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Michigan Drunk Driving Laws-Gerald R. Stahl Providing DUI, DWI, and OWI Legal Representation in Grand Rapids and Western Michigan

Grand Rapids DUI Lawyers

Michigan Drunk Driving Consequences:

A DUI allegation is a criminal charge that carries the possibility of incarceration and revocation of your license. Michigan DUI laws require mandatory incarceration for repeat offenders. A conviction, even for a first offense, will stay on your driving record for the rest of your life.

Michigan Drunk Driving Statute:

In Michigan, the statute for drunk driving, DUI, or DWI (as commonly termed) is called Operating While Intoxicated, or OWI. The police refer to the charge as OWI. Michigan Drunk Driving laws include driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. The Michigan law regarding driving under the influence of drugs includes illegal drugs or prescription drugs.

Under the Michigan Drunk Driving Law, it is illegal to drive if any of the following:

A. Operating under the influence of alcohol, or impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medication. This refers to the government claim that the driver's ability to operate the vehicle is substantially and materially affected by their consumption of alcohol.

B. Operate a motor vehicle with a bodily alcohol level of .08 or higher.

C. An enhanced charge of drunk driving in Michigan called Super Drunk Driving in Michigan can be charged if a drivers bodily alcohol level of .17 or higher

D. There is also a separate charge for Minors that drive in Michigan with an unlawful BAC if their bodily alcohol level is .02 or higher.

In Michigan, a person charged with OWI or Drunk Driving should be very concerned about the charge and seek the immediate advice of a lawyer. Gerald R Stahl is a Michigan DUI Lawyer located in Grand Rapids. He has represented Michigan drivers charged with drunk driving in Kent, Allegan, Ottawa, Kalamazoo, and other Michigan counties for over 30 years. Gerald R Stahl’s experience will help take the stress out of going to court on a DUI. Gerald R Stahl is conveniently located in Grand Rapids near Knapp’s Corner and the 63rd District Court.

It is not uncommon for Gerald R Stahl, as an experienced DUI lawyer, to get drunken driving charges reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed. Michigan defenses to drunk driving include the officer's lack of probable cause to stop, passed field sobriety tests, illegal search and seizure, and breathalyzer failure.

The Michigan Secretary of State controls the driver's license sanctions imposed for OWI after receipt of the court conviction. The actual suspension by the Secretary of State is based upon the master driving of the defendant. First offense Drunk Driving in Michigan requires a mandatory 6-month suspension with the driver qualifying for a restricted license after the first 30 days. In that case, the restricted license will allow the driver to operate for employment, school, the court required appearances and medical treatment.

The State of Michigan will also assess your Driver Responsibility Fees for 2 years as a result of your alcohol-related driving conviction. Gerald R Stahl represents people charged with DUI, DWI, and OWI in Kent, Allegan, Ottawa, Kalamazoo, Newaygo and other West Michigan Counties.

The police use general signs of intoxication when making a DUI Arrest. In order to fight the charge, it requires an aggressive and skilled DUI Defense Attorney.

Police use a printed form to check off such things at the drunk driving scene such as the driver had red eyes, flush face, and slurred speech. A skilled DUI or Drunk Driving lawyer like Gerald R Stahl will address all of the “innocent” explanations that could have led to these conditions. For instance, allergies, fatigue, eye irritation, embarrassment, and nerves. Remember that drinking alcohol in and of itself does not amount to Drunk driving in Michigan.

A knowledgeable DUI attorney such as Gerald R Stahl will address all innocent reasons for a driver's conduct and condition.

Want to Keep Your Driving Privileges?


Penalties for Operating While Under the Influence of Liquor (OWI) in Michigan or DUI

$100 to $500 fine and one or more of the following:

  • Up to 93 days in jail.

  • Up to 360 hours of community service.

  • Driver license suspension for 30 days, followed by restrictions for 150 days.

  • Possible vehicle immobilization.

  • Possible ignition interlock.

  • Six points added to the driver's record.

  • $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years for OWI.

Factors the Court May Consider at Sentencing in Michigan For

The penalties for DUI charges can range from loss of license, probation, attending the victim impact panel, alcohol classes, community service, fines, jail time, or prison time for repeat offenders. Other issues at the Drunk Driving sentencing include whether an accident was involved and whether anyone was injured, and the amount of alcohol in the driver's system. And of course, anything else such as a hit and run or fighting with the cops. The most serious is a death resulting from a Drunk Driving accident.

Fines and Court Costs for Drunk Driving often exceed $500 for people convicted of DUI in Michigan.

Drunk Driving and DUI Courts Near Grand Rapids, Ottawa and Kent County

a. 63rd District Court- 1950 East Beltline NE, Phone: 616-632-7770

b. 61st District Court- Downtown Grand Rapids, 180 Ottawa Ave, Phone: 616-632-5700

c. 62-A District Court, Wyoming- 2650 DeHoop Ave, Phone: 616-257-9823

d. 59th District Court, Grandville & Walker: Phone:616-538-9660

e. 62-B District Court- Kentwood, 4740 Walma Ave, Phone;616-554-0716

f. 57th District Court- Allegan County Building, Allegan Michigan, Phone:269-673-0344

g.58th District Court-Grand Haven, Hudsonville, and Holland, Phone: Holland 616-846-8280

Repeat Offenders and Felony Drunk Driving in Michigan

Repeat DUI Offenders in Michigan

Repeat DUI offenders may be treated very severely in certain Michigan District Courts. It is recommended that repeat offenders seek help and counseling during the process of their Court involvement. A repeat offender in some Courts could certainly be facing some jail time. The Court considers several factors such as length of time since the prior offense, age, the facts of the current case, and other factors.

The legislation in the State of Michigan on repeat DUI offenders took effect on October 1, 1999. The bill covers DUI and driving while license suspended. The Michigan repeat offender law was designed to address the problem of drivers who continually operate under the influence, or on a suspended or revoked license. The law has strict rules regarding license sanctions, license revocation, ignition interlocks, plate confiscation, vehicle immobilization, and vehicle forfeiture. Gerald R Stahl represents people charged as a repeat offender for DUI, OWI, and DWI and Driving While Suspended throughout Western Michigan.

Felony DUI in Michigan

1. A Third Offense Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), within a lifetime in Michigan, is a Felony.

2. Operating While Intoxicated and Causing Death or Serious Injury in Michigan is a Felony.

These charges are not the only consequences of a felony OUI conviction. With a felony of any kind on your record, you may be unable to advance in your career or find a decent job at all. The best way to protect your future if you are facing a third or subsequent OWI or DUI in Michigan is to hire an experienced and aggressive attorney to fight your charges. In some cases, with the representation of a skilled lawyer, your felony charges could be reduced to a misdemeanor. Attorney Gerald R. Stahl has represented people charged with felony drunk driving in all Western Michigan Courts including Kent County, Ottawa County, Allegan County, Barry County, and Newaygo County.

Other Charges Resulting from a DUI Arrest in Michigan

It is not unusual for people in Michigan to get a number of charges associated with their DUI arrest. Some charges include Possession of Marijuana, Resisting and Obstructing, PBT refusal, Open Container, Driving While License Suspended/Revoked and Fleeing and Eluding. These charges can complicate your case but in some cases can be negotiated down or dismissed.

Field Sobriety Tests — DUI Michigan

Before an officer can arrest a motorist for operating under the influence, he or she must first establish hat the driver is indeed intoxicated. The main way of determining this is by having the motorist perform some Standard Field Sobriety Tests. There are many of these tests designed to test a person’s motor skills and their ability to perform actions while their attention is divided.

Here is an example of some of the standard field sobriety tests given by police in Michigan DUI stops:

1. The first test is known as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN). In this test, the driver must hold their head still and follow a moving object, such as the officer's finger with their eyes as it is passed back and forth in front of their face. If their eyes twitch or spasm when they look to the far right or left (a phenomenon known as nystagmus), the person may be intoxicated. This is a very subjective test. Failure of this test justifies an OWI arrest in Michigan.

2. The second test is the Walk-and-Turn. The suspect must be able to listen to the officer as he or she instructs the motorist to “walk the line,” count to a certain number of steps out loud, turn, and walk back. If the suspect has trouble remembering the directions, counts incorrectly, or loses their balance, they may fail the test.

3. The third test, known as the One-Leg Stand (OLS), requires the driver to stand on one leg and count. If they lose their balance or count in order, they fail the test and may be subject to arrest.

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are heavily relied on by the police as evidence of intoxication when making a Drunk Driving arrest. The arresting officer will ask a suspect to perform such tasks as walk a line, touch their nose, count on their fingers, recite the alphabet and stand on one leg. The police almost always conclude that the suspect failed some aspect of these field sobriety tests. The arresting officer will testify, subjectively, that you "did poorly” on these tests, and you were unable to follow the officer's instructions based on your impairment.

Gerald R Stahl knows that your physical coordination, nerves, and a variety of other issues play a huge role in these field sobriety tests. An experienced DUI/ Drunk Driving defense attorney, like Gerald R. Stahl, will also get the police officer to admit that you did a number of things right on the test and that the test is set up to make you fail. If you have a Grand Rapids Drunk Driving charge or questions about field sobriety tests call Gerald R Stahl at (616) 426-6794.

Driving Tips

There are certain frequently cited reasons police use to justify stopping vehicles, especially late at night. People who dangle objects from their rearview mirrors can be stopped and issued a ticket for obstructed view. A vehicle whose license plate is obstructed or not properly lighted is likely to be involved in a police traffic stop, where none would otherwise have been indicated.

“Better Call Stahl” Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer

These tips apply in most drunk driving cases, not necessarily all drunk driving cases and you still need a DUI Defense lawyer:

  • DO ask to call an attorney immediately.

  • DO show driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.

  • DO behave politely.

  • DON’T agree to be videotaped.

  • DON’T admit anything and remember – you do not have to take coordination tests.

  • DON’T try to talk your way out or be rude. DON’T discuss your consumption of alcoholic

  • If you are charged in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Ottawa County, or Allegan County, with OWI, DUI, or Drunk Driving call Gerald R Stahl, a DUI Lawyer at (616) 426-6794. For the best drunk driving defense let Gerald R Stahl’s 30 years of experience work for you. Gerald R. Stahl is conveniently located on East Beltline near Knapp’s Corner and the 63rd District Court.