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Michigan DUI/OWI Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Answers From a Michigan DUI Lawyer

The penalties for a DUI/OWI conviction in Michigan are harsh. There is a zero tolerance policy in this state for drivers who are under age 21. They cannot have any alcohol in their system or they may be charged with an OWI offense. If you are 21 years or older, you have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit of .08% and commercial drivers have a .04% BAC level limit. The OWI process can be complicated and stressful which is why it is encouraged to team up with an experienced Michigan OWI attorney. In order to help you understand a little more about OWI/DUI offenses, we have answered some frequently asked questions.

Will I go to jail if I am convicted of an OWI in Michigan?

If this is your first offense, there is a good chance that you will not have to go to jail. It is a possibility, however, which is why you should have aggressive legal representation by your side. The determination of jail time comes about after looking into your criminal record and it also has a lot to do with your Judge. If you have prior alcohol related convictions on your record, you have a higher chance of having to go to jail. But if this is your first offense, you can generally avoid jail time unless there are obscure details involved in your case or you have a Judge who chooses to order jail time.

How much will I have to pay in fines after an OWI conviction?

The fines will vary according to the amount of DUI convictions that you have on your record. If this is your first drunk driving offense, the fine will generally be between $100 and $500. If this is a subsequent offense, the fines may increase. Second drunk driving convictions are punishable by a fine of between $200 and $1,000 plus there may be additional driver responsibility fines. Driver Responsibility fees can be $1,000 for two years. The more offenses you have, the greater the fine.

How long does a DUI conviction remain on my record?

In the state of Michigan, a DUI conviction will stay on your record for life. A DUI in Michigan is almost always charged as a misdemeanor, but if you receive several DUI convictions, you may be declared a "habitual violator." A DUI conviction may be charged as a felony if this is your third arrest for drunk driving. Because a DUI remains on your record, it is important to aggressively fight against your charges before receiving a conviction.

Can I get my drunk driving conviction expunged off my record?

This is not possible in the state of Michigan. Other states allow DUI convictions to be expunged after the individual is off probation and has completed all probation requirements, this is not the case in Michigan. There is a statute that prohibits a person from even attempting to have a traffic offense conviction expunged, including a drunk driving conviction. The statute also prohibits a Judge from completing an expungement of this type of conviction.

Does an out-of-state conviction show up on my Michigan record?

Yes, any out-of-state DUI/DWI/OWI conviction will show up in a computer search from a prosecutor and can be seen as prior convictions. These convictions can only be used against you if they are "substantially similar" to the OWI laws in place in the state of Michigan. If you received a DUI in another state but they have significantly different laws, that conviction may not be used against you.

Do I have to perform a chemical test?

In Michigan, there is an implied consent law which requires drivers to submit a chemical test if arrested for a DUI. This does not necessarily mean that you have to, but there will be a fine and your license will be suspended if you do not. The choice is ultimately yours but there are consequences if you refuse to perform the test.

Is it possible to plead a lesser offense than OWI?

There is a possibility to receive a "wet reckless" conviction rather than an OWI conviction. Wet reckless is a conviction for reckless driving involving alcohol. If the plea bargain is accepted, your drunk driving conviction may be reduced. This is not guaranteed, Michigan does not have a provision or statute in place determining if a wet reckless bargain will be accepted. With the help of a skilled lawyer you may be able make a plea bargain work and lessen your charges and penalties.

Do I need a DUI lawyer?

There are several benefits to hiring an attorney to help you in your case. First, a DUI lawyer is familiar with the process and there is a smaller chance for surprises. Also, a DUI attorney wil be informed about the possible plea bargains and may be able to make one on your behalf. It is even more important to have an attorney by your side if this is your second or third offense because the penalties are stricter.

"Dealing with the legal system is of great personal stress for me. Mark’s calm, confident approach guided me through a time of great difficulty. To say I was satisfied with his firm is a gross understatement. If I or anyone else needs legal help in the future, Mark should be your first choice."
- Anonymous

If you have any other questions regarding your OWI/DUI case in Michigan, do not hesitate to contact our firm. We offer a free case evaluation so you are able to call and discuss your case at no cost to you. Contact a Michigan OWI lawyer from Freedman Law Group today and see how we may be able to help you.

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