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Drunk Driving Defense (OWI/DUI)


Being stopped and put under arrest for drunk driving is a traumatic, embarrassing and humiliating event.  The penalties are extreme and are becoming increasingly tougher by the year.  As the severity of the consequences have increased, so has the demand for our representation.   Mr. Sawyer is clearly one of the best drunk driving attorneys in Michigan, and he has been recognized as such by his peers and The State Bar.

Mr. Sawyer has been invited to serve on the faculty of The Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), which is the educational arm of the State Bar, and as such has taught different aspects of drunk driving defense to attorneys statewide.

Keary Sawyer has also been a frequent guest speaker on television and radio shows regarding the legal aspects of drinking-driving offenses.

Mr. Sawyer has also taught related classes at several law schools.

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Mr. Sawyer’s success and trial record in defending OWI/DUI cases is widely recognized as good or better than any attorney in West Michigan.  We recognize that there are about four or five attorneys in our area who are very capable of defending OWI cases in the courtroom and several hundred who take these cases but really don’t know how to successfully handle them.  So be careful about who you choose to represent you; ask around.

Depending on the circumstances and facts of your case, and your previous record, a drunk driving conviction can result in the loss of your driving privileges, jail time, significant fines and costs, community service, work crew, and probation. 

With a proven track record of success for clients in OWI/DUI cases, Mr. Sawyer is uniquely qualified to defend you.  Keary Sawyer knows the laws, court processes, science behind the tests, and the people involved in our justice system, including Prosecutors, Judges, and Clerks.  This is imperative when selecting someone to fight for your rights.

In 1992, a major wave of legislative reforms toughened the drunk driving laws in Michigan.  In October 1999, an enhancement scheme was set up where there are increasingly harsh penalties for second and third offenses.  Since 1999, there has been a continued toughening of these laws.  In 2003, the legal limit was lowered to .08 BAC.  When Mr. Sawyer started handling these cases in 1978, the legal limit was .15 BAC.

The time frame within which a third (3rd) offense (felony) can be charged has been changed from three (3) within ten (10) years to three (3) within one’s lifetime. In October 2011, Michigan placed into effect a new High BAC (“Super Drunk” driving) Law.  This new law harshly penalizes first (1st) time offenders that have a BAC of .17 or more by increased fines ($700.00), a longer suspension – 45 days no driving, and an additional 320 days restricted driving with an alcohol monitor on the vehicle and up to 180 days in jail and up to one (1) year of substance abuse counseling. 

For more information on High BAC charges, please see our 

In addition to serving on the Faculty of ICLE Drunk Driving Seminars, Mr. Sawyer is also a member of Michigan OWI Attorneys.

Sawyer Law Offices is experienced and successful in handling all types of operating under the influence charges including:

  • OWI 1st Offense and High BAC Operation (> .17)

  • OWI 2nd Offense OWI/DUI

  • Felony Drunk Driving (3rd and subsequent offenses)

  • OWI Causing Serious Injury or Death (5 and 15 year felonies)

  • Operating Under the Influence of Drugs

  • Drunk Boating, Watercraft and ORV Operation

  • Zero Tolerance and Minors in Possession

  • OWI - Child Endangerment; Second Offense Felony

  • Defense of Commercial Driver's License Violations (CDL)

  • All Types of Violations Under Section 625 and Michigan’s Motor Vehicle Code


It is also a violation of Section 625 of the Motor Vehicle Code (MCL 257.625) to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs.  The same standards and penalties apply as OWI and OWVI (alcohol).

The State has trained a number of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) whose role is to administer field tests allegedly designed to detect the presence of drugs.  If there are enough clues/findings to establish probable cause to believe that the individual is operating under the influence of drugs, the officer may undertake an arrest.  See Drug Recognition Evaluation form.  

The standard field sobriety tests used in evaluating alcohol intoxication are used (Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus), but in addition, the DRE looks for pupil dilation, body temperature, and employs a convergence test.  Cognitive tasks may also be requested, such as reciting the ABCs, counting, etc. 

The DRE may also seek to use a roadside saliva test, which is considered a preliminary roadside test and may provide probable cause to arrest.  


Call Today For a Free Consultation

If you have been charged with any Drinking or Drugged Driving Offenses, please contact our Drunk Driving Defense attorney(s) at (616) 451-8478 or request a consultation and let us help get your life back in order.  In many cases, the first consultation is free. 


So when you need a good lawyer…Call Sawyer. 

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