According to the NHTSA, 37 people in the United States die every day in drunk-driving crashes so it is not surprising that Michigan, like most other states, has strict laws regarding DUI offenses. Still, not everyone pulled over or arrested for this crime is guilty and the criminal defense attorneys of The Nunley Law Group, PLLC are committed to seeing to it that our clients throughout St. Clair Shores and Metro Detroit receive the best DUI defense possible.
DUI Laws in Michigan You Should Know
Michigan has stringent laws regarding Driving Under the Influence (DUI), known locally as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone navigating the legal system in St. Clair Shores and the Metro Detroit area.
BAC Determines DUI
Throughout the U.S., DUI is determined primarily on the basis of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). A BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered over the legal limit for standard drivers. Commercial drivers, however, are held to a lower threshold (0.04 percent).
Field Tests and Breathalyzers
In Michigan, drivers are considered to have implied consent to field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests. Refusal to submit to these tests can lead to automatic license suspension and other penalties.
Stricter Standards in Michigan for Young Drivers
For drivers under the age of 21, Michigan has a Zero Tolerance policy. For these young drivers, a BAC higher than 0.02 percent can lead to DUI charges.
What Happens When You Are Arrested for DUI in Michigan
Being arrested for DUI, though unnerving, has an established protocol, typically involving:
- Arraignment at which charges are formally presented
- Bail and bond conditions to ensure your court appearance
- Pretrial conference during which your attorney facilitates
negotiations with the prosecutor
- Trial proceeds if no plea bargain has been reached
Penalties for DUI in Michigan
Penalties for DUI in Michigan vary based on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s history. The penalties for DUI convictions may include:
- Fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- Jail time from a few days to several years for repeat offenders.
- License restriction, suspension, or revocation which can last from a few months to several years after which you may have to apply for a brand new license.
- Points on your license that may lead to suspension and higher insurance rates.
- Community Service which may be mandatory, especially for first-time offenders.
- Probation during which you must regularly check-in with an officer and meet
- with compliance terms.
- Mandatory use of an Interlock Ignition Device (IID)
Because the penalties for DUI in Michigan are life-altering — threatening your lifestyle, your financial stability, your reputation, and your freedom — it is imperative that you have one of our strong DUI defense attorneys at your side.
When DUI Becomes a Felony Offense in Michigan
Under certain conditions, DUI is considered a felony and its potential consequences become even more harsh. DUI becomes a felony in Michigan when:
- DUI is a third offense
- DUI has resulted in serious injury or death
- DUI involves a minor passenger (under the age of 16) and the driver has a prior conviction within the past 7 years of at least two prior convictions during their lifetime
As you would expect, DUIs that have caused a death or disabling injury are punished severely.
DUIs involving serious injuries (“serious impairment of a body function”) carry up to five years in prison and $1,000 to $5,000 in fines. DUIs that cause the death of another person carry up to 15 years in prison and $2,500 to $10,000 in fines (the penalties are increased if the victim was a police officer or other emergency services personnel). These penalties are even more severe if the defendant has prior convictions within the past seven years or a high BAC.
Having The Nunley Law Group in Your Corner Can Make All the Difference
At The Nunley Law Group, we recognize the unique challenges you face when charged with a DUI in Michigan. Our talented criminal defense lawyers understand the ins and outs of all state DUI laws and are well-prepared to fight aggressively for you, both during out-of-court negotiations and, if necessary, at trial.
You can count on us to:
- Investigate your case thoroughly
- Examine all evidence carefully from police reports to medical
and automotive records to surveillance footage
- Interview witnesses
- Handle all communications with prosecutors adeptly
Depending on the merits of your case, our attorney will work tirelessly to have the charges against you dropped, bring you an acquittal, or negotiate the most advantageous plea bargain possible.
Defenses Against DUI Charges in Michigan
We have many strategies to defend our clients against DUI charges. After listening to the facts of your case, we will determine which of the following will work most effectively:
- Challenging the traffic stop: Arguing that the initial stop lacked legal basis or was targeting you as a member of a protected class.
- Questioning field sobriety and breathalyzer tests: Highlighting errors in administration or calibration of tests.
- Questioning procedural mistakes: Identifying lapses in police procedure or handling of evidence.
- Negotiation for lesser charges: Where applicable, negotiating to reduce charges based on specific circumstances.
If it becomes necessary to represent you in court, we will provide a robust defense, leveraging our deep understanding of Michigan DUI laws to protect your rights.
Contact Our Experienced DUI Defense Attorneys Today
We are well aware of the serious risks of a DUI conviction and will do everything in our power to protect your right to drive and your freedom. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, you may be frightened and overwhelmed at the thought of fighting the system, but our astute legal team has your back. Contact our experienced DUI defense attorneys now. We have the in-depth knowledge of state law and the sharp legal skills to level the playing field and bring you justice.