DUI Attorneys in Canton, MI
Canton Township is considered one of the most desirable communities in Michigan, but there are still lots of nonviolent crime arrests for OWIs.
The Canton Police Department regularly makes arrests for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and other related offenses. According to the department, the patrol division comprises 70 percent of the agency’s personnel. While this includes special units like the bike patrol and K-9 unit, the patrol division is mostly road patrol officers who respond to calls for service and watch for suspicious activity. There is a Special Enforcement Unit for which the primary duty is traffic enforcement, including responding to traffic complaints generated by citizens.
While this area isn’t known for serious crime, experienced Canton OWI defense attorneys know that impaired driving offenses can carry severe penalties. You’re going to need an experienced DUI lawyer to represent you in the 35th District Court to defend these charges and mitigate the impact.
The 35th District Court serves the five area communities of Canton. The three-judge court handles all serious and specified misdemeanors, as well as initial jurisdiction for arraignment and preliminary exam in felony cases.
Whether your goal is to aggressively fight back to get the charges dismissed or carefully work toward negotiation of a favorable plea bargain, we have the best OWI defense lawyers in Wayne County.
Misdemeanor OWI Arrest in Canton, MI
Most DUI arrests in Canton will be for misdemeanor charges. MCL 257.625 stipulates that operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated – and it’s a first-time offense and your bodily alcohol concentration (BAC) doesn’t meet the 0.17 threshold and no one was injured – you will be facing misdemeanor-level charges.
OWI cases filed by a Wayne County Sheriff’s deputy or Michigan State Trooper will usually be handled by the Wayne County prosecutor’s office, while most other cases will be prosecuted by local jurisdictions who contract with private attorneys to represent the township or city.
The law requires courts in Michigan to decide drunk driving and drugged driving cases within 77 days of an arrest. Every OWI arrest (even for a first-time offense) will be accompanied by a mandatory, 6 months of a suspended driver’s license, though a defendant can be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days. However, if you are arrested for a “high BAC” of 0.17 or above, your license will be suspended for a full year, with eligibility for a restricted license after 45 days.
First-time offenders face up to 93 days in jail, though you can usually negotiate to something on the lesser end of that penalty, assuming you have a good defense attorney advocating on your behalf.
To beat an OWI charge in Michigan, you will need assistance to formulate the best possible legal strategy, based on careful analysis of the facts of your case.
Wayne County OWI Arrests
The Michigan Annual Drunk Driving Audit revealed that of the nearly 17,000 people injured in Wayne County crashes in a single year, approximately 1,000 were involved in collisions with impaired drivers (including those under the intoxicating influence of narcotics or other drugs).
As far as arrests, officials in the county reported a total of 4,200 OWI-related arrests in a single year. Of those, nearly 3,000 were males, and 4,100 involved charges for operating under the influence of liquor, per MCL 257.625(1)(a)(b) and (c).
When it comes specifically to Canton Township, officials report in a single year conducting 159 breathalyzer tests and 63 blood tests. There were 37 people who refused chemical tests. Of the 221 total people tested, 182 were found to have bodily alcohol levels that met or exceeded the legal limit of 0.08. However, it should be noted that Michigan OWI law does not require authorities have definitive proof that one met or exceeded this threshold. The charge can be proven if prosecutors can show defendant was intoxicated or impaired to the point his/ her normal faculties were negatively affected.
While an ideal situation would be one wherein a driver had neither drank alcohol or used drugs before driving, it should be noted this fact alone is not sufficient to prove guilt in an OWI case. Impairment can be shown either on a per se basis (with a showing that one’s BAC reached the per se 0.08 limit) or via circumstantial evidence. Often, this can be shown with:
- Evidence of erratic driving;
- Results of field sobriety tests (which motorists are NOT required to submit to, unlike breath-alcohol tests per implied consent law, MCL 257.625c);
- Officer’s general observations of defendant’s conduct, appearance or smell;
- Presence of alcohol and/ or drugs in the vehicle, particularly if the containers are open.
Also, if you have any amount of cocaine or a Schedule I drug in your system, you could be charged with OWPD, or Operating with the Presence of Drugs.
Courts will consider these factors collectively, weighing which to give greater weight.
Felony OWI Arrests in Canton, MI
Of the 183 fatal crashes throughout Wayne County in a single year, 76 involved a driver who was impaired by alcohol, drugs or both. Of the 41,000 total property damage crashes, 889 involved an allegedly impaired driver. Of the 17,000 personal injury crashes, more than 1,000 involved a driver who was intoxicated. These are the kinds of incidents for which prosecutors may file felony charges. They will also carefully look at your prior criminal history.
Felony charges are much more serious than misdemeanor offenses. While the latter carries a maximum of one year in jail, a conviction on felony charges can result in decades behind bars – or worse – depending on the seriousness of the offense.
A first or second OWI arrest in Michigan is a misdemeanor offense, unless it involves a death or seriously bodily injury. However, if it’s your third OWI offense within seven years, that’s considered a felony, carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor OWI charges in Canton, MI, our experienced defense lawyers can help you determine the best legal strategy to minimize the effect.
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