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DUI/OWI Charges: Experienced Representation For Those Accused Of Drunk Driving

At Jocuns Law Firm, my team and I recognize what a drunk driving arrest can mean for your family, career and personal and professional relationships. I never take a case unless I can put myself in that person’s shoes, and I never take a case just to enter a guilty plea.

I am Bernard Jocuns, a criminal defense lawyer with 20 years of experience representing ordinary people accused of impaired driving. If you are facing charges of OWI (also known as DUI) in Michigan, I can draw on an arsenal of strategies to challenge the prosecution’s case or mitigate the consequences. I have tried and won DUI cases in Lapeer County and surrounding jurisdictions.

Call my firm’s team today at 810-498-2772 for a free consultation if you are facing OWI/DUI charges.

Is OWI/DUI A Misdemeanor?

In Michigan, a first or second violation of operating while intoxicated (OWI) is a misdemeanor in Michigan unless aggravating circumstances are present. (DUI, or driving under the influence, is another commonly used term for this offense.) A third or subsequent offense of OWI/DUI is a felony crime. Whether charged as a misdemeanor or felony, you could be facing jail or prison, high fines, and driver’s license suspension or revocation.

Still, just because you have been stopped, arrested and charged with OWI does not mean you are guilty or sure to face the maximum penalties. You have a right to challenge the allegations against you and a right to have a DUI attorney prepare and present that defense.

What Is Operating While Intoxicated?

Michigan law (MCL 257.625) prohibits a person from operating a vehicle on public roads while intoxicated by alcohol or with any amount of a controlled substance in their system. Operating While Intoxicated means that the driver met one of the following conditions:

  • Under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and/or any other intoxicating substances
  • Had an alcohol content of .08% or more
  • Had an alcohol content of .17% or more (referred to as a “High BAC” or “Super Drunk”)

Under this statute, it’s also an offense for a person to operate a vehicle while visibly impaired (OWVI). Additionally, a person under 21 years of age can be accused of a Zero Tolerance violation if they had any measurable alcohol in their system (a BAC of .02% or more).

You can turn to Jocuns Law Firm to fight all allegations of violations under Michigan’s operating while intoxicated law. No matter your situation, I can defend you.

When Is OWI A Felony In Michigan?

As noted earlier, a DUI/OWI can be either a misdemeanor or felony in Michigan. It becomes a felony in the following circumstances:

  • Third or subsequent offense within a lifetime
  • DUI accident causing serious impairment of body function
  • DUI accident causing death

Whether you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor or felony driving under the influence offense, you need an attorney on your side ready to protect your rights and future. I have a reputation for fighting aggressively not backing down from a challenge.

What Are The Penalties For OWI/DUI In Michigan?

A DUI conviction is punishable by incarceration, fines and/or driver’s license suspension. The sanctions can profoundly impact a person’s life. For example, without driving privileges, it can be difficult to get to work, go to school, or take care of other obligations. A drunk driving mark on a person’s record can also present obstacles when the individual interviews for a job or tries to find a place to live.

The penalties for operating while intoxicated depend on the circumstances:

First violation

  • Not more than 360 hours of community service
  • Not more than 93 days in jail
  • Between $100 and $500 in fines (or $200 and $700 in high BAC cases)

Second violation within 7 years

  • Between 30 to 90 days of community service
  • Between 5 days and 1 year in jail
  • Between $200 and $1,000 in fines

Third or subsequent offense in lifetime

  • Between 60 and 180 days of community service
  • Between one and five years in prison
  • Between $500 and $5,000 in fines

Under 21 years of age (first violation of Zero Tolerance Law)

  • Not more than 360 hours of community service
  • Not more than $250 in fines

Second violation of Zero Tolerance Law

  • Not more than 60 days of community service
  • Not more than $500 in fines
  • Not more than 93 days in jail

Facing incarceration, fines and other punishments associated with a DUI can be scary. But you can seek a favorable outcome that could result in avoiding or minimizing penalties. I can pursue justice on your behalf.

Do You Lose Your Driver’s License For A Michigan DUI?

Driver’s license suspension or revocation is one of the other penalties a driver could face if arrested for operating while intoxicated. A conviction triggers the following license sanctions:

  • Up to 30 days suspended (with a 150-day restriction) for a first offense
  • Up to one year of suspension for a High BAC (Super Drunk)
  • Up to 90 days of suspension for a first OWVI
  • Up to one year of revocation for a second or third DUI or OWVI
  • Up to 30 days of restriction for a first underage DUI offense
  • Up to 90 days of suspension for a second underage DUI offense

What Happens If You Refuse To Submit To A Chemical Test?

A person can also lose their driver’s license in a Michigan DUI if they refuse a chemical test. Under Michigan law (MCL 257.625c), anyone lawfully arrested under suspicion of operating while intoxicated is required to submit to a test that analyzes their blood, breath or urine sample to determine alcohol content or the presence of a controlled substance in the person’s system.

Refusing the chemical test results in the following automatic penalties:

  • Up to one year for a first-time refusal
  • Up to two years for a second or subsequent refusal

At Jocuns Law Firm, I will fight to protect your driving privileges.

DUI Defense Tailored To Your Case

Whenever my firm takes on a new case, my team and I see beyond the criminal charges and focus on the person and their situation. This strategy reminds us of who and what we’re fighting for. As a trial attorney, I will be prepared to present your case in court and go up against the prosecutor in front of a judge or jury.

I thoroughly review everything that happened, from the traffic stop and arrest procedures to charges being filed. Conducting a thorough examination allows me to identify issues that might weaken the prosecutor’s case. For instance, the officer might not have had a lawful reason to pull the driver over or make an arrest. Or, the results of a chemical test could have been invalid because of faulty machinery or incorrect processing.

Call my law office in Lapeer at 810-498-2772 to schedule your free initial consultation, or contact me online.