Frequently Asked Questions

Drunk Driving : OWI-DUI-OUIL

Can I refuse to submit to the roadside preliminary breath test (PBT)?

Yes. In the State of Michigan, if you have been stopped by a law enforcement officer for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you may refuse the roadside preliminary breath test (PBT); however, be advised that doing so as a commercial driver carries stiffer penalties.

If you refuse to take the PBT, you will be charged with a civil infraction and fined up to $150 plus court costs. Refusing to take the PBT does not result in any points on your driver’s license; however, a person under age 21 who refuses to take the PBT will receive two points on their driver record.

If you are arrested, even if you take the PBT, you are still required to take the evidentiary chemical test (blood, breath, or urine test) at the police station.  Generally, if you suspect that you may be over the legal limit, decline to take the PBT.

If I get pulled over and asked to participate in the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, do I have to?

No.  Your participation in any field sobriety tests requested by the Officer is optional, and if you believe you may have difficulty, you should decline.

How much is too much to drink?

While it varies significantly per the individual, 2 to 3 drinks per hour (for the first hour only) is about the limit.  However, caution, if the consumption of alcohol adversely affects one’s operation of a vehicle, it is illegal.

See Alcohol Consumption Chart

What is the Michigan Implied Consent Law?

If you are arrested for drunk driving, you will be required to take a chemical test to determine your bodily alcohol content (BAC). Under Michigan’s Implied Consent Law, all drivers are considered to have given their implied consent to this test.

If you refuse to take the BAC test, six points will be added to your driver record and your license will be suspended for one year. Please be aware that suspension of a license is virtually automatic for any refusal to submit to the test.  Importantly, you have 14 days within which to request a hearing.

This is a separate consequence from any subsequent convictions resulting from the traffic stop. If you are arrested a second time in seven years and again unreasonably refuse the test, six points will be added to your driver record and your license will be suspended for two years. If you refuse to take the test under the Implied Consent Law or if the test shows your BAC is 0.08 or more, the officer will destroy your driver’s license, and you will be issued paper permit, which allows you to drive until your case is resolved in court. There are no hardship appeals for a restricted license the second time one has an implied consent violation.

How long will a DUI conviction stay on my record?

All alcohol related drug offenses are classified as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the offense and number of prior convictions.  Consequently, any DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record indefinitely.

Can an OWI conviction be expunged from my record?

No. In the State of Michigan, the statute governing expungement specifically precludes any traffic related offenses, including drunk driving.

What are the penalties for a drunk driving conviction in Michigan?

The penalties for a drunk driving conviction in the State of Michigan are severe.  Depending on the type of offense and the circumstances of the case, you may be facing any or all of the following: jail time, mandatory loss of driving privileges, large fines, community service, vehicle immobilization or forfeiture, and sobriety court.

For a detailed list of penalties for drunk driving offenses, please click here.

Do I need a lawyer for a DUI or OWI offense?

When an individual is facing a DUI or OWI charge, the likelihood of a better outcome is increased when you have legal representation. An attorney will review all evidence against you, and will look for errors in law enforcement procedure, testing, or other part of your case that will make it possible to defend you aggressively.

Because drunk driving in the State of Michigan is punishable by jail time, it is highly unlikely that a judge will allow you to represent yourself in any pending OWI case.

What is the new Michigan Super Drunk Driving Law?

Going into effect October 31st, 2010, the new Michigan Super Drunk Driving Law provides much harsher penalties for those first time offenders convicted of drunk driving while having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.17 or higher including:

  • Possible imprisonment of up to 180 days (as opposed to 93 days prior)
  • Increased Fines & Fees
  • At the defendant’s expense, mandatory participation and completion of an alcohol treatment or self-help program for a minimum of 1 year.
  • A mandatory driver’s license suspension of one year, with a revocation of at least 45 days followed by a restricted license.
  • Installation of a Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) on your vehicle at YOUR expense during restricted license period.

Penalties for a new Super Drunk Driving conviction in conjunction with previous OWI offenses are even more harsh.

Drunk Driving High BAC

What is a High BAC offense?

Effective October 31, 2010, there is another type of alcohol-related driving offense.  This offense, also known as a High BAC offense provides increased sanctions for individuals convicted of operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol content of 0.17 or more.

What happens to my driver’s license if I am convicted of a High BAC offense?

If this is your first alcohol-related driving offense, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year.  You may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license after 45 days.  If this is your second alcohol-related driving offense within seven years or your third alcohol-related driving offense within 10 years, your driver’s license will be revoked and denied.  After the minimum period of license revocation, you may apply for a hearing before the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division for relicensure.

How is the driver’s license suspension for a High BAC conviction applied to the driving record and how is the driver notified?

Upon conviction, the court provides the Secretary of State with an abstract of conviction, and the driving record is updated.  An Order of Suspension is automatically generated and mailed to the offender as notification that his or her driving privileges are suspended for one year.  The Order of Suspension will also include instructions on how to obtain a restricted driver’s license after 45 days.  An offender’s driving record will show the driver’s license as suspended for one year.

What do I have to do to get a restricted driver’s license?

Have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed in any vehicle you intend to operate and submit proof of installation to a Secretary of State branch office.  At that point, the driver’s record will be updated to show the driver’s license restrictions.

How do I get a BAIID installed?

Manufacturers and providers who are currently authorized to install ignition interlock devices for Michigan drivers are listed at: http://michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-15719-70471–,00.html You can contact any of the providers by calling their toll-free phone number to obtain additional information concerning cost, the location of service centers and to schedule installation. You will have to be driven to and from the installation center by a licensed driver and until the restricted license is issued.

What if I don’t know a licensed driver who can drive me to and from the installation center?

Contact the BAIID provider and request mobile service to come to your home.

How much does the BAIID cost?

The State does not regulate the cost of the BAIID.  You should contact a BAIID provider to obtain cost information.  The Legislauture did limit the amount that can be charged to people on low incomes to a maximum of $2 per day.  In order to qualify for this reduced fee, your income must fall below 150 percent of the current poverty guidelines published by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.  To determine if you may qualify see your vendor for details.  The law does require that you submit a copy of your state income tax return for the previous year to the BAIID vendor.

What if I don’t own a vehicle?

If you do not own a vehicle, and do not intend to operate a vehicle, you driving privileges will remain suspended for one year, and no restricted driving privileges will be issued.  However, if you intend to operate a vehicle belonging to someone else, you must have a BAIID installed on the vehicle that you intend to operate and provide proof of installation to the Secretary of State.

If I get a restricted driver’s license, what are the license restrictions?

You may only operate a motor vehicle equipped with a BAIID.  In addition, you may only operate a vehicle in the course of your employment or occupation, to and from any of the following: you residence; your work location; an alcohol or drug education or treatment program as ordered by the court; the court probation department; a court-ordered community service program; an education institution at which you are enrolled as a student; a place of medical treatment for a serious medical condition for you or a member of your household or immediate family.  You must carry proof of your destination and hours of employment, class, or other reason for traveling.

If I request permission to change the driver’s license restrictions, will my request be granted?

No.  The license restrictions are set by statute (MCL 257.319(17)) and cannot be amended.

If I operate a motor vehicle outside of the license restrictions could that impact my driver’s license?

Yes.  If you are convicted of violating a condition of your restricted license you will receive an additional one year license suspension.

What do I do if the BAIID registers an alcohol reading that I believe is an error?

First, you should follow all instructions given to you by the BAIID provider.  If you fail a test, you should continue to provide breath samples until you pass the test, or the device locks you out.  Between providing breath samples, rinse your mouth with water.  If the reading results in an additional period of suspension, you may appeal your additional suspension in writing.  You written request for a hearing must be received by the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division within 14 days of the effective date of the suspension.

How long will the BAIID have to remain installed in the vehicle?

For the remainder of the one year suspension (plus any additional periods of suspension/restriction) and until you receive an Order/Authorization to Remove Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device from the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division of the Department of State.

How long will my driver’s license be restricted?

Until you complete the remainder of the one year High BAC license suspension (plus any additional periods of suspension/restriction), get an Order/Authorization to Remove Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device from the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division of the Department of State and pay your reinstatement fee.

What if someone else uses the motor vehicle during the period it is equipped with a BAIID?

The use of the motor vehicle does not have to be limited to the individual with restricted driving privileges.  You should inform any individual operating the motor vehicle that the BAIID will request a startup test when starting the vehicle and periodic rolling retests.  You should be aware that you will be held responsible for any alcohol readings recorded by the BAIID regardless of who is driving the vehicle.

Whom do I call if I have problems with the BAIID?

Call the BAIID vendor’s toll-free number and follow the instructions.  Do not call the installation company or where you went for calibration unless the main company office so instructs you.  If you do not call that office, the call may not be properly noted in their records.  This may cause you problems down the road with violations.  You should keep a record of the date and time of the call and with whom you spoke.

Whom do I call if I am having problems and the BAIID vendor is not helping me?

You may register a detailed written complaint through the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division by mail, PO Box 30196, Lansing, MI 48909-7696, or by fax at (517) 335-2190.

What happens if I chose to change BAIID vendors?

When you change BAIID vendors, you must install a new BAIID within seven days of having the previous vendor remove its device.  You must mail or fax a copy of the new installation certificate to the department to verify the device was reinstalled within seven days.  You must get a BAIID report from each vendor you use to provide the department when you request removal of the device.

Can I drive a work vehicle?

Yes, as long as the vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock device.  THERE ARE NO EXECPTIONS.

What if I operate a motor vehicle without a BAIID during the period of license restrictions?

If you are pulled over by law enforcement during the period of license restrictions and you are found to be operating a motor vehicle without a properly installed BAIID; the officer is required to impound the vehicle.  In addition, you could be ticketed for the misdemeanor offense of operating a motor vehicle without a properly installed ignition interlock device.  If you are convicted of operating a motor vehicle without a properly installed BAIID during the period of license restriction, the sentencing court must order the motor vehicle involved to be immobilized for not less than 90 days or more than 180 days.

Will a conviction for operating a motor vehicle without a properly installed BAIID result in license sanctions?

Yes.  A conviction for operating a motor vehicle without a properly installed BAIID will result in an additional one-year license suspension.

If I am convicted of operating a motor vehicle without a properly installed BAIID when will I be eligible to apply for a restricted license?

You may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license after you completed 45 days of the additional suspension. If your motor vehicle was immobilized following a conviction for operating without a properly installed BAIID, the court must suspend the immobilization order if you obtain a restricted license and BAIID is properly installed in the vehicle.

What if I can no longer afford the BAIID and wish to have it removed prior to completing the period of license restriction?

You can request an Order/Authorization to Remove Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device by submitting a completed request form along with an Ignition Interlock Report from the interlock vendor to the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division of the Department of State.  If you request is granted, you will receive an Order/Authorization to Remove Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device.  You must take the Order to the Ignition Interlock vendor to have the device removed.  You will be placed back on a license suspension with the original end date (plus any additional periods of suspension/restriction).

Can I remove the BAIID without first obtaining an Order/Authorization to Remove Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device?

No.  New section 322a [MCL 257.322a] prohibits removal of an ignition interlock device without first obtaining an order from the department.

What if the Ignition Interlock Report reveals alcohol readings?

If the Ignition Interlock Report reveals any reading of a blood alcohol level of 0.025 grams or higher per 210 liters of breath, you may receive an additional one-year suspension.

Does the department notify me when I become eligible to request removal of the BAIID?

No.  It is up to you to keep track of the date you are eligible to request removal of the BAIID.  If you have no violations causing additional suspensions, you will be eligible to request removal one year after the beginning date of the original license suspension.

When I have completed my license restrictions how do I get my full driving privileges?

You can request an Order/Authorization to Remove Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device by submitting a completed request form along with an Ignition Interlock Report from the Ignition Interlock vendor to the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division of the Department of State.  If you request is granted, you will receive an Order/Authorization to Remove Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device.  You must take the Order to the Ignition Interlock vendor to have the device removed.  After you have been approved to remove the BAIID, you must still pay a reinstatement fee of $125 to the department before you will receive your full driving privileges.  You should keep a copy of the Order/Authorization to Remove Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device with you whenever operating a motor vehicle until you have paid your reinstatement fee and received your full driving privileges.

What happens to my commercial driver’s license if I am convicted of operating a vehicle with an alcohol content of 0.17 or more?

Your privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle will be suspended even if the offense occurred in a non-commercial motor vehicle.  The privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle will remain suspended for the duration of the one-year suspension even if you receive a restricted license to operate a passenger vehicle.

What if I don’t intend to drive, do I have to install the BAIID?

No. If you do not intend to operate a motor vehicle you are not required to install a BAIID.  However, if you do not install the BAIID you will not be eligible for a restricted driver’s license and your driving privileges will remain suspended for one year.

Personal Injury

I can’t afford to hire a lawyer for my personal injury claim. What should I do?

Some personal injury lawyers only if you get paid if you get paid. In the legal profession, this is known as working on a “contingency” basis. Therefore, if your case is lost and does not result in any monetary awards, there are no attorney’s fees owed.

If I am awarded a settlement, how do you get paid, and how much?

Should a judgment be awarded or your case settled out of court, we would take a predetermined percentage of the net recovery, regardless of our time and expense in representing you.

If we agree to take your case, you would essentially pay us nothing unless a settlement or judgment is awarded on your behalf.

How do I know if I have a winnable personal injury case?

If you have been injured or traumatized and believe it is the fault of someone else (including a company, person, or their property or pet) then you are likely to have a personal injury case.

Only a professional team with an experienced personal injury lawyer can determine whether or not you have a viable personal injury case.  We invite you to contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to examine the facts of your case and determine its validity.

What kind of monetary compensation can I expect to receive?

Each and every case is unique, but you may be compensated for any number of things including: all medical related expenses (including physical therapy and medication), lost wages (including overtime and potential future wages), pain & suffering, emotional trauma, embarrassment, mental illness, property damage, and any fees associated with the case in your day-to-day life.  Legally, these are categorized into economic and non-economic damages.

How soon should I file a lawsuit?

You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the incident has occurred. Be sure to document the incident with police and medical records and avoid signing any statements or papers from anyone else.

Even if the incident happened long ago, your case may still be handled, although all cases do have a statute of limitations in which you only have a certain amount in which to file the claim.

What happens during a personal injury lawsuit?

Your personal injury attorney will determine the unique facts of the case and will contact the legal representation of the company or person you are filing a claim against. Most personal injury cases are settled before any trial is needed.

What should I do if I’m ready to seek legal advice?

Call us, and, start gathering the facts and information on your case.  Take note of all the specifics of the incident including when and where the incident occurred, assemble potential witness lists, gather medical records and expenses, and try to obtain any relevant police reports.

I have been asked to sign a document regarding my injury, what should I do?

NEVER sign anything without proper legal counsel.  Most importantly, ALWAYS contact professional legal counsel before signing any documentation regarding your injury.

We invite you to contact us today for a free consultation regarding your case and your rights.

What’s the difference between a class-action lawsuit and a civil suit?

A class-action lawsuit is a lawsuit seeking monetary award for damages done to a large number of people. Frequently, class-action lawsuits occur against corporations for product defects on a large scale.

Class action lawsuits typically do not award individual plaintiffs with large monetary awards, but are an effective way to remove faulty products or services from the market or change a company’s practices.

A civil suit is any lawsuit filed against someone or some entity by a single individual or entity seeking monetary damages and compensation. Personal injury lawsuits are a type of civil suit and can result in monetary awards for an individual than a class-action lawsuit.

How can I tell if my lawyer has experience in trying personal injury cases?

An expert, experienced personal injury attorney will be able to provide references, examples of cases tried and won, and typical monetary awards in cases similar to yours.

Be wary of any personal injury lawyer who cannot provide examples of previous cases won and monetary damages awarded.  Also, personal injury attorneys who mass advertise often refer cases out to other attorneys for a “referral fee” and do not personally handle your case.

What if I was partly at fault for the accident?

Even if you were partly at fault for the incident, most states still have laws that give rights to people to seek monetary damages. However, this area of personal injury law is constantly changing and is reason enough to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to help.

Drivers License Restoration

I’ve had my license revoked for having two OWI convictions, how do I go about getting it back?

In the State of Michigan, a driver who has had his or her license revoked for two or more drunk driving convictions or other related offenses must request a hearing with the Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD).

Hearings may only be requested after the predetermined minimum revocation has been met and may only be requested once per year.  Michigan Law states that driving is a privilege, not a right.  Thusly, the DAAD has the discretion to deny the request for reinstatement of your license.  However, the hearing officer must state the reasons for denial and the Order may be appealed to Circuit Court.

How often may I request a hearing with the DAAD?

A hearing in front of the Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) may only be requested once per year, which makes the decision to hire a skilled lawyer all the more important.

What do I need to do to convince the DAAD to restore my license?

In order to prevail at the DAAD hearing, you must show clear and convincing evidence as to two factors:

  1. You have your substance abuse problem under control and likely is to remain under control.
  2. That the likelihood that you will again drink and drive under the influence is low or minimal.

In order to prove your case, you must be prepared with the proper documentation and have undergone the appropriate treatment.  Preparation is paramount to restoring your driving privileges.  A knowledgeable and skilled lawyer can help you.

What happens if I am denied reinstatement by the DAAD?

If the DAAD denies reinstatement during your hearing, you will be prohibited from requesting another hearing until another full year has passed.  This is because you are only allowed one hearing per year. Thus, a one year revocation can very easily turn into a two year revocation. Again, this makes your choice of attorney and your preparation for the hearing that much more important.

General Litigation

What is General Litigation?

Our Courts are forums for dispute resolution and ultimately every legal issue can end up in court.  Therefore, the term general litigation refers to using our court system to resolve contested matters, and all other aspects of law which may or may not be litigious in nature such as wills/estate planning, incorporating businesses, contract drafting, real-estate transactions, disputes with administrative bodies, and more.

What is Arbitration and Meditation?

Arbitration and mediation are alternative forms of dispute resolution. If you have a dispute with someone you have three choices:

  1. Settle, resolve or abandon the dispute.
  2. Undertake alternative dispute resolution (either before or after lawsuit).
  3. File a lawsuit against the opposing party.

In recent times, people are more willing to engage in alternative dispute resolution due to the cost and time involved in litigation. Arbitration and mediation are different in several ways but similar in that they provide an alternative to court and are usually less expensive.

Can I appeal a judgement?

Yes. You absolutely have the right to appeal a lower court’s decision. Though before you do so you need to be very careful what you decide to appeal. Appellate courts give wide discretion to trial courts with regards to their findings of fact; thusly, appeals are costly and usually involve a great deal of time, preparation and therefore expense.  The time period within which to file an appeal varies depending upon the type of case, but it can be as short as 21 days from the entry of an Order.