Drunk Driving

Michigan's drunk driving laws are some of the strictest in the country. Lucido & Manzella, P.C. work to educate our clients about their rights when facing these charges. We provide proven and aggressive defensive strategies that are designed to your specific circumstance.

Generally, you can be charged with the crime of "Operating While Intoxicated" (OWI) if you drive in Michigan:

  • While you're "visibly impaired" (OWVI)- For you to be convicted on this basis, there must be evidence that you consumed alcohol or drugs, and the arresting officer must testify that your physical actions or appearance showed that your ability to drive was affected. No scientific evidence of your bodily alcohol content (BAC) is required, however.
  • With an unlawful BAC (UBAL) - In general, if you're 21 or older, a conviction requires chemical evidence (from a breath or blood test) that your BAC was 0.08% or greater; the limit for younger drivers is .02%. In this case, the prosecution generally doesn't also need to show that you were visibly impaired.
  • With any amount of certain specified (mostly illegal) drugs in your system.

If you've been charged with drunk driving in Michigan, you are facing potentially life-changing consequences, even if it's your first offense. The possible penalties include the loss of limitation of your driving privileges, the mandatory use of an alcohol ignition interlock, substantial fines, mandatory community service and even possible jail time. Not surprisingly, the penalties are most severe if you were involved in an accident. Call us today if you need effective representation at 586-842-0198.

As with any other serious criminal charge, however, you have the right to require the state to prove its case against you "beyond a reasonable doubt". Having an experienced lawyer on your side is the best way to ensure the prosecution "plays by the rules". At Lucido & Manzella P.C. lawyers have been providing aggressive representation to residents of Macomb and surrounding counties for over 25 years. We will carefully review every part of your case and identify possible defenses, including:

  • The reason you were stopped in the first place. The police usually must have a legitimate reason (called a "reasonable and articulate basis") in order to pull you over; just being seen leaving a bar isn't enough. Were you driving erratically? Did you ignore a stop sign or commit another traffic offense? If not, the OWI charge could be dismissed.
  • Why you "failed" the standard field sobriety tests. These include the "walk and turn" and "close your eyes and touch your nose" tests of physical coordination and balance. Studies have shown that many people who have no measurable blood alcohol can still fail these tests, due to poor balance, injuries or just the stress of being pulled over.
  • The machines used to measure breath and blood alcohol levels are very complex and sensitive. If you took a breath, urine or blood alcohol or drug level test, are the test results accurate? Also, unless the officer who administered the test was trained and currently certified, the results usually can't be used against you.
  • Other possible explanations for impairment. Were you taking any legally prescribed drugs or were you suffering from a medical condition that could explain your seemingly impaired condition (slurred speech, for example)?

If you or a loved one has been charged with OWI, OWVI or UBAL don't go in alone! Call the law offices of Lucido & Manzella, P.C. today at 586-842-0198.