DUI laws are intended to protect drivers and pedestrians, which is why you face jail time, fines, and long license suspensions for driving with drugs or alcohol in your system. Thousands of deaths every year are attributed to DUI, and Michigan DUI laws are designed to punish those who endanger others.
But if you made the mistake, you likely feel bad enough. Who can help? You need a Michigan DUI lawyer with experience in defense. You need an experienced lawyer capable of challenging the charges, fighting for your rights, and making the final decision a fair one.
How do you find a good DUI lawyer?
The State Bar of Michigan (found at MichBar.com) is a good access point for finding prospective lawyers, even providing help for those who simply cannot afford high fees. Searching online, even if you get access from a local library, can be invaluable in finding an experienced lawyer capable of defending you. You should always meet with the lawyer before making any decisions, go over rates and experience, and also make sure you can communicate well with him or her.
What penalties can you avoid?
You might think a defense is impossible. Or you may be outraged at what happened and how you were treated. A defense is always possible, and if you were wronged, your rights can be protected. In Michigan, DUI law is stiff. As in all states, if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) or .08%, you can be charged. If you are charged, you can expect license suspension, fines, and potential jail time. For a first offense, you rarely get long jail time, though there is the potential for up to 93 days. You also pay less in fines and your license suspension can be months. However, just with a second Michigan DUI offense, you can spend up to 1 year in jail, have extended license suspensions, and pay up to $1,000 in fines.
On the other hand, if you were wronged – if your rights were violated – you may be able to avoid some or all penalties. You have a right to a defense, as provided by the sixth amendment, and the best defense is with a lawyer who understands Michigan DUI law, what happens in court, and how a defense is constructed.
Your DUI Defense Options
You have three options – and these options are not all equal – when preparing a DUI defense: defend yourself, use a court appointed lawyer, or hire a professional Michigan lawyer. Rule out defending yourself unless you are a DUI lawyer. If you cannot afford to hire a Michigan DUI lawyer, use the court appointed lawyer, who will at least have court experience. The best defense, especially if you want to challenge the charges, is with a professional DUI lawyer. He or she will specialize in DUI law, will have incentive to help you, and can invest a lot of time into your defense.