DUI First Offense
A DUI/OWI first offense is one where the individual presently charged does not have any prior record for operating a vehicle under the influence or impaired. Depending upon the jurisdiction, the assigned judge and other factors (BAC result, other criminal convictions), a prior DUI/OWI record more than 10 years old may or may not significant.
A DUI/OWI first offense is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, not a felony. The ordeal of getting a DUI/OWI for the first time is not a pleasant one. The best-case scenario for someone charged with DUI/OWI is that it does not involve the enhanced penalties associated with more serious DUI/OWI offenses: child endangerment, super drunk driving or an accident involving an injury or death and consists of one of the following:
- OWI: Blood Alcohol Content .08 or greater but less than .17.
- Impaired or under the influence of certain prescribed medications.
- OWPD: Any presence of cocaine or Schedule 1 drug.
- OWVI: Impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs.
There are different laws and enhanced penalties that apply for a person charged with a DUI/OWI 2nd (with a prior offense within 7 years) or a DUI/OWI 3rd (felony).
Contact ABDO LAW for a confidential consultation and representation in every court located in the counties of Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair (Shelby/Macomb Township/Utica, Sterling Heights, Clinton Township, New Baltimore/Chesterfield Township, Romeo/Washington Township, Warren, St. Clair Shores, Roseville, Eastpointe, Marine City, Royal Oak, Rochester, Detroit), if you are need of highly rated DUI/OWI defense lawyers. Phone: 586-412-5555 Toll Free: 844-Got-ABDO.The Arrest Process
When a person is suspected of OWI, the police will ask the operator of the vehicle to submit to Field Sobriety Tests (FST) and a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). If these tests, along with the personal observations by the police, indicate intoxication or impairment, the person will be arrested and taken into custody. A person that displays extreme signs of intoxication or impairment may be taken to the hospital for testing and medical attention. Once in custody, the officer will request a breath, blood or urine sample to test for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or drugs. The results of a breath test are immediate. Blood and urine tests are processed by the Michigan State Police and the court process will be delayed until the test results are returned. Release from jail will not occur until a person achieves sobriety. Upon release from jail, the accused party will receive documentation consisting of the following which should be brought to the attention of an attorney that specializes in cases involving operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs:
- Temporary driver’s license (plastic license will be destroyed).
- Criminal citation, unless blood is drawn or case under investigation.
- Bond receipt.
- Copy of breath test results (unless blood is drawn).
- Information regarding impoundment of vehicle.
- Court notice or court information.
- An advice of rights if the person was arraigned prior to release from jail.
There are basically three (3) options in the legal system for resolution of a DUI/OWI:
- Jury Trial: Various factors may determine that your case is one that should go to trial. Going to trial means that a jury will decide the case. Experts may be employed to attack the accuracy of chemical tests and/or toxicity.
- Plea Bargaining: The majority of DUI/OWI cases are resolved without trial by way of plea bargaining. Plea bargaining is widely used in every court in Michigan. In certain situations, the prosecutor may adopt a no-plea bargain policy. In others, a plea bargain can result in a favorable resolution of the case to a reduced charge.
- Motion to Amend or Dismiss: A motion is a request to directed to the court to consider entering a particular order or disposition based upon a legal technicality or evidentiary matter. The court has the power to deny the motion or may consider dismissing or amending the charge(s). Evidentiary motions can result in the inclusion or exclusion of evidence at trial or other proceedings.
A person charged with a crime is entitled to disclosure of the evidence in the possession of the police and prosecutor. Failure to disclose evidence may be grounds for dismissal. The evidence in a DUI/OWI matter typically consists of the following:
- Police report and witness statements.
- Accident report.
- Police dash/body cam video and custodial video.
- Chemical test samples for independent testing.
- Breathalyzer logs.
In general, taking a plea or going to trial will depend on the strength of the evidence relating to intoxication/impairment, the legality of the traffic stop and the testing methods utilized.DUI/OWI First Offense Penalties, Sanctions, Costs
Getting a DUI/OWI first offense is never something that is intended. Yet many tempt fate by choosing to operate a vehicle after consumption of alcohol or drugs. The consensus among those that chance it and get caught is that it is not worth the risk and consequences. The penalties, sanctions and costs associated with a DUI/OWI first offense are as follows:
- Criminal Penalties: The criminal penalties (imposed by the court system) associated with DUI/OWI or Impaired Driving include possible incarceration for 93 days, fines and costs ranging from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00, up to 360 hours of community service, possible vehicle immobilization, alcohol/drug testing, counseling and up to 2 years of probation.
- Secretary of State Sanctions: Upon conviction for a DUI/OWI or Impaired Driving, the matter will be reported by the court to the Michigan Secretary of State for mandatory sanctions which includes points (OWI = 6 points, Impaired Driving = 4 points) and license action (OWI = 30 days suspended, followed by 150 days with restrictions, Impaired Driving = 90 days with restrictions), driver responsibility fees for 2 years (OWI = $1,000.00 a year, Impaired Driving = $500.00 a year). A driver reinstatement fee of $125.00 is imposed after license suspension/restrictions end.
- Chemical Test Refusals: An unreasonable refusal to take a test offered by the police for alcohol or drugs will result in 6 points and 1 year suspension in driving privileges.
- Insurance: Insurance rates are determined by several risk factors including type of vehicle and driving record of the insured party. A person convicted of any offense for operating under the influence or impaired can expect a large increase of insurance premiums for a period of 3 to 5 years. Statistics indicate that a conviction for a drunk or drugged driving in Michigan will raise annual insurance rates an average of $4,500.00.
- Concealed Pistol License: A person convicted of a first offense DUI/OWI or Impaired Driving will lose his or her right to obtain a CPL for a period of 3 years.
- >Miscellaneous Costs: There are a few other predicable expenses associated with a DUI/OWI that include: vehicle towing, vehicle impoundment and police response. Police response costs are imposed by the municipality where the DUI/OWI occurred for the services of the police and any other municipal employees to effectuate the underlying DUI/OWI arrest and road cleanup if required following an accident.
ABDO LAW believes in transparency with our clients and we will go the extra mile to provide you with the resources to make informed decisions. To this end, we encourage you to take a look at the Michigan State Police (MSP) Drunk Driving Audit for information and statistics regarding DUI/OWI cases.
Since 1999, the Michigan State Police has compiled detailed records for offenses involving driving under the influence. In the counties where we practice frequently, the data for 2017 indicates the following:
- In Macomb County, 2,188 were tested for drugs or alcohol.
- In Oakland County, 4,390 were tested for drugs or alcohol.
- In Wayne County 4,283 were tested for drugs or alcohol.
- In St. Clair County, 464 were tested for drugs or alcohol.
The MSP Drunk Driving Audit is also place where you can obtain specific information to find out how many DUI/OWI arrests were made in each city/township. Here are the numbers of arrests for DUI/OWI reported in in 2017 by select Macomb County law enforcement agencies: Shelby Township Police (123), Sterling Heights Police (103), Clinton Township Police (136), Chesterfield Township Police (115) and Macomb County Sheriff Department (243).
Court statistics are also available within the MSP Drunk Driving Audit that include the number of convictions and the reductions to non-drinking offenses.Hire Macomb County’s Best DUI/OWI Lawyers
With some exceptions, here are three things that you do not need to worry about if you are charged with a first offense DUI/OWI:
- You are not looking at jail time.
- You will not lose your license but may be restricted for a period of time.
- In all likelihood, the charge can be negotiated to a lower offense.
Let the experienced DUI/OWI lawyers work with you and fight for you if you are charged with a DUI/OWI first offense, second offense or felony third offense.
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