Drunk Driving in Michigan
Many individuals have their first, and only, brush with the criminal justice system when they are arrested for an OWI. This can lead to sleepless nights, anxiety about work and family obligations, and a general feeling of disappointment about their actions. While these are all valid ways to feel, the best way to combat these feelings is to inform yourself about how to proceed through the coming months. You can help yourself by retaining the Macomb Law Group, a law firm that specializes in these types of cases.
What The Macomb Law Group Can Do For You
The Macomb Law Group can provide you with the personal attention you need to help navigate the confusing legal landscape. In addition, our lawyers are dedicated to continuous legal education and the aggressive practice of law. This website. The world of DUI law is ever-evolving. You owe it to yourself to invest in your future. If you are SERIOUS about confronting your legal and personal issues, you have come to the right place.
What Separates Our Firm From Others?
While some firms value the volume of clients they bring in, the Macomb Law Group focuses on the QUALITY of representation we provide to clients. You should not be afraid to call your attorney with questions about your case or its collateral impact on your life. Clients routinely have questions about bond, alcohol/drug testing, and driver’s license issues. Rather than potentially making a decision on your own that could negatively impact your case, CALL US! After all, you hired us to represent and counsel you! Due to our extensive experience in handling drunk driving cases, we can provide you with knowledgeable answers to your questions.
How Will The Macomb Law Group Defend My Case
The Macomb Law Group will leave no stone unturned. While every case is vastly different, there are several areas of a drunk driving case that our attorneys specifically focus on attacking. These areas include pre-arrest driving, field sobriety testing, blood/breath testing, and police officer conduct. Our office will FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) documents related to your case, obtain dash-cam/body-cam video, and determine whether or not the police have done their job in securing a proper arrest for drunk driving. The Macomb Law Group is well respected for our aggressive pre-trial motions as well as preparedness in court. Prosecutors know that we are NOT AFRAID to take our cases to trial. This greatly improves our ability to get you the best outcome possible.
Payment and Consultations
We welcome our potential clients to call us with any questions. We offer a FREE one-hour consultation to discuss your case. After speaking with our dedicated attorneys, we are certain you will know you found the right team to represent you.
Our office also offers flexible payment plans to assist you during these times. While we may not be able to accommodate everyone’s payment
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding DUI/OWI in Michigan
What is the difference between DUI/OWI?
This is the most popular question I am asked regarding drunk driving cases in Michigan. Driving Under the Influence “DUI”, while more commonly well known, is not an actual charge you will face in Michigan. Instead, Michigan refers to drunk driving cases as Operating While Intoxicated “OWI”. This is due to changes in Michigan caselaw, whereby someone doesn’t necessarily have to be “driving” the motor vehicle in order to be found guilty. Instead, the mere operation of a motor vehicle is enough to prove a “drunk driving” charge in Michigan. While there is a much deeper discussion to be had on those elements, it is sufficient to state that the proper name for a drunk driving charge in Michigan is Operating While Intoxicated.
What is the legal limit for alcohol in Michigan?
In Michigan, the per se legal limit for alcohol, also known as Bodily Alcohol Content “BAC:”, in an OWI case is 0.08. While this is common knowledge, there are two important factors that expand possible charges that could be levied against you.
- You are NOT entitled to a dismissal of the case in the event your BAC is below .08. While it is PRESUMED you are under the influence of alcohol if your BAC is over .08, prosecutors have historically still moved forward on drunk driving charges despite a BAC under .08. Namely, an individual could be charged with a different drunk driving charge, Operating While Visibly Impaired. This means that, due to the consumption of alcohol, an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is visibly impaired. While being charged with a BAC under .08 is rare, it is a distinct possibility.
- If an individual’s BAC is above .17, there is an additional drunk driving charge that can be levied. Michigan’s Super Drunk law carries enhanced penalties and additional driving sanctions.
Do I really need a lawyer for my drunk driving case? Can I use a public defender?
Drunk driving cases can be very complex cases. Motions can be filed based on pre-arrest and post-arrest issues of law. While some of the issues may be obvious to general practitioner criminal defense attorneys, many of the best defenses to a drunk driving case require a deep understanding of science, police procedures, and chemical testing. These defenses require constant learning and education to ensure we are on top of every available avenue to success. While many public defenders are very intelligent, they do not specialize in particular areas of the law. Your lawyer for your OWI should be able to dissect a dash-cam/body-cam video. They should know what to challenge when it comes to breath and blood testing. They need to know the police officer’s responsibilities better than the police officers themselves. By choosing a criminal defense attorney who dedicates themselves to OWI defense, you will be assured of the best possible outcome in your case.
What can I do to avoid jail for my OWI?
Presenting yourself before the judge in a positive light is the key to a favorable outcome at sentencing. This is why hiring an experienced OWI attorney is VERY important. Each judge has different views on what an OWI sentencing should entail. First, avoiding on violations on bond will set you up for success later on. This includes testing negative and on time for any alcohol/drug tests you are ordered to complete. Showing a judge you can remain sober gives the judge good faith that you will remain sober. Depending on my client’s personal and legal history, I may also recommend voluntary substance abuse counseling, AA meetings, or at the very least, a substance abuse assessment. Being proactive with your recovery, while also showing the court that you are taking things seriously, provides confidence to the court and probation department that jail is not appropriate in your case.
My friend received a certain sentence in their case. Should I expect the same?
NO!!!! This is every attorney’s pet peeve. You should never expect to experience the criminal justice system the same way as others. Every case is different. Everyone has different backgrounds, case facts, risk factors, attitudes, etc. You should never find yourself in trouble with the legal system and assume a similar outcome as others. This is why you need an attorney who is able to inform the court of YOUR case with YOUR best interests in mind.
Do I need to take the field sobriety tests?
You are NOT required to take field sobriety tests after you are pulled over by a police officer. These are commonly known as the “Horizontal/Vertical Gaze Nystagmus”, also known as the eye test; the “Walk and Turn Test”, also known as the 9 step walk; and the “One Leg Stand Test”. While there are others, such as the Finger-to-Nose, counting backwards, reciting the alphabet, etc., all of these tests are voluntary. No law requires you to take them. You are free to tell the officer you do not wish to participate in these tests.
You are also not required to take the Preliminary Breath Test, also known as the “PBT”. This is the breath test you will be asked to take on the side of the road, prior to arrest. You will be told, or should be told, that there is a civil infraction associated with refusing this test. This is true, you will have to pay a fine. However, the PBT is one of the most important pieces of evidence against you prior to arrest. Even if you did FANTASTIC on all of the other field sobriety tests, a PBT result at/above .08 will lead to your arrest. Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not you will take the PBT. However, you should be aware of the consequences of taking the test, and the upside of not providing the police with clear evidence of your BAC.
What tests DO I need to take?
If you have a Michigan Driver’s License, you agreed to consent to a chemical test upon request from a police officer as a condition of getting your license. After your arrest, the officer will read you a form that describes your rights when considering this chemical test. You are required to take a breath test (whether or not you take the PBT) at the police station/jail, or a blood test. Your failure to consent to one of these tests will result in the suspension of your driver’s license for one year and the addition of six points to your driving record. You may choose one of the tests, blood or breath, but refusal carries a steep penalty. If you do refuse, the police will still obtain a sample of your blood through a warrant. Using a refusal to buy time for your BAC to become lower is NEVER a sound strategy. Hiring a lawyer to fight the case for you will result in much less hardship for you and your loved ones.
What are the penalties for an OWI in Michigan?
The penalties for an OWI in Michigan differ based on your BAC, the number of prior offenses, the chronology of your prior offenses, and the existence of any injuries or death associated with your case. Based on all of the factors that could influence your penalty, it is nearly impossible to calculate your exact sentence.