NOT GUILTY: Bench Trial in Ann Arbor

I normally do jury trials. I call bench trials "slow guilty pleas." But before the right judge with the right facts, I am more comfortable with the judge. 
My client was charged with OWI after she was stopped for driving with her headlights off through downtown Ann Arbor. She appeared to be alert, awake, and sober. Since downtown Ann Arbor is illuminated very well, she failed to notice that her headlights were off. (As a side note: Whenever you have a valet park your car, check your lights! This is a really easy way to get stopped, and valets are notorious for turning automatic headlamps off.) 
She performed the field sobriety tests, but these tests are almost never fair. Unless you get absolutely everything correct, you will exhibit clues. These tests are not designed to determine whether you have actually consumed too much, since sober people fail them in alarming numbers. (Upwards of 80% of sober people will fail the Walk and Turn test according to one federal study.) Field sobriety tests are administered to justify an arrest decision. Officers will frequently admit that these tests are not fair, but they are trained to use these tests. 
In this particular instance, the officer detected clues during the Walk and Turn as well as the One Leg Stand. My client was overweight on the night of her arrest. Because of the stress of a DUI charge looming over head, she lost quite a lot of weight while the matter was pending. The field sobriety training materials indicate that a person who is 50 lbs or more overweight will have difficulty with the One Leg Stand. (Older materials, before the arresting officer was trained in this case, also indicated that overweight people would have trouble with the Walk and Turn, but these paragraphs were removed by the federal government without any new research or new data to justify the change.)
My client took the PBT, and she was arrested. I won't mention the PBT result because I don't want to taint your view of the case. Suffice to say that the arrest was legal and could not be challenged.
At the police station, my client provided two breath samples: .07 and .07. 
You might say, "Hey, she was under the legal limit! That's not fair!" But Michigan's drunk driving laws say that a person can be intoxicated if EITHER the motorist's ability to operate the motor vehicle is substantially lessened OR the person's bodily alcohol content is over .08. Being over the legal limit is only one OWI charge. Furthermore, Michigan's "Operating While Visibly Impaired" law says that a person can be convicted of impaired driving if his or her ability to operate the motor vehicle is less than that of an ordinary, careful driver by the consumption of alcohol.  
A pair of .07s can result in a conviction before the wrong judge or the wrong jury. It sucks, but it's true.
I was before the Hon. Joseph F. Burke. Judge Burke is, in a word, a hardass. You don't screw around before Judge Burke.  My clients are afraid of him. I'm even a little afraid of him. But he's a decent judge. He will come down against the prosecutor as quickly as he will the defense. With these facts, a bench trial was a real possibility.
After mulling this over for months (literally), we were set for a jury trial. At the last minute, however, a new and seasoned prosecutor was assigned to the case. This was a prosecutor that I could trust. He had spoken to the officer, and he agreed that the case was a close call. He assured me that the officer wasn't going to play games, and he wasn't going to exaggerate the evidence. With a little bit of faith, I waived jury at the last minute and called off my expert witnesses, who were scheduled to fly in on the first day of trial.
I have to commend the officer. He did not play games. True to the prosecutor's word, he presented the evidence fairly and admitted weaknesses in the case. With no bad driving, and a breath score below the legal limit, Judge Burke found my client not guilty. It was a tremendous victory for a young lady who deserved the benefit of the doubt.