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Detroit Legal Blog

What to Do If Your Child Is Charged with a DUI in Detroit

Dec 17, 2018, by Maurice Davis in Legal Blog, OWI, Personal Injury
underage DUI

When your child gets charged with underage DUI, it can throw your family into disarray. In the face of legal fees, additional time commitments, and the damaging effects of a criminal record, your teenager’s plans for the future will be jeopardized. And as a parent, you may be struggle to meet the financial burdens of defending against the charges, and be concerned about how to ensure your child acts responsibly in the future. It’s a trying process, and we at Davis Law Group want to do everything in our power to ease the stress and lessen the consequences of facing the criminal justice system as a family. Call us today at (313) 818-3238 or use our online contact form to reach out.

Understanding the Detroit Underage DUI Process

A Detroit underage DUI case starts when the Detroit Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, or the Michigan State Police pulls over your child within the Detroit city limits. If the law enforcement officer suspects with good reason that your child has been drinking and then got behind the wheel, they will make an arrest. They will take your child to a police station or in some cases a medical facility to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC) with a breath, blood, or a urine test (used mostly in cases of suspected drug use).

If these tests confirm that your child is intoxicated, the police will detain them. If your child is under the age of 17, they will be placed into a juvenile detention facility, and go through a parallel justice system designed for children. If your child is over the age of 17, they will have to spend the night in the Wayne County Jail unless you can bail them out immediately.

The next stop in the process is the arraignment, during which your child will be formally charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) under the age of 21. Sometimes, if a suspect is still in detention, they will participate in the arraignment process through a video conference call from the jail to the court house. In other cases, the suspect is released on bail or on their own recognizance and given a date and time to go to the court house for the arraignment. The arraignment, and all subsequent proceedings in a Detroit misdemeanor case, will take place at the 36th District Court at 421 Madison Avenue.

Having Skilled Legal Representation Can Optimize Your Case Outcome

For the arraignment, it’s best to hire an experienced Michigan DUI attorney. Although anyone can defend themselves or ask for a public defender, cases handled by private defense lawyers tend to fare better. The arraignment is an important hearing during which your child will learn of the specific charges against them, learn of their rights, and plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charges.

In general, it’s advisable to plead not guilty at this stage of the process, to give your lawyer time to investigate the case and determine possible defenses to the charges. The court will schedule a preliminary hearing for a later date during which your lawyer can submit motions to exclude evidence, and in some cases to dismiss the charges altogether. Sometimes, your lawyer can negotiate a plea agreement and submit it to the judge at this hearing, avoiding the expense and time commitment of a trial.

If your case proceeds to trial, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that your child was intoxicated while in control of a motor vehicle on a public road. Depending on the circumstances of the case and the available evidence, a skilled lawyer may be able to highlight the weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case and obtain an acquittal. However, it is rare for OWI cases to proceed to trial. Most are resolved through a plea agreement, or dismissed after a defense lawyer successfully excludes important evidence from the case.

Your Support Is Essential for Resolving Your Child’s DUI Case

Beyond the obvious need to pay for legal costs, your support as a parent is essential if you want your child to avoid the worst consequences of passing through the criminal justice system. As a parent, there is a difficult line to walk between supporting your child’s defense, and also ensuring that they take responsibility for their own actions, and are able to avoid bad decisions in the future. Even if your child is completely innocent of drunk driving, they likely made questionable decisions that resulted in them getting arrested and charged with a crime. With your support, they can grow from the experience.

At Davis Law Group, we understand the special concerns that come with defending an underage OWI case. For this reason, we advocate fiercely for young clients at every stage of the OWI process while ensuring that you, our legal team, and your child are always on the same page. We will fight hard to give your child a second chance, and work towards a case outcome that your family can live with. If your child has been charged with underage DUI, call us today at (313) 818-3238 or use our online contact form for your free consultation.