for turning into a parking lot, then pulling back onto the road to go in another direction (which by the way, is not a traffic offense). The client informed the officer that he was from out-of-town and was unfamiliar with the area and was simply turning around. Although the client performed the field sobriety test well, he was arrested after a PBT showed a result of .08% BrAC. At the jail a formal breath test was administered with the first result of .08% and the second test, three minutes later, showing .07%. Attorney Ed Sternisha discussed the case with the prosecutor and negotiated a resolution where the client would pay a fine for a careless driving ticket, which is a civil infraction, and the prosecutor would dismiss the criminal charges.
Outcome: Criminal charges dismissed in exchange for a minor traffic ticket.
Case: State of Michigan v. C.F.
Charges: OWI-1st; Refuse PBT
Client was arrested and charged with Operating While Intoxicated - 1st Offense after an officer pulled her over for "weaving within her traffic lane" - described as going from side to side inside the painted lines, (which by the way, is not a traffic offense). After investigating the case and reading the allegations, Attorney Ed Sternisha was not surprised when the blood test results came back below the legal limit - Ed has dealt with this officer before. Ed was, however, surprised that the police received the lab results over a month prior and never produced a copy for the defense even though it was the 2nd court appearance since they learned of the results.
Without the lab results, Ed would not, and could not, advise his client to plead guilty to a crime that the police couldn't even prove occurred. Still insistent on seeing the lab results, and having the prosecutor finally retrieve them from the police department, as he expected, it was below the legal limit. Attorney Ed Sternisha discussed the case with the prosecutor and negotiated a resolution where the client would pay a fine for a careless driving ticket, which is a civil infraction, pay a fine for refusing the PBT, another civil infraction, and the prosecutor would dismiss the criminal charges.
Outcome: Criminal charges dismissed in exchange for a minor traffic ticket.
Case: City v. M.S.
DRUNK DRIVING CASE DISMISSED! Very happy client. It all started with a report of a hit-and-run driver who struck a pedestrian and fled the scene in a black Cadillac. Attorney Ed Sternisha's client was sitting in her black Cadillac scrolling through her phone about 2 miles away in a gas station parking lot. Although the engine was not running, the keys were in her coat pocket, and there was no damage on her vehicle, the police swarmed her vehicle, removed her, handcuffed her, and locked her in the back of their patrol car. When she asked why they were doing this to her, they said, “Because you hit someone.” Although a man at the gas station told the police that the woman could not have hit anyone because he had been with her, they never mentioned this in their police report – Ed discovered this when he reviewed the bodycam video. Eventually they determined there was no hit-and-run and no victim was ever located. Instead of releasing her, they searched her vehicle (without a warrant) and questioned her (without Miranda). They un-handcuffed her long enough to have her submit to field sobriety tests and then took her to jail for drunk driving – remember, she was only operating her phone, not her car. Fortunately for her, she retained Ed Sternisha and he thoroughly investigated her case. Attorney Sternisha drafted a very lengthy Motion to Suppress detailing the multitude of Constitutional violations. As he prepared for the hearing where he would have the opportunity to question the officers under oath, the prosecutor called and agreed to dismiss the criminal charges. Ed's client went through a lot but was happy it was finally over.
Outcome: Criminal charges dismissed in exchange for a minor traffic ticket.
Case: City v. A.L.
VERY HAPPY CLIENT: Drunk Driving Charges Dismissed. Ed's client was assaulted by a female friend of his girlfriend. He was repeatedly punched in the face which resulted in a black-eye and a busted lip. He did not fight back. He refused to hit a woman. Instead, he called police for help.
When the officer arrived, she immediately accused him of being drunk. He was polite and cooperative the entire time. Although no one saw him drive, there was no report of poor driving, and there was no evidence of when he actually arrived, he was locked in the back of the police car and questioned without being advised of his Miranda rights. While talking to other officers trying to figure out all the different things she could arrest him for, the officer said, “I just wanna charge him up because he is such a loser!” (Attorney Sternisha discovered this on the officer's own dashcam recording.)
Ed's client was arrested, taken to jail, and had blood drawn a couple hours later. Although the blood-test results showed he was over the limit, it did not tell what his BAC was at the time of driving – only at the time the blood was drawn.
Attorney Sternisha drafted a lengthy letter to the prosecutor explaining all the problems he discovered during his investigation. After a good debate with the prosecutor, Ed was able to negotiate a civil infraction and a plea to creating a disturbance in exchange for the drunk driving charge being dismissed. Although his client shared some of the blame for the disturbance, Attorney Sternisha believed there was not enough to support a drunk driving charge. Eventually his client paid some fines and the case was closed. No jail, no probation, and he was able to get his driver’s license back. This is a good example of why you should always have your case thoroughly investigated by Attorney Ed Sternisha.
Drunk driving is dangerous. If you drink, call a cab. If arrested, “Call Ed Instead!”
Outcome: Drunk driving charges dismissed in exchange for a minor traffic ticket and a charge of creating a disturbance.
Case: State of Michigan v. M.M.
Charges: OWI-1st; Implied Consent Refusal
ANOTHER DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE DISMISSED! This was definitely a strange one. When Attorney Ed Sternisha was first retained, his client told him that he represented a family member of his a while back and got a Not Guilty verdict so he was expecting the same results. Talk about pressure!
As you may know, Attorney Sternisha is not only a lawyer, he is also a licensed private investigator. He digs into each case to find anything that may help. So here’s some of what he found in this case…
The police report claimed Ed's client was pulled over for crossing the centerline twice but when he reviewed the dashcam video, Ed didn’t see it. What was more concerning however, was the Search Warrant Affidavit. In order to get a warrant to draw blood from someone, the police officer must swear under oath that everything in the affidavit is true. Our Constitution demands it. Among other things, this particular affidavit said that the officer asked the driver if he was taking any blood thinner medication and the driver said he was not and that he had no medical condition which may cause harm if a blood sample is taken.
The truth is, Attorney Sternisha's client not only told the officer of the blood-thinners he was taking, he showed him the recent surgery he had on his chest and said, “I am at a severe risk for bleeding.” The officer called an EMT to get his opinion. During the phone conversation which was caught on the dashcam video, the officer told the EMT about the recent surgery. He could be heard telling him that my client was on “heart medications” and that, “He said he’s at a high risk for bleeding.”
Ed's client was then driven to jail (which ironically, on the way, the officer rolled past a stop sign and crossed the centerline a few times). At the jail, the officer could be heard telling the staff that the driver recently had surgery and had him show them his chest. The officer then woke up a judge around 3:00am and swore under oath that Ed's client was not taking any blood-thinners and had no risk for harm should blood be drawn. This simply was not true. There were other issues Attorney Sternisha had with the search warrant affidavit but while the others related to whether or not there was actual probable cause, the false statement about his client’s medical condition risked more than just his freedom - it risked his life.
As Attorney Sternisha dug deeper into the officer’s background, he discovered that although he had only been in law enforcement for a few years, he had been at several different police agencies. The agency prior to this one had suspended him for getting pulled over by a State Trooper for going 94mph off-duty and displaying a badge for a department he didn’t work for. He also voided a ticket for a friend after taking it out of the court area without authority. More than that, before he was a cop, this officer had been arrested multiple times – mostly for traffic offenses but at least one case involved the improper use of a gun. To be fair, that charge was eventually dismissed from his record but Attorney Sternisha's concern wasn’t whether he was convicted or not. Ed's concern was the officer's contempt for the court process. One of his traffic offenses required the court to issue at least 3 bench warrants for his arrest because each time he bonded out of jail, he failed to appear for the next required court date. This showed Attorney Sternisha the officer had no respect for the judicial system. This, combined with flashing a badge from an agency he did not work for in an attempt to get out of a speeding ticket for 94mph, along with falsely swearing under oath to obtain a search warrant, Attorney Ed Sternisha REALLY was looking forward to cross-examining him on the stand.
Fortunately Ed had a very good prosecutor to work with on this case. He was very receptive to Ed's concerns and after reviewing the case materials himself, he agreed this case had problems. In the end, Ed's client paid a small fine for a civil infraction ticket and the criminal charges were dismissed. His client is now the second one in that family who Ed helped get out of a drunk driving conviction.
It should also be noted that the officer also claimed Attorney Sternisha's client improperly refused a breath. blood. or urine test. Ed promptly filed a request for a hearing and the Secretary of State eventually closed the matter without taking any action on the driver's license of Ed's client. He had faced a one-year suspended license.
Remember, If you drink, call a cab. If arrested, “Call Ed Instead!”
Outcome: Drunk driving charges dismissed in exchange for a minor traffic ticket. The Implied Consent Refusal case was closed without action.
Case: State of Michigan v. C.D. AND City v. C.D.
Charges: OWI-1st - TWICE!
VERY HAPPY CLIENT: Drunk Driving Charges Dismissed. After being pulled over for a broken tail-light, being subjected to roadside "sobriety tests," being taken to jail, waiting months for the blood-test results to come back, and multiple trips to court, Attorney Sternisha's client is very happy with the final outcome. The criminal charges against him were dismissed. All he had left was a small fine for a civil infraction traffic ticket. Ed enjoyed working with the prosecutor who saw this case for what it was - not a drunk driving case! Although the police report claimed his client failed the field sobriety tests due to intoxication, the blood-test results did not support that claim.
Strangely enough, this same client was arrested again by police after crashing into a few parked vehicles a few months after the first arrest. Because the blood-test results finally came back from the first case, Attorney Ed Sternisha took on both cases at the same time. For this second case, Ed carefully investigated every aspect of the police encounter and discovered many problems. From arresting his client before any probable cause was established, to improperly administering the field sobriety tests, to threatening jail for refusing the PBT (which is not a criminal offense), Attorney Sternisha drafted a 27-page Motion to Suppress & Dismiss and filed it with the court. Shortly before the hearing, the prosecutor called and offered a resolution where Attorney Sternisha's client would pay a civil infraction ticket and the criminal case would be dismissed. His client accepted and the drunk driving charge was dismissed. If handled properly by the police, his client may have been convicted, but because of the sloppy police-work, Attorney Sternisha's client avoided TWO drunk driving convictions.
Remember drunk driving is dangerous. If you drink, call a cab. If arrested, “Call Ed Instead!”
Outcome: Two drunk driving cases dismissed in exchange for a minor traffic ticket in both cases.
Case: State of Michigan v. A.R.
Charges: OWI-3rd; Assault & Battery, Littering
AMAZING OUTCOME: Attorney Sternisha's client had an outstanding warrant for Assault & Battery and for Littering, and a police sergeant was parked near his home waiting for him to arrive. When the client drove in and parked, he was immediately arrested. At that time, the sergeant began asking the client if he had anything to drink and the client admitted to one beer. The sergeant had another officer administer field sobriety tests and the client did pretty well. Ed's client refused the PBT and was taken to jail by the officer (not the sergeant) for the warrant. At the jail the officer told the client he was “for sure coming to jail for the warrant,” and that she was going to read him his chemical test rights (which must be read before a breath, blood, or urine test after an arrest for OWI). The officer told Ed's client that if he refused the breath test, she would charge him with “that OWI” because she would have to get a warrant to draw blood. His client asked questions and the officer continued to tell him if he refused the breath-test, he would be charged with “that OWI.” When Attorney Ed Sternisha discovered this conversation by reviewing the officer’s bodycam recordings, he immediately filed a Motion to Suppress the breath-test results.
Attorney Ed Sternisha argued that his client was not yet under arrest for OWI (only for the warrant) and therefore the Implied Consent Law didn’t apply to him. Because of this, when the officer told him that if he refused the breath-test he would get 6 points on his driver’s license and his license would also be suspended, she provided him with wrong information. Attorney Sternisha also argued that when the officer told his client he would be charged with a crime if he refused the breath-test, not only did she give improper information, she essentially used coercion and duress in order to get him to submit to a breath-test. As such, Attorney Sternisha argued that his client’s submission to the test was not knowingly and intelligently given and therefore the test results should be suppressed. After a hearing with oral arguments the judge agreed and the breath-test results were suppressed. Soon afterwards the felony 3rd offense drunk driving case was dismissed. Although client originally faced a prison sentence, he was now free.
(Note: Attorney Edward Sternisha also got the charges client faced from the original warrant resolved with a simple plea to littering, the other misdemeanor charge was dismissed.)
As always, drunk driving is dangerous. If you drink, call a cab. If arrested, “Call Ed Instead!”
Outcome: Felony OWI-3rd dismissed. Misdemeanor Assault & Battery dismissed. Guilty only of Littering.
Law Office of Edward J. Sternisha, PLLC
Law Office of Edward J. Sternisha, PLLC - 330 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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