Frequently Asked Questions About DUIs
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drinking and driving leads to a fatality in the United States every 52 minutes – 28 people killed a day, or about 10,000 in a year. It’s no wonder that all 50 states enforce laws against driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated.
Michigan enforces an OWI, or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and an OWVI, or operating a vehicle while visibly impaired. If you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent, you are considered to be under the influence and operating a vehicle illegally.
If you have been charged with driving while under the influence, either OWI or OWVI, in or around the Michigan counties of Bay and Midland, contact us at Revolution Law PLC.
The penalties for a DUI are serious and may involve fines, jail time, community service, and loss of your driving privileges. A conviction can also result in a criminal record that can haunt you going forward in life. It is worth fighting the charge. Reach out to our criminal defense attorneys immediately.
FAQs about DUIs in Michigan
Through our years of representing clients who have been charged with a DUI, we have encountered several misconceptions about Michigan’s laws and the rights of those who are pulled over and/or are charged with OWI or OWVI. Here are some of the more common questions from clients:
Can I Be Charged if My Blood Alcohol Content is Below 0.08 Percent?
The answer to this is yes. Even if your BAC is below 0.08 percent, you can still be charged, especially with an OWVI – being visibly impaired while driving. Also, the 0.08 BAC standard applies only to drivers 21 or older. Drivers under 21 need only have a BAC of 0.02 percent. Also, penalties increase if your BAC reaches 0.17 percent or higher. Also, you can be subject to felony charges if your driving results in serious injury, death, if you have a minor passenger (under the age of 16), or if it’s your third DUI offense.
Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer or Blood Test?
When you receive your driver’s license, by law you are giving your “implied consent” to submitting to chemical tests and to actual blood tests if arrested. If you refuse a chemical test after arrest, your driving privileges will be suspended for up to one year. However, if the officer who pulls you over asks you to submit to a field sobriety test (FST) – standing on one leg, walking toe-to-heel back and forth, and/or having an eye “gaze” test – you can refuse that without consequence of arrest, although you would be subject to a civil infraction and fine and then might be required to take a breathalyzer or blood test.
If I Pull Over to the Side of the Road to Sleep it off, Can I Still Be Charged?
If you have “actual physical control” of your vehicle, you can be subject to DUI laws. Operational control means you have placed the vehicle into a position that could pose risk - in other words the vehicle is in on and in drive.
A reliable criminal defense attorney can listen to your specific situation, advise you of your options, and build a strong defense.
Will I Lose My License? How Will I Get to Work?
If your BAC is above 0.17 percent, for a first-time offense, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to 180 days. After 45 days, you can apply for a restricted license, but that requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. To start your vehicle, you must blow into the IID to have your BAC tested. If you fail, you cannot start the vehicle.
What are the Penalties for a First-Time Offense?
If you don’t have a minor passenger with you and your driving doesn’t lead to any serious injuries or fatalities, then the penalties for a DUI with a BAC under 0.17 percent can include up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, up to 360 days of community service, and as mentioned above, a driving privilege suspension of up to 90 days. Most of these penalties apply whether you are convicted of an OWI or an OWVI.
Is it Possible to Reduce the Charge to a Lesser Offense?
Working with an experienced attorney, you can possibly negotiate a plea bargain with officials to get the charge reduced.
Do I Need an Attorney if I’m Charged With a DUI?
An experienced attorney can not only help you get the charge reduced, but our team has the resources to put up a solid defense and argue for a dismissal or for lesser penalties.
Breathalyzers have to be constantly calibrated, and officers must apply the test following established standards. Even a blood test can be mishandled and become contaminated, and its chain of custody may bring up questions if it’s really your blood. So, the answer is yes – you do need an attorney.
Trusted and Experienced Legal Counsel
If you are facing an OWI or OWVI charge in Bay County or Midland County, reach out to us immediately at Revolution Law PLC. We will fight for your rights and strive for the best result possible.
Don’t agree to plead guilty because you think that doing so will result in a softer set of penalties. That’s not necessarily going to happen. Rely on experienced legal counsel.