Michigan DUI ATTORNEY
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Q: What is the difference between a DUI and OWI?
A: In Michigan, you’re often arrested for an OWI “operating while intoxicated” However, many Michiganders as well as many other states around the country refer to drunk driving as a “DUI” – “Driving Under the Influence.” In Michigan, it used to be called a DUI until several years ago when the Michigan law changed to OWI and accompanying sub-catagories. For simplicity and ease of understanding the drunk driving laws, we refer to operating while intoxicated as "DUI" throughout our website even though drunk driving should be called “OWI” (“Operating While Intoxicated").
Q: Michigan Police arrested me for an OWI, what is the first thing that I should do?
A: The first thing to do is to consult with an experienced Michigan DUI lawyer
, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the complexities of the court procedures, rules and DUI laws. From there, it’s critical to start building an aggressive defense to your Michigan DUI arrest by gathering evidence. A DUI is no longer a simple charge, just the opposite, it is very serious nowadays. In some Courts, you can go to jail on a first OWI conviction. Therefore, you should always hire the best DUI attorney/DUI Lawyer in Michigan you can afford.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to fight my Michigan OWI arrest case?
A: While you don’t need a lawyer, a good DUI Lawyer with excellent DUI knowledge would certainly give you the strategic legal edge you need. A good DUI Defense Attorney who knows the ins and outs of the courtrooms in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb County may be able to obtain a lesser sentence for you if your situation allows for it. Additionally, if you are a Repeat Offender, or one whose livelihood depends on keeping your license, you should absolutely retain the best Michigan DUI lawyer you can afford. Fortunately, a drunk driving charge doesn’t necessarily mean a conviction, and good legal representation will help you get a DUI charge dismissed or reduced.
Q: Am I automatically guilty just because the police said that I was drunk?
A: Absolutely Not! Contrary to what most people think, before you can be convicted of an OWI, the prosecution must prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It is not your initial responsibility to prove your innocence but it is your responsibility to gather the evidence of your sobriety. We can show you how we do this.
Q: Can you get my case dismissed altogether?
A: In several cases, yes we can. Interestingly enough, however, even when we can’t get the entire case dismissed, there’s still the opportunity to reduce the penalties through plea bargaining. A plea bargain is an agreement between you and the Prosecutor where your current charges are dropped or lessened in exchange for a plea on a lower, less severe charge.
Q: The police report says things in there that aren’t true. What can I do about it?
A: A good strategy may be to file a Motion in Limine to exclude the officer’s testimony that he or she “believed” you were intoxicated or impaired. In other words, the prosecution must prove each and every element of the crime of operating while intoxicated (OWI), an officer who is attempting to testify as to his opinion, is helping the government convict you without the requirement of proving each and every element of the crime of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).
Q: The Michigan police officer who arrested me with a OWI had no reason to pull me over in the first place. Is there anything that I can do about it?
A: Yes, there is something that can be done. Since a law enforcement officer can’t just pull you over for no reason. Why? Because that violates your constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the 4th Amendment of the Michigan and U.S. Constitution. Your DUI Defense Attorney can bring a Motion to Suppress the evidence based on an illegal traffic stop. Upon cross-examination of the police officer, the objective is to cast doubt on his testimony for the reasons why he pulled you over. In our experience, we have found that their police reports are inconsistent with their in-court testimony.
Q: What is Heidi’s Law?
A: Michigan passed Heidi’s Law which this law added many new, harsher penalties to the drunk driving laws across Michigan. You can be charged with a felony if you had 2 prior DUI ‘s. There is a mandatory jail time and you could also be sentenced to prison, especially if you had more than 3 alcohol or other convictions on your criminal record.
Q: On what basis can I challenge the so-called “evidence” presented in court?
A: With the assistance of a good DUI Defense lawyer, you can raise such defenses as the officer had no legal right to pull you over, the random stop was not run proper, there were flawed field sobriety and/or breath tests, and the police officer’s subjective opinions lack merit to establish an arrest.
Q: Must I perform the field sobriety tests requested of the police officer?
A: No. Unlike blood and breath testing, submitting to a Michigan OWI/DUI field sobriety test is voluntary, but do not expect a police officer to inform you of this.
Q: What are the best ways to defend against “failed” field sobriety tests?
A: These tests are imperfect by all means. A good way to test this is to let the jury see if the officer can ‘pass my tests while the officer is on the stand’. There are many factors unrelated to alcohol or drug use that could cause you to perform poorly on these tests. The best thing that you could do is retain a good DUI Defense Attorney to argue that even if you “failed” a test, it was because of issues unrelated to alcohol or drug use.
Q: Can I beat the breathalyzer?
A: As DUI Defense Attorney, I am often asked this question. Short answer is yes, the “data master” machine can be overcome. Breath tests can be conducted in error or illegally obtained. The following questions and defenses should be raised in order to challenge the test and keep the results from being admitted into evidence: Did the officer observe you for a period of 15 minutes prior to your taking the test? Did the officer have his or her radio on during the test? Was there a specific reason for which you were pulled over and stopped by the officer? Have you seen the maintenance records (logs) from the breathalyzer – when was it last calibrated?
Q: What is “blood-alcohol concentration” or “blood-alcohol level”?
A: Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the level of alcohol in the bloodstream from drinking alcoholic beverages. BAC readings are used in court as evidence in drunk-driving cases. The most common method of measure is a breath test, although blood and/or urine testing is sometimes done. A result of .08 or higher may establish a presumption of intoxication (drivers under 21 have a limit of .02 in Michigan). The details of the .08 BAC presumption laws vary among the states, but all 50 states have adopted .08 as their official intoxication level, in large part because of a federal threat of otherwise withholding highway funds.
Q: What happens if I refuse a Breath Test when I’m pulled over?
A: Refusing a breathalizer at the scene of the stop is a civil infraction (there are no criminal consequences to refuse it). But if you refuse the “data master” breath test at the police station or a blood test, you can face harsh penalties. For example, you will have your driver’s license suspended. If this happened to you, seek the advise of a good dui lawyer in Michigan right away! You have a right to appeal the suspension to the Michigan Secretary of State. You only have a me
e 14 days to appeal to the Driver’s License Appeal Board at the Michigan Secretary of State in Lansing.
Q: The datamster electronic print-out says I was over the limit (.08). Shouldn’t I just plead guilty if my test results say that I failed?
A: Many drivers are daunted by the evidence against them, such as field sobriety tests, breathalyzer results, and testimony of the police officer. It is common to feel that a conviction is inevitable, but there are many good reasons to fight the charge of a Michigan OWI. A key point to always remember is that drivers who contest the charges with an aggressive and experienced DUI attorney at their side have a good chance of either having the charges dismissed completely, or greatly reduced.
Q: What is “mouth alcohol” and how can it create a false reading on the breathalyzer?
A: People with dentures and orthodontic work in their mouth often end up with inaccurate breath test results. Certain gases that move from the stomach up to the mouth, loose food particles, breath sprays and breath strips can send confusing test scores. For example, according to Listerine manufacturer Pfizer Inc.’s website, Listerine strips contain about 30% alcohol.
Q: Is there any way that I could be arrested if I had a BAC of less than .08?
A: Yes. You can be prosecuted for a Michigan OWVI if the Prosecutor proved that you were less than a safe driver due to impairment by alcohol or drugs – based on the law enforcement officer’s observations. His or her opinion will have more weight if field sobriety tests, the smell of alcohol, blood shot, watery eyes, loss of coordination, and general attitude are disclosed.
If your BAC results came back at .08 or lower, you have a good chance of getting the drunk driving charge of OWI dismissed altogether or reduced to a non-alcohol related crime or even a civil infraction.
Q: Will I go to jail if convicted on a first OWI offense?
A: There is always that posibility and there are many factors to consider. For example, prior criminal convictions and high BAC results can increase your chances to getting jail time for a first OWI conviction. Each Michigan Judge has her/his own policies.
However, many DUI cases result in negotiated plea agreements. For those cases that are not tried or dismissed, an experienced DUI Defense Attorney can often negotiate with the Prosecutor and/or Judge for alternative penalties associated with drunk driving.
Q: If I am arrested, what happens to my driver’s license?
A: Upon arrest, your license will be confiscated and you will be issued a “paper license” also known as “625 G” license to drive while your case or charges are pending. In addition to the “papaer liense, you should consider a visit to your local Secretary of State Office and request a Michigan State ID for identification purposes. The cost is minimal (around $8.00-$12.00) and some Michigan SOS Super Centers can issue you one on the spot.
Q: Can you get cited for OWI in a Boat?
A: Just like cars, trucks or RV’s, operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs has serious consequences.
Q: What makes your law firm different from other DUI lawyers or OWI attorneys?
A: Our clients will most likely tell you that both our professionalism, customer service and aggressive defense strategies set us apart from the rest. We answer our phones and meet meet our clients at night and over the weekend, and we conduct a thorough independent investigation of each case that we represent. This is critical because many attorneys who claim they know DUI laws, miss this step and can stengthen the Prosecutor’s case. We look for evidence to prove that the police officer was mistaken, didn’t follow proper procedures, or that the tests were flawed. Once we begin our investigation, we go to the scene of the crime and sometime take pictures to show evidence of unfair road conditions, and may even look into medical records that would show a condition making you unable to perform field sobriety tests no matter what condition or time of day.
Q: My case is outside of the Metro-Detroit Area, do you go all over the state?
A: We mainly practice in the Southeast Michigan areas, including Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw Counties. We can still assist you in finding a lawyer whom we believe is competent and knows the Michigan DUI Laws as much as we do and dedicated as much as we are to fight back the If we feel that you will By working day in and day out in the courthouses, we establish working relationships with Judges, Prosecutors, probation officers and court staff. This way, we know how things work in particular courtrooms, and with particular City Attorneys and Prosecutors.
Q: How much will you charge to represent me (DUI lawyer fees)?
A: The first step is our Case Evaluation. Our DUI Defense Attorneys don’t charge for this half hour, so it makes good sense to meet with us as quickly as possible so that we can discuss the facts of your case.
Once we have a clear understanding of your case and personal circumstances, we will tell you in advance, and put in writing, exactly what we will charge to take your case. Our attorney fees are
and depend on a number of factors, including, the facts and circumstances of your case, your past criminal record, prior DUI conviction(s), the alleged breath alcohol content by the police, whether you had your driver’s license suspended and the court that your case is pending or will be pending. Our fees are almost always on a fixed-fee basis. charging an hourly does not work well and fixed fee arrangements is the standard fee arrangement in the criminal/DUI practice amongst DUI lawyers in Michigan.
We take our cases seriously, and must restrict the number of cases we take so that each case gets the time and attention that it deserves. You always know our fees up-front. Plus, if you don’t want to go all the way to trial, you don’t have to pay for trial.
Q: I was arrested for an OWI but did not get a ticket nor have I been charged. What to do?
A: Police investigate a crime and prepare a written report. The report is then forwarded to the State or City/Township Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor or City Attorney are the ones who decide whether to file criminal charges and what criminal charges will be filed. The investigation process could take time, or could occur very quickly. It is important to know to not to talk without the presence of a good DUI/criminal defense lawyer because it can come back to haunt you. Police are trained to elicit information from those investigated for a crime, especially for drunk driving (DUI). It is human nature to want to explain your position after being arrested. However, doing so without first talking to an experienced DUI attorney can have a daunting effect whether you will be charged or not, and in some cases, additional information may be elicited by you that can lead to additional charges filed against you.
Therefore, it is essential to be able to fight your case before charges are filed. The police or other law enforcement agency may have already contacted you, your work, your family, or other individuals, and are asking questions. A search warrant may have already been served. Typically, you are under no obligation to talk to anyone or to do anything. This is your constitutional right under the laws of the State of Michigan and U.S. Constitution.
Call Us Now For A Free Phone Consultation at (888) 432-6425 - Oakland County DUI Law Office.