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DUI Legal Process in Michigan

The Dui process in Michigan first begins with the arrest and release from custody. Once an officer has probable cause to arrest a person for a DUI offense, the person will be brought to the station for booking and a chemical test. The 77-day time limit to resolve a DUI case starts at the time of arrest. The person will then be held in custody at a jail until at least the following day, and suspects that submit to the chemical test and fail have to be incarcerated for a minimum of 8 hours before becoming eligible for release. The suspect can be released with a promise to appear in court or by posting bond.

The next step in the process is the arraignment. This first hearing can be done either in person or via video conference with either a judge or magistrate. The defendant will first be read the charges brought against them, the penalties, and their rights. The defendant will then enter a plea. If the defendant pleads guilty, the judge will impose a sentence at that time. A plea of non guilty results in setting a future pre-trial hearing and the court will set the defendant’s bond. The defense attorney are not required to be present at the arraignment.

The arraignment is then followed by a pre-trial hearing, where the prosecution and defense counsel discuss any issues and engage in plea negotiations. There can likely be several pre-trial hearings, which can include evidentiary hearings and pre-trial motions. The prosecution and defense can then present evidence and can motion to compel disclosure of evidence and to suppress certain evidence. The two sides can engage in plea bargaining again after the evidence has been presented.

If the defendant chooses jury trial over a trial by judge, the court will then begin jury selection. For a misdemeanor offense, the size of the jury will be six jurors, whereas a felony offense has a jury size of 12 jurors. During voir dire, either side can use a peremptory challenge to exclude a jury candidate without any explanation, or the maximum number of challenges is equal to the total number of jurors needed.

The trial now begins with opening statements from the prosecution and defense. The prosecution will present their evidence and witnesses in order to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, which is needed for conviction. The defense will be given the opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses. After the prosecution finishes with its proofs, the defense will have the opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses. Each side will then have time for closing statements. After the jury is instructed by the judge, jury deliberation will take place, which is followed by the verdict. A guilty verdict leaves the defendant with the option of appeal.


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