The True Cost of a Drunk Driving Conviction in Michigan
February 29, 2016
by The Law Office of Steven L. Schwartz
No one wants to be arrested for driving under the influence, not just because of the potential jail time but also due to the collateral consequences of the arrest, such as the fines and court costs, probation and the attendant fees that come along with it, the loss of a driver’s license, and potential restrictions on certain kinds of employment. All of these are possible repercussions of getting arrested, charged, and convicted of a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or OWI (operating while intoxicated) offense in Michigan.
Despite the conventional wisdom (and what some other defense attorneys may say), fighting a drunk driving case is possible. There are several defenses that someone who has been charged with driving under the influence can raise, including non-intoxication and non-operation. Either of these defenses, if successful, may result in a “not guilty” verdict.
However, the reality is that not every case is completely winnable, and sometimes a defense attorney’s time is best spent trying to get their client out of their current situation with as little hassle as possible. In these cases, capably handling negotiations with prosecutors and knowing the relevant substantive and procedural laws are imperative to success.
Michigan Named as Worst State to Get a DUI or OWI Conviction
In a recent study by a personal finance website, NerdWallet, Michigan was rated as one of the worst states to be convicted of a DWI or OWI. In fact, with costs and fines of a conviction totaling almost $6,500 total, it was the most expensive state in the entire United States. Other states in the top 10 included Connecticut and Kentucky, at $4,300 and $4,700, respectively.
Of course, there is more to a drunk driving conviction than fines. In Michigan, even for a first time offender, someone convicted of driving while under the influence can face up to a year in jail and 360 hours of community service. In addition, their license can be suspended for up to a year, and they will get six point on their driver’s license.
Fighting a Michigan DUI or OWI Charge
As mentioned above, getting arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not necessarily need to result in a conviction that will change your life. Instead, anyone arrested for DWI or OWI may be able to challenge the arrest, suppress evidence, or argue that the evidence was insufficient to result in a conviction. A skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine what your choices may be moving forward.
Have You Been Arrested for Drunk Driving?
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested and charged with a Michigan OWI offense, you should immediately consult with a dedicated criminal defense attorney to discuss which options you have to defend against the charges. The skilled Michigan criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Steven Schwartz have decades of experience representing Michiganders charged with all kinds of crimes, including OWIs. Call (240) 930-5019 today to set up your free consultation.
- “Drug Ring” in Bust in Detroit’s East Side Results in 24 Arrests, Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published August 31, 2015.
- The Use of “Confidential Informants” in Michigan, Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published February 15, 2016.