DUI Attorneys in Cadillac, MI
If you are arrested for OWI in Cadillac, MI, you are going to need a local attorney you trust to help you either beat the charges or minimize the impact on your life.
It’s not uncommon for residents and visitors of Cadillac, Michigan in Wexford County to like to kick back with a few adult beverages during these events. Unfortunately, some later find themselves answering to police when they later head home.
It’s not illegal to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car, though. What is illegal, per MCL 257.625, is driving while under the influence, visibly intoxicated, with a bodily alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds 0.08 or with any amount of Schedule I narcotics in the body (even if there are no signs of impairment).
If you’re under 21, you can be arrested under the state’s “Zero Tolerance” law, which makes it a crime for persons underage to drive with a BAC of 0.02 or higher.
If you drive with an open container of alcohol (as people tend to do more often on vacation), it’s a misdemeanor charge per MCL 257.624a.
If you operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can be charged under MCL 324.80176, Michigan’s operating a motorboat under the influence law. The same standards for OWI involving a motor vehicle apply for those operating a motorboat.
If you refuse a breathalyzer test, you’ll be slapped with an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension for violation of the state’s implied consent law, MCL 257.625c.
Michigan statute does not use the word, “driving.” Instead, the term is “operating,” which is why Michigan’s drunk driving law is known as “OWI,” short for “operating while intoxicated,” rather than “DUI” for “driving under the influence.”
Cadillac OWI attorneys know how much a drunk driving arrest can cost you – not just in terms of your freedom, but also your pocketbook, your reputation, your time and your future.
With extensive knowledge of state law and local court procedures (specifically in the 84th District Court, which handles misdemeanor OWI cases in Cadillac, as well as the 28th Circuit Court, which handles more serious felony cases from both Wexford and Missaukee Counties).
Cost of a DUI in Cadillac
An OWI charge in Cadillac, MI can cost you on several fronts, with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning reporting the average total cost of a DUI in Michigan being $15,680. These costs were broken down as follows:
- Arrest - $150 to $350 (these are based on cost recovery statutes as set by local ordinance)
- Bail - $150 to $2,000
- Towing and Impound - $100 to $200
- Attorney Fees - $500 to $5,000 (costs will vary depending on case complexity)
- Court Fees - $700 to $2,200
- Tether Fees (monthly) - $200
- Alcohol Evaluation and Testing (monthly) - $10 to $300
- Interlock Ignition Installation - $50 to $200
- Interlock Ignition Monthly Maintenance - $50 to $100
- Alcohol Education/ Treatment - $350 - $1,000
- Driver Responsibility Fees (annually for two years) - $1,000
- License Reinstatement Fee - $125
- Insurance Increase (annually) - $1,500 and up
All this doesn’t include probation costs, which can range anywhere from $100 to $1,200 or higher for a first-time misdemeanor OWI charge, ending up on the higher end when regular drug tests are required.
Costs will rise in cases where defendant has prior convictions for OWI or where felony charges are filed.
Unfortunately, there will be costs involved even if your arrest was 100 percent wrongful. You must consider also there will be miscellaneous costs, such as the time you must take off work, gas or transportation costs getting to-and-from court and other related expenses.
All of this illustrates the importance of having an experienced attorney is so important. One of the first questions many people ask our defense lawyers is, “How much is this going to cost me?” Although you are not required to hire an attorney through this process, it’s highly advisable. You can start with a free initial consultation.
No defense lawyer can guarantee you a given result, but it’s been shown time and again that hiring a private defense lawyer tends to result in:
- Lower conviction rates;
- Lesser jail time;
- More advantageous plea bargains;
- Lower fines.
What you pay for with a private defense attorney you often recoup by having an advantage in the proceedings that increases your chances of avoiding the more serious, long-term consequences. Expenses may vary depending on the complexity of your case, but we pride ourselves on offering the best legal services in Cadillac for a fair cost.
Defenses to OWI in Cadillac, MI
There are as many different approaches to defending a drunk driving case as there are arrests. That’s because every case must be considered based on its own totality of circumstances. An officer error or oversight could completely derail a prosecution’s case in one instance, but be no major deal in another.
Among the elements we may challenge:
- Chemical tests. The Michigan Drunk Driving Audit revealed that of the 89 chemical tests sought by Michigan State Police in Cadillac and the Cadillac Police Department, 64 involved the DataMaster DMT breathalyzer test. Seventeen involved blood tests, while eight people refused any type of chemical test. With breath tests, it’s important that machines be calibrated, personnel be properly trained and tests are conducted according to specific standards. Failure on these fronts can be the basis of a motion to suppress that evidence. With blood tests, we’ll look carefully at the chain of custody of those samples, as well as lab procedures. We’ll also want to know if the blood test was involuntary and if so, whether officers first obtained a warrant, as is generally required per the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Missouri v. McNeely.
- Field Sobriety Tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets specific standards for field sobriety tests, such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus, to ensure accuracy. OWI suspects are not required by law to submit to field sobriety testing (unlike chemical testing, where refusal results in a license suspension), and we often advise (if they are in fact impaired) that they do not, because it often just ends up used as evidence against you. However, where officers are not properly trained or don’t accurately conduct the test, such evidence may be suppressed.
- Grounds for traffic stop. In Michigan, MCL 257.724(1) allows police to stop a vehicle, detain a driver and issue a citation for any witnessed violation of state vehicle code or civil infraction. Absent witnessing such a violation, an officer must establish reasonable suspicion – individualized, articulable suspicion, based on more than a “hunch” – that the vehicle or one of its occupants has committed a crime or is subject to seizure for violation of law. That means an officer can’t stop you simply because you just left a bar at 2 a.m. There must be more evidence than that. Where there is no legal reason for a stop, all evidence gleaned thereafter can’t be used in court.
If you are arrested for OWI in Cadillac, let our experienced lawyers help you determine the best defense approach.
Contact us online or call us today to set up a free consultation now.