Legal Professional?
Build Your Business

Things to Know if Charged With a Detroit DUI

Whether you live in the Park Avenue district, New Center or Highland Park, if you are charged with a Detroit DUI, you will want to learn about the law.

This article will explain to you the basics of Detroit DUI law.

What Is a Detroit DUI?

DUI stands for driving under the influence. In Detroit, this is also known as DWI, or driving while intoxicated. Another commonly used acronym is OWI, or operating while intoxicated. Whether you refer to it as a DUI, DWI or OWI, the offense is still the same.

In Detroit, there are two ways you can be charged with DUI. The first is known as drunk driving per se. This is when your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is equal to or greater than .08. BAC is the measure of alcohol in your blood. A .08 means that your blood contains eight one-hundredths of a percent of alcohol.

Even if you have a BAC lower than .08, you may still be arrested for committing DUI in Detroit. If the police officer believes you are driving recklessly due to drugs or alcohol, he may arrest you. To prove its case, the prosecution will usually have the officer testify. His testimony will describe any behavior you exhibited that showed impairment.

If you are under the age of 21, you can be charged with a Detroit DUI for having a BAC of .02 or greater. In addition, if you are under 21 and are caught transporting alcohol without an adult who is 21 or older in the car, you may be charged with a misdemeanor.

The Detroit DUI Process

There are several ways in which you can be pulled over by an officer on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

First, the officer may pull you over for committing a traffic violation. This can include crashing a red light or speeding.

An officer may also pull you over for suspicious driving. If you are weaving from lane to lane or are driving too slowly, you may get pulled over.

Finally, a police officer can stop you at a sobriety checkpoint. A sobriety checkpoint is a predetermined location where officers pull over random drivers and check them for drunk driving.

Once you are pulled over, the officer may administer a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are intended to test whether you are too impaired to drive. Examples of field sobriety tests include:

  • Following a light with your eyes while keeping your head and neck stationary
  • Standing on one leg
  • Walking heel to toe in a straight line, turning and then walking back

If you perform poorly on the test, the officer can arrest you. He will then take you to the police station to do a BAC test. There are a number of types of BAC tests. Some measure the alcohol in your blood, while others measure the alcohol in your breath. In Detroit, refusing to submit to a BAC test can result in immediate license suspension.

Detroit DUI Penalties

First-time Detroit DWI offenders can face:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Fines ranging from $100 to $500
  • Driver's license suspension for 30 days

Second-time offenders can face:

  • Five days to one year in jail
  • 30 to 90 days of community service
  • Fines ranging from $200 to $1,000
  • License plate confiscation
  • Vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days

A third Detroit DUI offense is considered a felony. This crime is punishable by:

  • One to five years in prison
  • 60 to 180 days of community service
  • Driver's license revocation for a minimum of five years
  • Fines ranging from $500 to $5,000
  • Vehicle immobilization for one to three years
  • License plate confiscation

Hiring a Detroit OWI Attorney

If you have been charged with committing DUI in Detroit, you will want to hire an attorney to represent you throughout your case. Either you or someone you trust should take the necessary steps to investigate prospective attorneys for you.

One of the best places to begin your search is with your friends and family. Ask them for referrals of any Detroit OWI attorneys they may have used in the past. You can also use a site like With, just fill out an online questionnaire, and you will be connected to one or more Detroit-area DUI attorneys.

Next, set up initial consultations with any attorneys you are interested in hiring. The purpose of this meeting is to get to know the lawyer, familiarize him with your case and decide whether you want to hire him to represent you.

Prepare a list of questions before the consultation. Don't forget to bring pen and paper to take notes.

Questions you should consider asking include:

  • How long has the attorney been handling Detroit DUI cases?
  • Has the lawyer ever handled a case like yours?
  • What does he think of your case?
  • What fee arrangement does he use? How much does he cost?
  • How can you contact him if you have a question? How long will it take for him to respond?

After you are done interviewing the attorneys, you should be able to make a hiring decision.