DUI Plea Bargaining
The state of Michigan takes drunk driving seriously and imposes harsh penalties for an Operating While Intoxicated or Operating While Visibly Impaired conviction. You may face incarceration, hefty fines, a driver’s license suspension, points on your driver’s license, and harsh probation terms. An experienced attorney may be able to take steps to negotiate a plea with the prosecutor. There are also instances in which it may be possible to secure a dismissal. If you want to know more about DUI plea bargaining options, you should discuss your situation with a seasoned Michigan DUI lawyer.DUI Plea Bargaining
A first offense OWI conviction can result in 93 days in jail, six points on your driver’s license, a driver’s license suspension for six months with no license for 30 days, a $100-$500 fine, and up to 360 hours of community service. Subsequent convictions receive much worse punishment including mandatory jail and revocation of driving privileges. It is wise to retain an attorney who can try to fight drunk driving charges regardless of if they are charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
In some cases, it is appropriate to go to trial on a drunk driving charge. However, in most cases, it may be wiser to try to negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain. This is best done through a criminal defense attorney who understands the charges and how the prosecutor is thinking about the case. One of the ways to get the best result possible in your situation is for you to be represented by experienced OWI counsel that the prosecutor knows is skilled in this area of the law. By preparing the case for trial the prosecutor must respect that you are ready, willing and able to fight the case if necessary. This can result in the most reasonable plea bargain and sometimes favorable sentencing agreements with the court. The first step is to avoid being railroaded by the system.
In many cases, especially first offense OWI charges, we may be able to get your drunk driving charge reduced to a charge of operating while visibly impaired. OWVI is still considered a drunk driving but has a couple big advantages over OWI. Specifically, the driver’s license penalty is a 90-day restricted license instead of the 30-day hard suspension and 150-day restricted license that goes with the OWI charge. This allows people to keep working. In addition, it is only 4 points instead of 6 and the fines are somewhat lower. Both charges still give the court great discretion with regard to jail time or probation terms which we prepare for by developing a customized strategy with our clients to impress the court so that the best outcome can be achieved.Motions to Suppress
Often, it is helpful to bring a motion to suppress certain evidence to gain leverage in DUI plea bargaining. A DUI must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a tough standard. If we can get some or all of the evidence obtained during the stop or after the arrest suppressed, we can better persuade a prosecutor to offer a plea deal or even dismiss the charges. Sometimes it is appropriate to get evidence suppressed because it was obtained as a part of an illegal search and seizure. An officer should have a reasonable suspicion of a civil infraction to pull you over. If he is unable to articulate a reasonable suspicion for pulling you over, it may be possible to suppress evidence obtained during the stop, such as an officer’s observations of your behavior in the stop, breath test results, and field sobriety test results. If the stop was illegal the entire case will be dismissed. In some situations, we can press that issue in order to obtain a better plea bargain where the outcome is uncertain, but the issue is still legitimate.
In other cases, there are mistakes made in procedures that may allow us to argue that evidence obtained during the arrest should be suppressed. For instance, whoever administers a breath test must have proper training in protocols, and the test should be given to you in a specific time frame in order to be treated as valid. Similarly, a blood sample must be properly taken and stored to avoid contamination and yield valid results. As we evaluate your case we review a number of different issues looking for anything we can use to gain leverage to help you in every step of the process.Retain a Seasoned DUI Defense Attorney in Michigan
If you are concerned about DUI plea bargaining in Michigan, you should discuss your situation with our seasoned attorneys. At Michigan Defense Law, we can try to determine whether there are holes in the prosecutor’s case and try to obtain a plea deal on your behalf. Michigan Defense Law represents clients in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties. Call us at (248) 451-2200 or complete our online form.