In life people don’t always make the best decisions, in fact at one time or another we all make mistakes. You may have gone out with friends and had one too many drinks. Or you may have waited to drive home in an attempt to sober up and drive but didn’t wait long enough. Just because you got arrested for Operating a motor vehicle While Intoxicated (OWI) does not make you a bad person. We are Michigan OWI defense lawyers and we are here to help.
In Michigan, Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) commonly known as drinking and driving is treated as a serious offense with long lasting consequences. Even as a first offense, the charge carries harsh penalties and preeminently stays on your record – it can never be expunged.
Police are on the lookout for drivers they suspect to be intoxicated at all times of the day. The police need to have reasonable suspicion to make the initial stop. To be convicted of operating while driving, the prosecution must prove:
First, that the defendant was operating the car. Operating means driving or having actual physical control of the vehicle.
Second, that the defendant was operating a vehicle on a highway or other place open to the public or generally accessible to motor vehicles. This includes parking lots.
Third, that the defendant was operating the vehicle in the officer’s jurisdiction AND
Fourth, as a result of drinking the alcohol, the defendant drove with less ability than would an ordinary, careful driver. The defendant’s driving ability must have been lessened to the point that it would have been noticeable to another person.
If your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is at or above 0.08, you can be charged with operating while driving. If for whatever reason you refuse to take the Breathalyzer test at the station the penalty is an automatic suspension of your drivers license for one year.
If you are below the age of 21, Michigan has a zero tolerance policy for drinking.
This means if your BAC level is between 0.02 and 0.07 you can be charged. This excludes alcohol consumed for accepted religious ceremonies.
The penalty for operating while driving in Michigan as a first time offense is a misdemeanor. If convicted the penalties include:
No more then 93 days in jail,
Community service of up to 360 hours
A fine ranging between $500 and $100
Your driver’s license suspended for 30 days followed by a restricted driver’s license for 150 days
6 points on your driving record
A driver’s responsibility fee of $1,000 for up to 2 consecutive years
Michigan OWI Defense Lawyer
Defenses to a claim of operating while intoxicating are very fact specific to your case. If the original traffic stop was wrongful, the entire case can be thrown out.
Another possibility is if the preliminary breath tests or PBT tests showed inaccuracies or were somehow tampered with. Previous cases with inaccurate results have lead to an inability to convict for operating while intoxicated. Finally, if a witness observed the drivers ability as no less than an ordinary careful driver, this may provide a defense.
For more information on operating while intoxicated and drinking and driving charges in general click here.
Call Michigan OWI defense lawyer Aaron J. Boria today (734) 453-7806