Articles Posted in Michigan DUI/OUI Laws

While sobriety court is already an option for DUI offenders in the Ann Arbor area, recent news reports indicate that this popular court program will soon be available in Wexford County in northern Michigan. The purpose of sobriety courts is to give the offender an opportunity to rehabilitate, rather than punish him or her with jail time, substantial fines, etc. However, sobriety court is not easy, and in fact is quite intensive, designed not only to keep intoxicated drivers off the road, but to change the offender’s behavior. champagne-660188-m

According to a recent article at, one judge gives sobriety courts great praise, calling it a program that works. Judge Mike Haley, who has headed sobriety courts in several northern counties over the past 13 years, says that the data shows that of the thousand or so individuals who have gone through sobriety court in past years, the rate of repeat offenders is down substantially.

Michigan DUI attorneys know that the eligibility requirements to participate in sobriety court vary across the state. In some counties, a first time offender may participate; in others, only second or third time offenders may participate. It is important for offenders to know before choosing this sentencing alternative that this type of program is rigorous. Depending on the county, individuals who participate may be required to breath test on a daily basis, have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle, attend counseling and/or AA meetings on a daily basis, and be subject to home visits and alcohol searches by probation officers.

Sobriety courts are tough not only on the offender, but on the entire family. This is particularly true in cases where the defendant drives the same vehicle as other members of the family, who must blow into the interlock device in order to start the vehicle. Ultimately, if anyone else in the family causes the device to register alcohol, the defendant may be found liable, which could result in the judge imposing jail time. There are numerous drawbacks to the program, but many benefits as well.

Continue reading

On Sunday, August 24, 31-year-old Juan Benavidez of Hartford was arrested for driving while under the influence after he crashed his vehicle into a ditch, according to news reports at The accident took place near CR 681 on 72nd Avenue at approximately 3:20 in the afternoon. An off-duty Hartford police officer called the accident in, and deputies were dispatched to the scene. crashed-car-921217-m

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and Benavidez was the only person in his vehicle. A release issued by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office stated that Benavidez was traveling at a high rate of speed in a southbound direction when he attempted to turn east on 72nd Avenue and ended up in a ditch on the north side.

News reports indicate that Benavidez’s blood alcohol level upon being administered a breathalyzer test was more than three times the state’s legal limit of .08 percent. In Michigan, anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of higher than .17 may be charged with “super drunk” driving. In addition, because it was the defendant’s third OWI offense, he may face felony charges as a third OWI in Michigan is a felony. The criminal penalties for a super drunk offense are harsh, and include driver’s license suspension for 45 days followed by 320 days of restricted driving, up to 180 days in jail, fines, and more.

Individuals who are convicted of a third DUI offense (a felony in Michigan) may face penalties that include up to five years in prison, driver’s license revocation, and possible vehicle immobilization, along with other penalties.

Benavidez was cited not only for DUI but for not having car insurance and driving on a suspended license.

A DUI conviction will have a serious negative impact on your life. Not only will you have a criminal record and possibly lose your freedom for a time if put in jail, your reputation and career may be tarnished. Having your driver’s license suspended or revoked is one of the most serious penalties, as it is nearly impossible to live a normal life when your privilege to drive is taken away.

Continue reading

Recently, a father and two sons were arrested in Fletcher, VT after one of the sons was involved in a single-vehicle rollover that left him with injuries. glass-of-wine-1170593-m

According to WPTZ News Channel 5, 22-year-old Joshua B. Woodward’s vehicle rolled on Cambridge Road near Metcalf Pond Road in Fletcher. Woodward was hospitalized, however after his release he was charged with his second DUI. Police said that he was operating under the influence, and that a preliminary breath test indicated his blood alcohol level was three times over the legal limit. It was also discovered that his driver’s license had been criminally suspended.

Woodward’s father, Brian, and his brother, Nicholas, were also arrested for DUI after attempting to drive up to the scene of the accident to check on Joshua. Initially, 19-year-old Nicholas drove up to see how his brother was when police noticed he was under the influence. While police were administering a breath test and arresting Nicholas for DUI, Brian got behind the wheel to get closer to the scene of the wreckage; this is when police noticed that he, too, appeared to be impaired. He was ordered by police to stop the vehicle, at which point he as given a breath test which indicated his blood alcohol content was also three times over the legal limit.

Nicholas’s DUI arrest was his second in two weeks, according to news reports. All three men were scheduled to appear on the charges in Franklin District Court.

While this is somewhat of a bizarre story, driving while under the influence of alcohol is a very serious problem across the country. In Michigan, driving with a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent can lead to “super drunk” charges. At .17 percent, an individual is considered to be Super Drunk and may face charges for a high BAC (blood alcohol content) offense. In this situation, the individual will face enhanced criminal penalties if convicted.

A Super Drunk conviction will results in penalties that include up to 180 days in jail, possible community service, fines of up to $700, driver’s license suspension for 45 days, followed by 320 days of restricted driving, and more. If it is a second or third DUI offense, the consequences become even more serious.

Continue reading

On Friday, August 8, 58-year-old Fred Horvath was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Henderson, NV. Horvath is the Assistant City Manager, and was placed on leave from his position while an investigation into the DUI incident continues, according to a news article at NBC News. bubbles-1442468-m

Other news sources claim that Horvath was pulled over by an officer riding a motorcycle in the vicinity of Wigwam Parkway and Green Valley Parkway in the early afternoon hours. At the time of news reports, Horvath was arrested for DUI, but changes had not been filed pending blood test results from the Henderson Detention Center.

Horvath was Henderson’s human resources director beginning in 2009 until the point he was named assistant city manager in October of last year. In his position as Assistant City Manager, Horvath was responsible for Henderson’s utility services departments, information technology, public works, parks, and recreation, and community development and services. Horvath was not on duty when he was arrested.

Whether Horvath’s blood tests indicate his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit will likely determine whether he is arrested. In the state of Michigan, individuals can be charged with driving under the influence even when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is not above the legal limit of .08 percent. Known as OWVI or operating while visibly impaired, individuals may be charged with this offense regardless of blood alcohol content, based on police observations and opinions. Individuals who are found guilty of OWVI will face criminal penalties that include possible jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, and more.

Continue reading

Over the July 4th holiday weekend, a 29-year-old Pendleton, Indiana man was arrested for operating while intoxicated. According to the Indy Star, Jerrel Watkins was booked into the Madison County Jail following his arrest. Watkins was convicted of an incident in 2012 in which he was driving drunk when he caused a crash that left an on-duty police officer paralyzed. bottle-series-4-201960-m

Watkins pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury in the incident in which a test revealed that his BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was 0.29% at the time of the crash. This is more than three times the legal limit of 0.08% in most states across the U.S.

The crash, which occurred on June 11 of 2012, took place when Santos Cortez was responding to a report of a hit-and-run and was struck while enroute by Watkins, who was trying to flee. Cortez’ patrol car struck a pickup truck before he was thrown out the front passenger side window, according to court documents. Watkins was sentenced in February of last year to three years in prison along with six months of community service. He was also convicted of public intoxication and criminal mischief earlier this year.

News reports do not indicate the charges Watkins faces in this latest DUI incident, however Michigan DUI attorneys know that the charges are likely serious, considering the defendant’s past issues with driving under the influence, and the fact that he left a police officer paralyzed.

All drunk driving offenses are serious, whether an individual is arrested for the first time, third time, or even more. DUI is a crime that results in serious criminal penalties and potential loss of freedom. In the state of Michigan, an individual convicted of OUIL causing serious bodily injury will likely face up to five years in prison and fines of as much as $5,000. Even when no one else is injured, a DUI conviction can result in jail/prison time, fines, driver’s license suspension or revocation, community service, possible vehicle impoundment, and more depending on the offense.

Continue reading

On Saturday July 5th, Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Josh Gordon was arrested on a charge of DWI in Raleigh, NC according to a news article at USA Today. Gordon has a history of drug issues, and was pulled over in the early morning hours after a police officer spotted him driving 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. one-car-key-1149771-m

According to Jim Sughrue, police spokesman, Gordon was taken to the Wake County Detention Center after being pulled over on U.S. 70. It was not clear whether Gordon was arrested for DWI because of alcohol or another substance, and when asked, Sughrue said that he could not comment on testing Gordon had undergone, or the results of those tests. It was revealed however that Gordon’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was .09, just above the state’s legal limit of .08. Gordon admitted that he had consumed three drinks. An article at ESPN stated that there were no drug charges filed against Gordon, and that he was released after posting a $500 bond.

Gordon is scheduled to appear in court on the charges on August 26; at 23 years old, he could potentially face suspension by the NFL for one season due to a failed drug test. According to news reports, Gordon was stopped for speeding in early June, and was suspended in 2013 for four games due to the use of codeine, however he played two of the games without pay.

Driving while impaired, driving under the influence, operating while intoxicated – all of these terms are usually associated with consuming alcohol, although an individual may face the same charges for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of illegal or narcotic drugs as well.

Individuals who are arrested on charges of driving under the influence face serious consequences if convicted. In the state of Michigan, a first offense will leave the offender facing up to 93 days in jail, fines, driver’s license suspension, community service, and more. A third offense is a felony, with criminal penalties that include up to five years in prison, fines of as much as $5,000, driver’s license revocation, possible vehicle forfeiture, and other penalties.

Continue reading

On Sunday, June 29, 33-year-old Ellie Morris was killed in an accident involving the motorcycle she was a passenger on and a car allegedly driven by a drunk driver. The accident took place on the southbound side of the I-75/85 connector in Atlanta, according to a news article at CBS 46. motorcycle-stunter-tyre-burnout-1301096-m

The motorcycle on which Morris was riding was driven by 37-year-old Saahir Salahuddin. The driver of a Hyundai Sonata, Jessica Johnson, was attempting to move into the left-hand lane so that she could access I-20 when she struck the back of the motorcycle. Upon impact, Morris fell off of the motorcycle and was then struck by Johnson’s car.

Salahuddin’s motorcycle then struck the median. He went to where Johnson’s car was stopped and called Morris’s name before leaving the scene of the accident on the motorcycle. When police apprehended him later at Grady Memorial Hospital, they arrested him and charged him with hit and run, first-degree vehicular homicide, and receiving a stolen auto.

Johnson, the driver of the Hyundai that caused the accident, was given a field sobriety test and breathalyzer test. Police claim her BAC (blood alcohol content) was .209, more than twice the legal limit of .08. She was charged with DUI alcohol and first-degree vehicular homicide.

Any time someone dies as a result of drunken driving it is tragic. Even sadder is the fact that death due to DUI is fairly common across our nation.

Anyone who is arrested or charged with DUI causing the death of another person must consult with a skilled Michigan DUI attorney right away. In Michigan, an accident such as the one above may result in DUI causing death or drunk driving manslaughter charges. This is a very serious charge that will leave the offender facing up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. Even more frightening is the fact that prosecutors could decide that the defendant should be charged with murder, a life offense.

Continue reading

In the early morning ours on Sunday, June 29, three people sustained serious injuries following a crash that was suspected to have been caused by a drunk driver, according to San Bruno authorities. alcohol-1342726-m

News reports at Mercury News indicate that the collision happened just after midnight when two vehicles collided on Crystal Springs Road after one of the vehicles crossed over the center line. Officers stated that a Chevrolet Camaro crossed over the line, causing it to collide with a Ford Explorer. None of the individuals involved in the collision were identified, other than the driver of the Camaro, 19-year-old Hugo Gutierrez of South San Francisco. He sustained serious injuries, along with his passenger and the driver of the Explorer. Gutierrez was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving before being transported to the hospital.

Being arrested for suspicion of DUI is a serious matter, however it becomes even more serious when innocent people are injured. Michigan DUI attorneys know that those who have had a few drinks often feel that they are perfectly capable of driving. This is what alcohol does – it impairs your ability to rationalize, and makes many people feel invincible. Operating a vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol at all is not a smart decision, as alcohol affects all people differently.

In Michigan, the criminal penalties for a first-time DUI offender include possible jail time, driver’s license suspension, fines, and community service. However, when the charges escalate to DUI causing serious bodily injury or even death, the consequences are much more severe. In fact, it is a felony offense that will result in a maximum of five years in prison, mandatory vehicle immobilization, fines of up to $5,000, and more.

If someone dies as a result of a drunken driver, the driver will face criminal penalties that include up to 15 years in prison and fines of as much as $10,000 if found guilty.

Continue reading

On Monday June 9, Atlanta police officer Daryl Vann was pulled over after he was spotted making an improper lane change and speeding, according to reports at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is now on administrative leave pending investigation of DUI charges that were also leveled against him in addition to speeding and improper lane change. 12729_wpm_lowres (2)

The incident occurred on Interstate 85 just north of Pleasant Hill Road according to the article, which stated that Vann was exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 mph. He was spotted by a Gwinnett County DUI Task Force member who noticed his Nissan Altima speeding and driving erratically at about 2 a.m. Vann has been with the Atlanta Police Department for three years.

Vann allegedly failed a breathalyzer test and sobriety test; his BAC (blood alcohol content) was reported to be .1, just above the state’s legal limit of 0.08%. Vann did not deny having drank a few beers, although he could not remember exactly how many he had and told the officer he was rushing home. The Gwinnett officer claims that Vann asked for professional courtesy, however it was declined as the arresting officer told Vann that he had arrested officers in the past for DUI, and that there was no discretion in drunken driving cases.

While the news report does not indicate whether it was Vann’s first DUI, the criminal penalties in Georgia for a conviction include a mandatory minimum of 24 hours in jail, fines of $300 to $1,000, license suspension, 40 hours of community service, and more.

Drunken driving is a very serious offense in any state today. In Michigan, individuals found guilty of a first DUI offense will face penalties that include 360 hours of community service, up to 93 days in jail, driver’s license suspension, and fines of up to $500 among other penalties. While most first-time offenders will not face jail time in Michigan, the consequences are still serious. A criminal record will likely affect employment opportunities; having your driver’s license suspended will impact your life far more than you could imagine. You may also be required to complete a court-approved alcohol education program.

Continue reading

Two television news anchors for the same station in Des Moines, IA were recently arrested and charged with drunken driving, according to an article at the New York Daily News. One of the anchors, 47-year-old Sonya Heitshusen, has won five Emmy Awards for her journalistic excellence according to the article. video-camera-1412649-m

Heitshusen was arrested on Saturday, June 7 for driving drunk. Erik Wheater, her colleague at the station and a reporter/weekend news anchor, was arrested for driving while intoxicated on Friday, June 6.

Police claim that after pulling Heitshusen over in Des Moines, she refused to step out of her vehicle; she also refused to submit to a field sobriety test. After being taken to the police station, Heitshusen also refused the breath test. She was pulled over after police noticed she was driving on the wrong side of the road; it is Heitshusen’s first offense, according to The Des Moines Register. She was put in jail but has been released.

On Friday, Erik Wheater, Heitshusen’s 25-year-old colleague, was pulled over because his vehicle did not have a front license plate. Upon exiting his vehicle, police noticed that he fumbled when searching for his license and other documents, and was unsteady on his feet. Wheater submitted to a PBT and numerous field sobriety tests, failing them all. His blood alcohol concentration was found to be .125%. He was also charged with a first OWI offense.

In Michigan, even a first-offense DUI leaves the defendant facing serious consequences if convicted. The penalties for a first drunken driving conviction include driver’s license suspension, fines, and possible jail time. There are also other penalties that may apply, and the defendant will have a criminal record. Subsequent DUI offenses result in even harsher punishment.

Individuals who are pulled over in Michigan and asked to perform field sobriety tests or a roadside breath test should politely decline. These tests are not always accurate; in fact, how well you perform a field sobriety test is ultimately the police officer’s opinion. However, it is important that anyone who is arrested for drunken driving understand that if you refuse to take the breath test at the jail/police station, you are violating the state’s Implied Consent law. This could result in your driver’s license being suspended immediately.

Continue reading

Contact Information