If you have recently been arrested for driving under the influence, you need an experienced defense attorney who is familiar with the Michigan DUI process. An attorney who will aggressively fight your drunk-driving charge and may help you avoid a DUI conviction.


The first step in the Michigan DUI process is the initial traffic stop. Always have your registration and proof of insurance readily available to provide the officer along with your drivers license upon approach. A police officer may stop you because he or she had reasonable cause to believe your driving was erratic or dangerous and that you were impaired by alcohol or other substances. During the stop, the officer will try to collect DUI evidence. Decline to answer any questions until you have had the chance to speak with an attorney. Never agree to do roadside sobriety test (heel-to-toe, recite the alphabet, etc) and decline a PBT test at the car. Neither the PBT or roadside sobriety tests are required; however, failure to blow a PBT may result in a civil fine only. Nothing criminal and no points if you decline either form of testing.


If the officer believes there is probable cause to arrest you for DUI, (also known as DWI) you will be taken to the police station for booking and a breathalyzer test. This time, however, if you refuse the breathtest, you may lose your driver’s license for a year if a reviewing judge or court determines that you did not have reasonable cause to refuse the test. (It's called the implied consent law).  During this time, you will have your mug shot taken and usually be fingerprinted. Once you are processed, you must stay in jail until the following day, or until you pass a breath test, at which time you may be released or arraigned.


At the arraignment, the judge will inform you of your charges and ask how you plead. Always plead not guilty the first time you are in front of a judge on anything, even speeding tickets. After you enter a plea, your bond will then set by the court. If you have a clean record, or have lived in the county all your life, or hold down a full time job, be sure to tell the judge before your bond is set. While you do not need a DUI lawyer present at arraignment, speaking to one before entering a plea is a good idea if possible. 


The next stage of the Michigan DUI process is the pre-trial hearing.  During this time, the prosecutor and defense lawyer discuss matters and issues pertaining to the case as well as negotiate plea deals. There may be several pre-trial hearings (conferences) before the DUI trial, if one occurs.


At Bay Justice Associates, we file motions and conduct evidentiary hearings before any trial, when necessary. We also aggressively seek evidence from the prosecutor, such as police reports and/or a police video tape from the night of the arrest, and/or copies of any recorded statements. Motions may also be filed to keep evidence out of the court's consideration, such as the breath test results or statements made by the defendant after being arrested. An aggressive DUI lawyer may question the validity and accuracy of the prosecution’s evidence during such hearings in an effort to defeat or lessen the crime brought against the accused.


A trial and jury selection is the next stage in the Michigan DUI process. After both the prosecutor and defense lawyer have selected a jury, the trial may begin.  During the trial, each side is allowed to present an opening statement, explaining their version of the case. Next, witnesses may be called to testify and may be cross examined by the other side.  At the trial, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty of driving under the influence. After all witnesses have testified and evidence has been entered, each side presents a closing argument. Following this, the jury deliberates to side on a verdict. Rarely, however, do most DUI, DWI, or DUID cases reach the trial stage. 



Michigan has numerous penalties for those are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). If you have recently found yourself in this situation, you should speak with a qualified defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can explain Michigan DUI penalties and how they relate to your pending case.


During a DUI arrest, you may be asked to take a breath or blood test in order to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Because of Michigan’s Implied Consent laws, which you agreed to when applying for your driver’s license, you may lose your driving privileges for up to a year for refusing to take a breath test.


In Michigan, drivers over the age of 21 with a BAC of .08% or higher are considered “per se” intoxicated, and may be charged with DUI. The Michigan DUI penalties for drunk driving include jail time, community service, fines, and probation. Michigan’s Zero Tolerance laws make it a crime for minors to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02% or higher. The penalties for violating Zero Tolerance laws include community service and fines.


In Michigan, you face penalties from not only the criminal court but also the Department of Motor Vehicles. If your BAC is over the legal limit or you refuse to take the breath test, the DMV may automatically suspend or revoke your driver’s license. The penalty for a first offense is 90 days of suspension, one year for a second offense, and three years for a third offense.


In some cases, the judge may order you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle as one of your Michigan DUI penalties. This small device measures your BAC before the vehicle can start. If your BAC is over a preset limit, the ignition will not start and the court or your probation officer maybe notified.


A DUI offender may also be sentenced to mandatory alcohol education and treatment. These programs are designed to help people with drinking problems and deter them from drinking and driving again in the future.