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Charged with a DUI

Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) Refusal is Not a Crime – It is a Civil Infraction Only

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There is a common misconception that refusing a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) is a criminal offense and will result in a loss of a driver’s license. Refusing a PBT after being pulled over or stopped for alleged drunk driving is not a crime and you will not lose your driver’s license if you refuse to take it. Refusing a PBT may result in a civil infraction ticket with NO POINTS and a fine of approximately $100.

Refusal to PBT Test is not a crime

Another common misconception is that a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) is the same thing as a Breathalyzer. There are some major differences. Generally, the result of the PBT is not admissible as evidence in a case (there is a very limited exception). A Breathalyzer or Datamaster test is the breath test that is given at the police station after an arrest. The results of the Breathalyzer are admissible in court. A PBT is a small hand-held device used by Michigan police officers to help determine whether there is probable cause to arrest a driver for drunk driving. Although the PBT will give a reading which purports to show the level of the breath/alcohol, the device’s results are not reliable.

The police usually ask a driver to take a PBT after they’ve had the driver conduct field sobriety tests. Some officers request a PBT prior to sobriety tests and there is not an order that is mandated by law. Some police officers may tell you that you must take a PBT. That’s not true and you can refuse to take it, especially if you believe that you performed the police officers field sobriety tests well and to the best of your abilities. You also do not have to perform field sobriety tests and you can refuse them as well. No ticket or violation can be given for refusal to perform field sobriety tests.

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PBT differs from a Breath Test After a DUI Arrest

A breath/blood/urine test AFTER a person has been arrested for DUI differs from a PBT refusal. Under Michigan’s Implied Consent Laws, if someone refuses a chemical test (breath test at the police station, blood or urine test) after he or she has been arrested for drunk driving in Michigan, this will lead to loss of your driving privileges for one year. If an officer filed a report with the Michigan Secretary of State that a driver refused a chemical test, the driver must appeal within 14-days of the arrest/refusal.

If you fail to appeal to the Driver’s License Appeal Division or lose the appeal, the only option left for a Michigan driver is to appeal to circuit court on what is commonly referred to as a “Hardship Petition.”

The DUI specialists with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. handle alleged drunk driving charges throughout Michigan and regularly appear in Oakland County DUI-OWI, Macomb County DUI-OWI, Washtenaw County DUI-OWI, Wayne County DUI-OWI and Livingston County DUI-OWI.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

If you are charged with DUI Third Offense, that is a felony with a maximum possible prison sentence of 5 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections. This is commonly referred to as OWI 3rd or drunk driving third offense. There is a minimum sentence of 1 year in prison unless the judge orders probation with at least 30 days in jail. If you are charged with third offense DUI-OWI, Loren Dickstein and Randy Lewis will meet with you, without charge, and help you figure out your best defense.

THE Experienced and Aggressive DUI Attorneys in Michigan

If you need assistance with a Michigan DUI charge and you would like a free consultation with an experienced OWI-DUI lawyer, do not hesitate to contact LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or simply fill out a Request for Assistance Form and a top criminal defense attorney will contact you.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

What Can Happen If I Am Convicted of DUI in Michigan

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Drunk Driving Defense - Michigan

One of the most common questions the DUI defense experts at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are asked regarding drunken driving cases are about the possible penalties for a DUI or OWI in Michigan.  If you’re convicted of OWI you could face:

OWI: Misdemeanor (Operating While Intoxicated) (BAC of .08 or higher)
    • $100 to $500 fine.
    • Up to 93 days in jail.
    • Up to 360 hours of community service.
    • Driver license suspension for 30 days, followed by restrictions for 150 days.
    • Possible vehicle immobilization.
    • Possible ignition interlock.
    • Six points added to driver record.
    • $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.

OWI high BAC – Having a breath or blood alcohol content of .17 or higher (AKA Super Drunk)

      • Up to 180 days in jail (increased from 93 days)
      • Fine of $200 but not more than $700 (increased from $100 but not more than $500)
      • One year license suspension with restrictions permitted after 45 days (increased from six-month license suspension with restrictions permitted after 30 days)
      • Up to 360 hours community service (same)
      • Cost of prosecution (same)
      • Immobilization not exceeding 180 days allowed (same)
      • 6 points on the driving record (same)
      • Mandatory alcohol treatment program or self-help program for a period of not less than one year.
OWVI: Misdemeanor (Operating While Visibly Impaired)
      • Up to a $300 fine.
      • Up to 93 days in jail.
      • Up to 360 hours of community service.
      • Driver license restriction for 90 days (180 days if impaired by a controlled substance).
      • Possible vehicle immobilization.
      • Four points on driver record. $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.
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OWI 2nd:   Misdemeanor (Two OWI or DUI convictions within 7 years)
      • A $200 to $1,000 fine.
      • A mandatory minimum of five days and up to one year in jail.
      • Thirty to 90 days community service.
      • Driver license denial or revocation for a minimum of one year.
      • License plate confiscated.
      • Vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days unless vehicle is forfeited.
      • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
      • Six points on driver record.
      • $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.
OWVI 2nd:  Misdemeanor (Two Impaired Driving convictions within 2 years)
      • A $200 to $1,000 fine.
      • Five days to one year in jail.
      • Thirty to 90 days community service.
      • Driver license denial or revocation for a minimum of one year.
      • License plate confiscation.
      • Vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days unless vehicle is forfeited.
      • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
      • Four points on driver record.
      • $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.
OWI 3rd  Felony (two prior offenses within your lifetime)
      • A $500 to $5,000 fine.
      • Minimum of 1 year and maximum of five years imprisonment.
      • Probation with 30 consecutive days to one year in jail (no work release).
      • Sixty to 180 days community service.
      • Driver license denial or revocation for a minimum five years.
      • License plate confiscation.
      • Vehicle immobilization for one to three years unless vehicle is forfeited.
      • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
      • Registration denial.
      • Six points on driver record.
      • $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

If you have been convicted of either OWI or OWVI twice in the past 10 years, and are then convicted for OWVI, it, too, is considered a felony. Causing a death while driving is a felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, a $2,500 to $10,000 fine, or both.   Cause a serious injury while driving is also a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine, or both.

Jail Time or Probation for OWI or DUI in Michigan

Michigan is one of the few states with judges who will sentence even a first offender to jail in some cases.  There are even some judges who routinely give jail time.  Why do some defendants go to jail while others get help or probation? The answer usually is related to the time and preparation that went into the defense of the charges and the persuasiveness of the lawyer at the time of sentencing.  Not all lawyers are equal and most attorneys who routinely handle OWI or DUI cases are known for simply negotiating fast plea bargains and failing to really fight for their clients at the sentencing hearing.  Great OWI defense attorneys will take the time to get to know the client, find all the positive information about the client’s life, find ways to get the client credible help when needed, and zealously advocate for the client with the prosecutor and judge.  There is no substitute for a lawyer who is willing to fight for the client and do whatever is necessary to fearlessly overcome any obstacle.

Defenses to OWI in Court

Surprisingly, most defendants charged in court with DUI or OWI are just presumed guilty and even their lawyers barely put up a fight to protect them.  These cases are highly complex and a defense can be built in several ways. The most experienced and successful lawyers handling OWI, DUI, OWPD, and similar offenses know how to look for defenses that come from science, medicine, the law, the constitution, and the facts.  In many cases, there may not be a strong defense in any one category but weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case can combine to create a powerful defense, an extraordinary plea bargain, or a very lenient sentence. In some cases, when the defense is strong, a reduction in charge to a civil infraction may be possible.

Michigan DUI Defense Attorneys

Don’t trust your Michigan OWI case to an amateur or a general-practice lawyer – take advantage of our years of experience, trial work and legal expertise with OWI laws. Do not wait. Please contact the LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. We approach each and every case with the care and attention you expect and deserve.  Dismissal of all charges is our highest priority when possible.

Complete a Request for Assistance Form and a seriously experienced OWI defense attorney will promptly contact you.
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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.