DUI Attorneys in Isabella County, MI

Isabella County, Michigan is located in the central part of the state and is also home to the Isabella Indian Reservation. This means anti-drunk driving enforcement and OWI arrests are being made by various law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police Department.

At Grabel & Associates, our Isabella County OWI defense attorneys have successfully represented numerous clients facing charges handled by the 76th District Court.

According to the Michigan Annual Drunk Driving Audit, the tribal police administer 39 breath tests on average a year. However, by far, the most DUI arrests are effectuated by the Mount Pleasant Police Department, and that agency performs 177 breath tests. For a complete picture, we can see the following data:

  • Michigan State Police (MSP) Mount Pleasant Barracks – 36 breath tests
  • Isabella County Sheriff’s Office – 46 breath tests
  • Mount Pleasant Police Department – 177 breath tests
  • Central Michigan University Police Department – 17 breath tests
  • Coleman Police Department – 1 breath test
  • U.S. Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police Department – 39 breath tests

While breath tests are only one aspect of DUI enforcement in Isabella County, MI, unless the suspect refuses, most people will be administered a breath alcohol test using a machine such as the DataMaster DMT. These machines can be very accurate when properly calibrated, maintained, and most importantly, used correctly, but they are not as accurate as a blood test. The reason for this is because the blood test gives a true measurement of alcohol in a person’s blood as our best OWI defense attorneys can explain.

However, while blood testing may be more accurate it is not done as often. This is because the sample must be collected by a trained phlebotomist and then taken for chemical analysis in a gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) machine, whereas the Datamaster DMT will collect and analyze the sample in a matter of seconds and print out the results. There are also many ways a blood test can be contaminated. For example, while many alcohol swipes are made of isopropanol and not ethanol, which is what humans drink, some alcohol swabs are made from ethanol and this can contaminate the result.

Your OWI defense lawyer has no duty to prove that an ethanol wipe was used, but he or she can show that the officer testifying in court has no idea what kind of swab was used and that may be enough to all the results in question. While there is a chance alcohol swabs could be made from either type of alcohol, there is a very high chance the hand sanitizer used by the hospital personnel was made from ethyl alcohol. There is also a chain of custody issues and the prosecution may be required to show everyone who handled the sample to show the was no contamination. While this may seem like trivial issues, a lot of small issues can poke holes in even the strongest looking drunk driving case and that can lead to reasonable doubt. It is important to remember that a drunk driving arrest in Isabella County, MI is not the same as a conviction, and you should discuss these issues and your chances of beating an OWI charge during your free consultation.

Breath Testing Results

If a suspect takes a breath alcohol test, the machine will take a sample of the alcohol in a person’s breath as the name of the test implies. However, the alcohol is not what a person just consumed, but the alcohol that has been processed by a person’s system and is in the bloodstream. This is how a person becomes intoxicated. A person can show symptoms of intoxication or not, but if some suspect blows above a 0.08, then they are going to be intoxicated, which means as a matter of law. This core of 0.08 is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and is measured as 0.08 milliliters of ethanol (drinking alcohol) per hundred milliliters of blood.

If an Isabella County DUI suspect has a breath test score above 0.08, the prosecution will try to seek a conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI). For a first the offense, the penalties are as follows:

  • A fine of between $100 and $500;
  • Maximum 93 days in jail;
  • Maximum 360 community service hours;
  • Suspension of driver’s license for 30 days, followed by 150 days of restriction;
  • Possible vehicle immobilization;
  • Possible ignition interlock;
  • Six points on your driving record;
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $1,000 for two straight years.

However, if the breath score is higher than 0.17 grams of ethanol per hundred milliliters of blood, there can be enhanced penalties as this is referred to as a “High BAC” crime in the state of Michigan. In these cases, fines could be as high as $8,000, alcohol treatment is mandatory, jail time is doubled and defendants are forbidden from getting behind the wheel for at least 45 days. After the minimum of 45 days suspended driving privileges, the defendant will be required to obtain a vehicle breath interlocking device.

A vehicle breath ignition interlock is something that nobody wants. In the state of Michigan, the law requires a suspect to pay to have the device installed which typically costs between $100 and $200 dollars and then pay as much as $100 per month to rent the device. The device is not only costly to have, but can be very embarrassing so drivers will be looking for excuses not to let people in their cars during the time the device is installed in the vehicle. In the old days, you would just blow into the device before starting it, but authorities became convinced people were taking advantage of the system by having a sober person blow into the vehicle alcohol breath interlock device and then drive away. These days, the device will require drivers to give another sample at random times when the vehicle is stopped to prevent this “blow and go” from occurring.

Not only will the car not start if driver blows a sample showing they have consumed any amount of alcohol before driving, but it will also notify the defendant’s probation officer and this can result in a violation.

A probation violation in an OWI case can mean loss of driving privileges for an additional time, and possibly more jail time, as well as another OWI charge.

For a free consultation contact us online.

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