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Rochester DUI Lawyer

With the harsh penalties that all states have enacted for DUI convictions, you may fear of losing your license, your job, or even your freedom. To protect yourself and your rights from the consequences of this mistake, you may require the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. If you are facing drunk driving charges, contact a Rochester DUI lawyer for legal advice and guidance as soon as possible.

Defining DUI Offenses

Michigan state law outlines three different types of DUI offenses: operating while intoxicated (OWI) and operating while visibly impaired (OWVI). OWVI is generally a lesser offense with less severe penalties, but a Rochester drunk driving attorney can help with either type of charge. Also, if your “bodily alcohol content” (BAC) was .17 or above, there is the additional offense of Operating with a High BAC.

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

Michigan Compiled Laws §257.625(1) bans individuals from operating motor vehicles while they are intoxicated. The maximum legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers over the age of 21 is .08 percent, so a reading equal to or higher than this may result in OWI charges. Law enforcement officials can measure BAC through blood, breath, and/or urine tests.

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI)

Under Mich. Comp. Laws §257.625(3), it is illegal for individuals to operate motor vehicles while visibly impaired by alcohol, even with a BAC of less than .08 percent. To obtain a conviction on this charge, the prosecution must show evidence that you were visibly impaired. Examples of factors that might indicate visible impairment include slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, and impaired movement or balance.

Operating with a High BAC

Under Mich. Comp. Laws § 257.625(1)(c), there are enhanced penalties for operating a motor vehicle with a bodily alcohol level of .17 or above.  This BAC is usually established based on a breath or blood test.

Penalties for a First Offense

A first-time OWI is a misdemeanor offense could result in various penalties, including:

  • Incarceration for up to 93 days
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Completion of an alcohol education class
  • License suspension for 30 days and a license restriction for 150 days
  • Fines up to $500

A first OWI conviction also places six points on your driver’s license and often results in increased insurance rates. You may additionally face mandatory installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) or even immobilization and forfeiture of their cars. The penalties for a conviction can be serious, which is why it is crucial for a defendant to reach out to an accomplished lawyer.

Penalties for a High BAC OWI

The penalties for operating a vehicle with a high BAC include:

  • Up to 180 days in jail.
  • A fine of between $200 and $700.
  • Not more than 360 hours of community service.
  • Your license will be suspended for one year, with no driving for at least 45 days.

The Secretary of State may issue a restricted license 45 days after the suspension starts if you are otherwise eligible.

Subsequent DUI Convictions

A second DUI conviction within seven years, whether in Michigan or another state, usually causes more severe penalties. These penalties often include:

  • As much as one year in jail
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • License suspension of at least one year
  • 30 to 90 days of community service

Second OWI convictions may also require the completion of an alcohol education course and impoundment of vehicles for 90 days. After the one-year license suspension is complete, you may have to install a BAIID in your car(s). A DUI lawyer in Rochester can represent the interests of drivers charged with a second OWI or OWVI and pursue a positive resolution to those charges.

Contact a Rochester DUI Attorney for Help

When facing OWI or OWVI charges, you are at risk of a criminal conviction and may experience various restrictions on your ability to drive as well as potential incarceration. Fortunately, a Rochester DUI lawyer can fight to mitigate these penalties.

By getting the legal advice you need, you can more effectively protect your rights and pursue the outcome you need. Call today to schedule a consultation.