top of page

DUI / OWI Attorneys

Fighting for Your Rights Nationwide

Driving under the influence, or operating while intoxicated, is a heavy charge to face. From the moment you are pulled over, you may be fearing for the worst. Suspension or revocation of your license and a marred record are the first things on your mind. Driving is an incredibly important freedom and opportunity for many people, allowing us to commute to work and school, complete daily tasks, and make day-to-day life easier for the average working American.

That can all change in an instant when you are facing a DUI or OWI charge – but it doesn’t have to. The Oliver Bell Group has a successful track record in Michigan for defending those accused of driving under the influence – and we do not stop until we have results. We know these charges can be overwhelming. That is why we are here to help you get back on your feet and back on the road.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it’s time to call our Troy DUI attorneys. You can also contact us online.

Understanding DUI & OWI

Driving under the influence is the longhand version of a DUI, a commonly used term. Operating while intoxicated – often shortened to OWI – is the official legal term for being charged with drunk driving in Michigan. More formally, an OUI charge means you’ve been accused of driving with a substance in your system that has impaired your ability to safely operate the vehicle. Whatever you call your charge, you need legal representation in order to keep your license and driving record free from harm.

Michigan’s Legal Limits

BAC, or blood alcohol content, measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. If you are at or over the legal drinking age, you may face an OWI charge if your BAC is 0.08 or higher. It is lower if the person is below the age of 21, standing at 0.02. Alcohol metabolizes and is absorbed uniquely by every individual, and is heavily influenced by that person’s weight, gender, age, and the strength of the alcohol consumed.

Naturally, the stronger the alcohol, the more it will be absorbed into the bloodstream. Time is also a factor. Someone who has consumed four drinks over a period of several hours will have had time to process the alcohol, versus someone who has consumed four drinks in an hour. In addition, if a person who weighs 100 pounds consumes four drinks over a long period of time, versus someone of a heavier stature, their BAC may still be too high for the legal limit by the time the keys are in their hands. It is also possible for BAC to rise after drinking. Even though you may feel as if you are sobering up, your BAC could still be on the rise.

Are Sobriety Tests Mandatory?

When you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, authorities will more than likely want to administer a breath test to test your blood alcohol content. You may refuse, but you may also face consequences. Your driver’s license is automatically at risk, as this is seen as an admission of guilt. You could potentially face up to a year of suspension, leaving you without transportation and a marred driving record.

However, you have the option to appeal. The 14 Day Rule applies in this state, which means you are given 14 days after the date of your suspension to appeal the action.

Standardized OWI Tests

When someone is pulled over and suspected of driving while intoxicated, the officer investigating will want to administer standardized field sobriety tests. These are meant to judge how competent the driver is at the time of testing and if they are safe to be behind the wheel. Substances such as alcohol impair one’s ability to divide attention evenly between mental and physical tasks. Reaction time is slowed, which is incredibly dangerous when operating a vehicle.

Officers will check for signs of impairment with tests that claim to be able to gauge the level of safe driving capability an individual has when suspected of driving intoxicated.

These tests include:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: A “nystagmus” is an involuntary twitch in the eye. This is detected by following a horizontal gaze. A sober person’s eye movements would be fluid and smooth. Someone under the influence may show signs of a twitch. Hands are set at the person’s side and feet together while eyesight follows a pen, flashlight, or another object.

  • Walk and Turn Test: The goal of this test is to walk in a straight line with arms at sides without losing balance. One foot is placed in front of the other, heel to toe, and the line must be walked in both directions. Balance, ability to follow instructions, and accuracy in determining steps are all measured in an attempt to gauge sobriety.

  • Standing on One Leg: Difficult for any person, this test involves standing on one leg and holding the position for a set amount of time. This test is meant to reveal issues with balance and cognition. However, many sober people find it difficult to accomplish.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to take these tests. While these tests are meant to reveal a level of sobriety or inebriation, false positives occur all the time, and failure of a test even if a measured BAC is below the legal limit can still result in police action. Your best option is to politely refuse.

If you did take a field sobriety test, we can help you challenge the result. Officers must receive verbal confirmation that someone understands the instructions being given to them; failure to obtain this is an officer error. In addition, physical or mental conditions may make these tests more difficult. A DUI defense attorney in Troy can help analyze the tests administered and cast doubt on the charges against you.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are convicted of a DUI or OWI charge, losing your license becomes a real possibility. In fact, the moment a charge is presented, your ability to drive freely is held at legal knifepoint. Our DUI attorneys can help you fight these charges. It is easy for tests to yield inaccurate results or for officer bias to come into play. That’s where we come in. When you seek our defense services, we can advise you on the next steps at no charge or risk to you.

Call or send us a message for a free consultation with the Oliver Bell Group.

bottom of page