Battle Creek, MI DUI Lawyers

As experienced DUI attorneys in Battle Creek, MI, we know these OWI cases require thorough investigation, strong advocacy and extensive knowledge of state laws and local court procedures and players.

Battle Creek is a south Michigan community of more than 50,000 people, and DUI arrests are most often effected by the local Police Department, though some cases are handled by the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.

Under Michigan Law – specifically, MCL 257.625 – it is illegal to drive:

  • While impaired or intoxicated by alcohol, illegal drugs and even certain medications prescribed by a doctor;
  • With a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher (this is one of the driving while intoxicated offenses);
  • With a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.17 or higher (this offense is considered a “High BAC” crime)
  • With any amount of cocaine or Schedule I substances (as codified in MCL 333.7271) in one’s system – regardless of whether the substance is having an intoxicating effect on the driver (the only exception being a person with a valid medical marijuana card who is driving with marijuana in his/her system).

In Battle Creek, alcohol and/or drugs are involved in a significant number of serious crashes. As the Michigan State Police report:

  • 3 percent of all property damage-only crashes in the city involve an impaired driver.
  • 12 percent of all injury crashes involve a driver who is impaired.
  • 40 percent of all fatal crashes involve a drive impaired by drugs and/ or alcohol. (This is higher than the national average, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports one-third of fatal crashes in the U.S. involve an impaired driver.)

In total, there are an average of more than 700 people convicted of OWI in Battle Creek each year. That includes related offenses, such as OUIL, under 21 with a BAC of 0.02 or higher, child endangerment and operating with the presence of drugs (OWPD).

Violation of Implied Consent in Battle Creek

Another common charge: Violation of implied consent. Local officials report nearly 18 percent of all OWI arrests in Battle Creek involve a situation wherein the individual stopped refused to submit to a breathalyzer.

Michigan law requires anyone arrested for drunk driving be required to take a chemical test to determine suspect’s blood-alcohol concentration.

Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test from a law enforcement officer is considered a violation of Michigan’s implied consent law, MCL 257.625f, and will result in an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension and six points added to one’s driving record. This suspension is automatic, and it’s distinct from any other convictions resulting from the traffic stop. In the event you are arrested a second time within seven years of the first and again refuse to submit to a chemical test, six points will be tacked onto your driving record and your license will be automatically suspended for two years. Defendants will have their driver’s license confiscated and destroyed, and they will be issued a 625g paper permit allowing them to drive until the matter is resolved in court.

If you run afoul of implied consent laws following a Battle Creek OWI arrest, you have just 14 days of the arrest date to mail a request a hearing before the Administrative Hearings Section. If you do nothing for two weeks, your window of opportunity closes, and your license will automatically be suspended. You must act quickly.

The law does not require defendants in these hearings to have a criminal defense lawyer, but it’s highly recommended if you hope for a favorable outcome.

It should be noted drivers are not criminally punished for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer, blood or urine test for BAC (though separate criminal charges may be pending). In 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota held that these types of tests could be considered searches. While breath tests are not deemed especially intrusive and generally do not require a warrant. Blood tests, however, do generally require a warrant, per the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Missouri v. McNeely. Justices in Birchfield held states couldn’t impose criminal penalties on a driver who refused a blood test based on legally implied consent laws. The ruling had no major impact on Michigan because the law already only imposes administrative penalties for implied consent violations.

That’s not to say it’s not worth fighting. A suspension of your driver’s license can negatively impact so many aspects of your life.

If you do not request a hearing or if you are unsuccessful in preserving your driving privileges, you can request a restoration appeal to the circuit court, as governed by MCL 257.323. These appeals are limited to a review of the records (as opposed to delving into their own findings of fact – all the more reason you need an attorney at the initial hearing).

Hardship appeals are available only for a first implied consent suspension.

You will have just 63 days after the final determination to file a petition to appeal, except in some circumstances where good cause is shown, you may have up to 182 days.

How Much Are DUI Fines, Penalties and Fees in Battle Creek?

Michigan’s Driver Responsibility Program (in place since 2003) calls for monetary sanctions on drivers who:

  • Accumulate seven or more points on their driver’s license;
  • Are convicted of a specific qualifying offense (including drunk driving/ operating while intoxicated and reckless driving).

If the sanctions are related to the point system, you will receive an enhanced penalty the more points you have. For example, if you rack up 7 points, you’ll pay $100. Up to 15 points, you pay $500. These points are assessed only once a year.

An OWI conviction, meanwhile, will result in a $1,000 fee independent for two consecutive years – free from the number of points on your driving record. One may be required to pay multiple driver responsibility fees if they are convicted of multiple qualifying offenses. For instance, if you are convicted of OWI and reckless driving, you will be assessed a fee of $1,500 for two years. These fees can be made in installments – up to 24 months – but failure to keep up will result in indefinite suspension of one’s driver’s license.

This is all in addition to the DUI fines imposed by MCL 257.625, with a lookback period of seven years. They are as follows:

  • 1st offense - $100 to $500;
  • 2nd offense - $200 to $1,000;
  • 3rd offense - $200 to $1,000.

More substantial fines may be imposed in felony DUI cases where one seriously injures or kills someone else in a crash.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning estimates the cost of a Michigan DUI is $15,680. That includes the cost of arrest, bail, towing and impound, court fees (between $700 and $2,200), tether fees, alcohol evaluation and testing, ignition interlock device (installation and monthly between $50 to $200), alcohol education and treatment, driver responsibility fees, license reinstatement, increases in insurance. Attorney’s fees – estimated between $500 and $5,000 – are included as well. Insurance.com reports auto insurance rates rise 139 percent after a DUI conviction.

As the best DUI defense attorneys in Battle Creek, MI, we do understand some defendants may be hesitant to seek private counsel on these matters, considering the costs they are already facing. However, many defendants can’t afford not to consult an attorney, given that it’s been proven an experienced lawyer gives you the best shot at beating your DUI charges and mitigating the penalties – including fines.

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