1st (First) Offense DUI - Overview
No one plans to go out and get arrested for Drunk Driving. A first offense DUI is often (although not always) a person’s first arrest, and is a humbling, if not humiliating experience. As scary as it may seem, however, a 1st offense is NOT the end of the world, primarily because it is a first offense, and we all make mistakes in life. You’re not going to go to jail, or lose your job; things like medical or other professional licenses are not at risk, and you will probably not have to go through any of the things that seem to threaten you right now.
Most first time DUI offenders are law-abiding, tax-paying and productive members of society, and the drunk driving charge usually represents an isolated and unfortunate instance of poor judgment. Although Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is a criminal charge, most people who find themselves in this situation are not criminals, in any sense of the word. Making sure that you don’t wind up feeling or being treated like one is an important part of my job, as is protecting you from being seen by “the system” as having a risky or troubled relationship to drinking that requires some kind of help, or preventative counseling. You undoubtedly felt bad enough at time of your arrest. While a DUI is no trip to Disneyland, I will get you through this intact and otherwise protect you from all the potential negative consequences of a single bad decision.
In Michigan, there are 2 types of 1st offense DUI charges:
1. Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), and
2. High BAC (Operating While Intoxicated with BAC .17 or greater.
In this section, we’ll focus on the first of those (OWI), and examine High BAC cases separately.
In order to be considered a 1st offense charge, you cannot have had a conviction for ANY alcohol-related traffic offense within the 7 years preceding the date of your arrest for the current charge. This means that although you may have had a DUI many years ago, as long as the conviction for it is more than 7 years before the date of your current arrest, then this new charge can only be for a 1st offense.
Technically, a 1st Offense OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) charge carries the following potential maximum penalties:
• Up to 93 days in Jail
• 180 days License Suspension
• A Fine of up to $500, plus Costs
• Up to 180 hours of Community Service
• 6 Points on Driving Record
• $1000 Driver's Responsibility Fee for 2 years
Don’t worry about jail - with only 1 possible exception in the Tri-County (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb) area court system, it simply does not happen. This is important, because it means that you’re not going in the first place. Therefore, hiring a lawyer with the primary goal to keep you out of jail is a complete waste of money, and any lawyer who engages in that kind of fear-based marketing is disingenuous, at best. Instead, you hire a Detroit-area DUI Lawyer like me to avoid the consequences that can and will happen in your case, like having restrictions placed on your ability to drive and being ordered into unnecessary alcohol classes and counseling. Even though you never planned on getting a DUI, I will help you execute and intelligent plan to minimize the penalties you face.