Michigan OWI / DUI Defense

A conviction for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) can have serious consequences, even if you have no criminal history and there was no injury or property damage associated with the drunk driving charge. A first offense OWI is a misdemeanor, and may be punished by:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community services
  • A fine of $100-500
  • A mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension
  • Court-ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation

A driver convicted of OWI can also expect to pay a $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee and two consecutive annual $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fees.
In addition, the conviction may trigger indirect consequences such as increased automobile insurance premiums and limitations on job prospects.
If you’ve been charged with Operating While Intoxicated, don’t take chances with your freedom, your mobility and your future prospects. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Just call 269-978-6560.

DUI or OWI – What’s the Difference?

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) are two different terms for the crime commonly known as “drunk driving”. Although “DUI” is a common term for driving under the influence of drug or alcohol, the Michigan legislature opted for OWI. For a Michigan resident, “DUI” means nothing more than “the name some other states give to OWI.”
In Michigan, a person is guilty of Operating While Intoxicated if he or she:

  • Operates a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, a controlled substance, another intoxicating substance or some combination thereof; or
  • Operates a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or greater.

High BAC OWI Charges

Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .17 or greater carries more serious consequences, even if it is a first offense.

  • The driver may be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail
  • The possible fine is increased to $200-700
  • The mandatory driver’s license suspension period is one year

OWI Under Age

A driver under the legal drinking age of 21 may be charged under this statute if his or her BAC is .02 or greater.

OWI Defenses

Given the routine use of blood alcohol or breathalyzer testing, it may seem that most OWI cases would be open and shut. However, that’s not always the case. For example, if the officer didn’t have adequate cause to make the stop, then it is possible that evidence collected during and after the stop will be inadmissible, making it difficult or impossible for the prosecution to prove its case.
It may also be difficult for the state to prove intoxication when a driver has refused the chemical test, or there is reason to believe that BAC results may not be accurate.

Challenging Breathalyzer Test Results

Breathalyzer test results may be subject to challenge based on human error or by questioning the reliability of the device. To produce a reliable chemical test result that will hold up against challenge, the officer must follow proper procedures in administering the test and the device must be in good working order and properly calibrated.

Sentencing Alternatives in OWI Cases

Sobriety courts were established in recognition of the fact that alcoholism and drug addiction are real problems that may not adequately be addressed by traditional criminal conviction and sentencing. While not everyone charged with Operating While Intoxicated will be eligible, sobriety court offers a positive alternative for those who are motivated to conquer drug or alcohol problems.

If You’ve Been Charged with OWI, Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Right Away

While there are several possible defenses to an OWI charge in Michigan, the average layperson does not have the knowledge and experience necessary to assess the strength or weakness of a case and properly raise those defenses. An experienced OWI lawyer can help to protect your rights and fight for the best resolution for you.

Get help right now. It’s as easy as picking up the phone and dialing 269-978-6560. Your initial consultation is free.

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