by Schwartz Criminal Defense Firm
Make no mistake about it a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can have devastating implications on your life. It can cause you to lose your job if it entails driving, keep you from getting a job when criminal checks are done and make getting car and home loans more difficult. A DUI conviction will cause your automobile insurance to be significantly increased over the next several years. In addition to the stigma attached to it, the embarrassment and humiliation, it is an expensive lesson to be learned.
DUI or OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) are charges that are made when an officer pulls you over and suspects that you have been drinking. In Michigan, you are DUI if you have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. If you are a minor and caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02 or more, you will be charged with a misdemeanor with large fines and penalties attached.
First time offenders face a misdemeanor DUI, which will typically not result in much jail time, if any. It really depends on where the offense occurred, since some judges are stricter than others. However, the maximum jail time for a first offense is 93 days. Fines range from $100 to $500, plus a mandatory $1,000 driver responsibility fee to be paid annually for two years. A DUI conviction will start the time running for the seven year look back period, which means charges and penalties will be enhanced for any subsequent DUI/OWI arrests.
Michigan passed the “Super Drunk” law in October 2010, which imposes heavier fines and penalties on individuals who are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .17 or higher. Fines and penalties for this offense can run several thousands of dollars, increased jail time from 93 days to 180 days, a one year suspension of your driver’s license, mandatory alcohol counseling for one year and having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on any vehicles you own or operate.
Even though statistics indicate that the number of individuals arrested for DUI in Michigan has fallen since 2010, many motorists continue to get in their vehicles after drinking and place themselves and others in danger. The people that do this are not all bad people. Many are good people who simply made a bad decision to drive, after having some drinks.
If you or a family member have been arrested for DUI/OWI it is important to speak with a Michigan attorney experienced in handling DUI cases. Many times it can be shown that the traffic stop was unlawful, that the very subjective field sobriety tests (FST) were inconclusive or there were errors in the blood or breath tests. Police officers usually have their minds made up that you are drunk and going to jail.
Attorney Steven L. Schwartz, at the Schwartz Criminal Defense Firm, is a third generation attorney. He has practiced law as a criminal defense attorney in Detroit for more than two decades. He will work to get you a dismissal, a not guilty verdict or reduced charges.