“Will I go to jail for OWI 2nd offense charges?”
You are rightfully concerned with a potential jail sentence if you have an Operating While Intoxicated – Second Offense charge. The minimum penalty for OWI 2nd is five (5) days.
OWI 2nd Charges, Defenses, and Penalties
OWI 2nd Offense charges carry severe consequences in Michigan. State prosecutors, typically very aggressive and experienced, prosecute these misdemeanor charges. Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is a second offense if there is a prior conviction within seven (7) years. District Courts handle the prosecutions of OWI 2nd Offenses, which carry the following possible penalties:
- Fines of $200-1,000
- At least five (5) days and no more than one year in prison (waivable by the judge under certain circumstances)
- Driver’s License revocation for one year
- 6 points on your driving record
- Possible vehicle seizure
- If the vehicle is not taken, you will lose the use of it for 90-180 days
- 30-90 days of community service
- $1,000 annual driver’s responsibility fee for two years
A Mandatory Minimum of Five (5) Days in Jail – Maybe Not!
A person convicted of OWI 2nd must go to jail for at least five (5) days unless the judge agrees to waive the mandatory minimum if the defendant completes a sobriety court program. Many judges in Michigan do not hesitate to hand out sentences that far exceed the mandatory minimum. Alternative sentences like tether, work release, home confinement, and in-patient treatment do not count as time in the local county jail.
In Michigan, a judge has the discretion to sentence a defendant convicted of an OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) 2nd offense to a term of incarceration, probation, or a combination of both. However, the judge also has the authority to impose a sentence that does not include jail time.
According to Michigan law, an OWI 2nd offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, judges in Michigan have the discretion to impose a sentence that fits the circumstances of the case, including factors such as the defendant’s criminal history, the severity of the offense, and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
Sometimes, a judge may sentence a defendant to probation, community service, counseling, or other alternative sentencing options. These alternatives may be more appropriate if the defendant has a minor criminal record, has demonstrated remorse, and is willing to change their behavior.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to impose jail time or an alternative sentence is up to the judge and will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. A defendant might avoid jail for an OWI 2nd offense if they are accepted into and complete a sobriety court program.
“Is there any way to avoid jail for a second offense?”
The answer is complicated, but in many cases, a person charged with OWI 2nd can avoid jail through a plea bargain to a lesser offense, an acquittal at trial, or an outright dismissal. Prosecutors in different jurisdictions have varying policies on plea bargains for alcohol and drug-related driving offenses. Oakland County, Macomb County, and Wayne County tend to have stringent policies prohibiting plea bargains to lesser offenses.
Despite tough prosecutors and judges, the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can often get charges reduced so that jail is not required. These extraordinary deals only tend to be given in cases with skilled, experienced, and highly reputable defense lawyers who know how to carefully examine the evidence and use it to gain an advantage for their clients facing OWI 2nd charges. In many cases, a defense lawyer can develop a factual, scientific, or medical defense, which may convince even the most formidable prosecutor to offer a plea bargain.
Alternatively, a judge can waive the mandatory minimum of five (5) days in jail for OWI 2nd if the defendant agrees to participate and completes a sobriety court program.
“How do I find an experienced lawyer to defend second-offense drunk driving charges?”
Finding an experienced lawyer to defend second-offense drunk driving charges can be crucial in securing the best possible outcome for your case. Here are some steps to help you find an experienced lawyer:
- Ask for Referrals: Ask family, friends, or colleagues if they know lawyers with experience defending drunk driving charges. You can also ask other lawyers for recommendations.
- Search Online: Use online directories or search engines to find lawyers in your area who specialize in defending drunk driving charges. Make sure to read reviews and check their credentials and experience.
- Schedule Consultations: Once you have identified a few potential lawyers, schedule consultations to meet with them and discuss your case. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and determine if the lawyer has the experience and knowledge necessary to defend your case.
- Consider their Experience: Look for a lawyer with significant experience defending drunk driving charges, especially if it is your second offense. You want someone familiar with the legal process, the court system, and the relevant laws and regulations.
- Evaluate their Communication Skills: Ensure the lawyer communicates clearly and responds to your questions and concerns. Effective communication is critical in building a solid defense.
- Consider the Fees: Finally, consider the fees charged by the lawyer. While you want to find an experienced lawyer, you also want someone who charges affordable legal fees within your budget; however, remember that an experienced, successful lawyer will charge fees commensurate with their skill and track record.
We are your best defense against OWI 2nd offense charges!
If you are looking for highly experienced, aggressive, and effective criminal defense lawyers to represent you on Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges, you should call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation. Every partner in the law firm has decades of experience successfully defending clients with OWI 2nd Offense charges. We will take time to meet with you can give you a confidential case evaluation.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.