A DUI is a serious offense in Michigan. Therefore, you need a very reliable Michigan DUI lawyer.
In Michigan, a DUI – or in other terms, an OWI – is a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether this is an individual’s first, second, or third offense.
- First offense: A misdemeanor punishable by up to 360 hours of community service, up to 93 days of imprisonment, or a fine of up to $500.
- Second offense: A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and either up to 90 days of community service or up to one (1) year of imprisonment.
- Third offense: This is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and either, up to 5 years of imprisonment, up to 1 year of probation with imprisonment, or up to 180 days of community service.
If you have been charged with an OWI in Michigan, you need an expert Michigan DUI lawyer to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
What Makes a Great Michigan DUI Attorney for Your Defense?
As you search for a DUI/OWI attorney, you need to know what factors can improve your chances of finding the best DUI attorney in Michigan.
We’ve put together five helpful tips to help you jump-start your search.
1. Expert DUI Defense
A great DUI lawyer understands the evidence in their client’s case. These lawyers know how to assess standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests (FST), as well as chemical sobriety tests used to show the level of a suspect’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
This test includes:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus: An officer will ask a suspected driver to follow an object – such as a pen – with their eyes to determine whether their eyes will smoothly follow the pen. Involuntary jerking of the eyes may suggest intoxication.
- Walk/turn test: An officer will ask a suspected driver to take nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line and then turn and do the same in the other direction. While the driver takes these steps, the officer assesses whether the driver appears to be impaired.
- The one-leg stand test: An officer will ask a suspected driver to hold one foot 6 inches above the ground while counting aloud. The driver also has to keep their arms by their side and their eyes on the elevated leg during the test. If the driver loses balance, an officer may suspect they are intoxicated.
- Counting numbers backward.
- Restating the alphabet.
- Counting while tapping a thumb to each finger successively.
Though standardized and non-standardized FSTs are not scientific indicators of a suspect’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), law enforcement officers often use these tests to prove whether they have probable cause to arrest a suspect for a DUI. A good DUI attorney knows how to review FSTs to determine whether they were rendered appropriately and can be admitted in court.
Chemical Sobriety Testing
An expert DUI attorney also understands chemical sobriety testing firsthand.
These tests include:
- Preliminary breath test: An officer uses a breathalyzer when they pull over a suspected driver to test their BAC.
- Datamaster DMT breath test: An officer uses a DMT machine to test the BAC of a suspected driver’s breath.
- Blood test: A qualified person under the supervision of a doctor draws blood from a suspected driver to test their BAC.
A skilled OWI lawyer knows these tests are often flawed and understand the scientific effects of drugs and alcohol on the body. They can thus use this to prove or disprove the forensic evidence in a case.
Ideally, an expert DUI lawyer will also be a certified forensic-lawyer scientist who is a member of the American Chemical Society’s Chemistry and Law Division (ACS-CHAL). These lawyers can use their understanding of forensic science to benefit their clients.
There are fewer than 100 of these lawyers in the United States. Fortunately, our lead attorney, Barton W. Morris Jr. has been an ACS-CHAL Forensic-Lawyer Scientist since October 2014. He is also the only Michigan DUI lawyer with this rare designation.
2. Respect from Prosecutors and Court
You should look for a lawyer who has a formidable reputation among prosecutors and judges. A DUI lawyer’s ultimate goal is to get your charges reduced or dismissed. A good OWI attorney in Michigan appreciates that this is only possible if a prosecutor respects a defense attorney enough to negotiate a plea deal to reduce or drop a defendant’s charges.
Likewise, if a judge respects a DUI defense attorney, they will present favorable pre-trial offers, make fair rulings, and listen to the defense’s arguments at trial.
The Law Offices Of Barton Morris has a team of established DUI defense attorneys. We have been selected as a “Top Attorney in Michigan” for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019, and 2020. When we go to court, the prosecutors and judges know that we are a highly intelligent, thorough, and efficient team and that we will fight hard for our clients. This reputation earns us solid respect from prosecutors and judges, and ultimately gets us great results for our clients.
3. Stellar Reviews
A good DUI lawyer will also have stellar reviews. Clients use multiple platforms such as Google, Avvo, and Facebook to provide feedback on their experience with lawyers. This feedback usually covers topics such as the lawyer’s professionalism, the quality of service, and even the appearance of the lawyer’s office.
Before selecting your DUI lawyer, ensure that you read many Michigan DUI attorney reviews. If most of these reviews are stellar, then you will know that you are making a good decision. For example; Barton Morris is rated 10/10 by Avvo and currently holds a 4.5/5 rating on Google.
4. Team Approach
A good law firm uses a comprehensive team approach to achieve the best results for its clients. From the initial client interview to the attorney’s investigation of evidence and ultimately the jury trial, a good law firm utilizes its entire team to provide solid representation for you.
A strong team approach means the lawyers, paralegals, administrative assistants, and receptionists all play an important role in handling your case. A team approach ensures that your case receives heightened attention, which means that nothing gets missed. As you attend attorney consultation meetings, ensure that you inquire about whether they use a team approach.
5. Confident (But Realistic)
Finally, a good DUI lawyer will be confident, but realistic. Their confidence will alert the prosecution that they are in for a fight and it will convince the judge and jury that they are knowledgeable about your case.
However, their confidence won’t be used as a weapon to manipulate you or the court. They won’t offer you false platitudes just to get your money. Instead, they will be realistic about your case and the possible outcomes. Using their thorough understanding of the evidence and any available defenses, they’ll inform you of the best outcome for your case.
Choose Us for Your Michigan DUI Defense
The Law Offices Of Barton Morris offers expert DUI defense services in Southeast Michigan. We are not the cheapest DUI attorney in Michigan, but we will provide you with the best defense possible.
To speak with an attorney, call us at (248) 541-2600. You can also schedule a free consultation online or visit us in person at 520 N. Main St. Royal Oak, MI 48067.
Attorney Morris has enjoyed a very successful and distinguished career as a trial lawyer providing high quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for 20 years. He is known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he is dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is prepared to take on complex legal issues with success. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has also graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris was chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020 for DUI/DWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. Barton Morris was also chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense for 2014-2020 and Barton Morris is the only Lawyer in Michigan designated by the American Chemical Society as a “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist”