Michigan Drunk Driving Lawyer | Goodwin & Scieszka

Drunk Driving Laws in Michigan

It is against the law for people to drive in Michigan if their blood alcohol content level is .08 or higher. Those who are under 21 cannot have a blood alcohol content level above .02. Officers can arrest anyone who is over the legal limit and charge him or her with driving under the influence, which is a serious criminal offense. When an officer pulls someone over for drinking and driving, that person must undergo a breath, blood or urine test at the police station.

Costs and Consequences of a DUI Charge

Michigan has a law that imposes strict penalties on those whose blood alcohol content level is .17 or higher. The penalties are stricter than they are for someone who only blew a .08 during the breathalyzer test. Officers in Michigan have the right to arrest anyone who is exhibiting signs of impairment while operating a motor vehicle. Once suspects arrive at the police station, they will take an official test to see if they were too impaired to drive.

Those who have a blood alcohol content level between .08 and .17 during their first offense may receive the following penalties.

  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 180 days without a license
  • Six points on a driver’s license
  • Up to 360 hours of community service

A blood alcohol content level above .17 for a first time offense can lead to harsh penalties.

  • Up to a $700 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to one year without a license
  • Six points on a driver’s license
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • A mandatory requirement to attend an alcohol treatment program
  • An ignition interlock system at the driver’s expense
  • Limited driving privileges

Those who refuse to take a breathalyzer test during their first offense will automatically lose their license for one year. A second refusal within seven years will lead to a two-year license suspension. Besides that, all those who receive a conviction for driving drunk must pay $2,000 in additional costs over a two-year period according to the Driver Responsibility Act.

Hiring a Licensed Attorney

Anyone who receives a charge for driving under the influence should seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney. Although a DUI is a serious offense, people still have options to fight the charges. In addition, a lawyer can use defense strategies to the help the client avoid harsh penalties. Since the penalties for driving under the influence in Michigan are tougher than most other states, people should contact an attorney within the first two weeks of their arrest.

The results from a breath, blood or urine test are not always correct. A skilled defense attorney can review the results of the test to determine if any problems occurred. For example, the defense attorney can check the results to see if they were falsely inflated. Sometimes, an experienced attorney can even find a mistake in how the police administered the test.

The Legal Process

Prosecutors will use the results of the breathalyzer, blood or urine test against the defendant. In addition, the prosecution team may also use the arresting officer as a witness. While on the stand, the arresting officer can discuss the field sobriety tests. The officer can even describe the defendant’s appearance and behavior at the time of his or her arrest. If the defendant had bloodshot eyes, then the officer can share that information with the court.

Without a lawyer, the arresting officer’s testimony can permanently harm the defendant’s case. An attorney can argue on the defendant’s behalf. For instance, the attorney may argue that the defendant’s eyes were bloodshot from allergies, fatigue or crying. Those who are facing a DUI charge should contact an attorney for a consultation.

TOP