During August and September, Michigan State Police set out to reduce the number of people driving while over the limit. During their “Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, they made over 10,000 stops and arrested 166 for operating while intoxicated (OWI). They also issued tickets or made arrests for more than 5,000 other offenses or traffic violations.
If you were charged with OWI during this campaign or since, you need to look at your options. You may be surprised to know that there is often a way to contest an OWI charge, even if you did have a drink before driving.
Why contest an OWI charge?
The penalties for an OWI conviction are harsh due to the danger drunk driving presents. If this is your first offense, you could face a combination of the following penalties if convicted on OWI charges:
- Jail up to 93 days
- Community service up to 360 days
- A license suspension of up to 180 days
- An annual fee of $1,000 for two years
- A $500 fine
On top of that, you may end up with a criminal record. You might not consider that having one too many drinks with lunch a criminal activity. However, if convicted, that is how the law will view it, and potential employers could view your conviction similarly if they see it listed on your criminal record when they perform a background check.
What are some of the defenses to an OWI charge?
There are several ways you might challenge an OWI charge:
- Challenge the evidence: Was the Breathalyzer accurate? Did something cause it to produce a higher reading than it should have?
- Challenge the stop and arrest: Did the police follow correct procedures when pulling you over for a traffic stop?
If the police made a procedural error or there are questions about the validity of the evidence, you may be able to overturn the OWI and avoid a conviction.