Michigan State Police to Crack Down on Drunk Driving During March Madness

April 2, 2015
by The Law Office of Steven L. Schwartz

Patrol Lights

Michigan police in 26 counties across the State have told reporters that they will be stepping up OWI enforcement through the week of April 7. This time period is specifically chosen because it coincides with the “March Madness” NCAA basketball tournament. According to one local news report, police are increasing their efforts under the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign.” In fact, Michigan State Police, in association with the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, has created special coasters that over 1,100 locations will use during March Madness.

OWI in Michigan

In Michigan, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle of any kind while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. State legislators have determined that any time a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) is at or above .08, that driver is legally intoxicated. However, an officer is able to arrest a person whom they believe to be intoxicated, even if their BAC is less than .08. This is called a “general impairment” OWI. If a driver is found to have a BAC of .17 or more, they face stricter punishments, including mandatory fines, court costs, license suspension, and jail time.

Fighting OWI Cases in Michigan

Unlike many other criminal offenses, there are relatively few defenses to an OWI charge. The two key defenses are non-operation and non-intoxication. At the most basic level, these defenses suggest that the prosecution cannot establish that the defendant was driving or that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the offense.

Not every case is a good candidate for a non-operation defense, but they can be very strong when they do apply. For example, if a defendant was cited for OWI after an accident, but no one witnessed the defendant driving the vehicle, the prosecution will have to provide evidence that they were in fact the driver. This can be difficult if there were other people in the car, the defendant fled the scene and wasn’t seen behind the wheel, or the defendant was outside the car by the time the police arrived.

A non-intoxication defense can arise in general impairment cases as well as those cases with BAC levels above .08. Any time there is a problem with the testing mechanism, whether it be a blood-draw or an Intoxilyzer, a non-intoxication defense may be viable. Furthermore, in general impairment cases an officer’s observations that a defendant was “severely intoxicated” may be disproven by showing that the defendant actually had a lower-than-expected BAC. If you have been charged with a Michigan OWI offense, contact a dedicated Michigan criminal defense attorney.

Have You Been Charged With a Michigan OWI Offense?

If you have recently been arrested and charged with an OWI offense in the State of Michigan, you should be sure to retain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. Throughout the criminal trial process, there are opportunities for a skilled attorney to establish reasonable doubt that later can be used to secure an acquittal. If an acquittal is not an option given the evidence against you, a dedicated Michigan criminal defense attorney can work to ensure that the penalty you receive will interrupt your life as little as possible. Contact a dedicated criminal defense attorney at (240) 930-5019 to schedule a free consultation.

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