Michigan DUI / OWI Help
A Michigan DUI charge can turn your life upside down. One drink too many – or a run in with a poorly trained and aggressive law enforcement officer – can result in the prospect of jail time, a permanent criminal record, fines, and lost driving privileges. Your situation may feel helpless, but with the help of a Michigan DUI lawyer you may be able to avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI conviction.
In Michigan, most people call a drunk driving charge “DUI,” or driving under the influence. But the legal term is actually “OWI,” which means operating while intoxicated. You may also get charged with “OWVI,” which means operating while visibly impaired. OWVI involves more lenient penalties, and applies to situations where the authorities can only show that you looked and acted intoxicated when the police pulled you over. An OWI charge applies when there is hard evidence, such as a breathalyzer test, to prove that you were intoxicated while driving.
Why Was I Charged with DUI/OWI?
You or your loved one may be facing DUI/OWI charges for several reasons. Typical scenarios that result in DUI/OWI charges include the following:
- A law enforcement officer observes you driving erratically and pulls you over to investigate whether you are intoxicated
- The police pull you over for a traffic infraction (like running a stop sign or having a broken tail light) then gain probable cause to believe you are intoxicated because of your smell, appearance, and behavior
- You pass through a DUI checkpoint and the police gain reason to believe you are drunk or on drugs
- You got into a serious accident and you test positive for alcohol and/or drugs while receiving medical treatment
No matter the reason why you got charged with driving under the influence, the Michigan OWI attorneys of Davis Law Group can help bring your case to a positive resolution.
Will I Have to Go to Jail for DUI/OWI?
Unless you find someone to bail you out of jail immediately after your arrest for DUI/OWI, you will likely spend some time behind bars. Getting sentenced to jail after your DUI/OWI trial, however, is fairly unlikely unless you’re a repeat offender. Even when Michigan law gives judges the authority to dole out jail sentences in drunk driving cases, they often give offenders community service or probation.
That being said, there are some cases where a jail or prison sentence is very likely:
- Third DUI/OWI conviction – If you have 2 or more priors on your criminal record, you will probably receive a 1 to 5 year prison sentence
- DUI/OWI resulting in serious injury – In this scenario, you may face a prison sentence of up to 5 years
- DUI/OWI resulting in death – If your drunk driving causes the loss of life, you may be sentenced to 15 years in prison
In cases such as these, it is even more essential that you retain the services of a reputable legal professional. While your primary concern may be to avoid jail or prison time, the most devastating effect of a DUI conviction is often the crippling expense of passing through the criminal justice system.
How Much Does a Michigan DUI/OWI Cost?
The financial drain of a DUI/OWI conviction is more significant than most people imagine. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may face the following costs for a Michigan DUI/OWI conviction:
- Bail – It may cost between $200 and $5,000 to get released after your DUI/OWI arrest
- Court costs – Anywhere from $25 to $1500, depending on how your case is disposed of
- Fines – On average $1,600 for a first offense, $4,000 for a second offense, and $10,000 for a third conviction
- Alcohol education course – At a cost of $50 to $185
- Ignition interlock device – Installation will cost between $100 and $200, in addition to monthly rental fees that range from $70 to $100
- Driver’s license reinstatement fee – Between $85 and $125
- Attorney fees – Hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on your case
- Increased insurance premiums – You will have to pay up to 19% more to insure your car for three years after your DUI, at a cost of around $1,500 per year
- Transportation costs – If you lose your driving privileges, you will have to pay for taxis or public transportation to get to work and to run errands
- Lost employment – Your DUI may cause you to lose your job, either because of your company’s policy or your inability to drive to work
All in all, a Michigan DUI conviction will cost you thousands of dollars. It can also affect your life in ways that are difficult to quantify, such as your lost wages or the amount you pay to use public transport. This is yet another reason to put up a spirited defense to your charges.
How Can I Defend Against my DUI Charges?
When your Michigan DUI defense lawyer takes on your case, one of their priorities will be to review the evidence that the prosecutor is using against you. Depending on this evidence, the circumstances under which you were arrested, and your criminal history, your lawyer will formulate the best defense strategy available to you. This may include one or more of the following approaches:
- Filing a motion to suppress – The prosecutor may be trying to prove that you drove while intoxicated by using evidence that was obtained in violation of your rights. If the police didn’t have a valid reason to pull you over initially, or if someone mishandled your blood or urine sample, this evidence may not be used against you to prove your guilt. Your lawyer can ask the judge to remove this evidence from the case by filing a motion to suppress.
- Taking the case to trial – At trial, the prosecutor will need to prove every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if your lawyer can show that there is any reasonable possibility that you were not under the influence at the time of your arrest, you may be acquitted of your DUI charges.
- Working with the prosecutor – You may not have a strong enough case to beat your DUI. In these situations, it’s best to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor as opposed to going through the time and expense of a trial. Your criminal defense lawyer can use their negotiating skills to secure you the best deal possible.
These are just simplified examples of some of the approaches that your lawyer can take. To learn more about how a Michigan criminal defense lawyer can help in your specific OWI case, call Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation.