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Michigan driver on tractor mower faces drunk driving charges

A Michigan man was taken into police custody and charged with driving while intoxicated at approximately 9 p.m. on Oct. 25. The 36-year-old Lawton resident was riding a John Deere lawnmower and headed north on CR 657 at the time of his arrest. He was apprehended near 60th Avenue, and authorities report that his lawn mower was pulling a trailer and had self-attached headlights. Depending on the year of manufacture, tractors on Michigan roads must have proper headlights and break lights installed.

Police have not released the name of the driver, who was taken to the Van Buren County Jail. A local deputy performed a traffic stop on the grounds of multiple alleged traffic violations. A reserve deputy then reported that the driver appeared to be heavily intoxicated. During the stop, an accident with an approaching vehicle nearly occurred but was averted when the officer illuminated the lawnmower.

The Van Buren County Prosecutor's Office has taken the case under review and the driver is awaiting arraignment. Police have not released information on the method used to determine the driver's BAC level. A list of the alleged traffic violations that prompted the traffic stop has not been released either.

Authorities report that this incident is the driver's third subsequent offense, which may lead to harsher sentencing if he faces a drunk driving conviction. However, there are criminal defense strategies that may help the defendant's lawyer oppose the charges. The fact that the driver was operating a tractor presents an unusual factor in this case. The driver's attorney may base a defense on the type of vehicle as well as the methods used to determine the driver's intoxication. It is unclear whether a blood test or Breathalyzer test was used.

Source: KDFW, "Michigan man arrested for DUI on a lawn mower," Oct. 27, 2014

Source: FOX 17, "Man on a John Deere lawn mower arrested for drunk driving", Brody Carter, October 25, 2014

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