Michigan police officer charged with DUI

Anyone can get driving under the influence (DUI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges. This was recently highlighted when a former Michigan state police commander was arrested for OWI. The officer was arrested when he was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.13 after crashing his vehicle. In Michigan it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

The officer's drunk driving case was dismissed last year due to a technicality. The BAC reading was obtained through use of a warrant. The officer's defense argued that the BAC reading should be thrown out since the warrant was not valid. The warrant was signed by a court employee was relieved of her duties earlier in the year due to mental health problems. As a result, she did not have the authority to approve the warrant used to obtain the BAC reading. Ultimately, this led the court to throw out the evidence.

This case provides an example of the importance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. There are various defenses available for a OWI charge. If used successfully, these defenses can lead to a reduction or even dismissal of charges.

OWI/DUI defenses in Michigan

Although there are many defenses available, two that are commonly used involve the reason behind the stop and the process used to test the driver's BAC.

Enforcement officers must follow the law in order for a drunk driving charge to be legal. For example, an officer must have a legal reason to make a stop before administering tests to determine the driver's BAC levels. If the officer cannot produce a reason used to stop the driver, the stop itself may be illegal and the charges may be dismissed.

If the stop is legal, it is also important to look into the process that was used to determine the driver's BAC. The defense should double check that the right process was used and that the sample was analyzed properly.

Cost of an OWI/DUI

Michigan is tough on OWI offenses. As a result, it is extremely important to fight OWI charges before they become a conviction. Criminal penalties can include:

  • Fees and fines: Up to $500 fine for fist offense.
  • Potential imprisonment: Up to 93 days in jail for first offense.
  • Community service: Up to 360 hours for first offense.
  • Driver's license suspension.

These penalties increase for second or third offenses.

An OWI conviction results in more than just criminal penalties. The conviction also goes onto one's criminal record which can cause problems for those seeking employment or housing, since the presence of a criminal record will need to be disclosed on the application. Those with an OWI on record may also see an increase in insurance premiums or may be dropped from insurance coverage.

MSN Money recently released a report finding the overall cost of an OWI can top $10,000. If you are charged with an OWI, contact an experienced Michigan DUI lawyer to discuss your legal defense options and better ensure your rights are protected.