Michigan imposes harsh penalties on people who are convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Michigan, DUI is called OWI, short for “operating (a vehicle) while intoxicated.” If you have previous convictions on your record for OWI or related charges, you will face more severe penalties. This is why it is important to contact an experienced Macomb County DUI lawyer if you are charged with this offense. Matthew M. Walton is an experienced attorney who can investigate the specific facts of the case and devise a strategy to defend a Michigan driver from these potentially life-altering charges.DUI/OWI Charges in Michigan
In Michigan, you can be charged with OWI if your blood alcohol level is .08 or greater if you are 21 or older. However, Michigan has zero tolerance laws for people under the age of 21, and you can be charged with OWI if you have any alcohol in your system. You can also be charged with operating with the presence of a drug (OWPD) if you are found to be under the influence of a schedule one drug (such as marijuana or LSD) or cocaine while driving. The prosecution usually will attempt to prove the charge through tests of your urine, blood, or breath. Finally, you can be charged with operating while visibly impaired (OWVI) if an arresting officer believes from your behavior that you are likely intoxicated, such as if you fail field sobriety tests.Penalties for DUI/OWI
The penalties for OWI or related charges depend on a number of different factors, including whether it is your first, second, or third conviction, your blood alcohol content, your age, and other factors. A DUI attorney in Macomb County can advise you on the penalties that you may be facing in your case. For example, if your blood alcohol level is less than .17, it is your first OWI, and you do not have any similar charges on your record, you may be facing up to 93 days in jail, fines of up to $500, and a possible license suspension of up to six months. You also may be required to get an ignition interlock device, which requires the driver to exhale into a meter to prove sobriety. These devices can be costly and inconvenient.
Subsequent convictions can result in harsher penalties, with a second conviction resulting in up to a year in jail and a third conviction leading to up to five years in jail. Fines for subsequent convictions can be up to $1,000, and ignition interlock devices are mandatory. If you are found to have a blood alcohol level above .17, you may be charged with an aggravated DUI, which comes with even harsher penalties. Whether the OWI is a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on the circumstances. First and second OWIs are generally charged as misdemeanors unless someone is seriously injured or killed. If someone gets their third OWI in seven years, it will probably be charged as a felony.
However, just because you are charged with an OWI does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. A skilled Macomb County DUI attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed, depending on the circumstances of the case. This is especially important in these kinds of cases because the penalties depend so much on previous convictions.Hire an Experienced Criminal Attorney in Macomb County or Surrounding Areas
Matthew M. Walton has handled thousands of criminal cases and has the experience to help present your case in a favorable light to the judge. Whether you are charged with OWI, OWVI, or related charges, Mr. Walton’s client-centered approach will help you formulate an effective defense strategy. Mr. Walton is based in Macomb County but also handles cases in Oakland, Wayne, and St. Clair Counties, including in the cities of St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Warren, Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Clarkston, Mount Clemens, Clinton Township, Eastpointe, Fraser, Harrison Township, Macomb Township, New Baltimore, Romeo, Roseville, Farmington, Lake Orion, Madison Heights, Novi, Pontiac, Rochester, Dearborn, Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Livonia, Fort Gratiot, and Port Huron. Call him at (586) 469-9400 or use our online form to set up a consultation with a DUI lawyer in Macomb County with over 25 years of experience.