Michigan DUI Lawyer - DWI, OWI, & Drunk Driving Defense

In the state of Michigan, drunk driving is taken very seriously, and those who are convicted may suffer significant penalties, including fines, the loss of their driving privileges, and even jail time. In the state of Michigan, DUI is properly known as OWI, however, many people still use DUI in everyday language. 

No matter what you call it if you have been arrested for a DUI, you must get the legal guidance of an experienced attorney. At Michigan Defense Law, we put our decades of criminal defense experience in your corner to help protect your rights when you are facing a DUI charge. Founding Attorney Paul J. Tafelski, a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, has successfully defended individuals from arraignment through jury trials in all sorts of matters, from minor misdemeanors or major felonies. He has owned and managed small businesses and has an in-depth understanding of the ramifications that convictions can have on a client’s life. Mr.  Tafelski is admitted to both Michigan State and Federal Courts, as well as the United States Supreme Court.  Mr. Tafelski is a top-rated DUI attorney with successful outcomes in many DUI and/or OWI cases.

While a charge is serious, it is not a conviction. Under the United States constitution, the prosecution must still prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is where we come in. The quality of your legal defense can make all the difference with drunk driving charges.

Don’t leave this to chance. Contact us now to speak with experienced DUI defense lawyers to discuss your Michigan DUI case. Free consultation: (248) 451-2200.

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I’ve used Paul for a BAIID appeal hearing multiple times. He has been very professional is very knowledgeable in the laws applicable. I’ve used other attorneys in the past but have never had the satisfaction as I’ve had with Paul. Most attorneys will over promise but be hard to reach after the contract is signed. Despite the time of day or the day of the week, he has always immediately responded to me. In addition, his assistant Karen has always been incredibly helpful in making calls to the SOS on my behalf. Although he may not have all the answers immediately, his immediate reply has reassured me numerous times. Just knowing that he’s reachable allayed much of my anxiety. In the end, he went above and beyond to make sure everything worked out. I would gladly recommend him to friends and family without hesitation.

Why You Need a Lawyer for a DUI in Michigan

While the law allows you to operate a motor vehicle after consuming some alcohol, the amount that you can legally consume is highly restricted. Over the years, enforcement of DUI and OWI laws has become more aggressive and charges more punitive. Police stops can target people unfairly and use inaccurate evidence or improper procedure.  

It is the job of law enforcement and state prosecutors to try and convict anyone who has been charged with a crime. At Michigan Defense Law, it is our job to protect your rights and to work hard towards getting all charges dropped, a not guilty verdict, or another best possible outcome in your case. Founding lawyer Paul J. Tafelski and our team of knowledgeable Michigan DUI attorneys have more than 20 years of experience protecting the rights of those accused of a crime. We will guide you through the entire process, building a skilled DUI defense to help maximize your chance of a favorable outcome. If you have been charged with a DUI in Michigan, let our experienced team help.

Contact us at (248) 451-2200 to schedule a no-cost consultation.

Michigan Drunk Driving Limits

In Michigan, the legal limit of blood alcohol content, or BAC, is .08% for drivers aged 21 or older. If you have been stopped while driving with a BAC of .08% or higher, you can be charged with an OWI, or operating while intoxicated. If your BAC is .17% or higher, our high-BAC law imposes even more serious penalties. If you are under the age of 21, our Zero Tolerance law makes it unlawful to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or higher. Consequently, what you are charged with and the penalties imposed will have everything to do with your age, your BAC, your criminal history, and other factors.

A conviction of any drunk driving charge in Michigan will result in some combination of fines, driving privilege sanctions, points against your driving record, and even jail time. If you have been charged with DUI in Michigan, your most important move will be to retain the services of an experienced lawyer. At Michigan Defense Law, DUI lawyer Paul J. Tafelski and our team of skilled OWI attorneys have dedicated our careers to the skilled legal defense of those charged with drunk driving in Michigan.

To schedule a free consultation, contact us at (248) 451-2200.

First-Time DUI

Getting pulled over for suspected drunk driving in Michigan can be intimidating and frightening. It is important to take DUI charges seriously, even if it is your first DUI offense. A conviction for a DUI could result in a host of penalties, as well as a criminal record. At Michigan Defense Law, our DUI lawyers can evaluate your situation to determine whether any of your rights were violated. We work hard to build strong defenses for clients facing first-time DUI charges.

Under MCL 257.625, whether you are licensed or not, you should not operate your vehicle on a public highway or other places accessible to motor vehicles while you are intoxicated or while you are visibly impaired. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated can mean that you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of these. You may be found to have been operating a vehicle while intoxicated if you have a bodily alcohol content of at least .08 g for each 100 mL of blood, for each 210 mL of breath, or each 67 mL of urine.

Operating a vehicle while visibly impaired by alcohol or drugs is a separate offense from operating while intoxicated. It requires the prosecution to prove only that you showed visible signs of impairment in the operation of your vehicle because you consumed alcohol or drugs. There is no minimum blood alcohol level to be convicted of operating while visibly impaired. The prosecutor would need to prove you’re your ability to drive was impaired by the consumption of alcohol or drugs or a combination of them. Also, you can be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated if you have any amount of cocaine or a Schedule I controlled substance in your body. Impairment is irrelevant to that situation.

First-time offenders face slightly milder penalties than second and third-time offenders. However, having a first offense on your record can adversely affect your sentencing for any later charges, and it is wise to defend the first offense aggressively. For a first offense, you could face a maximum of 93 days in jail, fines of $100-$500, 360 hours of community service, and the possibility that you are required to install an ignition interlock device. For a first-time offense of operating while visibly impaired, you could face a maximum of 93 days in jail, a maximum fine of $300, 360 hours of community service, and possibly vehicle immobilization.

Even for a first-time offense, driving under the influence or operating while visibly impaired carries enhanced penalties when there were passengers who were under 16 years old. This can often result in a charge of child endangerment. You will also face significantly more severe penalties if someone is injured or killed in a first-time drunk driving offense.

Although it can be stressful to be charged with drunk driving, you should not assume that your case is hopeless. There are many different defenses that your attorney may be able to raise on your behalf. For example, if you were pulled over without an officer’s reasonable suspicion that you were impaired or that another crime was being perpetrated, we may be able to bring a motion to suppress any evidence obtained during the illegal stop. Similarly, if you were arrested without probable cause, we may be able to challenge evidence gathered after the arrest, such as the results of chemical testing. In some cases, we may be able to negotiate a plea to a lower charge, while in other cases, it may be appropriate to go to trial. For some, simply avoiding jail is a success.

If you are concerned about a first-time DUI charge, you should consult our knowledgeable attorneys. It is wise to fight first-time DUI charges aggressively so that you do not have a criminal record or incur greater penalties later. Michigan Defense Law represents people in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties.

Contact us at (248) 451-2200 or complete our online form.

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I was arrested for drunk driving and possession of a controlled substance (Vicodin). Paul worked hard on the case and kept the felony off my record and got the drunk driving case reduced so that I kept my driver’s license and my job. He really cared about helping me.

Drunk Driving Offenses and Penalties in Michigan

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When you appear before the court after an arrest, you may be facing charges under Michigan’s drunk driving laws.

These include:

Open intoxicants – If you are found with an open container of alcohol during a police stop, it may result in an arrest for open intoxicants

A drunk driving conviction in Michigan can carry extraordinary penalties and can hurt your reputation, your career, and many other aspects of your life. It can also blemish your driving record permanently.  The personal and professional costs of a drunk driving conviction are hard to overestimate.  

Penalties for convictions can be especially harsh for second and third-time offenders. Each drunk driving conviction is penalized by a period of driver’s license suspension. Other factors will also be considered when determining your penalties, such as if your driving caused an accident, injured, or killed another person.

Penalties can include:

A conviction can also have many other consequences, including:

When you have been charged with a DUI in Michigan, it is critical to get the help of an experienced lawyer to aggressively represent your legal rights. At Michigan Defense Law, Michigan’s highly rated OWI lawyer Paul J. Tafelski and our team of knowledgeable attorneys have been diligently representing those who have been charged with DUI for over two decades.

To schedule a no-cost consultation to understand your rights and how we can help, contact us at (248) 451-2200.

I didn’t know much about the entire legal process so Paul was a great Lawyer for me. He took the time to explain everything without making me feel dumb. He fought for me and got me a great outcome for my case. He is a great guy that eased my stress about my case and I would recommend him to anyone. Thank you Paul!

What Other Factors Can Affect How You Respond to Alcohol

Each person is different and will metabolize alcohol differently based on multiple variables. One of these factors is an individual’s weight. While these are purely estimates, this is approximately how many drinks per hour it will take for a person’s BAC to reach .08%. Estimates are based on a drink being the equivalent of five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled liquor, or 12 ounces of beer.

These figures are based on a man’s metabolism and physique. Women will reach a .08% BAC even faster.

Other factors that can affect the metabolism of liquor include:

While these are just general approximations, the only true way to ensure that you don’t exceed your blood alcohol content and get arrested for a DUI is to not drink and drive. But we all make mistakes. 

If you have been arrested for DUI, you will want a seasoned lawyer in your corner to provide you with the best defense strategy possible. At Michigan Defense Law, OWI attorney Paul J. Tafelski and our team of Michigan’s top-rated lawyers have spent our careers defending the rights of individuals who have been accused of drunk driving.

To schedule a free consultation regarding your DUI case, contact us at (248) 451-2200.

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DUI Lawyer Weighs In: Should You Refuse to Take a Chemical Test?

When a law enforcement officer suspects you are intoxicated and pulls you over, he or she will be looking for evidence of impairment. They may ask questions or ask you to perform field sobriety tests. In most cases, you will be asked to take a breath chemical test called a preliminary breath test, or PBT. This establishes probable cause so they can take you in for a more accurate test. 

You have the right to refuse these. If you refuse the preliminary breath test, you can be charged with a civil infraction and fined. If you refuse the field sobriety test, this is within your rights and will not result in charges or fines. While you have the right to decline these tests, you should always do so calmly and respectfully. 

Once you are at the police station, you will be administered a more accurate breath test than the PBT. This test is called the Datamaster.  These are the results that can be used as evidence to charge you and in trial to try and convict you. While you may not be aware of it, Michigan’s Implied Consent Law states that you must consent to take a chemical test, when lawfully arrested, and when asked by law enforcement as a condition of your driver’s license. But this only applies to the test that is taken after you are arrested, not the PBT.

If you refuse to submit to the Datamaster or a request for a blood draw, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year on a first violation of the implied consent law and two years for a second violation, and six points will be automatically applied to your driving record. You won’t be eligible for a restricted license unless you file an appeal to the circuit court. Furthermore, refusing the test at the police station can result in police obtaining a search warrant requiring you to submit to a blood test. It may also result in enhanced penalties if you are ultimately convicted. 

If you have refused a chemical test, the skilled lawyers at Michigan Defense Law can advise you on your legal options and possible ways you may regain driving privileges after a suspension. But time is of the essence. You only have 14 days from the date of your arrest to request an appeals hearing. If you miss that deadline the suspension and points will be imposed.  Do NOT delay in addressing this issue.  At Michigan Defense Law, DUI lawyer Paul J. Tafelski and our team of experienced lawyers who specialize in Michigan DUI have years of experience fighting for our client’s rights in these types of hearings.

To schedule a free consultation regarding your DUI case, contact us at (248) 451-2200.

I wanted to say thank you for representing me this week. I could not be happier with the outcome. I truly realize how significant the impact of my situation is going to be the rest of my life. People make mistakes but people do change. You were a great supporter, open, candid and very honest. I felt like you really cared about the outcome of my case. I will gladly pass your name along to anyone I know who is seeking legal assistance for a DUI.

DUI Defense Lawyer Explains: Getting A DUI Dismissed In Michigan

It is possible to have a DUI case dismissed in Michigan. However, it’s not always easy.

In the last few decades, society has decided that drunk driving is unacceptable. You won’t get many positive responses if you poll 100 people about whether drunk driving should become legal. Keep in mind that prosecutors can be elected. Prosecutors are usually never lenient on drunk drivers. They will pursue drunk driving charges vigorously. They have nothing to lose by being gentle with a person who is being charged with drunk driving. Don’t expect the prosecutor to dismiss a case because the defendant has never been in trouble or that they donate money to charity. The prosecution team usually doesn’t care about these things.

There is only one way to get a DUI case dismissed. You will need to file a legal challenge against the charges in court. This can be done by challenging the “stop”, which is a challenge to the police’s right to pull you over. Or challenging the “test”, which is a challenge to the validity or admissibility of the breath or blood tests that were administered by police. These challenges are not available in all DUI cases, but they do happen with surprising regularity. Even though you may think your case is over, there might be a legal challenge that could win the case.

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The Role of a Michigan DUI Attorney

At Michigan Defense Law, we take our role as your legal representative very seriously. Founding lawyer Paul J. Tafelski and our skilled team of Michigan DUI lawyers will first strive to understand the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, identifying all possible defenses considering the DUI charges and evidence. 

When you are charged with a DUI offense, you may think that it’s your word against the arresting officers or the results of a breathalyzer. There are many options and strategies available to your DWI attorney. While each DUI case is different, there are some common defenses available in these cases, many involving how you were stopped or how evidence was collected and processed.  

We look at all the variables, considering how they may offer a successful defense strategy:

Even when the charges and evidence against you are valid, DUI attorney Paul J. Tafelski and the experienced lawyers at Michigan Defense Law can lessen the impact on you by negotiating a favorable plea agreement or pursuing the most lenient sentence possible for you. Judges have many tools at their disposal to punish drunk drivers and no two cases are the same.  Minimizing the consequences and making sure clients end up with a sentence that is manageable to them are skills we have developed over years of handling these cases.

Contact our Experienced DUI Defense Attorneys to Handle your Case

While a DUI arrest or charge can seem overwhelming and even insurmountable, your experienced Michigan DUI attorney has been here many times before and has a broad and legally informed perspective on resolving your charges. Whether you made an unfortunate mistake or you were wrongly arrested and charged, Michigan criminal defense lawyer Paul J. Tafelski and the DUI lawyers at Michigan Defense Law will aggressively protect your legal rights and your future.

Call us at (248) 451-2200 or contact us at our website to schedule a free consultation to discuss your DUI case.

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