What to Expect After You’re Arrested for DUI in Michigan
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Michigan, then you’re likely facing a series of questions and a lot of uncertainty about how you should move forward.
After all, the choices you make today determines what appears on your driving record tomorrow, as well as your future insurance rates and how you can pursue opportunities for many years to come. And these circumstances are minor when compared to/with a possible jail sentence.
Driving in any state with a blood alcohol content level at or above 0.08 percent is illegal. But Michigan’s zero tolerance law takes this a step further by not allowing anyone under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with any trace of alcohol in their body. Also, in Michigan, a DUI charge is often referred to as OWI or Operating While Intoxicated.
Regardless of your age or where you live, you were likely treated as if you were guilty when arrested. But the truth is you have legal options – you just need to know how to use them to your advantage.
If your recent DUI arrest wasn’t your first, then, the Secretary of State will try to suspend your driver’s license. In fact even for a first offense , if you refused the breath test and you don’t contact the Secretary of State within 14 days of your arrest,then your license will be suspended for a year.
If a chemical test showed you were driving with a BAC over the legal limit or you turned down a chemical test, then you run a greater risk of a failed hearing. So strongly consider getting legal assistance, especially because after a revocation you must wait a year before requesting another hearing.
When it’s time for your court case, a DUI lawyer is a necessity. Keep in mind, a judge sees cases similar to yours on a daily basis. You need a compelling reason and proof to counter your arrest – a lawyer will help you develop a strategy.
Once in court, your lawyer will handle most of the talking and advise you on how to increase your chances of receiving a lesser charge. During your arraignment, you’ll hear the charges against you and be asked to enter a plea. Your next step in the legal process depends on your decision.
If you enter a guilty plea, then you’ll be sentenced by the judge. A non-guilty plea results in a pretrial hearing, where you may have an opportunity to take a plea agreement from the state. If you don’t accept this offer from the prosecution, then your case goes to trial.
However, prior to the trial, there can be pretrial motion hearings as well. If you have a successful motion hearing (i.e., you had some type of evidence suppressed), you may be offered another plea deal by the prosecution.
DUI cases that go all the way to trial are rare. If your case goes to trial, and your case is a misdemeanor, a six-member jury will hear statements from the prosecutor and your lawyer. Both sides can also call in witnesses (or experts about a particular aspect of your case) who can be cross-examined. Once closing arguments are complete, the jury will deliberate and reach a verdict.
If you’re convicted of driving under the influence, and this isn’t your first DUI arrest, then you face a strong possibility of significant jail time. However, if this is your first DUI offense and you didn’t cause injury or death, then your punishment could be less severe. Alcohol counseling, fines or community service are possibilities – as is jail time.