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Common Misconceptions About DUIs

Daniel J. Larin, P.C. Nov. 16, 2023

Facing a DUI charge can be an overwhelming experience, filled with uncertainty and fear of the potential consequences. There are many misconceptions about DUI charges, often leading individuals to make decisions that may not be in their best interest.  

At Daniel J. Larin, P.C., we're here to help navigate these turbulent waters, providing the legal knowledge and guidance necessary to deal with such serious charges. Our team understands how stressful these charges can be, which is why we are here to fight for you. We proudly serve clients in Birmingham, and the surrounding area including Rochester Hills as well as Oakland County, Macomb County, and Wayne County, Michigan. 

DUI Charges in Michigan

In Michigan, DUI is technically referred to as operating while intoxicated (OWI) or operating while visibly impaired (OWVI). The state has established a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08% for drivers above the age of 21 and a stricter limit of 0.02% for those under 21. Additionally, Michigan law recognizes operating with the presence of drugs (OWPD) as a separate charge. 

Penalties for OWI, OWVI, and OWPD are severe and wide-ranging. They can include jail time, hefty fines, license suspension, or revocation, and even vehicle impoundment. Consequences extend beyond these immediate penalties, affecting your insurance premiums, employment prospects, and potentially resulting in a permanent criminal record. It's vital to understand these laws and the associated penalties, as they form the framework within which we'll build your defense. 

Common Myths About DUI Charges

There's a significant amount of misinformation surrounding DUI charges. Let's address some common myths and provide the facts: 

A DUI charge isn’t worth fighting

This is simply untrue. Every charge is worth fighting, especially one with such far-reaching consequences. By challenging the evidence and exploring potential defenses, it's possible to reduce or even dismiss the charges. 

The charge is so common it isn’t serious

Just because DUI charges are common doesn't mean they aren't serious. A conviction can have long-lasting impacts on many aspects of your life. 

You must submit to a field sobriety test

In Michigan, field sobriety tests are voluntary. You have the right to refuse these tests without facing additional penalties. However, you do have to submit to a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer. 

You have to be actually driving to be arrested for a DUI

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be caught driving to face a DUI charge. "Physical control" of the vehicle is enough for a charge to be made. 

When arrested for a DUI, I don’t have to submit to urine/blood tests

Michigan's implied consent law states that refusing to submit to chemical testing can result in penalties, including points added to your driving record and automatic license suspension. 

When stopped, I’m obligated to answer all the officer’s questions

You have the right to remain silent and are not obligated to answer questions without legal representation present. 

A DUI will fall off my record in 7 years

A common misconception is that a DUI conviction will automatically disappear from your record after seven years. This is not the case. A DUI conviction can have long-lasting consequences, including a permanent criminal record. 

I can only be charged with a DUI if my BAC is above .08%

Michigan law also recognizes operating while visibly impaired (OWVI) as a charge, which requires proof that the driver shows visible signs of impairment due to ingesting alcohol or drugs, irrespective of the BAC level. 

I can consume alcohol and drive as long as I feel capable

Even if you feel capable of driving, your BAC might tell a different story. In Michigan, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08% or higher, regardless of your perceived personal tolerance to alcohol. 

If I'm under 21, the same BAC limit applies

For drivers under the age of 21, Michigan has a zero-tolerance policy. The legal limit for underage drivers is a BAC of .02%. 

I can refuse a breathalyzer without consequences

While you do have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test, doing so will result in an automatic license suspension under Michigan's implied consent law. 

If I didn't drink alcohol, I can't be charged with a DUI

You can indeed be charged with a DUI even if you haven't consumed alcohol. Michigan law prohibits operating a vehicle under the influence of controlled substances, including illegal drugs and certain prescription medications. 

Look to Strong Legal Representation

When faced with DUI/OWI charges, it's crucial to have strong legal representation. At Daniel J. Larin, P.C., we provide unparalleled legal guidance and have decades of court experience advocating for our clients' rights. We'll explore every possible defense, from challenging breathalyzer or blood test results, questioning the probable cause for the stop, identifying errors in the field sobriety test, considering rising blood alcohol content, and probing into improper police procedures. We're here to help, providing the legal guidance and support you need during this challenging time.