It’s common that if you’ve been charged with drunk driving, DUI, DWI, and other related offenses in Michigan, you believe there is no viable defense to what you are accused of. This is simply not true, and Michigan DUI lawyers know that there are numerous effective defense tactics they may utilize.

However, each case differs and depends on the individual circumstances surrounding your singular case. Also, there are many instances that an appropriate defense can reduce or even dismiss your charges altogether.

Five primary defenses are commonly used in most criminal defense lawyers’ cases.\

They are:

  • As the alleged drunk driver, you are not allowed to consult with a lawyer during your DUI investigation – You always have the constitutional right to consult with an attorney during any criminal investigation, either before or after being arrested. In all DUI investigations, this right is vital because time frames in a DUI investigation are critical in deciding to obtain “independent exculpatory evidence.” Denial of this right can result in your case being dismissed.
  • Your breath alcohol test could be highly inaccurate – Breath tests commonly referred to as breathalyzers, measure the blood alcohol level in your blood. This is an indirect measurement of your blood alcohol level, and it can result in an inaccurate reading. So, as a single test, it is not always sufficient to determine the accurate levels of alcohol in your system.
  • You, or your vehicle, were stopped illegally – You cannot be stopped unless the police have a reasonable basis to believe that you’ve broken traffic or any other law. They cannot seize your vehicle unless some type of violation has occurred.
  • In all criminal cases, the State of Michigan has the burden to prove that all evidence against you was obtained lawfully and in compliance with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
  • Your field sobriety test is not accurate or done incorrectly – Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are meant to be just that; “standardized.” The test must be instructed, administered, and performed the same way every time to be valid and accurate. This is mandatory for it to be considered an accurate predictor of “cues of impairment.” Most of these tests barely reach 60% – 70% accuracy. Some studies show that they are completely invalid when performed on individuals with disabilities, overweight, or the elderly.
  • There is no provable evidence of you being in control of the vehicle in question – In most states, it’s mandated that if a motor vehicle driver recognizes they are a danger to the motoring public, they should get off the roadway. Also, if you are impaired but not driving the car, or another vehicle, you are not in actual physical control and commonly cannot be found guilty of a DUI.

These are only a few representations of how your competent, experienced Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyer can effectively defend you and why professional representation is mandatory to you winning your case.

Could I Go to Jail for a “First Time” DUI Case in Michigan?

Usually, your first-offense DUI or OWI is classified as a misdemeanor and could get you up to 93 days in jail. This, of course, depends on the details of your case, and jail time may be increased under certain circumstances. Michigan does mandate more severe punishments for DUI offenders whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest was at least 0.17%, which is considered more than twice the legal limit. The level needed for a regular DWI (or OWI charge is 0.08%.

Michigan commonly doesn’t require mandatory jail sentences for your first offense, but some judges impose a jail sentence on all first offenders, and all counties look at this differently. Also, subsequent violations can result in jail sentences of several months to a year or more, depending on the circumstances and which judge may be imposing the sentence. However, no matter what the circumstances, your Michigan DUI lawyer is well equipped to deal with it.

What Possible Penalties Could I Be Facing With My DUI Case?

One of the most critical jobs, your Michigan DUI lawyer, is to explain the various kinds of drinking and driving charges and the possible penalties you may be facing. 

Below are some examples of drunk driving charges that you may be facing penalties under Michigan’s Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) law.

  • 1st offense OWI charge – Up to 5 days or one year in jail, six months suspended license and 5 months restricted license, up to $500 in fines, and more.
  • 2nd offense – Up to 180 days in jail, fines of up to $700, one year revoked license, etc.
  • 3rd offense – One to five years in State Prison and probation, five years revoked license, fines up to $5000, etc.

So, you see, a DUI (or OWI) case is nothing to be trifled with, and these penalties may not include other more severe circumstances. Consulting with a Grand Rapids or Grand Haven criminal defense lawyer is mandatory to protect your rights and freedom.

What Happens If I Refuse to Take a Blood, Breath, or Urine Test?

If you decline a preliminary breath test (PBT), the Secretary of State will automatically suspend your driver’s license whether you are or are not guilty of OWI. It is possible, at times, to obtain a “restricted license,” which will enable you to drive to and from places like work, church, school, etc.

However, if you are a repeat offender, Michigan may also take additional steps to make sure that you don’t get back on the road. The state may even require a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed in your car. This device serves as an “onboard” breathalyzer test, and your vehicle won’t start if your breath records .02-.04% or more. It’s also a complex legal procedure to remove it, so your best defense is to have your OWI lawyer “get ahead” of this situation before it becomes mandatory.

I Am Facing a DUI case in Michigan; How Should I Proceed?

Protecting your rights and freedom is the most important job that you and your Michigan DUI lawyer must fight for and secure. Even getting a 1st DUI offense and being convicted of it could impact many aspects of your life and your family.

The first and most critical thing to do is to immediately consult with an experienced, knowledgeable Grand Rapids, criminal defense lawyer. They will analyze all the aspects of your case and “get ahead” of the State’s case to obtain the best possible outcome that will impact your life the least. Consult with them first and allow their expertise to work for your best interests.