Social drinkers across the state of Michigan are being stopped, arrested, and put in jail for DUI. In Michigan, the crime of drunk driving is actually names Operating While Intoxicated – OWI. There are even more social drinkers being charged with Operating While Visibly Impaired – OWVI, which is any amount of alcohol in your system that impairs your ability to drive. This means that if you have two glasses of wine with dinner and your metabolism is such that your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is .05% and you get in an accident or hit someone, you could be charged with Impaired driving or worse…Negligent Homicide!
If you are a social drinker and have been stopped, arrested and charged with a Michigan DUI charge, do not let the fact that you may be embarrassed keep you from hiring an attorney to protect your rights. An attorney can serve many different purposes. The first is to simply be there with you at all court appearances, conferences, pleas and sentencing. The second is to make sure your case is investigated for all possible defenses. The third is making sure that your time spent in the court system is as little as possible to avoid disrupting your life, job and personal life.
Any time you are facing a Michigan DUI – First Offense, it is imperative that you hire an attorney to represent you. The reason? Even though typically there is no jail time for a first offense OWI, there is also less to lose in terms of making a tough decision to go to trial. It will certainly depend on your BAC, but threatening and being prepared to go all the way to trial could save you six years, 364 days into the future when you are at a social party and get charged with impaired driving. Make sure an experienced criminal defense attorney reviews your case.
Michigan DUI – Second Offense
A second offense DUI in Michigan is any violation that occurs within 7 years of a prior conviction. There are mandatory penalties by statute that are very harsh. One of the worst penalties is that your driving privileges will be REVOKED in Michigan for 1 to 5 years. You will then enter the terrible world of DLAD and trying to get your license back. Therefore, if you are facing a second offense DUI, it is imperative that you hire an attorney to advocate your defenses
Michigan DUI – Third Offense
Any combination of three alcohol offenses within 10 years is now a felony in Michigan. This means that you face the possibility of going to prison. These cases are taken very seriously by the court system, the judges, prosecutors and the public. The court and prosecutors will assume that you are an alcoholic and in need of treatment. That is why it is crucial to start the process as soon as you are arrested. Substance abuse evaluations, AA classes, alcohol testing 2 times per day, alcohol tether, and other programs need to be looked into to try and minimize any future jail time and incarceration.
The penalties for DUI in Michigan are very harsh. There are even new laws going into effect October 31, 2010 called “super drunk driving” laws. They increase the penalties and provide an upper ceiling for the first time of .17 or higher to qualify. A first offense will carry with it hefty fines, costs, victim rights fees, attorney fees, driver responsibility fees, and probation oversight. A second offense has all of the above but add the real probability of further jail time and death penalty for your drivers license.
Michigan DUI Laws
The Michigan legislature has combined all alcohol offenses into one statute which is found on this site. What is not included are the drivers license sanctions which we have also provided if you click on the Michigan DUI Laws link. All of these laws have been in response to growing pressure to stop drunk driving on public roads. This has led to increased enforcement and unfortunately, violation of individual’s rights at the same time. Our Constitution as well as recent case law decisions are intended to balance the rights of individuals in the criminal justice system with those intended to protect the public. Find out how these laws can be used to reduce your penalties and make your court case a much less painful experience.
Michigan DUI Statute
The Michigan DUI Statute is included in this link. What is not included is any penalties imposed by the Michigan Secretary of State. Please consult another section of this website regarding any license sanctions for a Michigan drunk driving charge.
Michigan DUI Attorney / Lawyer
When you have been arrested for drunk driving and spent the night in jail, your first reaction will probably be fear tinged with embarrassment. I have sat in arraignments (the first court appearance) and seen countless individuals, many who are professionals and community leaders, plead guilty as their name is called into court. By pleading not guilty, you preserve your rights to have a pretrial conference held where you can talk to the prosecuting attorney. It also gives you the opportunity to inquire into hiring an experienced DUI Lawyer. The right attorney can make your experience much less stressful and there is a good chance that there are defenses to your charge.
Michigan DUI Expungement
This is a question that I have been receiving since I started practicing. The current expungement laws allow for one conviction to be set aside after 5 years as long as it meets certain criteria. The legislature has chosen to NOT allow any drunk driving convictions to be set aside in Michigan. This is a law that we are certainly fighting and contacting legislators to take another look at. This is especially true with social drinkers being convicted for impaired driving since the legal limit was lowered to .08
Michigan OWI Sentencing
An individual who pleads guilty at their initial arraignment cannot be sentenced in Michigan right away. Most courts require a substance abuse assessment in order to determine if further counseling or classes are necessary. Our office handles this for you and makes sure that you are ready. In addition, we make sure that you complete any victim impact panels available and attend counseling and get proof if necessary. We will also be ready to discuss with the court your active participation in any AA groups and have proof of attendance. Being prepared for sentencing is a critical step in your court process.
Operating While Visibly Impaired – OWVI is certainly a scary charge in Michigan and is in the back of my mind every time I am out and have a drink socially. The law is very clear that ANY amount of alcohol that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle can put you in jeopardy of a drunk driving charge. The penalties are very similar to a Operating While Intoxicated – OWI charge with slightly different license sanctions and fines and costs. If you get two impaired drivings within seven years it is STILL a second offense and will revoke your drivers license. Therefore, it is crucial to fight the fact that that alcohol impaired your ability to drive. There may have been many different reasons for crossing a center line, having an accident, or speeding. Let an attorney put these defenses forward.
Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level – UBAL in Michigan is in response to defenses put forward by individuals that they were not operating while intoxicated, meaning they were not weaving, swerving, etc. In Michigan, if you have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above .08 you are presumed to be operating the vehicle while intoxicated. Therefore, you must attack the Datamaster or blood test in order to have a chance.