Skip To Content
AVVO Reviews Best Law Firms - Standard Badge

Should I Hire an Attorney for a First Time OWI/DUI Arrest?

By Daniel T. Geherin

You’re leaving a holiday party after consuming a few beers, and suddenly you hear sirens behind you. The fear, panic and anxiety start to kick in; am I over the legal limit? Am I going to jail? Will I lose my driver’s license? 

After spending the night in jail, you go home and start to pick up the pieces. You ask your friends, family and colleagues:  

“Do I need an attorney to represent me for an OWI case?”

“What can an attorney do to help me with a first OWI case?”

“How much will an attorney cost?”

“How do I find the best OWI defense attorney to help?”

In Michigan, a first offense OWI is a crime—not just a traffic offense.  It’s a misdemeanor, carrying up to 93 days in jail upon a conviction. There are several judges in Michigan who impose jail time on a first offense, even when you have no priors, no accident, and no aggravating factors. For higher blood alcohol arrests (called “High BAC” or “Superdrunk”), the law allows for up to 180 days in jail. 

If your basic liberty is at stake, you should always consider hiring an attorney to best protect yourself.  

First time OWI arrests also carry driver’s license sanctions, ranging from revocation, to long-term suspension, to restrictions. Navigating these sanctions and the red tape that comes from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office is complicated, so hiring an attorney to help is certainly advantageous. There are significant differences in sanctions depending upon the charge and a person’s driving record, so having a drunk driving defense attorney is great—but having an attorney who specializes in DUI and license restoration is ideal!

Daniel T. Geherin, owner of the Geherin Law Group, is a drunk driving defense attorney in Ann Arbor and driver’s license appeals specialist.  Dan—a former prosecutor and board-certified criminal trial attorney—is also the founder of and author of The Michigan Drunk Driving and Driver’s License Restoration Handbook.  Dan has dedicated his career to both defending drunk driving allegations and helping put clients back on the road following a license revocation/suspension, and he’s recognized as both a criminal and license appeals expert in Ann Arbor and throughout Michigan.    

Over the last 25+ years, Dan has advised countless first-time OWI/DUI clients on how best to protect themselves to either avoid or reduce the consequences of a conviction. Dan and team will obtain all the records related to your arrest, including all police video, and review it carefully to determine whether a good litigation challenge exists to possibly avoid a conviction. We have a long and proven track record of success in defending and litigating drunk driving cases, including many dismissals and trial acquittals.    

In 2020 and 2021, the Geherin Law Group was named a “Tier 1” OWI/DUI Defense Firm in Ann Arbor by US News Best Lawyers. Dan has consistently been named by Michigan SuperLawyers Magazine in the field of DUI Defense. Dan has received the highest rating for legal ethics and ability, AV-Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell. The firm prides itself on transparent pricing, including flat/fixed fees and military/student discounts. We offer a free, no-pressure initial consultation. While retention is never cheap, it is often the best way to help avoid or reduce the severe direct and secondary consequences that come with an OWI conviction.  

If you’re facing a first-time OWI arrest, and you’re concerned over the consequences, please consider the combination of extensive criminal/license experience of the Geherin Law Group.  We’re available 24/7, we are dedicated to our clients, and we’ll fight zealously to protect and restore your reputation and driver’s license. For more information, visit us at,, or call us 24/7 at (734) 263-2780.