When The Stakes Are This High,
You Need A Real Defense

Experienced Defense After A Drunk Driving Arrest

Last updated on May 31, 2024

DUI/OWI is “only” a misdemeanor crime, yet the punishment and the long-term consequences of a conviction are severe. In addition to jail time and steep fines, you could lose your driver’s license. The criminal record can affect employment and professional licenses. Your car insurance will skyrocket.

There is no substitute for experience – especially local experience – when you are facing charges of impaired driving. I have practiced in Grand Rapids for more than 15 years, including DUI/OWI and other misdemeanor traffic crimes. My detailed and diligent approach has resulted in dropped charges, acquittals, no loss of license and other favorable outcomes. Even if you have prior offenses, I can help.

DUI/OWI Charges Are Serious
Call Ryan Maesen Attorney at Law at 616-818-0011 if you or someone you know has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Kent County or surrounding jurisdictions.

OWI/DWI And Other Serious Traffic Crimes

Operating while intoxicated (OWI), commonly known as driving under the influence (DUI), is a misdemeanor crime in most cases. It can become a felony for third-time offenders or an alcohol-related crash resulting in injury or death. Many other traffic offenses are also jailable misdemeanors. I can represent you in court proceedings if you were arrested or cited for:

  • OWI or DUI
  • OWVI (operating while visibly impaired)
  • OWPD (operating with presence of drugs)
  • “Super Drunk” OWI (blood alcohol of .17 or more)
  • Felony OWI (third offense)
  • Zero tolerance violation (under age 21 drivers)
  • Breathalyzer refusal (implied consent violation)
  • Child endangerment (OWI with a child under 16 in the car)
  • Driving while license suspended or revoked
  • Reckless driving or racing on a public highway
  • Leaving the scene of an injury accident (hit-and-run)

Even if this is your first arrest for DUI/OWI, a conviction can lead to fines, license suspension or revocation, community service, drug and alcohol testing, and even jail or prison time. As new convictions accrue, or when the driver’s BAC is exceptionally high, the penalties for drunk driving convictions will substantially increase.

How Can A Defense Attorney Help With My DUI Case?

Many people think it’s “game over” when they are pulled over for drunk driving, especially if they “fail” the field sobriety tests or if the portable breath tester shows .08 or more. That is just not true. While those roadside tests can be used to take you into custody, it takes much more than that to convict you of OWI/DUI.

The value of an experienced OWI defense lawyer cannot be overstated:

  • Assessing the evidence against you: I will review all the evidence, such as breathalyzer results, blood tests, dashcam footage and witness statements, to determine if there are any discrepancies or issues with the evidence that could potentially help your case.
  • Identifying potential legal defenses: A DUI defense attorney like me will have a deep understanding of Michigan laws and identify potential legal defenses, such as lack of reasonable cause for the traffic stop, mistakes with the roadside tests or administration of the official breathalyzer test, issues with the reliability of the test equipment, or other factors that could potentially impact the case.
  • Representing you in court: I will act as your advocate in court, making arguments on your behalf and presenting evidence in your favor. I can also cross-examine witnesses and challenge the prosecution’s evidence.

What Are The Penalties For A First-Time DUI In Michigan?

A first-time OWI/DUI conviction in Michigan for having a BAC over .08 is a misdemeanor offense, with penalties that may include:

  • Six points added to your driver’s license
  • Hard suspension of your driver’s license for 30 days, and then restriction of your license for 150 days
  • Community service for up to 360 hours
  • Fines of up to $500
  • Probation
  • Up to 93 days in jail

DUI charges come with multiple personal and professional consequences, as most people who are arrested for drunk driving spend the night in jail, which can lead to unexcused absences from work, school or other obligations that can immediately impact their livelihoods.

Even if this is your first DUI charge, you should contact a skilled drunk driving attorney as soon as you are able.

What Are The Penalties For A Second Or Subsequent DUI In Michigan?

A second OWI conviction in Michigan for being impaired or having a BAC over .08 is a serious misdemeanor. The penalties for a second DUI may include:

  • Six points on your driver’s license
  • A minimum one-year driver’s license revocation, or a minimum of five years’ revocation if your license has been revoked within the preceding seven years
  • License plate confiscation
  • Vehicle immobilization or forfeiture
  • Community service for 30 to 90 days
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Mandatory minimum of five days in jail, with the potential to serve up to one year

A third or subsequent DUI within a driver’s lifetime, or two or more convictions for certain other types of offenses, will result in felony charges, and may include the following penalties:

  • Six points on your driver’s license
  • Revocation of your driver’s license
  • Denial of your vehicle registration and confiscation of your license plate
  • Community service for up to 180 days
  • Fines of up to $5,000
  • Probation plus a jail sentence of 30 days to one year
  • A prison sentence of one to five years

Michigan treats OWI charges more seriously when the driver’s BAC is .17 or higher, which results in an unlawful blood alcohol level change, also commonly known as “super drunk OWI.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Drunk Driving In Michigan

With more than 15 years of experience in criminal defense, I have handled many DUI cases across Michigan. Here are some of the questions my clients ask most frequently.

Do you lose your license after a DUI in Michigan?

If you are convicted of DUI in Michigan, you will likely face license suspension or revocation. The duration of the suspension depends on factors such as prior offenses and blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest.

Will you go to jail for the first DUI?

You are unlikely to go to jail for a first DUI conviction in Michigan – but there is always that possibility. If there are aggravating circumstances in your case, such as a high blood alcohol concentration or involvement in an accident causing injury or property damage, jail time is more likely.

Can you get DUI charges reduced?

It is possible to get DUI charges reduced in Michigan through various legal strategies such as negotiating plea bargains or by challenging the legalities of the traffic stop or the validity of the evidence against you. However, the outcome depends on the specifics of your case and the skill of your defense attorney in advocating for your interests.

How long does a DUI stay on your record?

In Michigan, DUI convictions remain on your driving record permanently. This means that even after completing any required penalties or programs, the DUI conviction will always be accessible on your driving record potentially affecting your driving privileges and other aspects of your life.

Is a DUI a felony in Michigan?

In Michigan, a DUI is typically considered a misdemeanor offense, unless the charges are enhanced due to aggravating circumstances. However, a third DUI within a lifetime is always classified as a felony. Felony DUI convictions carry more severe penalties including vehicle forfeiture, potential imprisonment for up to five years, higher fines and longer license suspension periods.

A Local Lawyer Prepared To Defend You In Court

Whether this is your first arrest or you have been arrested multiple times for drunk driving in Michigan, you should never face the prosecutor’s office alone, or accept a “deal” without understanding your full legal rights and options. Arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your circumstances and how I can help. My approach has produced real results for clients, and I have taken more than 90 cases to trial, including OWI/DUI cases.

My firm represents real people of all walks of life in the Grand Rapids area. Call my office in Grand Rapids today at 616-818-0011 or contact Maesen Law online.