GRAND RAPIDS DUI ATTORNEYS

AGGRESSIVELY DEFENDING DUI’s (OWI’s) IN GRAND RAPIDS, MUSKEGON, BIG RAPIDS, LUDINGTON, AND MORE

Grand Rapids DUI Attorneys
Grand Rapids DUI Defense Attorneys (L-R): Matthew Borgula, Kathy Springstead, Michael Bartish, Gary Springstead

The Grand Rapids DUI attorneys at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law feature award-winning attorneys who are recognized as among the best in the State of Michigan.  Attorneys Gary K. Springstead and Michael R. Bartish have been named Super Lawyers for Criminal Law in 2014 and 2015, while Attorneys Matthew G. Borgula and Kathryn M. Springstead are both rated a perfect 10.0 by Avvo.com. Attorney Gary K. Springstead, who leads our drunk driving practice group, is one of the leading DUI defense attorneys in West Michigan and throughout the State of Michigan, having prevailed on groundbreaking legal challenges to breath testing in Michigan in 2014, in which he was lead counsel for the defense and blood testing in Michigan in 2011 in which he was co-counsel.  In November of 2015, both attorneys Gary K. Springstead and Matthew Borgula became certified in the administration of  N.H.T.S.A.’s standardized field sobriety tests, having completed the same course and training that law enforcement takes to learn how to administer these tests, further bolstering our expertise in DUI defense.

If you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge for operating while intoxicated (OWI) or operating while visibly impaired (OWVI), call Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law now.  We aggressively challenge DUI charges in the greater Grand Rapids Area, Hudsonville, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Hart, Ludington, White Cloud, and Big Rapids.  When you hire our award-winning attorneys, you can rest assured that we will do everything can do to try and win your case or get the best possible result you.

We understand that being accused of drunk driving in West Michigan is very serious. The impact of a single drinking and driving conviction can last for years and impact many aspects of your life. If you, or somebody you know, is accused of drunk driving, you are probably worried about:

  • Jail / Prison
  • Losing Your Job
  • Losing Your Right to Drive
  • The Stigma of Having a Permanent DUI Conviction on Your Criminal Record
  • Soaring Costs of Insurance
  • Driver Responsibility Fees
  • Days/Weeks/Months/Years of Court-Ordered Counseling
  • Court-Ordered Community Service + Your Real-Life Responsibilities
  • Answering to Probation or Parole on Daily/Weekly/Monthly Basis.

Hiring the DUI defense lawyers at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law to defend you in your drinking and driving case provides peace of mind.  Let our experienced, knowledgeable and personable attorneys and legal assistants will guide you through the entire legal process, answering your questions about your case along the way, and making what can be a very stressful chapter in your life much more manageable.

While we cannot guarantee you any particular result in your DUI case, as the facts of every case differ, as do the courts handling the cases, we do guarantee that we will use the same successful approach to defending drinking and driving charges that has earned us these rave reviews as some of the top DUI defense attorneys in Grand Rapids and throughout West Michigan.

“I was arrested in Kent County (Grand Rapids) on a DUI charge. I am a working professional, who looked carefully at all defense attorney options. Cost was secondary, and experience/ability were my primary concerns. Gary and his Firm were an easy choice, based on their DUI expertise and tremendous amount of experience. I could have retained anyone, and I made the right choice!
Gary got my DUI charge dismissed. Completely! No plea bargain, no reduced charges.
Gary listened to me, investigated my case, and fought on my behalf. Gary understands DUI charges and knows how to defend against them. I cannot say enough about his DUI expertise, and the tremendous result obtained.
I recommend Springstead Bartish & Borgula to anyone facing a DUI.”
– a Client

To view more of our reviews, click here Gary K. Springstead, Michael Bartish, Kathy Springstead , and Matthew Borgula.

COMMITTED TO WINNING AND RESULTS

Video of Grand Rapids Drunk Driving | DUI Defense Attorneys

There is no magic wand that we can wave to make your Michigan DUI charge disappear. Instead, our legal approach, like many other successful endeavors, is the result of having smart, hardworking, conscientious criminal defense attorneys who employs a methodical approach to taking apart a drunk-driving charge. With offices in Grand Rapids and Fremont the drunk driving defense attorneys at Springstead & Bartish law defend clients throughout West Michigan Including:

AWARD-WINNING ATTORNEYS DEDICATED TO DUI DEFENSE

The attorneys at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law have:

  • The Experience and Knowledge that comes from focusing almost exclusively on criminal law/DUI’s day-in and day-out.
  • An In-Depth Understanding of the applicable law, that is, Michigan’s drunk driving laws; search and seizure law, the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to our Constitution; and the Rules of Evidence.

LEADERS IN DUI DEFENSE

At Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, we are committed to staying up-to-date on the latest laws and trends in drinking and driving/DUI defense, so we can bring you the most effective defense to bear in your case. Some times we even break new legal ground ourselves.

For example, in 2014, Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law’s leading Grand Rapids DUI attorney Gary Springstead, along with attorney Michael J. Nichols, led the way in forcing the State of Michigan to develop an uncertainty estimate for its “new” breath-testing machine, the DataMaster DMT, in one of the first such legal/scientific challenges in Michigan. Now, as a result of this legal battle, waged for more than a year in Grand Rapids, the State can be held accountable for the uncertainty in its BAC estimates in breath cases. This is especially critical in borderline cases because the prosecution’s witness(es) will have to acknowledge, under oath, that the results of the breath test can vary anywhere from 5.25% to 7.09%, depending on the applicable B.A.C. range, according to the State of Michigan’s own study (our expert’s estimates are slightly higher than theirs). This groundbreaking victory for DUI defense was won in the face of a fierce resistance from the prosecutors and the Michigan State Police.

Similarly, in 2011, Attorney Gary K. Springstead and Michael J. Nichols teamed up in another DUI case in Ludington, Michigan, to force the Michigan State Police to develop an uncertainty estimate for its blood tests. As a result, all blood tests now affirmatively state the margin for error in the State’s BAC estimate, which can make a tremendous difference to the accused in borderline cases.

As these cases demonstrate, Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law is committed to being one of the leading DUI defense firms in the State of Michigan and West Michigan. As such, our Drunk Driving attorneys are actively involved in the leading criminal/DUI defense organizations in Michigan and nationwide:

  • Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (Mr. Springstead  and Mr. Bartish are Board Members and Mrs. Springstead is an active member).
  • Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys (All three attorneys are active members).
  • The Darrow Forum on Google (All three attorneys are active members).
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (All three attorneys are active members).
  • National College of DUI Defense (All three attorneys are active members).

There is no substitute for the experience and knowledge that comes from being one of the leading DUI firms in Grand Rapids and throughout the State of Michigan.

DRIVEN TO DELIVER THE BEST DUI DEFENSE IN WEST MICHIGAN

At Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, we do not rest on our laurels. Our DUI defense attorneys are hardworking, conscientious, and dedicated to providing the best drinking and driving defense not only in Grand Rapids but throughout West Michigan. We are not satisfied with simply accepting the first plea offer that comes across our desk. We want to win your Drunk Driving case or ensure that you are getting the best possible resolution for your DUI charges. This means examining all of the evidence from the DUI stop and looking for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

METHODICALLY TAKING APART THE PROSECUTION’S CASE

  •  Step 1:  Gather all of the Evidence

Our DUI defense attorneys leave no stone unturned in defending drinking and driving cases, employing discovery demands, FOIA requests, subpoenas, independent investigation and experts, so we can examine all of the evidence in the case, not just the evidence the prosecution wants to focus on. (Read more on the importance of gathering all of the evidence).

  • Step 2:  Carefully Scrutinize the Factual and Legal Basis for the Traffic Stop

One of the best ways to win a drunk driving case outright is to successfully challenge the factual or legal basis for the traffic stop (suspicion of a civil infraction or crime occurring). Courts are generally required to suppress any evidence seized as a result of an unjustified traffic stop, effectively gutting the prosecutor’s case. (Read more on how to successfully attack a traffic stop).

  • Step 3—Take Apart the Subsequent Drunk Driving Investigation.

Whenever the police make a warrantless, like they do in most drunk driving cases, they must be able to demonstrate to the court that their decision to arrest was supported by probable cause. When challenged, the prosecution will try and introduce as much evidence as possible to justify law enforcement actions, including:

  • The Initial Observations by the Police—odor of intoxicants, fumbling, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes
  • Answers to Direct Questioning—“how much have you had to drink?”, where are you coming from?”, difficulty answering questions, etc.
  • Performance on the Field Sobriety Tests—ABC’s, Number Count, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk-and-Turn (WAT), and (OLS), to name a few (read more on successfully challenging field sobriety tests)
  •  The Results of the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT).

Because warrantless DUI arrests depend heavily on each of these factors above, our DUI lawyers do everything we can to prevent the prosecution from introducing the results in your case. (Read more on how we challenge each aspect of a drunk driving investigation).

  • Step 4—Challenging the Admissibility of the Breath or Blood Tests After Arrest

The linchpin of most Michigan drunk-driving cases is the result of the “chemical” test, i.e., the blood or breath test, following a drinking and driving arrest. Our DUI attorneys will carefully examine and, where appropriate, aggressively challenge the admissibility of the results of these test in your case. Preventing the prosecution from introducing these tests, or countering them with evidence of our own, is the key to winning a drunk driving case or getting a favorable resolution. (Read more about the evidentiary, legal and scientific challenges to the admissibility of the breath and blood tests)

  • Step 5—Attack the Prosecution’s Case Through Pretrial Motions

At Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, experience has taught us that some times a good offense is the best defense. That’s why we believe in aggressively attacking the prosecution’s case in pretrial motions when the circumstances call for it. The benefit of filing pretrial motions include giving the client a clear shot at winning their case before trial, exposing the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and learning more about the prosecution’s case prior to trial. (Read more on how we attack the prosecution’s case)

  • Step 6—Leverage Weaknesses in the Prosecution’s Case for the Best Result Possible 

Because our attorneys focus almost exclusively on criminal law and drunk driving defense is one of our biggest practice areas, we are very adept at identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. We try and leverage these weaknesses to get our clients the best possible result, whether that is a win or a more favorable resolution of the case. We like to think that our skill, experience and success defending DUI’s inures to our client’s benefit we try and resolve a case short of trial.

  • Step 7—Be Prepared for and Ready to Win a Trial 

Giving up your constitutional right to be presumed innocent and make the prosecution prove a crime was committed, beyond a reasonable doubt, is not something we take lightly, nor should you. Forcing the prosecution to “prove it” at trial is your fundamental constitutional right.

By methodically working your case along the way, we will be prepared for and ready to go to trial. Truly being ready for trial means giving you the best shot to win your case at trial with the added benefit that sometimes employing that last bit of leverage helps obtain a favorable resolution for you. Sometimes it is only when a prosecutor is confronted with the reality of having to “prove it” at trial, against a formidable advocate, that they make a more realistic appraisal of the relative strengths and weaknesses in their case, which can lead to more favorable resolution for our clients. Of course, not all prosecutors buckle under the threat of trial, which is why it is important that your hire an experienced DUI attorney who knows when they have actually reached the prosecutor’s bottom line and who is also ready to go to trial.

EXPLORING ALTERNATIVE OUTCOMES AND DIVERSIONS

Unfortunately, you can’t win ‘em all. Some times a conviction is inevitable. Even if you are facing a conviction for a DUI, our attorneys will work hard to minimize the fallout. This includes seeking:

  • Bond pending trial
  • Reduced charges
  • Credit for time served in jail or in-patient treatment centers
  • Exploring whether sobriety court is right for you

This is not an exhaustive list of the relief we often seek, but some of the more common concerns that arise. If you would like a free consultation about your drinking and driving case and see what options might be available to you, call now.

LET US WORRY ABOUT YOUR CASE

Let our award-winning Grand Rapids & Fremont DUI attorneys worry about your case, so you don’t have to. We will try and save you:

  • Time—By waiving arraignment and handling the pretrial conference ourselves, where permitted
  • Money—By knowing the court and prosecutor so we can advise you of the most efficient defense, the likelihood of success of motions or trials, so you gauge whether it is worth it to you to pursue a trial or motion and possibly win the case or create leverage for a better deal, and by trying to negotiate more favorable resolutions with reduced court costs or driver responsibility fees
  • Angst—Know that we are going to do everything we can to win your case or get you the best possible resolution.  This should give you peace of mind during a trying time.

Protect yourself and protect your future. Call the award-wining DUI defense attorneys at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law for a free consultation. (231) 924-8700 or (616) 456-5500.

Related Resources:

National College of DUI Defense

Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys

Drunk Driving (OWI, DUI, DWI) ~ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I still drive if I have been arrested for drunk driving?

Yes, if you agreed to take an evidential breath test, i.e., the breath test normally given at the jail or a blood test normally at a hospital. Because you are presumed innocent in the eyes of the law, the state cannot take away your driving privileges without due process of law. While the police will take your traditional driver’s license, they will give you a piece of paper, form DI-177, that serves as your license to drive during the pendency of your case. If you are convicted of drunk driving, the Court is required by law to abstract or send the Secretary of State (SOS) proof of your conviction, which then triggers the SOS to suspend or revoke your driving privileges.

What happens if I refused the Preliminary Breath Test (P.B.T.) (the breath test usually offered on the side of the road)?

It is a civil infraction, like a speeding ticket, to refuse a lawful request for a P.B.T. See M.C.L. § 257.625a(2)(d) (“a person who refuses to submit to a preliminary chemical breath analysis upon a lawful request by a peace officer is responsible for a civil infraction.”) You will be fined up to $150. It is important to note, however, that the evidential breath test is not the same thing as the preliminary breath test, which is usually given on the side of the road. You can refuse the P.B.T. without losing your driving privileges, though you may have to pay a fine for doing so. If you have a C.D.L., there may be more serious consequences for refusing a P.B.T.

What happens if I refused the evidential breath or blood test?

If you did not agree to take the evidential breath or blood test, then the Secretary of State will suspend your driving privileges shortly after your arrest (normally 2-3 weeks). Before they take away your driving privileges, they are required by law to give you an opportunity to explain why your driving privileges should not be suspended. The SOS will give you a hearing to make this determination within 14 days of the refusal. If the Secretary of State finds that you had no good reason for refusing the test, they will revoke all of your driving privileges for at least one year and six points will be added to your driving record.

If my driving privileges are revoked for refusing the evidential breath or blood test, is there anything I can do to get my license back?

Yes, there are two things you can do. First, you can appeal the SOS decision to your local Circuit Court and challenge the suspension on the merits, that is, try and convince the Court that the SOS should not have revoked your driving privileges in the first place. If you win in Circuit Court, you will get your full driving privileges back. Second, you can accept the suspension, but ask the Circuit Court grant restricted driving privileges due to a “hardship” caused by the suspension, e.g., you need to be able to drive to get back and forth to work. If the Court agrees, the Court will grant you the ability to drive subject to some restrictions set by the Court, e.g., you can drive to/from work, school, doctor appointments.

Can the police just stop me for any reason?

No. At a minimum, the police must either have (a) probable cause to believe you committed a civil infraction, e.g., a burned out brake light or license plate, speeding, or improper lane usage, or (b) a reasonable suspicion to believe you committed a crime, i.e., drunk driving. In most cases, the police base a traffic stop on the observation of a civil infraction and then justify further investigation based on their personal observations, i.e., the odor of intoxicants, open container(s) of alcohol in the car, or simply the appearance of being intoxicated.

Can the police just order me to get out of the car after a traffic stop?

Generally, yes. The Supreme Court has held that it is not a violation of the Constitution or Fourth Amendment for the police to do just that. See Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977). That being said, the police must work quickly to confirm or dispel their suspicions if they believe criminal activity is afoot. Otherwise, in the case of a civil infraction, they should issue the citation and release you relatively quickly.

Do I have to answer the Police Officer’s questions if I am pulled over for a traffic violation?

You do not have to answer and questions that may potentially incriminate you. Often, especially if you are pulled over in the evening, the officer may ask you if you have had anything to drink that evening. You do not have to answer this question and we recommend that you do not if you have even consumed one drink. Simply state that you would like to speak with an attorney before answering any questions. Admitting to consuming “one beer” or “one glass of wine” may provide the officer with a reason to begin or continue a drunk driving investigation and may give him reasonable suspicion to detain you further and ask that you submit to field sobriety tests or a preliminary breath test. You should certainly never admit to consuming multiple drinks or feeling a little buzzed.

Do I have to do field sobriety tests if a police officer asks me to?

No. You have a constitutional right not to incriminate yourself. See Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Typically, the police are just looking to gather more evidence to confirm their suspicions that you are operating a car while intoxicated, so by agreeing to take their tests, you are just giving them more evidence support your warrantless arrest. The best way to refuse sobriety tests is to politely tell the officer that you do not want to and would like to know whether you are free to leave; otherwise, you would like to speak to an attorney if you are under arrest.

Do I have to take a Preliminary Breath Test (P.B.T.)?

No, but failure to do so in response to a lawful request is a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $150. If you have a special endorsement on your license, e.g., a C.D.L., other rules may apply. In most cases, the results of a P.B.T. are the linchpin of a drunk driving arrest, so chose wisely.

Do I have to take a breath test or blood test after my arrest?

Yes and No. Under Michigan’s Implied Consent law, through the grant of driving privileges in Michigan, you impliedly consent to take a chemical test upon the lawful request of an arresting officer following a drunk driving arrest. Because the law cannot compel you to incriminate yourself, however, you can refuse to take such a chemical test. The penalty for doing so is stiff—at least a year suspension of your driving privileges and six points are added to your driving record. If you refuse such a test, the police will most likely seek a search warrant for a sample of your blood.

Is my license immediately suspended if I refuse to submit to an evidentiary breath test?

No. If you refuse to submit an evidentiary chemical test, the officer will provide you with a Notice of Implied Consent Refusal. You will have 14 days from the receipt of this Notice to request an administrative hearing to challenge this implied consent notice. You must request a hearing within 14 days of receiving the notice or you will have waived your right to a hearing and the Secretary of State will suspend your license for one year.

Can I obtain restricted driving privileges following the suspension of my driver’s license for an implied consent refusal?

Yes. Even if your license is suspended for one year for an implied consent refusal, you can obtain restricted driving privileges to travel to and from work, school, and court and probation appearances. To obtain restricted driving privileges, you must file an appeal with the Circuit Court of the county in which you were arrested and must prove to the Circuit Court judge that you need restricted driving privileges in order to work or go to school.

Do I have any chance of winning my case if I am charged with drunk driving?

Yes. How good a chance you have depends on the strength of the evidence against you and whether the police made any mistakes you can capitalize on. If you are charged with drunk driving, you should have an attorney who focuses on drunk driving review your case. They might be able to identify and exploit weaknesses in the case, including those in the breath and blood testing process, while ensuring that all of your constitutional rights are protected.

What will happen to me if I am convicted of drunk driving?

Hopefully, that does not happen. Make sure you get a really good attorney if you are charged with drunk driving. If it does, there are a number of possible penalties, depending on exactly the offense of which you are convicted. The following chart summarizes the criminal and administrative penalties associated with some of the more common OWI offenses.

Charge Maximum Sentence Secretary of State Points Driver Responsibility Fee License Actions
High BAC (Super Drunk) .17 grams or higher Up to 180 days in jail. A fine of $200 to $700 plus court costs. Up to 360 hours of Community Service 6 $1000.00 a year for two years One year license suspension. 45 days of hard suspension (no driving at all) followed by restricted driving privileges with installation of ignition interlock device

2nd Offense (within 7 years): Revocation. Cannot reapply for driving privileges for 1 year.
Operating While Intoxicated - .08 grams or higher Up to 93 days in jail. A fine of $100 to $500 plus court costs. Up to 360 hours of Community Service 6 $1000.00 a year for two years 30 day license suspension followed by 5 months of restricted driving privileges.

2nd Offense (within 7 years): Revocation. Cannot reapply for driving privileges for 1 year.
Operating with the Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD) Up to 93 days in jail. A fine of $100 to $500 plus court costs. Up to 360 hours of Community Service 6 $1000.00 a year for two years 30 day license suspension followed by 5 months of restricted driving privileges.

2nd Offense (within 7 years): Revocation. Cannot reapply for driving privileges for 1 year.
Operating While Visibly Impaired Up to 93 days in jail. A fine of up to $300 plus court costs. Up to 360 hours of Community Service 4 $500.00 a year for two years. 90 day restricted license (180 if impaired by a controlled substance).

2nd Offense (within 7 years): Revocation. Cannot reapply for driving privileges for 1 year.
Zero Tolerance – Under 21 operating a motor vehicle with presence of alcohol in system. Up to $250 fine.
Up to 360 hours of community service.
4 $500.00 a year for two years. 30 day restricted license

2nd Offense (within 7 years): Revocation. Cannot reapply for driving privileges for 1 year.
Child Endangerment – Drunk Driving with Under 16 year old in Vehicle 5 days to one year in jail. $200 to $1000 fine. 30 to 90 days community service. 6 $1000.00 a year for two years 90 day license suspension followed by a 90 day restricted license.

2nd Offense (within 7 years): Revocation. Cannot reapply for driving privileges for 1 year.

Can I get a drunk driving conviction expunged?

No, not under Michigan law.

How does the whole process work and what type of sentence am I likely to receive if I am convicted.

How your case is processed, how fast it proceeds, and your likely sentence is dependent upon a multitude of factors. Each court, county, and prosecuting attorney’s office handles and processes criminal cases differently. The criminal defense attorneys of Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, PLLC have handled cases in most counties throughout western Michigan. Based on our experiences we have tried to summarize the standard operating procedure of each county and court where we practice. Please click on the following link for an explanation of the standard operating procedures of the court where your case is pending.