Michigan Penalties for DUI and OWI

Written by Lindsay Cordero
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In Michigan, drunk driving is known as OWI or Operating While Intoxicated. Driving under the influence of any Schedule 1 substance or while obviously impaired by alcohol but still below the legal blood alcohol limit of .08% is known as OWVI or Operating While Visibly Impaired. Conviction in either category carries serious penalties.

1st DUI Offense in Michigan

First time convicted offenders of Michigan’s OWI laws receive fines of $100-$500, jail time of up to ninety-three (93) days, mandatory community service of up to three-hundred sixty (360) hours, driver’s license suspension of thirty (30) days, and driving restrictions for one-hundred fifty (150) days thereafter. The sentencing judge may also require the convicted OWI offender to have an ignition interlock device installed at the owner’s expense and/or cause their vehicle to be immobilized for a period of time. Convicted OWI offenders are subject to a $1,000 annual “Driver Responsibility” fee for two (2) years.

2nd DUI Offense in Michigan

If a person is convicted of a second drunk driving offense in Michigan, fines double to $200 - $1,000. Additionally, the second time convicted OWI offender will be sentenced to five (5) days to one (1) year in prison and thirty (30) to ninety (90) days of community service. A one (1) year driver’s license suspension, license plate confiscation, vehicle forfeiture or immobilization for ninety (90) to one-hundred eighty (180) days, and payment of the $1,000 annual “Driver Responsibility” fee for two (2) years are also penalties of a second time drunk driving offense in Michigan.

3rd DUI Offense in Michigan

Should a person be convicted of a third drunk driving offense in Michigan, they would be considered a felon. Fines increase to five times the amount levied against first time offenders to $500 - $5,000. Michigan felony drunk driving penalties also include one (1) to five (5) years in prison and/or sixty (60) to one-hundred eighty (180) days of community service; driver’s license suspension for a minimum of five (5) years; license plate confiscation; and vehicle immobilization of one (1) to three (3) years or forfeiture. Lastly, those convicted of felony OWI in Michigan will not be able to register a motor vehicle and will be subject to payment of the $1,000 annual “Driver Responsibility” fee for two (2) years.

Michigan Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Legal Limits

In Michigan, a driver over the age of twenty-one (21) is considered to be Operating While Impaired if their blood alcohol level (BAC) is .08% or higher. Driver’s under twenty-one (21) are considered to be Operating While Impaired if their BAC is .02% or higher. Commercial vehicle drivers are violating Michigan’s OWI laws if they drive with a BAC of .04% or higher.

Find a DUI Attorney in Michigan

In any case, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible if you have been arrested for drunk driving in Michigan. Michigan OWI lawyers are best equipped to assist you build your defense against a drunk driving conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and/or conviction, there may be an opportunity to appeal the suspension of your driver’s license. Contact a Michigan drunk driving attorney to learn more about this option.