If you have been arrested for and charged with a DUI/OWI, you probably have many questions. A DUI/OWI charge can make you feel like your world is turned upside down, leaving you wondering what steps you should take to remedy the situation and get your life back on track.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the steps you should take after being charged with a DUI/OWI in Michigan and provide some insight into what lies ahead, depending on the level of your offense or charge.
Seek Legal Counsel
After a DUI/OWI arrest, the first question you may ask yourself is, “Do I need a DUI attorney?” While you may be able to navigate the process without an attorney’s assistance, Michigan DUI/OWI laws are complex. By working with an experienced legal professional, you will receive guidance and advice through every stage of your case.
Furthermore, it is important to work with an attorney that specifically handles DUI/OWI cases. They will have a better understanding of the science and technicalities that can affect your case’s outcome. Even if this is your first offense, seeking legal counsel can benefit you in the end, as you gain an advocate for your case and insight into any penalties you may be facing.
Prepare Your Account of What Occurred
When you are facing DUI/OWI charges, every detail counts. Before your recollection of events starts to fade, record your account of what happened before being pulled over and during your traffic stop. This includes recording details such as:
- What reason the officer gave for pulling you over
- Where the stop occurred
- When the stop occurred
- Any information you provided to the officer regarding what you had to drink
- If you performed or declined a field sobriety test
- If a chemical test was performed, and what method was used (urine, breath, or blood)
By recording or writing down all of this information, it provides you and your attorney with a detailed account of the events leading up to your arrest, as well as the arrest itself. Along with the police report and any relevant body-cam or dashcam video, this information helps your attorney properly investigate the circumstances of your arrest and get a complete picture of your case.
Do I Need To Go To Court?
After your arrest, you will be released via bond and then required to appear in court at the arraignment. Your arraignment is the formal reading of the charge. After the arraignment, your case moves into the pre-trial stage, which allows the prosecutor and your attorney to meet and discuss how to proceed with your case.
During the pre-trial, your attorney will work to have the charges dismissed, or reduced as much as possible, by working with the prosecution to develop a mutually acceptable deal, also known as a plea bargain. If a plea bargain cannot be agreed upon, your case will be set for a jury trial.
Should I Have Taken A Breathalyzer?
Michigan’s Implied Consent Law states that if you are arrested for a DUI/OWI, you are considered to have given you consent to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you refuse a test, your license will be suspended for one year and six points will be added to your driving record. The license suspension is automatic and is considered a separate consequence from any charges resulting from your traffic stop.
If you refused a chemical BAC test, you may appeal your suspension. This request must be mailed within 14 days of your arrest or your license or operating privilege will be automatically suspended. An attorney is not required for the subsequent administrative hearing, but if you would like representation, an attorney may accompany you.
This Is My First DUI Offense. Am I Going To Jail?
A first-time DUI/OWI in Michigan is classified as a misdemeanor, and it can carry consequences. A conviction for a first-time offender carries several fines, costs, and driver’s license sanctions. The court may also order you to attend an alcohol program, complete community service, and serve probation. While most first-time offenders do not go to jail, it is a possibility. A first-time DUI/OWI conviction can lead to increased insurance costs, loss of CPL and certain license classifications, and more.
Have you been charged with a DUI in Michigan? Wondering what your next steps should be? The Law Office of Roberto A. Bihar, PLLC, represents DUI cases, traffic violations, and more. To schedule a consultation, please call 248-383-8015 today.