Grand Rapids DUI Attorneys

If you’re arrested in Michigan for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, you face severe penalties that include jail time, fines and the loss of your license, not to mention higher insurance premiums in the future. This is not a traffic offense that you can hope to fight yourself. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney with the knowledge and resources to challenge police procedures and forensic evidence. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we have represented accused clients in the Grand Rapids area for more than 20 years. We have a solid track record when it comes to reduced sentences, dismissals, and acquittals. While no attorney can guarantee results, we can promise highly professional representation that protects your rights and works diligently for the best possible results.

What Are the Requirements and Penalties For a DUI/OWI in Michigan?

Michigan has two types of formal DUI charges: Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) and Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). An OWVI charge is based on an officer’s assessment of your driving and is not dependent on any particular level of alcohol or drug consumption. OWI is most often based on a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) as determined through a chemical test:

  • Basic OWI — Driver’s BAC is at or above 0.08 percent
  • High OWI —Driver’s BAC is at or above 0.17 percent
  • Zero Tolerance OWI — Driver under the age of 21 has a BAC of 0.02 percent

The penalties for OWI depend on whether there have been prior OWI convictions within a certain time period.

  • First offense — Up to $300 fine, up to 93 days in jail, six month license suspension
  • Second offense (within seven years) — Fine of $200 to $1,000, five days to one year in jail, license revocation for one year
  • Third offense — Felony comes with a fine of $500 to $5,000, imprisonment of one to five years, license revocation of at least five years in some cases

OWI convictions often come with other assorted penalties, such as penalty points, community service, probation, license plate confiscation, vehicle immobilization, ignition interlock device installation, and vehicle forfeiture. With so much to lose, you owe it to yourself and your family to retain the best legal representation you can find.


As the holder of a Michigan CDL, you are held to a higher standard as compared to other motorists on the road. A drunk driving charge for a commercial driver goes beyond the typical fines, jail time, and license suspension. You rely on your CDL for your employment, so a DUI conviction threatens your profession and financial stability. Every day off the road is a missed business opportunity, which means lost income and hardship for your family.

Representing Commercial Drivers Charged with DUI in Michigan

Michigan law is strict when it comes to any type of CDL violation, and the same is true for drunk driving cases. It may come as a surprise to know that a CDL holder doesn’t even need to be driving a commercial vehicle for the severe penalties to apply: Operating any vehicle while impaired or over the legal limit could lead to a CDL DUI conviction.

Other key components of the CDL DUI laws in Michigan include:

  • Commercial drivers are subject to a lower bodily alcohol content (BAC) limit to be considered legally drunk, at .04 percent compared to .08 percent for other drivers.
  • You could be immediately, automatically placed out-of-service for 24 hours for refusing to take a breath test, or for consuming alcohol while operating a commercial vehicle or within four hours prior.
  • Operating Under the Influence of Drugs (OUID) is also a violation of law, so a conviction triggers the same laws and penalties as alcohol-related offenses.

A CDL DUI Conviction Has Far-Reaching Consequences

For a first-time conviction on any drunk driving charge in Michigan, or refusal to submit to a chemical test, your CDL will be suspended for one year. If you were hauling hazardous materials at the time of your arrest, the suspension increases to three years for a first-time offense. Second, third, and subsequent offenses may lead to your CDL being revoked for a minimum of ten years.

DUI & Child Endangerment

OWI/DUI charges in Michigan are a serious matter, particularly if you had children under the age of 16 in your vehicle. You could face charges of child endangerment, which could impact your rights as a parent. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our Grand Rapids OWI attorneys have been helping clients in situations such as these for 27 years. We provide the dedicated, professional representation you need to build a strong defense.

OWI and Passengers Under the Age Of 16

If you are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving and your bodily alcohol content (BAC) measures .08 or greater, you will likely be charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). Under the Michigan Vehicle Code (MVC 257.625), these charges carry serious penalties which include heavy fines, mandatory counseling, potential jail time, and the loss of your driving privileges.

If there was a minor under the age of 16 in your vehicle when you were stopped, the potential penalties become even more severe. In addition to having your license suspended or revoked, you would be facing the following:

  • For a first offense: Misdemeanor criminal charges, with fines up to $1,000, mandatory jail sentence up to one year, and community service up to 90 days.
  • For a second offense within seven years or any subsequent offenses, regardless of time frame: Felony criminal charges, with fines up to $5,000, mandatory minimum imprisonment up to five years, and up to 180 days community service.

Repercussions of Child Endangerment

Along with criminal penalties for OWI/DUI in Michigan, you could face serious ramifications as the result of child endangerment. Under state Child Protection Laws, any cases involving child neglect are required to be reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) by law enforcement officials.

Neglect is defined as any action committed by a parent, guardian, or another adult which harms or threatens to harm the child. Reports of child endangerment associated with OWI charges could impact your rights in child custody proceedings in divorce cases, along with your ability to adopt a child in Michigan.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Grand Rapids for DUI/OWI

The Van Den Heuvel Law Office provides aggressive OWI defense representation that challenges the case against you. Learn how a defense lawyer with more than 20 years of experience can improve your chances of a favorable outcome. Call our Grand Rapids office at 616-698-0000 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation. We can also conduct your appointment via Skype.

Contact a Knowledgeable Grand Rapids Attorney

For An Initial Consultation

To talk with our attorney about your legal concerns, contact the Van Den Heuvel Law Office by calling 616-698-0000. You may also complete our online contact form. After-hours consultations are available by appointment. We are also available on Skype by appointment.

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