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What happens if you're facing an OWI charge in Michigan

Operating while impaired (OWI) charges can stem from a variety of factors. Maybe law enforcement profiled you because of your vehicle or appearance. Perhaps you ended up caught up in a roadblock, which is where law enforcement close down popular roads for substance use screening and enforcement.

Whatever the reason for your OWI charge, you need to take it seriously. Failing to react properly when facing an OWI could cost you a lot of money in fines and court fees. It could also cost you your job, your student aid or respect from other people in your social circles.

If you are facing an OWI for any reason, the first thing you should do after your arrest is to contact an experienced Michigan DUI defense attorney. Your chances of a positive outcome to the situation increase when you have an experienced attorney advocating for you. Many public defenders, while well-intentioned, are overworked. Worse yet, they may not have any experience in defending against OWI charges, only in submitting a client's guilty plea. If you want to improve your chances of a successful defense, you need an attorney with experience who will help create a real defense strategy.

OWI charges carry stiff penalties in the state of Michigan

The state of Michigan classifies OWI offenses by how intoxicated you are, which is determined by your blood alcohol content (BAC). For minors under 21, the acceptable BAC is 0.0 percent. For those with a commercial license, the BAC is 0.04 percent. For the average adult driver, a BAC of 0.08 percent or over is considered intoxicated. Trying to avoid implicating yourself by refusing a breath test can result in penalties, too, including the loss of your license for a year for the first offense. Subsequent offenses carry harsher penalties. The same is true for OWI offenses.

First time offenders are looking at as long as 93 days in jail, a fine of between $100 and $500, loss of their license for up to six months and the potential for an ignition interlock system, depending on the circumstances. Second offenses carry jail time of between five days and one year or community service, as well as a fine of between $200 and $1,000, loss of their license for at least a year and a requirement for an ignition interlock system being installed in their car when they get their license back. Third time offenders face between 30 days and five years in prison, a fine of between $200 and $1,000 and loss of their license for at least a year.

An attorney can help you defend against an OWI charge

Many people believe that anyone charged with a OWI must be guilty. However, there are a number of mitigating circumstances, including medical conditions and mistakes in how a breath test or roadside sobriety test gets administered. Don't risk your future and freedom. Speak with an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you are charged with an OWI offense.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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The Smith Law Offices, P.C.
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