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Frequently Asked Questions Related to Michigan OWI/DUI

Q: How does Michigan define drunk driving?
A: It boils down to two things: the prosecution must prove that alcohol somehow affected your ability to drive and/or that your blood alcohol content at the time of driving was too high.

Q: What are some of the differences between operating while visibly intoxicated, operating while intoxicated and super drunk driving?
A: One important difference is the level of blood alcohol concentration at the time of driving. For example, one can be found guilty of operating while intoxicated at a .08 blood alcohol concentration, while super drunk driving requires a blood alcohol level of .17 or higher. On the other hand, operating while visibly intoxicated does not require a blood alcohol concentration above any particular blood alcohol level.

Q: What are some of the penalty differences between operating while visibly intoxicated, super drunk driving and operating while visibly intoxicated?
A: Super drunk driving carries a potential 180 day jail term whereas the other two offenses carry a potential 93 day jail term. Also, super drunk driving mandates one year of alcohol treatment.

Q: Will I lose my driver’s license?
A: Operating while visibly intoxicated carries a 90-day restricted license penalty. Operating while intoxicated carries a 30-day suspension with a 150 day restricted license. Super drunk driving mandates a one year suspension, although one may obtain a restricted license after 45 days if an alcohol detector is installed in the car.

Q: What happens to my driver’s license if I get convicted of a second drunk driving offense?
A: Your driver’s license will be revoked for one year.

Q: What happens to my driving privileges if I get convicted of a third drunk driving offense?
A: Your driver’s license will be revoked for five years.

Q: How would I get my driver’s license reinstated after a revocation?
A: You must convince a hearing officer to restore your driving privileges at an administrative review hearing conducted at the Drivers Assessment and Appeal Division of the Secretary of State.

Q: What are some common defenses to drunk driving charges?
A: Improper stop, chemical test deficiency such as improper maintenance/calibration of the breathalyzer machine, failure to follow proper procedure in the administration of the chemical test and passing the roadside sobriety tests.

Q: What are examples of evidence that might be obtained to evaluate whether any defenses exist?
A: The police report, police car and station videos and breathalyzer calibration records.

Q: How can an attorney help me defend my drunk driving case?
A: An attorney who handles DUI/OWI cases may be able to secure important evidence, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case, provide advice as to the best way to handle your case and represent you at all court proceedings. Most importantly, an attorney advocates for you – acting in your best interests.

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Attorney + Mark Langschied