DUI and OWI Penalties in Michigan

If you are accused of Operating While Intoxicated, you are likely worried about what might happen to you and your driving privileges. Depending on the seriousness of the allegations against you and your prior record, you could be looking at either a felony or a misdemeanor charge.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

Penalties for OWI and DUI Charges in Michigan

One of the most common questions the DUI defense experts at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are asked regarding drunken driving cases are about the possible penalties for a DUI or OWI in Michigan.  If you’re convicted of OWI you could face:

OWI: Misdemeanor (Operating While Intoxicated) (BAC of .08 or higher)

  • $100 to $500 fine.
  • Up to 93 days in jail.
  • Up to 360 hours of community service.
  • Driver license suspension for 30 days, followed by restrictions for 150 days.
  • Possible vehicle immobilization.
  • Possible ignition interlock.
  • Six points added to the driving record.
  • $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.

OWI high BAC – Having a breath or blood alcohol content of .17 or higher (AKA Super Drunk)

  • Up to 180 days in jail (increased from 93 days)
  • Fine of $200 but not more than $700 (increased from $100 but not more than $500)
  • One year license suspension with restrictions permitted after 45 days (increased from six-month license suspension with restrictions permitted after 30 days)
  • Up to 360 hours of community service (same)
  • Cost of prosecution (same)
  • Immobilization not exceeding 180 days allowed (same)
  • 6 points on the driving record (same)
  • Mandatory alcohol treatment program or self-help program for not less than one year.

OWVI: Misdemeanor (Operating While Visibly Impaired)

  • Up to 93 days in jail.
  • Up to 360 hours of community service.
  • Driver license restriction for 90 days (180 days if impaired by a controlled substance).
  • Possible vehicle immobilization.
  • Four points on driver record. $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.

OWI 2nd:   Misdemeanor (Two OWI or DUI convictions within 7 years)

  • A $200 to $1,000 fine.
  • A mandatory minimum of five days and up to one year in jail.
  • Thirty to 90 days of community service.
  • Driver license denial or revocation for a minimum of one year.
  • License plate confiscated.
  • Vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days unless the vehicle is forfeited.
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
  • Six points on driver record.
  • $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.

OWVI 2nd:  Misdemeanor (Two Impaired Driving convictions within 2 years)

  • A $200 to $1,000 fine.
  • Five days to one year in jail.
  • Thirty to 90 days of community service.
  • Driver license denial or revocation for a minimum of one year.
  • License plate confiscation.
  • Vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days unless the vehicle is forfeited.
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
  • Four points on driver record.
  • $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.

OWI 3rd  Felony (two prior offenses within your lifetime)

  • A $500 to $5,000 fine.
  • Minimum of 1 year and a maximum of five years imprisonment.
  • Probation with 30 consecutive days to one year in jail (no work release).
  • Sixty to 180 days of community service.
  • Driver license denial or revocation for a minimum of five years.
  • License plate confiscation.
  • Vehicle immobilization for one to three years unless the vehicle is forfeited.
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
  • Registration denial.
  • Six points on driver record.
  • $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.

If you have been convicted of either OWI or OWVI twice in the past 10 years, a new OWVI charge is considered a felony. Causing a death while driving is a felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, a $2,500 to $10,000 fine, or both.   Cause a serious injury while driving is also a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine, or both.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Jail Time or Probation for OWI or DUI in Michigan

Michigan is one of the few states with judges who will sentence even a first offender to jail in some cases.  There are even some judges who routinely give jail time.  Why do some defendants go to jail while others get help or probation? The answer usually is related to the time and preparation that went into the defense of the charges and the persuasiveness of the lawyer at the time of sentencing.  Not all lawyers are equal, and most attorneys who routinely handle OWI or DUI cases are known for merely negotiating fast plea bargains and failing to fight for their clients at the sentencing hearing.  Great OWI defense attorneys will take the time to get to know the client, find all the positive information about the client’s life, find ways to get the client help when needed, and zealously advocate for the client with the prosecutor and judge.  There is no substitute for a lawyer who is willing to fight for the client and do whatever is necessary to overcome any obstacle fearlessly.

Defenses to OWI in Court

Surprisingly, most defendants charged in court with DUI or OWI are just presumed guilty, and even their lawyers barely put up a fight to protect them.  These cases are highly complex, and a defense can be built in several ways. The most experienced and successful lawyers handling OWI, DUI, OWPD, and similar offenses know how to look for defenses that come from science, medicine, the law, the constitution, and the facts.  In many cases, there may not be a strong defense in any one category,. Still, weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case can combine to create a powerful defense, an extraordinary plea bargain, or a very lenient sentence. In some cases, when the defense is strong, a reduction in charge to a civil infraction may be possible.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Michigan DUI Defense Attorneys

Don’t trust your Michigan OWI case to an amateur or a general-practice lawyer – take advantage of our years of experience, trial work, and legal expertise with OWI laws. Do not wait. Please contact the LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. today for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. We approach every case with the care and attention you expect and deserve.  Dismissal of all charges is our highest priority when possible.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

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

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