Detroit Drunk Driving Lawyers Answer DUI FAQs
Our Detroit area lawyers have helped hundreds of clients in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County with their DUI cases. Here we answer some Frequently Asked Questions about DUI charges in Detroit.
What are the different drunk driving crimes in Detroit?
Drunk driving or “DUI” laws are the same across the entire state of Michigan. Prosecutors in Michigan may charge an individual with:
one of three “drunk driving” offenses (OWI, UBAC/UBAL, and OWVI); and/or
a “drugged driving” charge (OWPD); and/or
special charges (OWI Causing Serious Injury or death; OWI With Children Present).
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is charged if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08% and your ability to drive safely is affected by alcohol.
Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) is charged if the officer decides that you weren’t able to drive safely and you do NOT need to have a BAC of 0.08 or above to be charged. Usually a field sobriety test and/or the officer’s observation of you driving are enough.
Operating With Any Presence of Drugs (OWPD) is charged if any Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (even a trace) is found in your blood. You do NOT have to appear impaired to be charged.
What does DUI Zero Tolerance Law mean?
Michigan’s Zero Tolerance Law applies to drivers under 21 years old. Minors are not allowed to buy, have in their possession, or consume alcohol. If they are found with any alcohol in a vehicle―even unopened, and/or even off the road or in a parking lot, they can be charged with a misdemeanor.
Minors with a BAC of 0.02% or greater, will also be arrested – and face 4 points on their license if found guilty of the charge.
What if Happens if I Refused the Breathalyzer Test?
Michigan has something called an “implied consent law” which means that if you drive you automatically agree to taking breathalyzer tests when stopped. So if a person is arrested on any DUI offense and they refuse to take the Breathalyzer Test, their license will be automatically suspended for 1 year and 6 points will be added to their driving record – in addition to any additional penalties and fines.
Refusing a Breathalyzer Test twice within seven (7) years results in a two year drivers’ license suspension by the Michigan Secretary of State.
If I Pass the Breathalizer Test in a DUI Stop am I Free to Go?
Unfortunately, passing a breathalyzer test does not automatically mean you are “off the hook.” Michigan’s Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) law means you can still be charged if the officer decides that you weren’t able to drive safely – even if you do NOT have a BAC of 0.08 or above. Usually a field sobriety test and/or the officer’s observation of your driving are used in these cases.
You cannot be arrested for DUI unless a police officer has “probable cause” – which basically means “good reason to believe you are impaired”. However erratic driving, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol or empty containers may all be enough for the police to charge you with OWVI – even if you “passed” the breathalyzer.