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DUI Attorneys in Bay County, Michigan

According to data compiled by Michigan State Police, there were 26,386 DUI arrests in 2021, and of these, 18,267 resulted in a guilty verdict—a nearly 70% conviction rate. Drunk driving charges like this should never be treated lightly, regardless of whether you think the charges are unfounded or if you know you’re guilty. At Revolution Law PLC, we know that as humans we’re all prone to make mistakes in life, and one bad decision shouldn’t negatively impact you for years to come. Unfortunately, the possible DUI penalties can be far-reaching and affect several aspects of your life. 

If you’ve recently been arrested for a DUI and want to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your options, call us today to schedule a consultation. We can help clients in Bay County, Michigan, and throughout Bay County and Midland County.

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DUI Charges in Michigan 

Although you’ll see a lot of crossover in DUI laws from one state to another, Michigan still decides its own procedures regarding DUI arrests and the penalties associated with a conviction. Michigan defines these charges as “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) though they’re still commonly referred to as a DUI (driving under the influence). There’s also a somewhat less serious charge of "operating while visibly impaired" (OWVI).   

Like most states, you’re considered legally intoxicated by alcohol when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 0.08% (or 0.02% if you’re under 21). However, the state also considers other forms of intoxication that can lead to a DUI. These include:  

  • Being under the influence of a controlled or intoxicating substance.  

  • Being under the influence of an intoxicating liquor. 

  • Having any amount of a controlled substance in your body while operating a vehicle (meaning you don’t have to be showing signs of impairment if you’re found to have a Schedule 1 drug or cocaine in your system). 

However, although they are fairly reliable tests to determine the level of alcohol in your system, no such test exists for some other controlled substances, such as marijuana.   

Furthermore, it’s possible to be charged with a DUI even if you’re not actually driving the car. This is sometimes referred to as being in “actual physical control” of the vehicle, but in Michigan, the key standard is that you’re able to “operate” the car. For example, if you’ve pulled over to the side of the road to rest but remained in the driver’s seat with the car running, you could theoretically still be arrested for drunk driving.   

Sobriety Tests and Your Rights

As a licensed driver in the state, you’ve given your implied consent to take a chemical test if an officer has reasonable cause to believe you’re driving while impaired. If you refuse this test, your license will be automatically suspended for one year. That said, you are not legally obligated to agree to a field sobriety test (FST). These sobriety tests most commonly include the one-leg stand, walk and turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. You can politely refuse to take these tests.   

Possible Defenses

All drunk driving charges are worth fighting, even if you feel a conviction is inevitable. In many cases, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution or judge to reduce your sentence or propose an alternative sentence. Your actual defense will depend on the circumstances of your arrest but could include:  

  • Questioning the validity of the traffic stop itself and whether the officer had a reasonable suspicion you were drunk driving. 

  • Questioning the validity of chemical tests or roadside sobriety tests, which can be inaccurate if not administered correctly.  

  • Challenging evidence based on your protected right against illegal searches and seizures. 

Possible Penalties

In general, penalties for a DUI conviction will be more severe the more convictions you have in your past. A first offense could result in up to 93 days in jail, fines of up to $500, and up to 360 hours of community service. Multiple convictions could result in jail time of up to five years, $5,000 in fines, and up to 180 days of community service. Additionally, if you had a passenger under the age of 16 in the car with you at the time of the arrest, all penalties will be more severe.  

Ignition Interlock Program

Anytime you’re convicted of a DUI, you’ll be required to take part in an Ignition Interlock Program if you want to apply for a restricted license. The ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in your car and only allows the ignition to start when you blow through a tube to prove you haven’t been drinking alcohol. For a first conviction, you can request a restricted license and IID after 45 days. 

DUI Defense Attorneys Serving Bay County, Michigan

If you’re in the Bay County, Michigan area and have recently been arrested for drunk driving, you need to contact a qualified attorney right away. Reach out to our team at Revolution Law PLC today for trusted legal advice.