Step-by-Step Through Your DUI Case
DUI Attorney Helping Clients Understand a DUI Case in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Throughout Michigan
When arrested for driving under the influence in Michigan, you will likely be placed in jail until the following morning. Upon your release, it is common to feel frightened and stressed; you likely aren't certain what all you face. First of all, it is critical to obtain the legal guidance of an experienced Michigan DUI attorney, who can help you through the process and work to achieve a positive outcome.
A police officer must have probable cause to arrest you for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This can be accomplished if the officer observes signs of alcohol use and subsequently requests you to submit to a physical or breathalyzer test. When the results of these tests indicate your BAC is above the state's legal limit of 0.08%, you may be arrested. It is at this stage you will be taken to the police station, where a more accurate breath test will be performed on a device called the Datamaster.
The arraignment is the next step, and usually occurs the next day or within a short time period. At the arraignment, you will be advised of your rights and informed of the charge against you, along with potential penalties you may face if found guilty. While it is not necessary to have your lawyer present at the arraignment, it is advised as your attorney may be able to get a substantially lower bond. Additionally, hiring a lawyer prior to the arraignment may result in your being allowed to "waive" the court hearing; a plea of not guilty will be entered on your behalf automatically.
The charge you face will depend on whether it is a first offense, an OUIL 2nd offense, or an OUIL 3rd offense. You may be charged with misdemeanor OUIL 2nd offense when it is a second DUI offense within seven years of the first. A 3rd offense OUIL is a felony; you may be charged with OUIL 3rd offense if you have been convicted of a DUI offense two or more times prior. Any individual who is charged with an OUIL 3rd offense will have the right to a preliminary examination within 14 days of arraignment. The prosecution must show probable cause at this examination, which includes the presentation of evidence and witnesses called by the prosecuting attorney.
Pre-trial is the next step in a DUI case; this conference is where your defense attorney and the prosecutor will meet to discuss your case, examine the evidence, and determine whether it may be resolved through a plea bargain which typically results in reduced penalties. At this point it is vital to have a talented criminal defense attorney who is highly skilled and knowledgeable in Michigan DUI defense, as it could result in beating the charges against you or having charges significantly reduced, therefore limiting the damage to your life.
The final step in a DUI case is jury selection and trial. Depending on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense, seven or 13 jurors will be selected by a jury pool following a process called "voir dire," which simply means questioning by attorneys and the court. Whether you will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony is left to the discretion of the prosecutor. Following jury selection, a trial will be conducted in which the prosecutor must prove every element of the offense you are charged with beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be found guilty. Upon a conviction, your case will proceed to sentencing. You may be sentenced to jail or probation, community service, and other punishment depending on the details of your particular case.
The highly qualified team of Michigan DUI defense lawyers at Grabel & Associates has successfully defended individuals across the state through every stage of their DUI cases. Skilled trial attorneys, we are ready to begin protecting your freedom today, and will investigate all aspects of your case including evidence to determine the most effective legal approach. Contact, one of our DUI defense attorneys now for a free evaluation of your case at 1-800-342-7896.