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4 Things to Know When Charged With a DUI

Liquor, Handcuffs and Car Key
Every person makes terrible choices and mistakes in life. In some situations, you're able to walk away from the error unscathed, and then there are times when you must face the consequences of your actions.

Driving under the influence is one of those instances. If you have been charged with a DUI, you need to know just how serious of a situation you face. Learn some relevant facts that can help you going forward.

1. Breathalyzers Aren't Always Accurate

Law enforcement professionals work hard to do their job well, but this does not mean they always get it right. There are instances when an officer administers a Breathalyzer test to an individual they suspect is driving under the influence and receive a false positive.

In fact, compared to a blood test, Breathalyzers have an error margin of around 50 percent, as some factors can affect the efficacy of the test. Recent exposure to paint remover or varnish and certain medical conditions, including GERD and diabetes, can all tilt the test reading in the wrong direction.

If you suspect your test was inaccurate, present this information along with evidence of your test interferer to see if the charges can be dismissed. 

2. Jail Is Not Automatic

Driving under the influence is such a serious accusation that when people hear this charge they often think a jail sentence is the next step, but this is not always the case. After a DUI charge, Michigan courts may decide on fines, jail time, community service, drivers’ license suspension, points on your license, mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program, an ignition interlock device, or a mixture of these options.

The higher your blood alcohol level, the more serve your penalties may be. The penalty will also be more severe based on the number of convictions. A second conviction is likely to have much more severe penalties than a first conviction.

3. Charges Can Change

Generally, a DUI conviction in the state is rated as a misdemeanor. However, if your lapse of judgment resulted in an accident with another vehicle, you must understand that your charges can quickly change and become more severe.

If the result of your actions caused another person to withstand serious bodily harm, your charge might be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony — even if this is your first DUI charge.

A felony DUI conviction will result in a jail sentence, probation, a fine, license suspension, and the required use of an ignition interlock device for 3 years. If your charges are upgraded to a felony, it's vital that you have an attorney to give you the best defense possible. An attorney can argue for your penalties to be less severe.

4. Effects of a Conviction Can Linger

As with many criminal convictions, the consequences of a DUI guilty verdict can stick with you for many years to come. For example, if your license is suspended, you could face challenges getting back and forth to work, which could eventually cause you to lose your job.

Even if you're seeking new employment, a DUI conviction could show up on a background check, which could deter a company from hiring you. Additionally, you could be forced to pay increasingly high insurance premiums as a result of your high-risk driving status.

In fact, you could spend as much as three times your current rate. If you're innocent, you must work hard to avoid an unfortunate outcome. 

Whether you're guilty as charged or not, your rights are still important. An attorney on your side will ensure your rights are protected and that you face the best possible scenario. Contact Witzel & Zoeller Lawyers PC so that we can discuss your case with you. 
321 Woodland Pass, Suite 300
East Lansing, MI 48823
Phone: 517-337-8324

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