OWI / DUI – 1st Offense – Drunk Driving – Macomb County

Chances are if you’re reading this then you or someone you care about has recently been arrested for DUI / OWI in either Sterling Heights, Shelby Twp., Utica, Chesterfield, New Baltimore, Washington Twp., Clinton Twp., Mt. Clemens, Harrison Twp., Warren, Fraser, Roseville, Eastpointe, St. Clair Shores or Macomb Township. (Macomb County) 

I find many of my clients facing a 1st Offense DUI charge have never been in any serious legal trouble before, yet find themselves facing very serious consequences. Being charged with an OWI / DUI can be a very humiliating and humbling experience. Arrested, finger printed, likely spend the evening in jail, vehicle impounded. The whole experience brings on a whirlwind of emotions. After making it through the initial fore mentioned process and you begin researching the potential legal ramifications you’re likely reading information such as this:

(Source: michigan.gov)
Operating While Intoxicated
(OWI) or Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD)

  • $100 to $500 fine and one or more of the following:
  • Up to 93 days in jail.
  • Up to 360 hours of community service.
  • Driver’s license suspension for 30 days, followed by license restrictions for 150 days.
  • Possible vehicle immobilization.
  • Possible ignition interlock.
  • Six points added to driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee:
  • $1,000 for OWI.
  • $500 for OWPD.

Allow me to put your mind at ease a bit. In Macomb County, it is unlikely you will be facing any jail time with a 1st Offense OWI / DUI charge. I say this with the presumption you were orderly with the arresting officer and there are not any extenuating circumstances involving your arrest. (Nobody was injured or worse) I advise you to avoid any attorney whom suggests avoiding jail  your motive for hiring him/her on a 1st Offense DUI / OWI in Macomb County. With that said, a DUI / OWI in Macomb County is a Criminal Offense, (Not a traffic citation) and can have profound effects on your life if not addressed properly. Prior to obtaining my law degree I was a Sterling Heights police officer. I am one of few whom have been on both sides; I’ve arrested hundreds of people for DUI / OWI and I’ve represented hundreds upon hundreds of clients facing DUI / OWI charges in Macomb County. My experience on both sides of this issue; and over 30 years specializing in DUI / OWI cases in Macomb County make me uniquely qualified.

Don’t panic! Yes dealing with a DUI / OWI is an unpleasant experience, they are that way be design, however despite how you may feel in this moment, things are likely not as bad as they seem. Yes it is wise and beneficial to hire an attorney to represent you with this matter, however don’t make any knee-jerk reactions. Don’t agree to one of those “Free Case Evaluations” and don’t fall for those so called attorneys claiming they will “Beat your DUI” or “Get out of your DUI”. These are ploys used by shady lawyers to prey on people when they are feeling anxious and scared. In my 30+ years as an attorney specializing in DUI / OWI cases I’ve spoken with literally thousands of people whom have endured what you are going through now. Most of my DUI / OWI clients tend to be good citizens, either attending school, going to work, sometimes both, in other words living life.

Often when I speak to a new client facing a DUI / OWI, the number one concern is jail, we’ve already established Jail is unlikely in a 1st offense DUI in Macomb County. In fact jail is unlikely outcome in a 1st Offense DUI in the tri-county area with the exception of a couple of judges in Bloomfield Hills that have garnered national attention for their nearly mandatory requirement of jail time for all Drunk Driving offenders. Providing your DUI / OWI charge is not in Bloomfield Hills, you can pause for a moment and breathe a sigh of relief.

The other top concerns tend to center around; loss of employment, loss of driver’s license, embarrassment / social stigma of getting a Drunk Driving, and of course the overall costs associated with a DUI / OWI. So lets address these common top concerns.

Loss of employment; During my 30 + year career as a specialized DUI / OWI attorney, I’ve represented Doctors, Professors, Teachers, Counselors, Executives, Lawyers, Law Enforcement, Sales Reps, Truck Drivers, Painters, Plumbers, Skilled Tradesman. Of all the clients I’ve represented spanning across all lines of work, I can count on one hand the number of my clients who have lost employment as the result of a 1st offense DUI in Macomb County, yet understandably so, it is one of the top concerns of nearly every client of mine. 1st offense DUI / OWI charges are meant to be serious, but they are not intended to ruin people’s lives.

Loss of Driver’s License; In the state of Michigan a 1st Offense OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) conviction carries a “hard suspension” of at least 30 days, followed by license restrictions for 150 days. However if convicted of only OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired), the “hard suspension” can be avoided, and a restricted license for 90 days.

Social stigma and embarrassment associated with a DUI / OWI arrest; Many of my clients are concerned with co-workers, neighbors, family, and friends finding out about their Drunk Driving arrest. This probably speaks to the fact that so many of my clients facing a 1st Offense DUI are good natured hard working people. If you share this concern then heed this advice. Don’t tell them! It is only human nature when facing a situation making us anxious and nervous to talk about it with those whom we interact with most. We often feel if we tell them and explain it before they find out it will be better. Based on my experience the likelihood of people finding out comes down to whether or not you yourself tell people. Your name is not going to be plastered in the paper. Fox 2 Problem solvers won’t be meeting you in your drive way, and the police are not going to unexpectedly show up at your work. So if your desire is to minimize the social stigma and embarrassment associated with a Drunk Driving, keep your mouth shut.

Overall Costs: With a 1st Offense DUI / OWI – Court fees in Macomb County vary from court to court, however for the purpose of this article I will use a generalization of $500. In addition if probation is ordered for a year on average those costs would be about $600. Driver’s Responsibility Fees if convicted of an OWI is $1,000 a year for 2 consecutive years or $500 a year for for 2 consecutive years with a OWVI conviction. Good Legal representation by an attorney specializing in DUI / OWI defense in Macomb County on average $3,000 – Keep in mind, these fees are spread out over a period of a couple of years. On my end, I don’t require my clients to pay me in full up front.

This is where the value of having the right DUI / OWI attorney comes into play.

Can the charge be plead down to a lesser offense?
Can vehicle immobilization be avoided?
Can the ignition interlock device be avoided?
What requirement and form of alcohol monitoring will be utilized and for what duration?
What substance abuse treatment and counseling will be required?
What will the terms and conditions of probation be. (0 Probation, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, reporting, non-reporting)

I can make the outcome of your Drunk Driving charge better, often much better. Allowing you to learn and grow from this experience and get back to your life.
I am happy to talk with you on the phone and answer any questions you may have. I prefer to meet in person, particularly with a new client facing any DUI charge, however I do understand everyone has busy schedules. I generally have no issue meeting a client on a Saturday or Sunday if need be, I live rather close to my office. I can sometimes be difficult to reach by phone, as I am in multiple courts daily. However if you call my office during business hours, my secretary Idela will gather your information. Just be sure to inform her you are a new client and were reviewing our DUI blog. You can also reach me by email.

Office Phone: 586-979-6000 – I prefer to schedule an in office consultation with all new clients. Call or email me with any questions you have. Robinettelaw@gmail.com

Ernie Robinette Jr. – Specialized Criminal Defense Attorney – Macomb County