OWI Lawyer Clinton Township, MI

Arrests for operating under the influence (OWI) in Clinton Township are handled within the Macomb County District Courts, known as the 41B District Court, which also oversees cases from Mt. Clemens and Harrison Township.

The OWI defense lawyers at Grabel & Associates are committed to effectuating the best possible defense for each drunk driving case, giving you the best possible chance to beat a DUI charge. While an attorney with in-depth knowledge of Michigan OWI law is a necessity, there is also substantial value in having an attorney who understands the Clinton Township ordinances, courts, prosecutors and judges that will impact your case.

In addition to handling serious felony OWI offenses, we also have a decades-long proven track record at helping our clients achieve favorable outcomes in misdemeanor impaired driving cases. We help clients avoid wrongful conviction, as well as fight back against penalties that are excessively harsh.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Clinton Township OWI?

Given the fact that a conviction for drunk driving in Michigan is punishable by jail time, it’s unlikely a judge would give many defendants the green light to represent themselves in a pending OWI. But even if you could, it’s generally inadvisable. Look at it this way: You could potentially learn to do your own home electrical wiring too, but unless you’re an electrician with at least some experience, you would be taking a dangerous risk and chances are, it wouldn’t end well.

That’s not a gamble you want to take with something that could land you behind bars, cost you thousands of dollars, require you to work hundreds of hours of community service and follow you on a permanent record the rest of your life. All of that is assuming you are only charged with a misdemeanor OWI offense. Felony OWI charges in Clinton Township result in even more severe consequences – including decades in prison.

To effectively defend someone in in a drunk driving case, one must possess an in-depth knowledge of state drunk driving laws, as outlined in MCL 257.625 and beyond, as well as the science behind breathalyzer and blood test results. They must understand Michigan Rules of Evidence and how those are applicable to everything from general presumptions in criminal cases to how testimony by experts is considered to the limitations on admission of standardized field sobriety tests. Complex procedural and evidentiary rules apply – in addition to statutory rules – on top of administrative license and sentencing issues. No one could be expected to learn all this – and do it well – in the amount of time it takes for an OWI charge to move its way through the system.

The question really shouldn’t be, “Do I need a lawyer?” but rather, “How can I find the best lawyer for my Michigan OWI case?”

From there, it’s best to look for an attorney with a proven track record of success in handling OWI cases in Clinton Township.

DUI Arrests in Clinton Township

According to Michigan’s Annual Drunk Driving Audit, there were nearly 2,700 arrests in Macomb County in a single recent year. Of those, the majority were for OUIL – operating under the influence of liquor – and OWI – operating while intoxicated.

Technically, Michigan does not have a “driving under the influence” or “DUI” offense, as the term “operating,” as defined in MCL 257.35a, is preferred by the legislature. Still, many people still use the term “DUI,” and we understand they mean generally the same thing, though laws pertaining to these offenses vary from state-to-state.

The state’s annual report reveals Clinton Township attempted to conduct nearly 200 blood and breathalyzer tests in OWI tests in a 12-month time frame. Of those, 36 refused to submit to chemical testing, in violation of Michigan’s implied consent law, MCL 257.625c, which results in an automatic one-year license suspension. However, about 130 were deemed in excess of the state’s per se limit of 0.08 bodily alcohol concentration (BAC). Of those, about 75 met the definition of “super drunk,” which is a BAC that meets or exceeds 0.17. Those offenders face harsher penalties than typical first-time OWI offenders under a state law that went into effect in 2010.

Throughout Macomb County:

  • 7.4 percent of injury crashes involved a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs;
  • 32 percent of fatal crashes involved a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs;
  • 2.4 percent of property damage-only crashes involved a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs.

When an OWI involves a crash of any kind, the penalties will be more severe than for one that does not – particularly if someone is seriously injured or killed.

Penalties for Clinton Twp. OWI

If you are convicted of operating while intoxicated in Clinton Township, your sentencing will depend on a myriad of factors, including:

  • Your prior OWI record (second, third and subsequent offenses will receive harsher penalties);
  • Your BAC (those over 0.17 will face additional sanctions);
  • Whether there was property damage, injury or death as a result of your OWI;
  • Mitigating/ aggravating circumstances.

So as noted by the Michigan State Police, if it is your first offense, and your BAC was below 0.17, a conviction could result in up to:

  • $500 fine;
  • 93 days in jail;
  • 360 hours of community service;
  • 180 days of license suspension;
  • 6 points on your driver’s license;
  • $2,000 in Driver Responsibility Act fines, paid over the course of two years.

However, if it’s your first offense and your BAC was 0.17 or higher, you will face up to:

  • $700 fine;
  • 180 days in jail;
  • 360 hours of community service;
  • 1-year license suspension;
  • 6 points on your driver’s license;
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program;
  • Ignition interlock use and compliance during restricted license period, which follows a mandatory 45-day license suspension;
  • $2,000 in Driver Responsibility Act fines, paid over the course of two years.

Note that these are the maximum penalties. Judges often discretion in the penalties imposed. That’s why working with an OWI defense attorney familiar with the 41B District Court is to your advantage.

For a free consultation contact us online.