Drunk Driving FAQs
Michigan Drunk Driving Defense for Clients in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Throughout Michigan Accused of DUI, OWI, OUIL, and Related Offenses
At Grabel & Associates, we understand how stressful and even frightening being arrested for DUI, OWI, or other drunk driving offenses can be. Below we have provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions individuals arrested or charged with driving under the influence have. If you are facing drunk driving charges, we urge you to contact our DUI defense firm immediately at 1-800-342-7896.
Will I go to jail?
If it is a first offense, you will not likely go to jail. However, there are some courts which require a first-time offender to serve a short jail term. The majority of courts may order an alcohol program, steep fines, license sanctions, or probation. Second- and third-time offenders will likely face jail time without the legal guidance and support of a skilled DUI attorney.
Will I lose my driver's license?
Possibly. First-time offenders may have their license suspended for 30 days, followed by 150 days of restricted driving. In some cases, a plea agreement with prosecutors may result in restricted driving for 90 days, without the 30-day suspension. A second or third DUI offense will leave you facing driver's license revocation, which requires the individual to request reinstatement through a DLAD (Driver's License Appeal Division) hearing. Appealing is a complicated process which requires the support of an experienced Michigan drivers license reinstatement attorney.
I refused the breath test, what will happen now?
You have a right to refuse the PBT (preliminary breath test) administered at roadside, however you MUST submit to the evidentiary breath test given at the police station, otherwise you will face automatic suspension of your driver's license according to Michigan's Implied Consent law. Commercial drivers should submit to the PBT, or face potential penalties, which include fines of up to $100 and jail time of up to 93 days. For non-commercial drivers, you have 14 days to challenge the refusal of the Datamaster breath test administered at the police station; otherwise your license will be suspended for one year (first time offender). A second refusal within 7 years of the first will result in a two-year license suspension.
Are there any effective defenses in an OWI or DUI case?
Absolutely, but how effective a defense will be depends on the facts in your particular case. Some of the defense tactics used by Michigan DUI attorneys include improper stop, improper arrest, improper chemical testing procedures used by police, improper field sobriety test procedures used by police, suppression of incriminating statements, and defects in charging documents. Police cannot pull you over without probable cause or reasonable suspicion; there are also errors, which may be made by police in the administering of chemical and sobriety tests. In addition, the equipment used for testing may be challenged as to its accuracy or proper functioning.
What are the sentencing guidelines?
Just as the name implies, sentencing guidelines are used by judges to assist them in determining the proper sentence for an individual found guilty of driving under the influence. Whether the judge sentences an individual lightly or more harshly will depend on several factors, including the seriousness of the offense, whether you have a prior DUI or other criminal conviction, and more. Ultimately, the sentencing guidelines allow judges to produce sentences, which are consistent for individuals who commit similar crimes. Your attorney can provide you with additional information regarding state sentencing guidelines.
What are the penalties if convicted of OWI?
The penalties vary widely, depending on whether it is a first, second, or third (lifetime) offense and include potential jail time, fines, driver's license suspension or revocation, community service, vehicle immobilization, alcohol programs, points on your driving record, and required installation of an ignition interlock device in some cases. For example, a first-time offender will face up to 93 days in jail, up to 360 hours of community service, fines of up to $500, and 30 day license suspension followed by 150 days of restricted driving. A third offense is charged as a felony, and will leave you facing fines of up to $5,000, up to 5 years in prison (alternately you may be placed on probation), license sanctions, community service, and other penalties.
How long will a conviction for DUI remain on my record?
In Michigan, a conviction for driving under the influence will remain on your record for life. While most drunk driving offenses are charged as misdemeanors, habitual offenders often face felony charges. Having a conviction on your record may affect your career or future employment opportunities, along with other aspects of your life. Therefore, it is important to have an attorney who will aggressively fight on your behalf in order to prevent a conviction or have charges dismissed, so that your record remains clear.
Do I need to hire a DUI defense attorney?
There are occasions on which a first-time offender does not necessarily need an attorney, however there are many advantages to hiring a skilled DUI defense lawyer. Having a skilled attorney on your side will lessen the odds you will face any unexpected surprises; in addition, your lawyer is highly familiar and informed regarding potential plea bargains, which could result in reduced penalties. However, in the case of second or third time offenders, it is critical to hire a Michigan drunk driving lawyer, as the punishment is far more severe for those convicted.
At Grabel & Associates, we provide clients arrested or charged with OWI, OWVI, DUI, and other offenses with a strong, effective defense. For a free evaluation of your case or answers to questions not answered above, we urge you to call our toll-free number at 1-800-342-7896.