A drunk driving conviction could have severe consequences on your life. It could result in driver’s license suspension, hefty fines, spiking insurance rates, and difficulty getting insurance.
A DUI conviction also impacts your reputation. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction for impaired driving could cause you to lose a job or professional license and might prevent you from getting a job or professional license in the future.
If you were arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, seek immediate help from a Marquette DUI lawyer. With help from a capable defense lawyer, you could minimize the adverse effects of this type of charge.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the phrase most people use to describe drunk or drug-impaired driving. However, there are several different charges a driver in Michigan could face, and none of them are officially called DUI. A local defense attorney could explain the implications of a specific impaired driving charge in a particular case.
Michigan Vehicle Code §257.625 establishes an offense called Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) which refers to driving a motor vehicle or boat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds .08. When the driver is under age 21, they could be charged with OWI if even a trace of alcohol is detected. Anyone operating a vehicle is presumed to consent to a chemical test to determine their BAC.
First convictions of OWI could lead to incarceration for up to 93 days, fines up to $500, a 30-day license suspension, up to 360 hours of community service, and six points on the driver’s license. If the driver’s BAC exceeds 0.17, penalties are enhanced. An OWI conviction within seven years of a prior conviction could result in up to one year in jail, a $1000 fine, forfeiture of the vehicle, and five-year license revocation.
If a police officer believes someone is too impaired to drive safely, they can charge the driver with Operating While Visibly Impaired, or OWVI. The charge does not depend on the driver’s BAC. Instead, it depends on the officer’s observations of their behavior. If an officer believes a driver is unable to operate their vehicle safely because of drug impairment, they could also charge the motorist with an OWVI.
Conviction of a first OWVI could mean a jail sentence of up to 93 days, a $300 fine, and community service for up to 360 hours. A conviction also results in four points on one’s driver’s license. Subsequent convictions for any impaired driving offense could lead to misdemeanor charges. However, a third offense could be treated as a felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years in addition to other penalties.
An Operating With the Presence of Drugs (OWPD) charge could result from driving under the influence of certain illegal drugs. OWPD charges might apply if the driver is using any Schedule 1 drug or cocaine, which is a Schedule 2 drug.
Schedule 1 drugs include marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, khat, and many other common street drugs. There is no legal limit; a trace of any Schedule 1 substance or cocaine could support OWPD charges if the arresting officer believes the driver is drug-impaired.
Penalties upon conviction of OWPD include up to 93 days in jail and a $300 fine for a first offense, and up to 360 hours of community service, and a 30-day driver’s license suspension. An OWPD conviction results in six points on an individual’s driver’s license.
Impaired driving offenses carry harsh penalties regardless of the charge, so mounting an aggressive defense is critical. An aggressive Marquette impaired driving attorney could ensure that the defendant’s rights are protected and challenge the prosecution to prove every element of their case.
If the police did not adhere to the correct procedures in a particular case, the defense could suppress evidence police collected through improper means. The defense could also challenge the quality of specimen collection and analysis of chemical test results. When the charge is OWVI or OWPD, a seasoned lawyer could compel the arresting officer to produce credible evidence that a driver’s performance was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
An impaired driving conviction could have a significant impact on many areas of your life for years to come. You owe yourself and your family the most vigorous defense possible.