Michigan DUI/OWI Defense Lawyers
As experienced Michigan DUI lawyers, we understand that everyone’s goal is to stay out of jail and protect their future. This often requires highly skilled legal counsel because Michigan has very strict drunk driving laws. In fact, certain areas such as Oakland County have sentenced offenders to jail for a first offense OWI. As a result, hiring the right attorney can be a life changing decision.
George Law is Lead Counsel Verified and recognized as experts in DUI defense. We have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to keep you out of jail and protect your future. If you’ve been arrested in Michigan for drunk driving or need help restoring your driver’s license, call our DUI attorneys for free consultation today. (248) 470-4300
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- Michigan Drunk Driving Laws
- Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
- Penalties For Drunk Driving
- How a DUI Affects Your Life
- Driver’s License Restoration
- How Our DUI Lawyers Can Help
- DUI Defense Certifications
- Client Results
Michigan Drunk Driving Laws
The State of Michigan has strict laws on drunk driving. To put this in perspective, an offender may receive up to 93 days in jail for the first offense. Furthermore, Michigan classifies drunk driving as a traffic offense as well as a criminal offense so a DUI stays on your driving record indefinitely.
According to the Michigan Vehicle Code you can be charged with drunk driving if you’re suspected of operating a motorized vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
In certain cases, a suspect can be charged with a DUI offense even if their BAC is under 0.08%. For example, the police can charge someone with Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) if they believe that the suspect’s driving is impaired regardless of BAC. Furthermore, the police can charge someone under the age of 21 with drunk driving if their BAC is 0.08% or higher.
The penalties for a DUI conviction varies based on several factors. These factors may include: your blood alcohol content (BAC), the number of DUI convictions on your record, and whether or not an accident was involved. If you’d like more information on Michigan drunk driving laws, we published a comprehensive guide that covers this topic in greater detail.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
The most common offense related to drunk driving is Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). This is generally considered a criminal misdemeanor, although in certain cases it can be considered a felony. Because of this, OWI offenses should be taken seriously as they have the potential to have life changing effects. Having the right DUI/OWI lawyer can make a huge difference on the outcome of your case.
The penalties surrounding OWI increase upon every subsequent conviction, resulting in longer jail time and heavier fines. The State of Michigan’s drunk driving statutes are harsh and unforgiving of repeat offenders. It is because of this, it is critical that every OWI charge be fought aggressively in order to prevent them from snowballing into an untenable situation for the defendant.
An experienced OWI attorney can help minimize penalties and ensure your legal rights are upheld. This is especially critical if you have previous OWI convictions on your record.
Michigan DUI Offenses And Penalties
OWI (First Offense) – As a first offense, this carries the lightest penalties of any DUI conviction. These penalties include up to 93 days in jail, fines of up to $500, up to 360 hours of community service, and potential vehicle immobilization and even possibly requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device during the probationary period.
OWI (Second Offense) – This offense carries with it a minimum jail time of five days, going up to one year depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. It also carries with it a minimum fine of $200 to $1,000, 30 to 90 days of community service, mandatory vehicle immobilization and the possibility of an ignition interlock device during probation.
OWI (Third Offense) – Instead of a misdemeanor like the first and second offenses, a third offense OWI becomes a felony and carries with it a prison sentence of one to five years, as well as a $500 to $5000 fine. In addition to this, it carries a 30 day to one year probation period as well as a 60 to 180 day community service. Like the second offense OWI, there is mandatory vehicle immobilization and possible ignition interlock device installation during the probationary period.
Super Drunk OWI – This is for exceptionally high BAC offenses, when the offender registers a BAC of 0.17 or higher – nearly double the legal limit. With super drunk OWI, the penalties are increased dramatically over a normal OWI conviction.
OWI Causing Death – This offense yields a potential 15 years in prison with fines minimum fines of $2,500 up to $10,000 maximum. This offense also yields a mandatory vehicle immobilization. If a law enforcement official or firefighter dies it’s considered a violation of 257.653a. In this case, the prison sentence may be increased to 20 years.
OWVI (First Offense) – First offense OWVI includes up to 93 days in jail as well as fines of up to $300. It also has the possibility for up to 360 hours of community service as well as possible vehicle immobilization dependent on the court’s discretion.
OWVI (Second Offense) – A second offense OWVI conviction carries with it similar penalties as first offenses, however they are increased. There is a mandatory jail time of five days, with the potential of being up to one year. In addition, it carries with it a fine of $200 to $1,000, as well as 30 to 90 days of community service as well as mandatory vehicle immobilization.
OWVI (Third Offense) – Like a regular third offense OWI, this is upgraded from a criminal misdemeanor to a felony level offense. A third offense OWVI conviction carries with it a minimum prison sentence of one year, with the possibility of up to five. In addition, it includes fines ranging from $500 to $5000, as well as a probation ranging from 30 to 90 days and 60 to 180 days of community service. Vehicle immobilization is mandatory.
UBAC/UBAL (First Offense) – First offenses for Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content (also known as Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Level) carry the possibility of up to 93 days in jail, as well as 360 hours of community service and fines of up to $500.
UBAC/UBAL (Second Offense) – Second UBAC/UBAL offenses carry stiffer sentencing, with up to one year in jail as well as the possibility of fines ranging up to $1,000 and community service of up to 360 hours.
How a DUI Affects Your Life
A DUI conviction can have many long lasting and potentially life altering effects on an individual’s life. In most cases, a DUI will result in jail time as well as significant legal fees that can cripple a person’s finances. To make matters worse, when an individual is incarcerated, there is a very good chance that they will lose their employment, making it even more difficult to fund their legal fees and pay the fines resulting from a conviction.
In addition to the immediate effects of a conviction, there are other more long-term consequences that can have a lasting negative impact on an individual’s life. The first of these is that a DUI stays on your permanent criminal record, and because the State of Michigan also considers it a moving violation, it is part of your driving record as well. This creates several serious problems for the individual.
The first of these is that having a criminal conviction on your record can make it difficult to seek future employment (in certain industries it can bar you from employment altogether). Additionally, because a DUI conviction also is on your driving record, it can dramatically affect car insurance costs. Depending on the circumstances, certain insurance companies won’t even consider insuring a driver with a previous DUI infraction on their driving record – making them unable to legally operate their vehicle on public roads.
Driver’s License Restoration
Getting back your driver’s license is a difficult and time consuming task. There are many obstacles in the way, as the State of Michigan treats drunk driving quite harshly and does not make it easy for individuals to regain their driving privileges. Having an in-depth understanding of how this process works is key for a successful outcome, as well as having a good working relationship with the courts in order to present your case in the most favorable light possible.
The first step for those looking to restore their driving privileges begins with having an Administrative Hearing with the Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), formerly known as Driver Assessment and License Appeal Office or DLAD. This hearing will allow your case to be heard in front of an examiner, with the possibility of being granted a reinstated license with either restricted or full driving privileges.
In the event that driving privileges are not reinstated, the case can be appealed to the Circuit Court within 63 days after the initial denial of license reinstatement (up to 182 days with good cause). The appeals process involves a hearing in front of a circuit court judge in the county in which the appellant resides, with an assistant attorney general present who is tasked with representing the interests of the Secretary of State.
During the hearing, the determination of the DAAD hearing officer’s decision will be challenged, and it must be argued that your rights have been prejudiced because the SOS hearing officer’s decision is:
- In violation of either the State or Federal Constitution or a law of either level of government
- Beyond the authority or jurisdiction of the SOS
- A result of material prejudice against you because of unlawful procedures used
- Not actually supported by substantial evidence
- Based on abuse or unwarranted exercise of the officers discretion
- Influenced or affected by any other substantial error of law
The appeals process is challenging, with successful outcomes being exceptionally difficult to achieve without solid legal representation. Assistant attorney generals and prosecutors almost always have working relationships with judges and the courts system, resulting in a stacked deck against the appellant. This is why working with an experienced defense attorney is so critical for getting your driver’s license back. A good DUI and license restoration attorney will have solid connections and working relationships with all parties involved, which can be the difference between getting your license back and continuing to struggle with your transportation needs.
Why Hire Our DUI Lawyers
The attorney you choose to represent you in a drunk driving case will make a big difference in the outcome. While many people think they can just use a public defender, this is a poor strategy for a successful outcome. Public defenders are paid by the same entity that pays the judge – the courts. It is very likely that when working with a public defender, you will end up with an unfavorable plea.
In addition to this, just simply hiring a private defense attorney does not mean you will be more successful. Experience and specialization in DUI/OWI cases is crucial for an effective defense, and an attorney who has neither will be of little more value than a public defender. In the event that you go to court without an attorney or a public defender, the state won’t even consider offering a deal, meaning you will be left with the full consequences of a conviction. To protect your driver’s license and your future, it is critical that you work with a strong, experienced DUI/OWI defense attorney with a track record of success.
The expert criminal defense attorneys at George Law have decades of combined experience in defending clients and ensuring they receive the most favorable outcomes possible. Attorney Derrick E. George has over 10 years of experience defending people who are accused of drunk driving, with a well known reputation for obtaining favorable outcomes in DUI/OWI cases. Our firm is well versed in the ins and outs of Michigan DUI laws, finding creative legal solutions for our clients to ensure their lives are not ruined over an instance of bad judgement.
What an Experienced DUI Attorney Will Do
An experienced DUI attorney has many avenues and options for ensuring positive outcomes for their clients. As with most areas of legal defense, there are grey areas, exceptions and the possibilities of a discrecion by the courts. An expert DUI attorney knows how to use these to their advantage, painting their client in the best possible light and ensuring that their circumstances and side of the situation are clearly heard by the judge.
The first and most obvious benefit of hiring the right DUI attorney is that they can keep you out of jail. As mentioned before, jail time can cost an individual their job, have a negative impact on their family life and make normal functioning in life nearly impossible. In addition to the stiff fines levied by the State of Michigan, there are certain judges who are known for issuing mandatory jail time – even for first time offenders. Throw that on top of the possibility of a driver’s license suspension, alcohol abuse evaluations and even the required use of an ignition interlock device, it should be obvious that no one can afford to go without legal representation when facing DUI charges.
Out of the toolbox a DUI attorney has at their disposal, there are several common ways in which they can approach and successfully minimize the consequences of a DUI arrest. These defenses are useful even if the defendant has failed a field sobriety test and/or a BAC test. Below are several examples:
- If the police officer stopped you without probable cause, the charges could be dismissed.
- If the police officer failed to properly calibrate the breathalyzer machine, the blood test results could be suppressed. This may result in case dismissal.
- If the police made procedural errors, the charges could be reduced or dismissed.
There may be circumstances that cast doubt on the field sobriety and breathalyzer test results.
Even if the police made no mistakes, there are things an experienced DUI/OWI defense attorney can do to minimize the consequences. For example, by enrolling a defendant in an alcohol abuse substance evaluation and treatment program prior to their case coming to trial, they can be put in the strongest possible position for a favorable plea bargain. This shows the judge and the courts that the defendant is actively trying to make changes in life to avoid further DUI arrests and improve their decision making.
DUI Defense Certifications And Expertise
Lead Counsel Verified – George Law is Lead Counsel Verified for both Criminal Defense as well as Drunk Driving since 2020 and 2016 respectively. Lead Counsel is a certification that helps consumers and businesses ensure that the attorneys they hire have the highest level of skills, expertise and professionalism based on a thorough and strict verification process.
Best DUI Lawyers in Detroit – George Law was the top law firm featured on Expertise.com for 2021 Best DUI Lawyers in Detroit based on professionalism, reputation, and many other factors determined by a strict review process.
Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Detroit – George Law was the top law firm featured on Expertise.com for 2021 Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Detroit based on professionalism, reputation, and many other factors determined by a strict review process.
DUI Client Results
- Embezzlement charge dismissed Whitney
- I wouldn't go with anyone else Kyle
- Great lawyer! Great staff! Awesome office! Nikki
- Most dedicated lawyer I've ever met! Client
- Compassionate and caring, Knowledgeable and experienced Sherrie
DUI/OWI Practice Areas
- DUI/OWI DEFENSE
- First Offense OWI/DUI Expungement
- Michigan Drivers License Restoration
- DUI Causing Death
- Felony DUI
- Operating While Intoxicated
- Underage DUI
- How Many Drinks Does It Take to Get to .08 BAC?
- Can I get charged with OWPD if I’m on medications?
- Do I have to take a roadside field sobriety and breathalyzer test?
- What is Low BAC and High BAC in Michigan?