If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), your whole life can change instantly. Not only can you be facing significant fines and penalties, but the repercussions that result can follow you for the rest of your life. That is why before you deal with these devastating consequences on your own, you should contact an experienced Lansing DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Consequences of a dui in Michigan
If you have been convicted of a DUI, you can end up facing:
- Incarceration in jail or even prison, depending on whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony
- Expensive fines and court costs ranging anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars
- Loss of employment if you cannot drive for work
- Points on your driver’s license
- For that matter, having your license restricted, suspended, or revoked
- Community service ranging from days to weeks
- High insurance premiums
- An impounded motor vehicle
- Issues with child custody or visitation rights
- Immigration problems (even if you’re an American citizen—good luck getting into Canada with that DUI conviction!)
- Depending on the circumstances, loss of your CPL rights (or even your gun rights altogether)
- A criminal record
Relevant Michigan dui statutes
Michigan has various laws prohibiting driving while under the influence, including regulations regarding operating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (OWI) and operating while visibly impaired (OWVI) by drugs or alcohol. However, most people still refer to both as DUI.
Generally, an OWI is the more serious of the two offenses and involves operating a motor vehicle while:
- Under the influence of a controlled substance (including your prescription medications!) or alcohol
- Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater
- Having any amount of a schedule I controlled substance or cocaine (technically a schedule II drug) in the body
- Being under the influence of an intoxicating substance, even if it’s not listed as a controlled substance
In comparison, an OWVI charge results from your ability to operate a motor vehicle being visibly impaired. You might be thinking, “What’s the difference?” which is a great question. Think of intoxication as being legitimately drunk or high, while visible impairment is at that threshold where it’s clear you’ve had something, but not so much that you make a fool of yourself. This is neither a legal test nor a scientific one, but just our attempt at helping you understand what the difference is.
Although the punishment for an OWI is often significant, you can face even more substantial penalties if you are charged with an aggravated OWI. Typically, factors that can lead to an aggravated OWI include:
- Causing a serious injury or death
- Driving on a revoked license or a suspended license
- Driving without automobile insurance
- Transporting a minor while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Having prior offenses
- Having a BAC of 0.17 or higher, which we colloquially call being “super drunk.”
How to strengthen your case
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, the situation may seem overwhelming and incredibly stressful. Fortunately, there are things you can do to strengthen your case, including:
Your defense can be stronger if you can offer credible evidence that you were not drinking and driving, such as providing proof that your erratic driving was due to a medical condition and not alcohol or drugs.
Avoid getting in further trouble
Another way to build credibility is to stay out of trouble. This means you should not commit any other criminal offense, no matter how minor or insignificant it may be, as the judge can look at your whole criminal history when deciding your punishment.
Work with a Lansing dui lawyer
Due to the complexity of a DUI charge, it is crucial to reach out to an experienced Lansing DUI lawyer as soon as possible. These skilled lawyers can not only help you present the most vigorous defense possible, but they can also help you fight to get back control of your life—whether you’re needing that control back from the government, addiction, or both. Schedule a free consultation so that we can answer any questions you have about your DUI charges.