Your rights are our fight
Driving under the influence, or operating while intoxicated, is a heavy charge to face. From the moment you are pulled over, you may be fearing for the worst. Suspension or revocation of your license and a marred record are the first things on your mind. Driving is an incredibly important freedom and opportunity for many people, allowing us to commute to work and school, complete daily tasks and overall make day-to-day life easier for the average working American.
That can all change in an instant when you are facing a DUI or OWI charge. It doesn’t have to. The Oliver Law Group has a successful track record in Michigan for defending those accused of driving under the influence, and we don’t stop until we have results. We know these charges can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help you get back on your feet, and back on the road.
DUI and OWI: Recognizing acronyms
Driving under the influence is the longhand version of a DUI, a commonly used term. Operating while intoxicated. often shortened to OWI, is the official legal term for being charged with drunk driving in Michigan. More formally, an OUI charge means you’ve been accused of driving with a substance in your system that has impaired your ability to safely operate the vehicle. Whatever you call your charge, you need legal representation in order to keep your license and driving record free from harm.
Michigan’s Legal Limits
BAC, or blood alcohol content, measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. If you are at or over the legal drinking age, you may face an OWI charge if your BAC is 0.08 or higher. It is lower if the person is below the age of 21, standing at 0.02. Alcohol metabolizes and is absorbed uniquely by every individual, and is heavily influenced by that person’s weight, gender, age and strength of the alcohol consumed.
Naturally, the stronger the alcohol, the more it will be absorbed into the bloodstream. Time is also a factor. Someone who has consumed four drinks over the period of several hours will have had time to process the alcohol, versus someone who has consumed four drinks in an hour. In addition, if a person who weighs 100lbs consumes four drinks over a long period of time, versus someone of a heavier stature, their BAC may still be too high for the legal limit by the time the keys are in their hands. It is also possible for BAC to rise after drinking. Even though you may feel as if you are sobering up, your BAC could still be on the rise.
Are sobriety tests mandatory?
When you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, authorities will more than likely want to administer a breath test to test your blood alcohol content. You may refuse, but you may also face consequences. Your driver’s license is automatically at risk, as this is seen as an admission of guilt. You could potentially face up to a year of suspension, leaving you without transportation and a marred driving record. However, you have the option to appeal. The 14 Day Rule applies in this state, which means you are given fourteen days after the date of your suspension to appeal the action.
How is a field sobriety test conducted?
In regards to field sobriety tests, similar rules apply as in the breath test. An officer will usually attempt conduct the following tests to attempt to accurately gauge your sobriety:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: A test in which the officer will track how smoothly someone can follow the movement of their hand along the horizontal gaze line. Any hesitation or slippage constitutes a “clue” for them.
- Walking and Turning: Arguably the most commonly known, an officer will want someone to exit the vehicle and walk in a straight line for a certain distance, then turn. This is expected to be a smooth execution, but anyone under stress (or simply with poor balance) could easily slip up and be mistaken for an intoxicated driver.
- One Leg Stand: Balancing on your leg for thirty seconds is difficult enough, but when it requires your leg be six inches off the ground with your toe pointed, things become more complicated. Critics argue that it is difficult enough for a sober person to perform this task.
There are other, non-standardized tests as well, such as having the person recite the alphabet or count backwards, and be able to touch their finger to their nose while in a rather complicated pose. It is very probable that an officer can misjudge sobriety based on these tests alone. Given the complexity, a sober person without the gift of extraordinary balance could easily fail as well. A road might be uneven, slippery, or paved with gravel. These factors could easily impair balance and the ability to pass these tests.
The thing to remember about field sobriety tests is that they are not mandatory. You have the right to refuse, and you should exercise that right. Taking a field sobriety test only strengthens the prosecution’s case against you.
Do I need a lawyer?
If you are convicted of a DUI or OWI charge, losing your license becomes a real possibility. In fact, the moment a charge is presented, your ability to drive freely is held at legal knifepoint. Our team at The Oliver Law Group can help you fight these charges. It is easy for tests to yield inaccurate results, or officer bias to come into play. That’s where we come in. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your need for defense against a DUI charge, and we can advise you on the next steps at no charge or risk to you. Don’t wait.