Every year, car accidents, serious injuries, and fatalities are caused by drunk and drugged driving. This deadly problem costs the country millions of dollars and incalculable sums of human suffering. In response, law enforcement takes this crime very seriously, and agencies in every state make catching intoxicated drivers a top priority.
Michigan prosecutes drunk driving charges aggressively, and anti-drunk driving legislation gives judges the right to sentence even first time offenders to jail time at their discretion.
Although many DUIs and OWIs are misdemeanor offenses, Michigan law provides that felony charges be brought against certain repeat offenders and under other unique circumstances. Felony DUI/OWI charges are brought anytime an offender causes serious injury or death, and when an offender has two or more previous DUIs on his or her record. If you’ve been charged with a felony DUI, you’re facing even harsher penalties and stiffer fines than most DUI defendants. It’s important to contact an experienced Lansing DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin building your defense.
DUI/OWI Under Michigan Law
According to Section 257.625 of Michigan’s Vehicle Code, it is illegal to “drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while intoxicated.” This could mean “under the influence of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance or a combination of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance.”
People who are convicted pursuant to this section may face:
- A felony conviction and between one and five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for those with two or more prior DUI convictions in their lifetime.
- A felony conviction and up to 15 years in prison and a fine of between $2500 and $10,000 for those who have caused the death of another person.
- A felony conviction and up to 20 years in prison and a fine between $2,500 and $10,000 when the person causes the death of another, had a BAC equal to or greater than .17 at the time of the offense, or has had a prior DUI conviction in the preceding seven years.
- A felony conviction and up to 20 years in prison and a fine of between $2,500 and $10,000 when the person causes the death of a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response personnel.
- A felony conviction and up to five years in prison and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 when the person causes serious bodily injury to another.
Other Possible Consequences:
- Lost License– If you’re convicted of a felony DUI, you will lose your driving privileges for at least a year, and maybe longer. A lengthy driver’s license suspension could impede your daily life in countless ways, making it more difficult to find or keep a job, go to school, or take care of your family. The effects of this punishment is felt especially hard by Michigan defendants, where public transportation is often not an option.
- Outrageous Insurance Rates– If and when your license is reinstated, it will be extremely expensive to insure your vehicle. Providers calculate the risk of insuring a driver with a felony DUI conviction, and you pay that cost in your monthly premiums.
- Inability to Pass a Background Check– Are you planning to apply for a job, continuing education, a loan, or to rent a house or apartment? Chances are that a background check will be run on you. A felony DUI on your record could make you a less competitive applicant and may disqualify you from some opportunities altogether.
- Costly and Invasive Monitoring– Besides jail time, you may also serve years of probation or parole. During these terms, you will have to check in with a probation officer, submit to routine random drug and alcohol testing, and comply with any other restrictions imposed on your movements or activities.
How a Lansing Felony DUI Attorney Can Help
Facing felony criminal charges is stressful, scary, and overwhelming for defendants and their families. You don’t know what the future holds, and you may not know how to prepare for it. Your lawyer is there to answer any and every question you may have and to be your guide, support, and advocate through the criminal justice process. She will explain your charges, the possible outcomes of your case, and the directions it could unfold in. Most importantly, your lawyer will fight for and protect your interests, ensuring that your rights are upheld and that your case is resolved as favorably as possible.
Every case is different, but your DUI defense attorney may:
- Conduct a thorough interview of any witnesses
- Review and investigate arrest reports
- Perform lab reports and evaluate any and all evidence against you
- Verify that the breathalyzer machine used on you was calibrated correctly with proper documentation
- Verify the veracity and standards of the lab where your sample was tested
- Look for inconsistencies in any evidence against you
- Verify that all evidence was preserved and documented to meet the standards of Michigan Law
These are just a few of the many ways that a Lansing felony DUI attorney will help you to navigate your charges. To find out more about how a lawyer can help you and to begin having your case evaluated, contact DeBruin Law at (517) 324-4303.