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Michigan DUI Attorney

Key Takeaways:

  • Driving under the influence penalties will depend on which charge you face in Michigan (OWI, HIGH BAC, OWVI, or UBAC/UBAL) and can include jail time, fines and costs, probation, community service, and sometimes more.
  • DUI defenses your attorney may use include improper stop, improper BAC test, lack of evidence of who was operating the vehicle, and no probable cause for the arrest.
  • While you may refuse to take a breathalyzer test, such refusal brings with it consequences, including driver’s license points and a suspension of driving privileges.
  • The dedicated Michigan law firm of Jeffrey Randa and Associates has the experience and skill to win your case and will aggressively help you avoid the penalties and consequences of a DUI charge.

A DUI arrest is stressful. When you’re facing an OWI (operating while intoxicated) charge, you need to get out of it as completely and painlessly as possible.

As your Michigan DUI lawyers, we know how to fight and win. We’ll take care of everything.

What are the Penalties for OWI in Michigan?

man holding beer bottle while driving

When it comes to specific penalties for driving under the influence in Michigan, much will depend on the specific charge(s) made against you. Each one is different and carries distinct penalties you or a loved one will be facing.

  • OWI: A first-time offense OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) brings with it the potential for:
    • Up to 93 days in confinement in jail
    • A fine ranging from $100 to $500
    • Court costs
    • Community service (360 hours)
    • Potential vehicle immobilization, and
    • Possible district court-ordered BAIID (Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device) required during your probation
  • OWVI: For a first offense of OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired), penalties include:
    • Up to 93 days of jail time,
    • A fine up to a potential of $300
    • Court costs
    • 45 days (or 360 hours) of community service
    • Probation
    • Possible vehicle immobilization, and
    • Potential court-required ignition interlock
  • UBAC/UBAL: First offense UBAC/UBAL (unlawful bodily alcohol content/level) brings with it the same potential penalties as OWI, above

For second or third offenses, the penalties under Michigan’s drunk driving laws are SIGNIFICANTLY more serious and can include jail and mandatory driver’s license revocation.

In second and third-offense cases, or when aggravating factors are present, such as injury to another individual or death, the potential penalties are substantially more severe, and you will need an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney in your corner.

  • OWI causing serious injury of an individual:
    • Up to five years of prison time,
    • Fines ranging from $1,000 up to $5,000,
    • Mandatory driver’s license revocation and
    • Vehicle immobilization (mandatory)
  • OWI causing the death of an individual:
    • Up to 15 years in prison,
    • Fines in the range of $2,500 to $10,000,
    • Mandatory driver’s license revocation, and
    • Court-ordered vehicle immobilization

Our firm lives by the gold standard that success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you.

Instead of letting you stress out about things that probably won’t happen, we provide real help and focus on avoiding the penalties that are realistic, like:

  • Losing your driver’s license
  • Getting stuck on long and demanding probation
  • Being ordered into unnecessary counseling or treatment
  • Having to follow a burdensome alcohol and/or drug testing schedule

How Our Law Firm Can Help You With the Charges

Our first priority is to get your OWI charge dismissed or reduced, and my team and I are in court almost every day doing just that. We know how to manage this.

Our firm concentrates its practice to the local courts of the Greater Detroit area, meaning Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, and the surrounding area. Because we are in these same courts day in and day out, we know how things are done in each of them and how to get the most favorable outcome for you.

Looking at the Evidence

In a DUI case, every single bit of evidence must be carefully examined by your criminal defense lawyer. This requires much more than just “looking it over” or “reviewing it.”

Whatever else, a Michigan DUI case won’t dismiss itself. My team and I know all the little things that determine whether a DUI charge can stick or not, and we know how and where to look for them. The evidence in a drunk driving case involves a lot more than just your score on a breath (or blood) test and includes:

  • Everything that led to your first contact with the police
  • The field sobriety tests
  • The methods used to collect and analyze your breath (or blood) sample
  • The science underlying those results

Your drunk driving attorney will meticulously sort through all of it so you can get out of this situation with as little damage as possible.

Should I Get a Lawyer for a DUI in Michigan?

If you’re facing a DUI charge in the Greater Detroit area, you need a Michigan DUI lawyer who is experienced, honest, and just plain good at this. You need someone you can really talk to, who will tell you what you need to hear – and not merely what you want to hear.

With more than a half-century of combined experience as Michigan DUI attorneys, we have an unsurpassed level of knowledge and the actual working skills to actually make things better for you. This is what characterizes us as a genuine Michigan DUI law firm.

Every facet of your case will be properly handled, and you can feel comfortable knowing someone you can really trust is looking out for you.

I am unique among DUI lawyers because I am clinically trained, having completed a formal program of addiction studies at the post-graduate university level.

This additional education gives me and my team the unrivaled ability to help you avoid difficult probation with demanding classes, counseling, and treatment when your drinking is NOT a problem.

On the flip side, it provides us with the ability to help you like no other OWI lawyer if your relationship with alcohol HAS become troublesome.

We won’t let a DUI define you — we’ll help put it behind you.

We will do what’s necessary so that your case goes smoothly, and we’ll get you through this rough patch so you can move on with your life.

This is especially important for anyone with an occupational or professional license through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

My team and I truly care about our clients, and we pour our hearts and souls into bringing every case to the very best conclusion possible.

There is no more dedicated kind of DUI help than that.

What Defenses Can a Michigan DUI Lawyer Use in Court?

Some of the defenses that our knowledgeable Michigan DUI attorneys may be able to use in OWI cases include the following.

  • Improper stop: In Michigan, a police officer cannot legally make a stop unless there is reasonable suspicion that a driver violated a particular law. We will review the specific circumstances surrounding your case to identify when and if an illegal or improper stop has occurred. For example, if the police officer witnesses you leaving somewhere known to be drinking and stops you without seeing you actually consume alcohol, the improper stop DUI defense may be used because there may not have been probable cause to do so.
  • Improper BAC test (blood alcohol content): Results received from breath and/or blood alcohol tests can be challenged on the grounds that the equipment or instruments used may be faulty, the test was administered improperly, or the evidence otherwise mishandled. The equipment must be properly calibrated, and the courts know that BAC test results are not always 100% reliable.
  • Lack of evidence of who was operating the vehicle: In circumstances where it is difficult to prove who was operating a vehicle, we may use a lack of evidence defense. Even if you were impaired, the prosecutor may not be able to prove that you were actually driving the vehicle, and we will assert this drunk driving defense when appropriate.

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Michigan?

man concerned about breathalyzer test being given by police officer

There are two kinds of tests referred to as breathalyzers, and the consequences of refusing are different for each:

  1. The preliminary breath test (PBT) is done on a portable unit at the time of a person’s arrest. While relatively accurate, these tests cannot provide a reliable enough measure of a person’s BAC for evidentiary purposes in the context of a DUI case.
  2. The formal, post-arrest breath or blood test is more important. If you decline to provide a breath or blood sample at this stage, the police will almost certainly obtain a warrant for a blood draw.

Refusing a PBT is a civil infraction that results in a ticket and carries a maximum fine of $150, plus costs. There are no points assigned to a person’s driving record, and refusing this test CANNOT result in any kind of driver’s license suspension.

Refusing the post-arrest breath or blood test will get you separately cited for an “Implied Consent Refusal,” and your license will be automatically suspended for a year. While you can still go to court and request a restricted license, a pending refusal adds a lot of extra work to obtaining any kind of driving privileges.

Our opinion: Always take the test. In the real world, refusing is way more trouble than it’s potentially worth.

Why Work With Jeffrey Randa and Associates

The criminal defense, driver’s license restoration, and DUI defense attorneys here at Jeffrey Randa and Associates understand what is involved when you are facing any kind of drunk driving charges. We help you avoid the potential legal penalties and negative consequences while we focus on winning your case.

We only take on cases where our prior years of experience as a defense firm can help you. We work within the local court systems of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and surrounding counties every single day, so we know what works here, and what does not. This means we know how to produce the best outcome possible in your case.


“A few years ago I attempted to get my driving privileges reinstated and the interlock device removed from my car. I hired another attorney and we failed miserably. The Randa office shoots it to you straight and walks you through everything you need to do before they’ll even consider taking you on as a client and eventually requesting a hearing. They are in it to win and that’s exactly what they did for me. They had a mess to clean up and they did that and got my freedom back for me. Jack Mott and Ann were amazing to work with. I felt confident and prepared for my hearing. I highly recommend The Jeffrey Randa team for any license needs.” – Ceree M.

“Best decision I ever made to retain Jeffrey Randa and Associates. 5 DUIs and loss of hope of ever restoring my license but they did it. This team is so professional and knowledgeable and they walk you through the process. This is the team to have. Thank you so much.” – Adrian L.

“I had a wonderful experience working with this law firm, Jeffrey Randa and Associates. Stephanie listened intensively during my consultation. She was prompt and provided easy to understand next steps!” – Jonathan P.

Frequently Asked Questions About DUI in Michigan

Here are questions we often hear from our clients.

How Likely is Jail Time for First OWI in Michigan?

For a first OWI in Michigan, jail time is unlikely, although it is dependent on the circumstances (like location) of each case. Under the law, for a first OWI offense, jail time it is legally limited to no more than 93 days, and for a first offense High BAC charge, it’s capped at 180 days.

What is the Legal Blood Alcohol Level in Michigan for Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?

In Michigan, the legal blood alcohol level for driving under the influence (DUI) is 0.08. If you test at 0.08 or higher, you will receive a charge for drunk driving. In some cases, even if your blood alcohol is below that level, you may be charged if the arresting officer believes you are driving while impaired.

Can an OWI be Reduced in Michigan?

An OWI/DWI can be reduced in Michigan in many circumstances. Depending on different factors, the original DUI charge may be reduced to something less severe, such as a lower DUI offense, or even all the way down a non-alcohol offense, like reckless driving.

How Does an OWI Affect Your Life in Michigan?

An OWI charge and conviction can directly impact your life in several ways, including financial stress due to the fees involved, negative effects on your employment if you are facing jail time, and suspended or revoked driving privileges. Such a charge on your record can also affect your future, including your employment opportunities, criminal and driving record, and auto insurance premiums.

Do I Need to Restore My License After an OWI?

The license penalty in all first-offense cases NOT involving injury or death is some period of license suspension, followed by license restrictions.

For any injury or death-involved conviction, and for any 2nd offense conviction within 7 years of a prior OWI conviction, or a 3rd conviction within 10 years of 2 prior DUI convictions, a person’s license will be REVOKED.

In order to ever regain driving privileges after a revocation, you will have to file and win a formal driver’s license restoration appeal. Until that happens, your quality of life will suffer because you be unable to legally drive.

You only become eligible to file a driver’s license restoration after a certain waiting period. Most of these appeals, unless properly handled by a genuine Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, wind up getting denied. this is precisely why you’ll need a DUI defense and driver’s license restoration law firm, like ours, to help with the appeal.

We only take license appeal cases that qualify, and when we do, we guarantee to win.

Next Steps After Receiving a DUI Charge in Michigan

The DUI section of this website provides a great starting point for someone facing a drunk driving charge to get some real-world information.

To learn even more about OWI charges (and how we can help with yours), go to the DUI section of our blog. It is fully searchable, and you can find more useful information there than is available anywhere else. Within those articles, every aspect of the DUI process explained in accurate and easy-to-understand detail.

If you need to hire a lawyer for a DUI charge anywhere in the Metro-Detroit area, be a smart consumer, check around, and talk to as many lawyers or law firms as you can.

Then — contact us.

All of our free consultations are confidential and done over the phone, right when you call. My team and I are very friendly people who will gladly answer your questions, explain things, and even compare notes with anything another lawyer has told you.

You can reach us Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., at 248-450-0906 or 586-684-1189.