Potential Penalties for DUI / OWI Offenses Under Michigan Law
Driving under the influence (DUI), known as operating while intoxicated (OWI) in Michigan, carries significant penalties that may include jail time, fines, license suspensions, and a criminal record. These consequences not only impact your immediate circumstances but also have long-term effects on your life. Penalties can vary based on factors like blood alcohol content (BAC) levels and prior offenses. If you’re facing DUI charges, knowing the specifics of these laws is really important. Just as important is engaging a criminal defense attorney experienced in DUI cases, as they can provide you with the necessary guidance and representation to fight these charges. Here’s more on the penalties for OWI in Michigan and how a DUI lawyer can help you if you are criminally charged.
Standard OWI Offense
The standard OWI offense, typically a first-time occurrence, is classified as a misdemeanor under MCL Section 625. This offense happens when an individual operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Penalties include up to 93 days in jail, fines from $100 to $500, up to 360 hours of community service, six points on the driving record, and a potential 30-day license suspension followed by 150 days of restrictions. Additionally, the law may require mandatory participation in an alcohol treatment program.
Second OWI Offense Within Seven Years
A second OWI offense within seven years escalates the penalties. It remains a misdemeanor but with increased severity, including a minimum of 5 days to up to 1 year in jail, 30 to 90 days of community service, and fines between $200 and $1,000. The driver’s license is suspended for a minimum of 1 year with no option for a restricted license, and the court may also order vehicle immobilization or forfeiture.
Third OWI Offense
Classified as a felony, the third OWI offense reflects the seriousness of repeat violations. Penalties include 1 to 5 years in prison or probation with 30 days to 1 year in jail, fines ranging from $500 to $5,000, and a minimum 1-year license revocation. If there’s any prior revocation within 7 years, the revocation period extends to 5 years. Additionally, the law may require vehicle immobilization or forfeiture and mandatory alcohol treatment.
High Bac Offense: “Super Drunk Driving”
For high BAC offenses, where the BAC is 0.17% or higher, even first-time offenders face severe penalties. This includes up to 180 days in jail, fines between $200 and $700, up to 360 hours of community service, a 45-day license suspension followed by 320 days of restricted driving, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
OWI Resulting In Death Or Serious Impairment
When an OWI results in death or serious impairment, the charges are significantly more severe. Causing death while driving under the influence is a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines between $2,500 and $10,000, along with potential vehicle sanctions. Similarly, causing serious impairment of a body function is a felony, with penalties including up to 5 years in prison and fines from $1,000 to $5,000.
OWI With A Minor In The Vehicle
If the OWI offender has a minor in the vehicle, the penalties increase. A first offense with a minor present is treated as a misdemeanor, with up to 1 year in jail, fines between $200 and $1,000, and 30 to 90 days of community service. A second offense within 7 years is a felony, with up to 5 years in prison.
Michigan’s Zero Tolerance Law For Drivers Under 21
For drivers under 21, Michigan’s Zero Tolerance law applies. Any detectable BAC (0.02% or more) leads to fines up to $250 and 360 hours of community service for a first offense, with increased fines and potential jail time for subsequent offenses.
Refusal Of Breathalyzer or Chemical Tests
Refusing chemical tests also carries penalties, according to MCL Section 257.625c. Among other things, a first refusal leads to a 1-year license suspension, and a second refusal within 7 years results in a 2-year suspension.
DUI Penalties For Commercial Drivers
Commercial drivers face stricter penalties. A first OWI offense results in a 1-year license suspension, and subsequent offenses can lead to a permanent disqualification from holding a commercial driver’s license in the state of Michigan.
DUI Points On License in Michigan
In the state of Michigan, OWI leads to points being added to the offender’s driving record. For both OWI and OWVI, the first and second offenses result in six and four points, respectively, added to the driver’s record.
How Can A Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Someone Facing DUI Charges
If you’re charged with DUI in Michigan, a criminal defense lawyer can be a valuable ally. First, they’ll review the details of your case, focusing on the evidence against you and how it was obtained. This includes examining police reports and questioning whether any field sobriety or breathalyzer tests were conducted properly. Your lawyer can identify any procedural errors or rights violations that occurred during your arrest. Then, they’ll discuss your options with you, explaining the legal process and possible outcomes. They can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, aiming to reduce charges or penalties. In court, your lawyer will advocate for you, presenting your case and arguing for the best possible outcome. Throughout the process, they help you understand your rights and the pros and cons of each decision.
Michigan OWI Lawyers
If you’ve been accused of OWI or DUI in Michigan and need assistance, consider reaching out to George Law. Our experienced OWI lawyers will fight hard to protect your rights, and our aim is to get you the best possible outcome to your case, given the circumstances. You can contact us at (248) 247-7459 or online for a consultation.
DUI/OWI Practice Areas
- DUI/OWI DEFENSE
- DUI / OWI Penalties in Michigan
- First Offense OWI/DUI Expungement
- Commercial Driver DUI
- Michigan Drivers License Restoration
- DUI Causing Death
- Felony DUI
- Operating While Intoxicated
- Underage DUI
- How Many Drinks Does It Take to Get to .08 BAC?
- Can I get charged with OWPD if I’m on medications?
- OWI / DUI Breathalyzer Test Refusal in Michigan: What You Need to Know
- Do I have to take a roadside field sobriety and breathalyzer test?
- Legal Alcohol Limit Michigan
- Business Law
- Civil Litigation
- Defamation Lawyer