Drunk Driving / OWI Defense Law

The offense of drunk driving in Michigan is currently known as “OWI” or “Operating While Intoxicated,” and this offense is exactly the same as an OUIL, UBAL, DUI or a DWI as it is referred to in other states, therefore we use the terms interchangeably. Every state has its own unique manner of classifying a drunk driving offense under several acronyms.

Previous statistics have shown that an OWI arrest is made about every ten minutes in Michigan alone. A drunk driving charge is one of the most common criminal offenses in the United States, and the bulk of these charges are made against otherwise law abiding people. Approximately 3,836 people are arrested each day for suspected drunk driving nationally, with 150 people being arrested in Michigan daily.

Based upon recent reports from the federal government, approximately one in ten motorists arrested for drunk driving is wrongfully arrested, although our government describes this more optimistically as “accurate in 91 percent of the cases, or as high as 94 percent if explanations for some of the false positives are accepted.” (A “false positive” is an innocent person locked in jail, with or without an acceptable explanation.)

It is absolutely legal to drink and drive. It is only illegal to drive while “impaired” or “intoxicated.” Moreover, even intoxicated motorists have constitutional rights that require a dismissal in many cases. If you have been charged with drunk driving, it is important that you contact an attorney at CT Law as soon as possible. Important video tape evidence may be available that could exonerate you, require suppression of evidence, or mandate that the case be dismissed.

On September 30, 2003, Michigan made .08 % blood-alcohol content (BAC) the new drunk driving standard. Michigan previously had a two-tiered standard, with .10 BAC or greater considered drunk driving and .08-.09 BAC being impaired driving. Michigan is the 44th state to adopt an .08 BAC standard for drunk driving offenses. A first-time offender convicted of drunk driving/OWI in Michigan faces severe penalties: up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, 360 hours of community service, 6 points on their driver’s license, 180 days with a suspended license, with a restricted license possible after 30 days. Convicted drunk drivers will also be subject to a new $1,000 Michigan Driver’s Responsibility Fee penalty which will be imposed for two consecutive years.

Drivers may still be arrested and charged with “Operating While Visibly Impaired” (“OWVI”) in Michigan, but under the new drunk driving laws, no particular BAC must be associated with an OWVI charge. This means any BAC under .08 % can be considered “impaired Driving” in Michigan. A first time offender convicted of Operating While Visibly Impaired/OWVI faces up to 93 days in jail, a $300 fine, 4 points on their driver’s license, 90 days with a restricted license. Also, an additional $500 penalty assessed for two consecutive years under Michigan Driver’s Responsibility Fee laws.

Operating Under the Influence of Drugs, or OUID, is treated similarly to an a OWI offense in Michigan. Michigan law contains a zero tolerance provision for drivers with certain illegal drugs in their system. These “schedule 1″ drugs are those with no medicinal use, such as marijuana, GHB, cocaine and cocaine-derivative drugs. With this change, prosecutors will not have to prove the driver was impaired, just that they were driving with those drugs in their system. This means a driver does not have to be “high” or intoxicated from illegal drugs at the time of the arrest for an OUID charge to be valid, just that there were illegal drugs in the driver’s system. The same penalties for drunk driving apply to those convicted under the zero-tolerance drug provisions. Other penalties have also been increased.

Michigan Implied Consent Laws provide for a suspension of your Michigan driver’s license if you refused to take a breathalyzer test (called a “DataMaster”) or blood test after you were arrested for a drunk driving offense. If you refuse to submit to these tests, then you have only 14 days to request a hearing before your license is suspended for one full year, and 6 points are added to your Michigan driver’s license. For a second refusal in seven years, it is a two year driver’s license suspension. Every driver in Michigan is required to submit to a breathalyzer or a blood test if a police officer has “probable cause” to believe you are drunk driving. Michigan’s “Implied Consent” laws set forth such penalties which are separate from drunk driving sanctions. This means even if you are sober, if you refuse to submit to an breathalyzer or a blood test you may face a suspension of your Michigan driver’s license. However, these penalties are not triggered by a preliminary breath test (“PBT”) refusal on the side of the road at the scene of a drunk driving arrest, Implied Consent violations only occur after you are brought back to the police station after an arrest fro drunk driving/OWI/OWVI. A PBT refusal is only a civil infraction in Michigan that carries a fine of $100.00 to $200.00. It is a zero (0) point offense that is not abstracted to your driving record, and is the functional equivalent of a parking meter ticket.

Why The Attorneys At CT Law Get Results Others Cannot?

The expert drunk driving/OWI attorneys at CT Law provide their clients with aggressive and thorough legal representation in defense of all types drunk driving and OUID cases. Our attorneys are well trained in Michigan’s drunk driving laws, field sobriety testing, and the science behind breathalyzer and blood testing. MANY DRUNK DRIVING CASES HAVE DEFENSES THAT MOST ATTORNEYS OVERLOOK! The criminal defense experts at CT Law have the extensive training, specialized knowledge of the law, and trial experience to win drunk driving cases in Michigan. As soon as the attorneys from CT Law are retained for your case, discovery requests and subpoenas are served on the arresting police department and the prosecutors or city attorneys pursuing your case in order to protect your Constitutional rights. Many attorneys fail aggressively seek the discovery evidence that could help you have the charges against you dismissed.

Put the power of our knowledge and extensive legal experience to work for you! Many Michigan attorneys claim to be “drunk driving experts” but most simply walk into court and accept whatever “plea bargain” the prosecutor offers their client. The attorneys at CT Law will NEVER plea their clients guilty to any offense unless every possible defense is exhausted. The Michigan criminal defense team of attorneys at CT Law are available 24 hours a day at (586) 285-1700. Call our law firm today!

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32059 Utica Road
Fraser, Michigan 48026
Phone: (586) 285-1700
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