Operating While Intoxicated is Often Referred to as OWI or DUI

Michigan is one of the toughest states for defendants charged with drunk or drugged driving. In addition to jail, probation, and fines, there are collateral consequences for OWI charges in Michigan, like the loss of a driver’s license.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

It is Possible to Get OWI Charges Dismissed or Reduced.

OWI charges are taken seriously in Michigan despite whether or not the accused harmed another party while driving intoxicated. Good citizens can find themselves arrested for and charged with OWI after a temporary lapse of judgment on one occasion, leading to serious consequences that can impact the rest of their lives if found guilty of this charge. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. has represented countless individuals facing OWI charges in Michigan, fighting for their innocence and arguing for lesser punishments, all in an attempt to restore a client’s life.

What is OWI?

In Michigan, driving under the influence is referred to as Operating While Intoxicated or OWI. A Michigan driver caught operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .08% or above faces serious consequences, whether on their first or third offense. In cases where the accused caused an injury that resulted in the bodily injury of another, the punishment for the convicted individual will be even more severe. Drivers under the age of 21 accused of OWI may face more penalties than an adult drunk driver since it is illegal to buy or consume alcohol underage. The unlawful alcohol content for a driver under 21 is .02. OWI charges in Michigan have life-long collateral consequences, and it takes a top OWI defense attorney to help clients potentially avoid a conviction and jail time.

OWI Charges in Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding OWI Charges in Michigan

What is the difference between OWI, DUI, and DWI in Michigan? In Michigan, the official term used is “OWI,” which stands for “Operating While Intoxicated.” DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Impaired) are terms more commonly used in other states. Michigan generally uses OWI to cover offenses related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What are the penalties for a first-time OWI in Michigan? A fine of $100 to $500, up to 93 days in jail, two (2) years of probation, up to 360 hours of community service, driver’s license suspension for 30 days, followed by license restrictions for 150 days, six (6) points on a driver’s license, and a possible ignition interlock device.

How long will an OWI stay on my record in Michigan? An OWI conviction remains on your driving record for life unless a defendant seeks and obtains an expungement by filing a Motion to Expunge the OWI conviction.

Will I lose my license after an OWI arrest? Yes, unless your lawyer successfully gets the charges reduced or dismissed. There’s typically an automatic driver’s license suspension after an OWI arrest. The duration of the suspension can vary based on the specifics of the charge and any previous convictions.

Can I get a restricted license after an OWI charge? After a certain period, you might be eligible for a restricted license allowing you to drive to and from specific locations, such as work or school. The eligibility and specifics depend on the nature of the offense and other factors. If an OWI defense lawyer gets the charges reduced, their client might avoid a suspension of their license altogether.

What is the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit in Michigan? For drivers aged 21 and over, the legal limit is 0.08%. For drivers under 21, any detectable BAC is illegal. At 0.17%, a driver’s charge will be upgraded to OWI High BAC, also known as Super Drunk Driving in Michigan.

What are the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test in Michigan? Refusing a chemical test, such as a blood or breathalyzer test, can result in an automatic driver’s license suspension for one year for a first-time refusal. This is separate from any suspension due to an OWI conviction. Refusing a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) results in a civil fine.

Can I challenge the results of a breathalyzer or field sobriety test? Yes, with the help of an attorney, you can challenge the validity or accuracy of the tests, how they were conducted, or the calibration and maintenance of testing devices. Michigan’s breathalyzer is called the Intoxilyzer 9000.

Will I go to jail for a first-time OWI offense? While jail time is possible (up to 93 days), many first-time offenders receive probation instead of prison. However, the outcome can vary based on the specifics of the case and the jurisdiction. Some judges and courts, such as the 48th District Court, routinely impose jail even for first offenders.

How much does fighting an OWI charge, including attorney fees, typically cost? Costs can vary widely depending on the case’s complexity, the attorney’s rates, and other factors. Apart from attorney fees, defendants might face court costs, fines, fees for educational programs or counseling, and increased insurance rates. It’s not uncommon for the total cost to range from $5,000 to $10,000 or more to hire a top defense attorney to defend against an OWI charge.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Enlisting the help of an experienced attorney

Facing OWI charges in Michigan is intimidating, scary, and confusing regardless of your age or background with the law. Together with our clients, the skilled OWI defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. work individually with each client to prepare for court, hearing their account of what happened and exploring why, if it is true, they drove under the influence to craft a persuasive defense. In some cases, mistakes were made by law enforcement or prosecutors, and bringing these mistakes to light will help win a less severe punishment for our client or even avoid a conviction. We do our best to argue for alcohol education or community services in return for no jail time or prison, which is an option on the table, even for first-time offenders in many courts.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

Contact Us - Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys