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Detroit Felony DUI Lawyer

Under many circumstances, when you’re charged with OWI, OWVI or another offense related to driving under the influence in Michigan, the offense is a misdemeanor. However, under some circumstances OWI or OWVI in Michigan can be a serious felony offense.

Even misdemeanor forms of OWI can result in harsh jail sentences and fines, but you face even more severe penalties and lifelong consequences for a felony. When you are convicted of a felony OWI in Michigan, the possible consequences you experience may include:

  • Years in prison
  • Months of community service
  • Thousands of dollars in fines
  • Loss of your driver’s license
  • Permanent felony criminal record
  • Effects on your employment or your career
  • Forfeiture of your vehicle
  • Points on your driver’s license
  • Increased car insurance rates
  • Effects on your immigration status
  • Liability for negligence in a civil court if your OWI resulted in another person’s injury or death

If you’ve been charged with a felony OWI in Michigan, it’s critical that you get help from an experienced Detroit DUI lawyer who can help you fight the charge. Depending on your circumstances, a good lawyer may be able to get your charge dismissed or reduced so that you avoid some of the serious consequences of a felony conviction.

We should also note that the penalties reflected below are the ones contained in Michigan statutes and written by the state Legislature. However, your actual sentence if convicted may be different. The Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled that it’s the job of judges to set criminal penalties that are “reasonable” for a conviction. That means that judges are no longer bound by the penalties set by the Legislature. A skilled Michigan criminal defense lawyer can explain what that might mean for you.

When OWI is a Felony

There are a few different circumstances under which an OWI or DUI charge in Michigan might be a felony. Those include:

  • You have two prior convictions for an OWI or certain other offenses
  • Another person was seriously injured in connection with your alleged OWI
  • Another person was killed in connection with your alleged OWI

The penalties for a felony OWI conviction vary depending on the circumstances that led to your being charged.

Third or Subsequent OWI Conviction

When you are convicted of a third or subsequent OWI offense, and are sentenced for a felony, the possible penalties the court may impose include:

  • A prison sentence of 1 to 5 years
  • A probation sentence along with a jail sentence of at least 30 days and up to 1 year
  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • An order to perform community service for at least 60 days and up to 180 days
  • An order to immobilize or forfeit your vehicle

Additionally, the Secretary of State’s office may take away your driver’s license and apply six points to your driver’s license.

OWI Causing Serious Injury

It’s a serious matter in Michigan to be convicted of an OWI that resulted in serious physical injury to another person, such as through a car accident caused by impaired driving. The penalties for a conviction may include:

  • A prison sentence of up to 5 years
  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • Loss of your driver’s license
  • Forfeiture or immobilization of your vehicle
  • Six points on your driver’s license

OWI Causing Death

You face severe penalties in Michigan when you’re convicted of an OWI that caused another person’s death. The penalties are even harsher when the person who died was an emergency responder, such as a paramedic. The possible penalties for this type of felony OWI conviction may include:

  • A prison sentence of up to 15 years, or 20 years if the person who died was an emergency responder
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Loss of your driver’s license
  • Forfeiture or immobilization of your vehicle
  • Six points on your driver’s license

Defending Your Felony OWI Charge

If you’ve been charged with a felony form of OWI or OWVI in Michigan, you’re likely feeling a lot of stress, anxiety and uncertainty about your future. You may be scared that you’ll have to go to jail — or even a state prison — and be ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines that you can’t afford. You’re probably worried about losing your driver’s license and maybe your job.

A felony OWI charge is a serious matter, but it’s not hopeless. You may have options for fight the charge, and possibly beating it with the help of an experienced Michigan OWI defense lawyer. Someone who knows the law and the complexities of felony DUI cases, and the courts in Detroit or the surrounding area where your charge is pending, can explain what to expect in court and the possible defenses available to you.

There are a number of ways that a skilled Detroit felony DUI attorney might tackle your charge. Common defense strategies include:

  • Arguing that you weren’t actually impaired
  • Arguing that the results of breath or blood tests were inaccurate
  • Arguing that the police had no cause to stop you or arrest you
  • Arguing that the police violated your constitutional rights
  • Arguing that the police improperly administered DUI tests
  • Arguing that the police didn’t follow proper procedure when arresting you or collecting evidence against you

Depending on your circumstances, one of these defenses or another defense may allow your lawyer to get your charge dismissed or reduced.

Charged with a Felony OWI? Contact us today.

Your initial consultation will always be free and confidential. Call today or fill out the form below and we will help you.

Attorney Maurice Davis