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Flint, Michigan

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Does a High BAC Always Mean Conviction for a First Offense OWI?

Michigan DUI defense attorneyA 22-year-old Michigan man was arrested recently after being involved in a rollover accident. The man was able to avoid serious injury when he crashed his vehicle. However, police believe alcohol was a factor in the accident according to M Live. The man was arrested for impaired driving.

It is common for police to test a driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) after an accident, particularly if there is reason to suspect the driver was impaired at the time. A driver can also have his BAC tested if pulled over by police and there is probable cause to believe the motorist is drunk.

If you are a driver whose BAC is tested and your blood alcohol concentration tests above the .08 legal limit, you will face arrest and prosecution for the crime of operating while intoxicated (OWI). Many people assume an arrest for OWI with a high blood alcohol concentration is always going to lead to a guilty verdict. The reality, however, is it is possible to avoid conviction for a first offense OWI and even for subsequent drunk driving arrests.

A High BAC Doesn't Have to Mean an OWI Conviction

Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is considered OWI per se, which means your high BAC creates a presumption that you were too impaired to drive. However, a prosecutor still has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are ways to try to undermine the prosecutor's case against you, even when there is scientific evidence to show your BAC was higher than the legal limit. One option could be to try to have the evidence of your high BAC suppressed. If you were stopped without justification by the police, this could be considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment. If you were given a BAC test without probable cause and/or without your consent, this could also be a Fourth Amendment violation.

Any evidence which was collected after your Fourth Amendment rights were violated can be suppressed. This means a prosecutor couldn't use the evidence. You could potentially be acquitted if the prosecutor can't present the evidence, or could have the charges dropped if a prosecutor doesn't have enough other evidence to move forward once the illegally obtained evidence is declared inadmissible.

Even if the evidence can be presented by the prosecutor, you can argue there were problems with the chain of evidence, the evidence was contaminated, the testing was inaccurate, or there was a problem with the science behind determining your BAC. Many people have successfully introduced reasonable doubt about the quality of scientific evidence presented by prosecutors in order to avoid conviction for a first OWI offense or for subsequent charges.

Before you accept a guilty verdict, you should make sure you have truly explored all options for a legal strategy to defend yourself against charges.

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