FAQ's

Former Prosecutor to Represent You!

What is "OWI"?
It is initials that stand for "Operating While Intoxicated." It is the standard old drunk driving charge. A person is guilty of OWI if, "because of drinking alcohol, the defendant's ability to operate a vehicle in a normal manner was substantially lessened." (CJI2d 15.3) A person can also be guilty of OWI if they had a bodily alcohol level of at least .08.
They've got my breath test result, and it's over .08! How can I do anything other than just go into court and plead guilty?
First of all, for purposes of arraignment, a person should almost always plead not guilty, so that a Pre-trial will be scheduled. If there is no Pre-trial, then there is no chance for an attorney to help you avoid being convicted. Just because a machine read-out gave a certain number, it doesn't mean that the number is correct. It doesn't mean that the person running the machine knew what they were doing, and even if they did, it doesn't mean they did it right. Your arrest may not have been valid to begin with. Even if you can't avoid being convicted, getting an attorney involved can often help by reducing the level of the offense, and reducing the severity of the sentence.
I blew under .08, so how can they still charge me?
The .08 is a presumption. Prosecutors try to convict people of OWI without having the aid of that presumption. They can also try to convict a person of Impaired Driving (Operating While Visibly Impaired or OWVI), no matter what the bodily alcohol level. If you are under 21, and you blew at least a .02, or there is other evidence of the presence of alcohol, you can be charged with what is called "Zero Tolerance."

They didn't see me drive, so why was I arrested?
The law in Michigan was changed a number of years ago, to prohibit "operating" under the influence, instead of "driving." In some cases, operation can be established without the police witnessing movement of the vehicle. In some cases, they can't prove operation at all.
Should I have taken the breath test?
There are penalties for not taking their test in the station. It is not a crime to refuse to take their test, but, through an administrative action, you can lose your license to drive for one or two years for refusing. It is often a good idea for a first offender to take the breath test, but there are some reasons why this could be a bad idea. If you know the police had no basis to stop you, then taking the test may just give them some evidence when they had none. In that case, you should not have performed their sobriety "tests" either. If there was a serious injury, you should not take their breath test, although they can get a court order and take your blood sample. The police get to choose the type of test: breath, blood, or urine. Once you take their test, you can demand your own test, usually a blood test.

I have a piece of paper that says, "Michigan Temporary Driving Permit." Where's my license? Can I drive?
Your picture license was confiscated by the police, and has probably been destroyed. Until your case is resolved, you still have all of the driving privileges you had just before the incident happened (unless you lose your license sooner for an Implied Consent suspension). If you had a full valid license, you still do. If your license was suspended or revoked, it still is suspended or revoked. If your case is dismissed, and you had a full valid license before your arrest, you can get a new picture license right away.

If I get convicted, for how long will I lose my license?
It depends on several factors. You could end up with a restricted license for three months, or you could end up with a completely revoked license with no driving privileges at all for at least five years. There are several possibilities in between.

Should I hire an attorney?
Absolutely yes! A drinking and driving conviction stays on your driving record for the rest of your life. It may affect your ability to get or keep a job. It will make your car insurance rates go way up. It will cost you your CDL (Commercial Driver's License). It gives you a criminal history. If there is a way to get out of it, do it! Let an attorney do their best to find the loopholes and take advantage of them. Even if you are going to get convicted of something, an attorney can help minimize the consequences. It's not just a question of, "Can I get a plea bargain?" If you do get a plea bargain, could you have gotten a better one? Did you have to plead to anything at all? If you do get a plea bargain, do you know the right things to bring up at your sentencing? Do you know the right things to do, so that your sentencing will go better? Don't mess with your future. Get professional help from an experienced drunk driving defense attorney.

Call me! 313-565-9289. My experience is what you are looking for. My personal approach is what you need and deserve. I will give you EXPERIENCED INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION WITH A PERSONAL APPROACH.

FRANK B. FORD
Attorney and Counselor at Law, 5944 Dacosta, Dearborn Heights, Michigan 48127
Email: frankbford@wowway.com
Phone: (313) 565-9289 | Fax: (313) 565-6717
Copyright © 2016 Frank B.Ford. All rights reserved.