If you have just gotten charged for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be unsure what to do next. Hopefully you never find yourself in this situation but in case you do, here are some things to know.
In Michigan, a first offense Operating While Intoxicated charge (OWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge entitles fines, driving restrictions, community service and/or jail-time. Here are some things you can expect to happen if you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You will get arrested
If you are suspected of a DUI, you will be taken into custody and booked at the local jail. It is in your best interest to cooperate with the officer and avoid additional charges. Once you have been fingerprinted and your mugshot has been taken, you may be released once your bail has been paid. If you cannot, or choose not to, pay bail you may remain in custody until your court hearing.
Appear in court
You will have to plead guilty or not guilty in front of the court. If you can afford legal counsel, it may be in your best interest to research well renowned criminal defense attorneys in your area. If you cannot afford legal representation, an attorney will be appointed to you.
Based on the court’s ruling, you will be sentenced to community service and or jail. In addition, you will have hefty fines to pay.
Lose your driving privileges
Even for a first time DUI charge in Michigan, you will lose your driving privileges for at least six months. If your blood alcohol content level is higher than .17 you will have your license revoked for one year.
In addition, depending on your blood alcohol content level, you may be required to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device installed in your vehicle. This device requires you to blow into it in order for the ignition to start. The purpose of the device is to prevent you from getting another DUI.
Pay court fees and fines
On average the cost of a first offense DUI in Michigan is between $500 and $1,500. The penalties can be much greater depending on other factors. For example, if there is a child in the car at the time of arrest or if you caused property damage or injury to another person, the legal ramifications may be more severe.
Hopefully you will never find yourself facing a DUI charge but if you do, you may want to seek legal help or emotional support during this process. The best way to prevent a DUI is to plan a sober ride ahead of time. Avoid getting behind the wheel if you have had one or more alcoholic beverages or have taken any illegal drugs.