OWI / DUI – 3rd Offense, Felony – Drunk Driving – Macomb County

For anyone facing a 3rd or subsequent DUI / OWI, by now you know it is a felony charge. Essentially there are 3 types of DUI / OWI charges, a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense. A 3rd offense DUI / OWI is the highest drunk driving charge possible (Short of someone being injured or killed). If someone has 4, 5, 6, 10, DUI / OWI convictions they are still charged at a 3rd offense felony level.  It is difficult to have endured the arrest process, possible arraignment, and not know a 3rd offense DUI / OWI is a felony charge with serious consequences. There are a plenty of resources online, spelling out the potential ramifications one is up against with a 3rd offense DUI / OWI charge. I too have outlined them in the below. However the purpose of this article is to illustrate how I, as a specialized DUI / OWI attorney with over 30 years experience primarily in Macomb County can make your situation better, often much better. More on that later.

In January of 2007 the Michigan Law regarding Drunk Driving significantly changed with the passage of what is known as Heidi’s Law. With this change a 3rd offense DUI / OWI in a lifetime is a felony charge. Prior to the passage of Heidi’s Law a 3rd Offense DUI / OWI had to occur within 10 years to be charged as a felony. A conviction of a 3rd offense Felony DUI / OWI has a mandated  minimum requirement of 30 days in jail with a prison sentence of up to 5 years. Additionally vehicle forfeiture is possible, vehicle immobilization of 1 to 3 years, registration denial, and possible license revocation, driver responsibility fees of $1,000 / year for 2 years.

Operating While Intoxicated 3rd Offense Felony

  • $500 to $5,000 fine, and either of the following:
  • 1 to 5 years imprisonment
  • Probation, with 30 days to 1 year in jail.
  • 60 to 180 days community service.
  • Driver’s license revocation and denial if there are 2 convictions within 7 years or 3 convictions within 10 years. The minimum period of revocation and denial is 1 year (minimum of 5 years if there was a prior revocation within 7 years).
  • License plate confiscation.
  • Vehicle immobilization for 1 to 3 years, unless the vehicle is forfeited.
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
  • Vehicle registration denial.
  • 6 points added to the offender’s driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $1,000.

Back to the part about making your situation better. One of the first things I do is obtain and review the evidence related to your case. I will review the police report, the nature of the stop, video evidence (if any), PBT results, etc. My ultimate goal representing any client on a DUI / OWI offense is to identify any opportunity to have the charge dropped / dismissed. The reality is there are very few cases in which there are grounds for a DUI / OWI charge to be dismissed. It is difficult with a 1st offense, even harder with a 2nd offense, and well you see where I am going with this. None the less, my first priority is to review all evidence and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your particular case. In the perfect world your case is one of the lucky few cases that aren’t strong enough and we are in a good position to have the charge dropped. In the real world, that is not likely. There are approximately 40,000 DUI / OWI arrests annually in the state of Michigan, of which fewer than 100 are taken to trial and won. The other 99.9% are handled through plea bargaining. Successfully plea bargaining a DUI / OWI charge is far more involved than it sounds at face value. It’s not a matter of approaching the prosecutor and asking “what deal can you offer me?”. Although I have witnessed this approach far to often with “bargain attorneys”. In some instances it takes reviewing the evidence over and over and meeting / negotiating with the prosecutor on 3, 4, 5 or more separate occasions. Generally speaking DUI / OWI cases are pretty solid on evidentiary terms alone. Hence why, as cited above, fewer than .002 % of Drunk Driving cases are won at trial. In some instances, I have successfully compelled the court to agree to a lessor misdemeanor DUI / OWI charge. Avoiding a permanent felony conviction on my clients record and the mandatory 30 days in jail. On a 3rd Offense Drunk Driving, this is a big win.

It seems as though every other week you hear of a celebrity or some high profile politician being charged with a DUI / OWI. We can agree these people have the financial resources to fight their case and take it to trial, yet you rarely, if ever, hear of them being acquitted of the charge. Even with substantial financial resources their DUI / OWI charge doesn’t just disappear. As you research which attorney to invest in, alarms should sound if any attorney is talking about fighting your case at trial. Don’t get me wrong, over they years, I’ve taken many DUI cases to trial, but this is last resort. Unfortunately this is a ploy used by some to trick a potential client into falsely thinking they can “get out of” a DUI / OWI charge. Terms like “aggressively fight” your DUI / OWI, “Beat” your DUI / OWI, “Get out of” your DUI / OWI, are all sales tactics that shady lawyers use to attract customers who are at a vulnerable moment in life. Don’t fork over money based on false hope and hype. Attorneys that resort to preying on people’s anxiety and fears do so because the actual service they provide is not strong enough (valuable enough) to sustain their law practice without lying and misleading.

It goes without saying any DUI / OWI charge is not an enjoyable experience, much less a 3rd offense. Yet as hopeless and terrifying as your situation may feel, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If I was facing a 3rd Offense DUI / OWI charge, of the Tri-County area, Macomb would be my preference. In Oakland County if facing a 3rd Offense DUI / OWI charge you are all but guaranteed jail time measured in months, rather than days, even after a  plea bargain. Rather than taking a one size fits all approach, Macomb County Courts can be more receptive to looking at an individual’s record and commitment to rehabilitation. One key component to the outcome of your case is the length of time since your prior convictions. As one might naturally assume, the longer the time since your last DUI, the better.

In some instances, I have successfully compelled the court to agree to a lessor misdemeanor DUI / OWI charge. Avoiding a permanent felony conviction on my clients record and the mandatory 30 days in jail. On a 3rd Offense Drunk Driving, this is a big win.

It is crucial to hire an attorney whom specializes in these cases, and whom specializes in the geographic location where you are being charged. 

You want an attorney in which 70% or better of their case load consists of Drunk Driving cases.  Just because an attorney lists DUI / OWI under their services offered doesn’t make them a specialized DUI / OWI attorney. Bankruptcy law, Estate Law, Divorce Law, are all very different areas of law than DUI / OWI law. This is the same reason you will never see me in court representing a client on murder charges. I could do it, I am a licensed attorney, I have tried many cases in my 30 + years as an attorney, however the client would be far better served by an attorney whom specializes in murder defense. Another analogy using the medical field, if you require heart surgery you go to a heart surgeon, brain surgery, a brain surgeon, you would not feel want a heart surgeon operating on your brain. The same holds true when hiring an attorney to represent you. If you’re facing a 3rd offense Felony DUI / OWI, you need an expert, a surgeon, a DUI / OWI specialized attorney. Not a Jack of all trades, Master of none attorney!

You want an attorney whom specializes in the geographic location where you are being charged. Not the location where you live, not the location where you work, but the location where you face charges. So often in our local area I see attorneys advertise their services to clients in Macomb County, Oakland County, and Wayne County, the Tri-County area. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this, when I was a new attorney starting my career in law, I too worked out of all three counties. Doing so more than triples the number of potential clients (paying customers) and cases. Fortunately today is a much different story, through 30 + years of dedication to my clients and law practice, 3 out of 4 new clients are referred. This affords me the ability to focus my legal practice within Macomb County. You may have already heard, the legal landscape in Oakland County is very different than Macomb County. I’ve heard attorneys say they might as well be two different states. How can a specialized DUI / OWI defense attorney intimately know and understand the legal landscape of all the courts and their personnel in all of Oakland County, and all of Macomb County, and then throw all of Wayne County into it as well? The reality is, they can’t.

In Macomb County alone there are 11 separate courts in 11 separate locations, all with their own judges, prosecutors, and court personnel. There is Sterling Heights 41A, Shelby Township 41A, Clinton Township 41B, New Baltimore 42nd, Romeo 42nd, Warren 37th, Eastpointe 38th, Fraser 39B, St. Clair Shores 40th, and 16th Judicial Macomb County Circuit Court. 

If you’re facing a 3rd Offense Felony Drunk Driving charge in Macomb County, then you need a specialized DUI attorney who works day in and day out of Macomb County

In some instances, I have successfully compelled the court to agree to a lessor misdemeanor DUI / OWI charge. Avoiding a permanent felony conviction on my clients record and the mandatory 30 days in jail. On a 3rd Offense Drunk Driving, this is a big win.

Call my office today at 586-979-6000, Idela is my secretary, she will take down your contact information and some brief details. I will contact you back. You can also email me at robinettelaw@gmail.com

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