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Common Defenses for a Michigan DUI Charge

Posted On: September 25, 2018  
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Common Defenses for a Michigan DUI Charge

When you are facing DUI charges in Michigan it is extremely important to build a strong defense for your case. We often think of drunk driving charges as they are known in other states—as the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. Michigan law makes clear that driving while intoxicated is unlawful in the state, the statute uses different language to describe this offense. Rather than calling it a DUI, Michigan law defines this offense as “operating while intoxicated” or an OWI (MCL 257.625). In general, DUI and OWI are interchangeable terms.

When you are facing OWI charges, what do you need to prove in order to beat them? There are different ways in which a person can face OWI-related charges in Michigan, but it is useful to understand some of the most common defenses to drunk driving charges. It is unlawful to operate a vehicle in Michigan with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.

The following are examples of ways to beat OWI/DUI charges.

Defenses to OWI Charges in Michigan

  • There was not probable cause to arrest you:  After you are legally stopped the officer must investigate their suspicion of OWI and they need to demonstrate through the evidence obtained by field sobriety tests or preliminary breath tests that there is probable cause to arrest you.  In cases where clients perform well on field sobriety tests and refuse the PBT, we can challenge the probable cause to arrest. Without it, the case must be dismissed.
  • Breathalyzer (or other tests) was performed improperly: Sometimes police in Michigan are not trained properly to use breathalyzers, known as the Datamaster machine, to test a driver’s BAC. You may be able to argue that the Datamaster test result was unreliable for this reason.
  • Blood test sample was mishandled: If you were required to submit to a blood test in order to assess your BAC, it is possible that the blood test results were not obtained properly. For example, the blood might not have been transported or stored properly before it was tested, or it might have been contaminated with another sample or substance.
  • Law enforcement officer did not have a lawful reason to stop you: Sometimes law enforcement officials do not have a legal basis for stopping a driver. A Michigan criminal defense lawyer can examine the facts of your case to determine whether you can argue that you were stopped illegally. Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion to make a stop and probable cause to make an arrest.  If the stop was illegal, then the entire case must be dismissed.

Contact a Michigan OWI Defense Attorney

Are you facing DUI/OWI charges in Michigan? Whether you are a first-time offender or have previous convictions, an experienced Michigan OWI defense attorney can help to build a strong defense in your case. Contact the law office of Paul J. Tafelski to learn more about how we can assist with your defense.


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    • Bloomfield Hills

  • Bloomfield Hills, MI Office

    2525 S. Telegraph Rd. Suite 100
    Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
    Phone: (248) 451-2200
    Fax: 248-456-8470