A conviction for OWI, OWVI or OWPD in Michigan can have life-changing consequences – even for a first offense. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a first OWI conviction could come with a $500 fine, 360 hours of community service, up to 93 days imprisonment, vehicle immobilization and other penalties. The consequences are worse for repeat offenders. At Gordon & Hess, PLC, we understand that honest people make mistakes. Fortunately, there are several defenses against OWI charges that may apply to your case. If Michigan police have arrested you for OWI, it is critical that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. As a Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyer, Brian E. Gordon can evaluate your arrest and aggressively fight for a positive outcome to your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 616-272-3331. Until then, read on to learn three possible defenses against OWI charges in Michigan:
- Challenging the OWI Stop
According to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a police officer can only pull you over if he or she has a reasonable suspicion that you are in the process of committing, or you have committed, a crime. The arresting officer must be able to explain the reason for the traffic stop. If the officer pulled you over without reasonable suspicion, then any evidence that he or she gathered after the stop may be inadmissible in court. In many OWI cases, the prosecuting authority relies on breathalyzer test results to secure a conviction. If the officer pulled you over without reasonable suspicion, then the breathalyzer results may be inadmissible.
- Challenging Breathalyzer Results
Many people assume that if they fail a breathalyzer test, they are automatically guilty. This is not the case. Your criminal defense lawyer may be able to challenge the breathalyzer results in court. These are intricate devices, and if they are not maintained or calibrated correctly, then the results may be inaccurate. Also, some consumer products, such as certain mouthwashes, can inflate the results. Sometimes officers administer breathalyzer tests incorrectly. If the results may have been inaccurate, then they will not be admissible as evidence against you in court.
- Challenging the Results of Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate, which is why OWI suspects are not required to take them. However, officers still use FSTs to evaluate sobriety, and if you fail one, then the prosecuting authority can use that against you in court. However, your criminal defense attorney may be able to challenge the results of FSTs. If you have knee problems or back pain, for example, then you could have failed a field sobriety test even if you were not intoxicated. If you are facing OWI charges in Michigan, then it is critical that you take steps to protect your interests. One of your first calls should be to a Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyer from Gordon & Hess, PLC. Schedule a consultation today by calling 616-272-3331.