Michigan Has Harsh OWI and DUI Laws
Are you facing DUI or OWI charges? What can you do before appearing in court to improve your odds of a favorable resolution?
All hope is not lost. You can improve your situation.
If you are charged with DUI or another drunk or drugged-driving offense in Michigan, there are general approaches to improve your chances for a favorable outcome before trial. Do not do anything before checking with your attorney and getting case-specific advice. Some things can be done to help improve your chances of getting a favorable plea bargain, an acquittal, and a lenient sentence, but there is no one-size-fits-all formula.
It is crucial to determine how you got the drunk driving charge to improve things at sentencing. This can be done in several ways, but one is to get an Alcohol Evaluation done by a substance abuse therapist. An expert can determine what, if any, problem may exist and set up a proactive plan to address it. On the other hand, if there is no addiction or dependence, the substance abuse evaluator will provide a report indicating that there is no alcohol issue. A favorable evaluation can result in a reduced bond, a more favorable plea bargain, and a reduced sentence.
Pleading NOT Guilty to OWI Charges
An effective OWI defense attorney will initially take a position with the prosecution that you are not guilty, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming evidence. An attorney is most effective at plea or sentence bargaining or preparing for trial when starting from a power position and then determining what can be done to maintain or enhance negotiating power rather than assuming there is nothing that can be done to help a client. Prosecutors and judges respect and tend to do more for lawyers who fight for their clients!
To make full use of any approach to defending alcohol or drug-related driving charges like OWI, Impaired Driving, or OWPD, you should contact a DUI defense attorney in Michigan specializing in defending people charged with intoxicated driving.
“What can I do if I’m charged with DUI, and I know I am guilty?”
Sometimes, the best thing to do is accept responsibility for what has happened. In others, the evidence may not be very strong, and fighting the case may result in a better resolution than simply pleading guilty. OWI law is so complex that few lawyers are qualified to analyze every aspect of a case for potential legal, factual, constitutional, and scientific defenses.
While the charge is pending, it is often helpful to voluntarily start substance abuse counseling or attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. If the AA option is chosen, it is essential that you get sign-in sheets to prove you did attend the meetings. This will show that you are serious about dealing with any addiction issues you may have. It is essential to get a substance abuse evaluation to determine if there are substance abuse/addiction issues and, if so, how to deal with them most effectively. If there are no issues, the substance abuse evaluation will be a great tool to show the judge and prosecutor that the incident is isolated and not an indication of a more significant problem. If you enter into a program, commit to it. The judge will not be impressed if minimal effort is shown.
Do not rely entirely on your family or friends who have had drunk driving charges in the past for advice on what to do. Your decision on what lawyer to hire can greatly impact your life. Do your due diligence and internet research. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney specializing in defending drunk driving allegations in Michigan before you start a course of action.
“What if I am not guilty of OWI?”
It is imperative that you start working on your defense early on. Most police departments have in-car videos and videos of the booking area at the police station. Most police stations only keep these videos for a limited time, so someone must request they be preserved. If there may be favorable evidence, the recordings may be lost or destroyed even earlier. An experienced lawyer handling DUI cases will know how to keep the evidence that can be used to help defend you or mitigate the charges. A great OWI defense attorney will have years of experience, advanced training, and a track record of success in fighting these cases.
“What are the penalties for OWI in Michigan?”
The penalties for an OWI conviction in Michigan vary based on factors like whether it’s a first offense and the offender’s BAC level. For a first offense, penalties typically include fines ranging from $100 to $500, up to 93 days in jail, two (2) years of probation, up to 360 hours of community service, and a 30-day license suspension followed by restrictions for 150 days. Enhanced penalties apply for higher BAC levels (0.17% or higher) or subsequent offenses, including longer jail time, higher fines, and extended license suspensions. Additionally, an OWI conviction may require mandatory alcohol or substance abuse education programs and could lead to an increase in auto insurance rates.
“What if My License is Suspended and I’m charged with DUI?”
If your license was suspended because of an OWI arrest or you refused to take a breath test, do not drive unless you obtain a hardship license. If you are caught driving while your license is suspended, you have committed a new offense while on bond, and probation may no longer be an option for you.
Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs while your DUI case is pending. If you need to avoid temptation – then avoid your “‘party” friends, avoid bars and nightclubs, remove alcohol from your home, and avoid posting “party” pictures online. Driving without a license while on bond could result in new charges, contempt, a bond violation, and possible denial of probation.
Contact an experienced lawyer who handles drunk driving charges in Michigan to advise you of your best course of action. Getting your driver’s license reinstated or preventing it from being suspended may be possible.
“How can an OWI charge affect my driver’s license and driving privileges?”
An OWI charge in Michigan usually results in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license. For a first offense, the suspension is typically 30 days, followed by 150 days of restricted driving (allowing travel to work, school, and other approved locations). Subsequent offenses can lead to longer suspensions or revocation of your driving privileges. Sometimes, the Michigan Department of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) may also require the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
“What are the Costs if Charged with DUI?”
There will be fines and court costs accessed, and the amounts vary from court to court, depending on the seriousness of the offense. There will also be administrative fees and legal fees. Many courts make the entire amount of fines, costs, and administrative fees due immediately upon sentencing. Generally, the total fines, costs, supervision, and fees for a DUI or OWI conviction will range from $800.00 to $3,000.00. Consult an attorney who handles offenses of drunk driving in Michigan to determine what the costs may be.
“Can I fight an OWI charge in Michigan, and how?”
You can challenge an OWI charge in Michigan, though the specific defense strategy will depend on the details of your case. Common defenses include questioning the legality of the traffic stop (whether the police had a valid reason to stop you), the accuracy and administration of the BAC test (such as breathalyzer calibration issues or procedural errors), and the handling of evidence. It’s also possible to argue that any observed impairment was due to factors other than alcohol or drugs. Given the complexity of OWI cases and the severity of potential penalties, it’s highly advisable to consult with an experienced OWI defense attorney who can evaluate the specifics of your case and develop an effective defense strategy.
Getting Legal Help with an offense of drunk driving in Michigan
Michigan has some of the harshest drunk driving laws in the United States. It would be best to never face a prosecutor or judge without the best legal help you can get. The OWI attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience defending alleged drunk driving in Michigan. Representing people charged with criminal offenses is all we do. Our lawyers are well respected and have a reputation for winning. Call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you, discuss your situation, and answer questions. We will find a way to help you!
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.