First OWI offense;plead not guility? plea bargin for lesser charge? 4 Answers as of December 01, 2010

Hello, I am married with two young boys. Two weeks ago I made a big mistake #1 by drinking too much wine with my wife and then getting very upset at her. She called the police because I lost control of myself and forcefully grabbed her arms(huge mistake #2). So I took off in my car (mistake #3) and drove around then came home where the police were waiting for me. I was then arrested for 1st offense of OWI. My BAC was .11% I have not been in trouble for anything like this before, some traffic tickets in the past, but that's about it. I guess my question is what can I expect? Should I plead not guilty at my arraignment coming up, would I be able to plea bargain for a lesser charge? Thank you so much for any info.

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
My first advice is to retain an attorney or ask for an attorney to be appointed to represent you at the public's expense if you cannot afford to retain one. I would never advise anyone to plead guilty at an arraignment. You can stand mute and request the court enter a plea of not guilty for you, or you could just plead not guilty. The court will set a bond. Make sure you have money available to post your bond, bring a family member with some money, or have the names and numbers of bondsman in case the court sets a cash bond. Oftentimes, the court may issue a personal recognizance bond where you don't have to post anything. If you already posted an interim bond, the court just may continue that. However, it is good to have some additional funds available in case the court sets a bond where you need to post additional money.

You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. These types of charges are significantly more serious than other forms of traffic tickets; possible punishment includes jail time, up to 93 days, fines, costs, probation, and significant sanctions against your driving record, including possible suspension and restrictions, additional fees, points on your license, and additional sanctions. Only accept any sort of plea-offer if you are actually guilty and are fully aware of all the possible consequences.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/1/2010
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Thank you for submitting your question. In response, you should ALWAYS plead not guilty at an arraignment because if not, you give up any rights to plea bargain. They will usually offer you something of a lesser nature to plead to, but there can still be serious consequences such as points on your license, vehicle immobilization, license suspension, probation, etc. I recommend hiring an experienced DUI attorney because the stakes are too high and it is much too complicated to go at alone. You will be assigned a Pretrial Conference with either you or your attorney and the prosecutor to see what can be worked out. There may also be some issues that could possibly get the entire matter dismissed. That is why it is important to have an experienced DUI attorney look over the report and findings. Feel free to give us a call for a free consultation with no obligation. We look forward to hearing from you. Best of everything.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/30/2010
Coleman & Ramirez
Coleman & Ramirez | David Coleman
Plead not guilty at arraignment and consult a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/30/2010
Law Office of Daniel J. Larin
Law Office of Daniel J. Larin | Daniel Larin
Do not plead guilty at arraignment. You may be able to plead to a lesser charge or even get the OWI dismissed. You need to contact a lawyer for representation. The prosecutor may give you a reduced charge but he or she will not tell you if you have a good case or can have the charges dismissed. Remember a drunk driving will remain on your criminal record and your driving record for life. It is well worth it to have any attorney represent you. Even if you end up having to plead you will at least get advice on what to say and not say to the judge and the lawyer can speak for you at sentencing in ways you cannot. Good luck. By the you do not say if you were charged with domestic violence too.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/30/2010
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