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Michigan OWI Attorney

State courts in Michigan see so many DUI cases that they often rush through verdicts and sentencing. It's your job to find a DUI lawyer that can slow down the process.

Don't let the courts automatically convict you of a DUI. It can have severe repercussions on your life and your ability to earn money. If you're willing to fight a DUI charge, you need to choose an attorney who can help return a 'not guilty' verdict.

Don't waste your time with generalist lawyers who have little experience in DUI court. If you want to win a DUI or OWI case, you need to hire an OWI Attorney that understands the complexities of Michigan's OWI laws. There's much more than meets the eye in your standard OWI case.

Below, we'll explore Michigan DUIs in more detail.

Two Forms of DUI (OWI)

Many people don’t' realize that there are two different ways to obtain a DUI (DWI) in the state of Michigan. Let’s take a look at these two DUI forms and explain how they may impact you.

BAC Level

This is the most common form of DUI, and it's what many people falsely assume to be the only form of DUI. If you’re in the state of Michigan, the legal limit for alcohol in your blood is .08. If you test over this, you will most likely be charged with a DUI.

This is the easiest form of DUI for the prosecution to prove. Because they can point to chemical evidence of you breaking the law, they have relatively solid proof that you were over the intoxication limit.

Regardless, you can fight a case based on BAC level. Evidence suggests that these tests are not as accurate as police often claim. Also, the police have to use a proper procedure to test you for your BAC legally.

Visual Impairment

The other way that the state of Michigan can convict you for a DUI is via evidence of visual impairment. If the state doesn't have proof of your BAC, but it’s clear that you are extremely intoxicated, they still may receive a conviction.

This is a lot harder to prove. If you're not intoxicated, but you appear intoxicated, the burden of proof is still on the prosecutor to show how they reached that conclusion.

This form of DUI evidence could make for some interesting courtroom drama. If you want a lawyer that can help you prove your innocence against this form of charge, make sure to get in contact with a DUI Attorney from O'Keefe Law today.

BAC - Upper Limits

It's also important to note that while the limit is .08, you can also receive harsher punishment if you are significantly higher than the legal limit BAC. If your test reveals a BAC of over .17, you are considered dangerously drunk, according to Michigan law.

This means that you will face harsher initial penalties, even if it’s only your first offense. If you do face charges related to a BAC over .17, it's essential to involve a Michigan DUI Lawyer. Not doing so may result in significant license suspension and additional penalties.

Underage DUI

If you're underage, you could face a separate DUI charge for having alcohol in your system. The drinking age in Michigan is 21, meaning you shouldn't have any alcohol in your system if you're operating a vehicle between the ages of 16-20.

Many states have a zero-tolerance law when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Michigan, on the other hand, does allow some leeway. If you test between .02 and .08, you will face an underage drunk driving charge.

While the punishment for underage drunk driving is not nearly as severe as typical DUIs, you will lose your license for a considerable amount of time.

Keep in mind, if you are underage and test over .08, you will still receive the usual punishment for a regular DUI. Don't assume that your age disqualifies you from obtaining a standard DUI - it just means you can also receive an underage DUI for .02-.08.

Michigan DUI Punishments

Michigan DUI punishments are primarily dependent on how many times you've been caught drinking and driving.

For your first DUI offense, you can receive a maximum of 93 days in jail, 360 hours of volunteering, and up to $500 in fines. The government may also suspend your license.

For your second DUI offense, you may receive up to one year in jail, 360 hours of volunteering, and up to $1,000 in fines.

After you've been caught three times, your DUI will most likely become a felony. The court system believes three strikes are enough to warrant a felony trial. If you face a felony conviction, you need to understand the gravity of the situation. Not only may it result in a prison sentence, but it may also disqualify you from owning a firearm or working in specific industries.

On your third DUI, you may also face up to five years in jail, as well as a maximum of $5,000 in fines!

If you test positive for over a .17 BAC level on your first offense, you may receive up to 180 days of jail right away. The government may also suspend your license for up to a year. Those who have their licenses reinstated will most likely need a sobriety ignition lock installed in their vehicle.

Other Factors to Consider

While the above punishments outline the general penalties for a DUI, there are also other factors to consider.

The state of Michigan is very strict with those who drive under the influence with children in the vehicle. If you are intoxicated and have individuals under the age of 16 in your car, this will most likely contribute to a harder sentence.

Also, you need to consider other issues that may arise if you're accused of driving while intoxicated. If you're in an accident, there may be damaged property or injured bystanders involved in your incident.

If you believe police are trying to accuse you of intoxication because of a serious incident on the road, it's essential to speak with a Michigan DUI lawyer immediately. Not doing so may result in charges of manslaughter or criminal damage.

Can You Refuse a Breath Test in Michigan?

Many people ask our firm if they're within their rights to refuse a breath test. This is a complicated topic as refusing a breath test is not always the best option if you're looking to avoid severe punishment. Understandably, you may be nervous about taking a breath test as they can often be inaccurate.

Michigan recently considered making refusing a breath test illegal. As of now, this has not occurred; you can still reject a breath test when you're requested by police to submit to a breathalyzer.

Typically, an officer will conduct a field sobriety test on you, and if you fail, they'll request a breath sample. If you refuse, they'll arrest you and take you to the station for further testing.

If you continue to refuse at the station, the police can charge you with refusal to take a breath test. The first offense will result in an automatic year's license suspension.

As you can see, while a lack of BAC reduces the evidence the police have, it still results in a significant punishment that may impair your ability to work.

Can You Request an Independent Chemical Test?

This is another common question we receive from clients in Michigan. As breath tests and blood samples are known to be less than perfect, many residents in Michigan don't feel confident a police officer's sample will give them a fair assessment of their intoxication level.

Believe it or not, you are allowed to request an independent chemical test from police. But keep in mind, if your independent blood test comes back as over the limit, it may be used in court, regardless of whether you want it to or not.

If a police officer refuses your right to an independent blood test, then this may conflict with your legal rights. If a police officer refuses you the right to an independent blood test, make sure to get in touch with one of our Michigan OWI Lawyers today.

Why You Should Hire an OWI Attorney

If you're facing allegations of a DUI in the state of Michigan, you may be worried that it will impact your ability to earn a living. You're not alone - we've helped hundreds of clients fight their DUI charges in state courts.

If you want a criminal defense lawyer that understands DUI laws and their complexity, it's essential to call O'Keefe Law. Our DUI and OWI Attorneys understand the prosecution and their strategies. We're here to help you build a solid defense and test the prosecutor.

Most people don't realize they're entitled to a fair trial, but it's one of the most basic tenets of the US legal system. Unfortunately, sometimes you need a world-class DUI attorney to help ensure you get the fair trial you deserve. Contact O'Keefe Law today if you want to discuss your DUI case and how to win in court.

Michigan OWI Attorney FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between DUI and OWI?

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) are terms that often refer to the act of driving or operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. While both terms are used to describe similar offenses, OWI is more commonly used in Michigan. Regardless of the terminology, the consequences of these offenses can be severe. If you or someone you know is facing DUI or OWI charges in Michigan, it's essential to contact a specialized Michigan OWI Lawyer. Patrick O'Keefe at O'Keefe Law in Lansing, Michigan has extensive experience in this area and can provide expert guidance.

How can an OWI Attorney help reduce or dismiss my charges?

An OWI Attorney can thoroughly examine the details of your arrest to identify any legal or procedural errors, challenge the validity of field sobriety tests, and question the reliability of breath or blood tests. By mounting a strong defense and presenting evidence in your favor, it's possible to have charges reduced or even dismissed. Don't take chances with your future; contact Patrick O'Keefe at O'Keefe Law in Lansing, Michigan for expert representation.

How does Michigan's "Super Drunk" law affect DUI and OWI charges?

Michigan's "Super Drunk" law pertains to individuals arrested with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.17 or higher, which is over twice the legal limit. If convicted under this law, penalties can be more severe, including longer jail time, heftier fines, and extended license suspension. If you're facing charges under the "Super Drunk" law, it's crucial to have an experienced Michigan DUI Lawyer. Patrick O'Keefe of O'Keefe Law can provide the expertise needed to navigate these complex charges.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and felony OWI in Michigan?

In Michigan, most first-time and second-time OWI offenses are classified as misdemeanors. However, a third OWI offense within a lifetime can be charged as a felony. Felony charges come with stiffer penalties, including potential prison time. Whether you're facing misdemeanor or felony charges, consulting with an OWI Attorney is essential. Patrick O'Keefe at O'Keefe Law is well-versed in Michigan OWI laws and can guide you through the legal complexities.

How soon should I contact a DUI Attorney after my arrest?

It's advisable to contact a DUI Attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. The sooner you seek legal counsel, the better prepared you will be for any upcoming court dates or hearings. Immediate action can also help in preserving crucial evidence or witnesses. If you're searching for a trusted Michigan DUI Lawyer, look no further than Patrick O'Keefe at O'Keefe Law. Serving clients throughout the state, he's ready to provide the legal support you need.

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