What Happens When I Get Charged With a DUI in Michigan?
No one plans to get charged with drinking and driving. Most people who get charged did not have any intentions in the world of committing a crime. Getting pulled over and arrested is a scary experience for anyone. The next day you’re released from jail, now what?
When Will I Be Charged With a DUI?
Often a person is released from jail and they haven’t actually been charged with any crime yet. This can be confusing. You probably won’t actually be charged yet for a while. This could be for a couple reasons. First, a prosecutor must review the case and determine what charges there will be. Prosecutors do not move fast. A prosecutor might not review your case for months. The prosecutors often have to wait for the police officers to finish writing a police report and submitting it to the prosecutor’s office.
In many DUI cases, a driver’s blood is taken. The Michigan State Police must analyze the blood. That blood must be mailed to the MSP labs in the Lansing area, where it will get in line to be tested. Once tested, an MSP lab technician will provide the results to the local prosecutors. This process can take some time.
The bottom line is it can take months after an arrest before you get charged with driving under the influence.
What Can I Do in the Meantime?
People often ask me what they can do while waiting for the charges to come through. There is one main thing I speak with all clients about. Sometimes, but not in every case, a person arrested for drinking and driving has a troubled relationship with alcohol. Working on any substance use problems while awaiting court is the best use of your time.
Everyone is different. For some people, going to a few Alcoholics Anonymous meetings will be beneficial. For others, an educational class will be appropriate. And yet for others, serious inpatient rehab will be necessary. It’s best to do some soul searching to discover what’s necessary.
Hire a DUI Lawyer
Another critical step in defending yourself is to hire a lawyer versed in DUI law. This sounds self-serving but it’s true. A DUI lawyer getting involved in your case right away can produce results that might not come if you wait too long. For example, in Michigan there may be driver’s license sanctions that can result from a DUI arrest. A DUI lawyer can look at your situation and help you minimize those sanctions.
A good lawyer will begin thinking about and investigating the case right away. Once you get to court on your charge, the judge will push the case through with deadlines – In Michigan, district court judges are pressured to finish DUI cases in 77 days. 77 days is not a long time for your lawyer to fight your case. Get an lawyer involved early. That way the lawyer can begin building a defense well before the pressure to finish the case arrives.
What Will Happen at Court?
You will eventually go to Court on the charge. Expect for the court to require certain conditions you must meet while the case is pending. It is more and more likely for people charged with drinking and driving to test for alcohol and drugs well before they are even convicted. This could involve breath tests or urine tests. The majority of courts require this. These conditions are not based on who you are as an individual – it’s just the way these court do business.
The most important thing is to comply with the court orders for testing. You will get in trouble if you don’t. Nothing gets a case off track as fast as a person getting a positive drug test or missing an alcohol test. Talk with your lawyer if you think you’ll have trouble stopping drinking. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. This is actually the time to deal with it. Things are actually worse if your lawyer shows up to court and is then told that a positive alcohol test will lead to bond violation.
How Fast Will My Case Be Over?
The answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish in the case. At a minimum, a good DUI lawyer will spend a generous amount of time exploring potential legal defense. This requires watching all videos, combing through reports, and visiting the scene of the driving. This takes time. Give your lawyer time to get this important work done. After all, this is what you hired the lawyer for.
A drunk driving conviction will be on your record for life. It is a misdemeanor, which is a crime. This is something to take seriously, and not rush through. You should take the time to consider running a defense to the charge.
Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI.
Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer
At ArborYpsi Law, we focus on DUI law. In Michigan, a drunk driving charge is known as operating while intoxicated. As discussed, an OWI conviction will go on your record for life. While an OWI arrest and easy probation might not seem like a big deal, having a misdemeanor go on your record for life is a big deal. That’s why we take OWI law seriously. Each year we go to several legal seminars on drunk driving law. This shows our commitment to improvement in this area.
The reality is that many lawyers who represent people charged with operating while intoxicated are not equipped with the specialized knowledge to fight OWI case. We are because we choose to be. Each year we take OWI cases to jury trials and file motions to dismiss based on legal grounds. Ask any potential attorney you are considering hiring if they have done the same. Call us at 734-883-9584 to schedule a free initial consultation where we will explain in detail how we can be of service to your case.