3 reasons Michigan drivers should hire a lawyer after an OWI arrest

My name is Marc E. Hart. My law firm is devoted exclusively to criminal defense, bringing 30 years of criminal trial experience to your situation. Rather than just going for the quick and easy plea, my mindset is to vigorously fight the allegations, win the case at trial, or find the leverage necessary to minimize the penalties and collateral consequences in every client’s case.

Hiring an OWI lawyer may be helpful because they generally understand the laws, the evidence and the potential penalties for drunk driving in Michigan.

Each year, numerous people are arrested for drunk driving in Southeast Michigan, and throughout the state. In fact, the Michigan Department of State Police reports that more than 33,000 motorists were arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of liquor, or OUIL, in 2014 alone. Sometimes, people who find themselves facing such charges decide to forgo hiring an attorney, and instead choose to represent themselves. However, there are a number of reasons why it may benefit drivers who have been arrested for drunk driving to obtain legal representation.

Understanding of the laws

Like numerous other states, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit in Michigan is .08 percent. Thus, any motorist with a BAC level that meets or exceeds the limit may be arrested for operating while intoxicated, or OWI. Law enforcement can arrest drivers with any BAC level, however, if they are displaying signs of impairment. According to the Michigan State Police, drivers may be considered super drunk and will face enhanced penalties if they have a BAC level of .17 or higher.

The intricacies of the laws may be complicated for the average person to understand. OWI lawyers are typically familiar with the ins and outs of the state's laws. Thus, they are able to help their clients understand the charges they are facing and help ensure their rights are upheld.

Calling the evidence into question

Often, drunk driving arrests in Michigan are reliant on evidence such as field sobriety and breath tests. However, there are a number of factors that might affect the outcomes of these tests. For instance, certain medical conditions, a person's diet and even particles in the air may cause falsely elevated BAC levels on breath tests.

Lawyers who focus on OWI and criminal defense understand the factors that can impact the evidence in drunk driving cases. They may draw on this knowledge to help call the evidence into question. This may lead to evidence being overlooked or thrown out altogether.

Limiting the consequences

If they are convicted of or plead guilty to OWI in Michigan, drivers may face a range of penalties. The Michigan Department of State points out that these include fines, jail time, a driver's license suspension and points on their driver's licenses. Additionally, they may be subject to a vehicle immobilization or be ordered to have ignition interlock devices installed on their vehicles.

OWI attorneys are familiar with the potential penalties that drivers could face for drunk driving. Further, they generally understand the options for lesser consequences and how to go about pleading down charges. As such, they may be able to help mitigate the penalties their clients may be subject to if they are convicted of OWI.

Protecting drivers' rights

Drunk driving is considered a serious offense in the state of Michigan. Consequently, the penalties people might face if they are convicted of OWI may have life-changing implications. Therefore, those who have been arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol may benefit from obtaining legal counsel. An attorney may explain their options, as well as help them to establish a strong criminal defense.