Antrim County is home to one of Michigan’s favorite boating destinations, the Torch Lake Sandbar. Every year boaters make the trip to Antrim County to play on the Torch Lake. The sandbar provides a Caribbean experience in Antrim County. As with all boating hot spots, there is alcohol. A good Antrim County criminal defense lawyer can prevent someone from “coming on vacation, leaving on probation.”
Types of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Antrim County
In order to understand the types of criminal defense lawyers in Antrim County, one has to appreciate that criminal law is the people’s sword. In criminal law, people can lose their life. Albeit Michigan does not have a death penalty, a life sentence is as damaging. Incarceration for even a short period has lasting effects beyond losing freedom, including loss of employment.
The Michigan constitution of 1968, § 20 Rights of accused in criminal prosecutions, mandates that “In every criminal prosecution, the accused shall have the assistance of counsel.” Similar language is found in the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The most meaningful categories or types of criminal defense lawyers are those attorneys that accept court-appointed cases for the indigent, and those attorneys that do not. Court-appointed attorneys, i.e. public defenders, are paid by the County in Michigan.
I have practiced criminal law since 2001. I categorize criminal defense attorneys into two types. Lawyers that will litigate a case in trial, and those that will not. There are many criminal defense attorneys that have no desire to advocate for their clients in a trial. Litigators vs pleaders. In fact, a pleader will bend over backward to convince their clients into accepting a plea bargain. An Antrim County criminal defense lawyer should advise their client on the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and then the client should decide whether to conduct a trial.
Drunk Driving (DUI) in Antrim County
The 86th District Court is where the majority of DUI cases are filed. Michigan’s drunk driving statute is MCL 257.625. Two convictions for drunk driving within seven years or a conviction for a third offense of drunk driving causes a driver’s license revocation for the defendant. Please visit my driver’s license restoration blog to learn more about driver’s license reinstatement or restoration. Driver’s License Restoration Blog.
Driving While Visibly Impaired (OWVI)
Driving while visibly Impaired (OWVI) is a 93-day misdemeanor. MCL 257.625(3). A conviction for OWVI results in 4-Points added to the driver’s record. The driving sanction for an OWVI conviction is restricted driving privileges for 90-days if the underlying intoxicating substance was alcohol or 180-days if the underlying intoxicating substance is any other drug. At trial, the prosecutor must prove that the driver’s ability to operate the motor vehicle was so weakened or reduced by the consumption of alcohol, controlled substances, or other intoxicating substances, or a combination of these, that the driver’s operation was with less care than that used by an ordinary, careful, and prudent driver. Adverse reactions to prescription medication may be a basis for an (OWVI) conviction. Similarly, someone driving after consuming only a drink or two of alcohol may be sufficiently impaired for a conviction. OWVI is normally used as a reduction in charges pursuant to plea negotiations.
Operating While Intoxicated in Antrim County
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is what I call standard or regular drunk driving. OWI is the first drunk driving offense that uses bodily alcohol as an element of the crime. A regular drunk driving charge requires a prosecutor to prove that the defendant was operating the automobile with a bodily alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more [per 100 milliliters of blood / 210 liters of breath / 67 milliliters of urine]. View Michigan’s standard OWI jury instructions here.
A standard OWI conviction could land the defendant in jail for up to 93 days, with a fine of $500, and perform up to 360 days of community service. A standard OWI conviction will cause a 30-day driver’s license suspension for the defendant followed by 150 days of restricted driving privileges.
Super Drunk Driving in Antrim County
In 2010 the Michigan Legislature added a new charge called Operating with High Bodily Alcohol Content (OWHBAC). The prosecutor must prove that the defendant operated the vehicle with a bodily alcohol content of 0.17 grams or more per [100 milliliters of blood / 210 liters of breath / 67 milliliters of urine].
The penalties for a super drunk driving conviction are incarceration for up to 180 days, with a one-year driver’s license suspension, or restricted driving privileges with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in the defendant’s automobile after a 45-day suspension.
Drunk Boating in Antrim County
Boating Under the Influence (BUI) and Boating While Visibly Impaired (BWVI) mirror Michigan’s motor vehicle drunk driving offenses. The criminal sanctions for a first offense DUI are the following: 1. Up to 93 days in jail; 2. Potential suspension of boating privileges for one to two years; 3. community service for up to 45 days; and 4. a fine up to $500.00.
Learn More about Criminal Law in Antrim County
Learn more about criminal law in Antrim County at my criminal law blog. Criminal Law Blog.
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Antrim County Courts
Use the links below to visit the Antrim County Courts: