Grand Haven DUI Attorney
In Michigan, drunk driving is charged as operating while intoxicated (OWI). An OWI charge is the same as a DWI or DUI charge in other states – it is the crime of operating a motor vehicle while one’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.
OWI is a complicated charge. The severity of the charge and the penalties an individual faces can vary widely according to the individual’s previous criminal record, his or her BAC at the time of his or her arrest, and the presence of any aggravating factors. Any time you are facing an OWI charge, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight it.
Types of OWI Charge
There are a few different types of OWI charge. They are:
- Basic OWI: Driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is grounds for this charge;
- High OWI: Driving with a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher is grounds for this charge; and
- Zero Tolerance OWI: Any individual under 21 years of age who drives with a BAC over 0.00% can face this charge.
Penalties for OWI in Michigan
The penalties an individual faces for an OWI conviction depend on a variety of factors. These factors include:
- His or her previous criminal record. Second and subsequent OWI convictions have higher penalties than first-time offenses;
- His or her BAC at the time of the arrest; and
- Whether his or her actions resulted in another party’s serious injury or death.
Penalties for OWI convictions include:
- Driver’s license suspensions;
- Community service;
- Jail and prison time;
- Mandatory drug and alcohol education; and
- The installation of an ignition interlock device on the driver’s vehicle.
Fighting an OWI Charge
Never assume that you simply have to accept an OWI conviction. You always have the right to fight a criminal charge, and you could have more options for defending your case than you initially realized. A few potential defense strategies for your case include:
- The Breathalyzer used to take your BAC sample was not properly calibrated. When your samples are widely different from each other, poor calibration can be the culprit;
- The officer who arrested you did not have probable cause to pull you over; and
- You were not actually impaired while driving. Alcohol takes time to be absorbed into the bloodstream and impair a driver, and if you did not provide a sample until hours after you actually drove, the sample could be irrelevant.
Ideally, your defense strategy will result in you being found innocent. However, this is not always possible. Sometimes, the best possible outcome is pleading down your charge to a wet reckless charge.
Work with an Experienced Grand Haven OWI Defense Lawyer
If you are facing an OWI charge, start working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to develop an effective legal defense strategy for your case. To get started with a member of Van Den Heuvel Law Office, contact our firm to schedule your initial legal consultation with us.