December 16, 2022

DUI Third Offense

Many people know that a third arrest for drinking and driving can subject a person to a felony charge. While a first and second offense are clearly misdemeanors, a third offense can be enhanced to a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The felony drunk driving statute also requires that the defendant serve a minimum of 30 days in jail.

Recent changes in Michigan law make it possible for a judge to consider alternatives to jail time. It is important when interviewing lawyers to determine whether the lawyer is aware of such opportunities and whether he has strategies on how to achieve them.

Years ago there was a strict framework for whether or not a person could be accused of third offense Operating While Intoxicated, or OWI third. It used to be that prior convictions had to have occurred within a specified time. That is to say, if a person was convicted 10 years ago of their last drunk driving for example, he or she could not be accused of a repeat offense on their new arrest.

A Michigan statute which was publicly recognized as Heidi‘s law changed all that. Under Michigan law prosecutors now have the discretion to charge a person with felony drunk driving regardless of how old his or her prior convictions are. In these situations it’s vital that a great lawyer be persuasive in speaking with either the police or prosecutors pre-charge to demonstrate that the age of those prior convictions make them less relevant for whether or not the defendant should become a convicted felon.

In situations like this, I work very hard to demonstrate that for example, my client’s prior convictions were from his or her adolescence. It’s relevant to recognize that young people make these kinds of mistakes without necessarily becoming addicted to alcohol or becoming lifelong abusive drinkers. With diplomacy and advocacy I work hard to shine a light on the positive things my clients have done so that they are not forever judged by their past mistakes. 

To get help when you need it the most to fight your DUI charge, contact me or call (248) 645-1400.