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Grand Rapids First Offense DUI Charges
If you are like many people in Michigan, being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is your first time getting into trouble with the law. Unfortunately, one night's indiscretion can end up taking a toll on the rest of your life. You should contact a skilled Grand Rapids DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you have recently been charged with Michigan DUI first offense.Proving a First Offense
In Michigan, DUI can be proved using either of two separate theories. The first is the common law theory and the second is the statutory theory. To prove a common law theory, the prosecutor must have evidence that your ability to drive was materially and substantially effected due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. This evidence typically comes in the form of witness testimony—more specifically, the arresting officer's testimony, and is based on the roadside investigation.
To make out this theory, the officer may testify about his observations during the night of your arrest. He or she may talk about your driving patterns, behavior, appearance, and performance on the field sobriety tests. If any of these things seemed abnormal, then the question is whether the issues were caused by alcohol or drugs. There still must be a connection between the two, and that is where your lawyer's skill and knowledge comes into play. Unless you have a good defense attorney on your side, the police officer's testimony may be enough to get you convicted of a Michigan DUI first offense.
With the statutory theory of the offense, the prosecution need only prove that your blood alcohol content was at or over the legal limit (0.08%) while driving. This is determined through a breath, blood, or urine test. However, the test result should never be taken at face value, and no test is 100% accurate all the time. There are many reasons breath and blood testing might be flawed, and if the test in your case is not reliable, then you should not be found guilty of OWI based on this statutory theory. However, raises these kinds of defenses requires that you hire a lawyer with a great deal of specialized training in the science of breath and blood testing. Most lawyers in Michigan don't have this kind of specialized knowledge and training and won't really be up to the task of defending the statutory crime. When you're looking for a DUI lawyer to handle your case, be sure and ask them about their training in breath and blood testing.First Offense Penalties
If convicted of DUI, you face up to 93 days in jails, fines ranging from $100-$500, court costs, two years of probation, and 360 hours of community service. Your license may automatically be suspended for 30 days, and you may have a 150-day restricted driver's license, in addition to a $125 reinstatement fee.
If you are convicted of Operating While Visibly Impaired, which is a lesser offense than DUI, the judge may sentence you to a maximum of 93 days in jail, up to $300 in fines, two years of probation, 360 hours of community service, and an automatic 90-day license suspension. You may also have to pay a $500 driver responsibility fee for two years.