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Michigan Drunk Driving Law Information

Michigan Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Punishments and Fines

The drunk driving crime people are most commonly charged with in Michigan is Operating While Intoxicated, or “OWI.” OWI crimes carry harsh penalties, and that is why it is important to hire a drunk driving lawyer who will fight vigorously to get your OWI charges dismissed.

There are three ways to operate a vehicle that will make you guilty of an OWI:

1. Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more (UBAL)
In order to be guilty of an OWI under this first category, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more. To do this, they will use chemical test results from either the DataMaster test or a blood tests. This category of OWI is called a “per se” offense, meaning that the law assumes if your BAC was .08 or higher, you were not safe to be driving on the road. Arguments that you were driving properly will not have any bearing on your guilt or innocence under this charge; the outcome depends solely on whether the prosecutor can prove your BAC at the time you were operating a vehicle was .08 or higher.

2. Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .17 or more (Super Drunk) A first-time OWI offender with has a BAC of .17 or more will be charged with a special type of OWI, called the “Super Drunk” law. The Super Drunk law enhances potential penalties for this OWI crime. The law took effect on October 1, 2010. Read more about it on our Super Drunk Law page.

3. Operating a vehicle “under the influence” of alcohol (OUIL), drugs (OUID), or a combination of both
In order to be guilty of an OWI under this last category, the prosecutor must prove that because of your drinking, drug use, or a combination of the two, your ability to operate a motor vehicle was substantially lessened. One way the prosecutor might prove this is to discuss any failed field sobriety tests you performed. Unlike the two categories of OWI listed above, this third category can include even the lowest of blood alcohol content and drug metabolites so long as the prosecutor can prove that this small amount of alcohol or drugs substantially lessened the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle.

Penalties for OWI in Michigan:
The Michigan OWI laws allow for the following punishments for an OWI in Michigan:

First OWI Conviction—Misdemeanor
Possible up to 93 days in jail (up to 180 days in jail if Super Drunk)
Possible up to 360 hours of community service
Possible fine of up to $500 ($700 if Super Drunk)
Possible vehicle immobilization
Possible ignition interlock
Driver’s license: 30 days suspended, 150 days restricted (45 days suspended, 320 days restricted if Super Drunk)
Driver’s license: 6 points
Driver Responsibility Fees

Second OWI Conviction in last 7 years—Misdemeanor
Possible 5 days to 1 year in jail
Possible 30 days to 90 days of community service
Mandatory fine of $200 to $1,000
Mandatory vehicle immobilization
Possible ignition interlock
Driver’s license: minimum 1 year revoked
Driver’s license: 6 points
Driver Responsibility Fees

Third OWI Conviction in a lifetime—Felony
Possible 1 year to 5 years in prison
Possible 30 days to 1 year in jail, probation, and community service for 60 days to 180 days
Mandatory fine of up to $5,000
Mandatory vehicle immobilization
Possible ignition interlock
Driver’s license: minimum 5 years revoked
Driver’s License: 6 points
Driver Responsibility Fees

Serious injury or death: If your Michigan OWI crime causes someone to be severely injured or killed, you can expect the punishments to be exceptionally heightened, especially for a second or subsequent offense. The Michigan sentencing guidelines require substantial prison time for convictions on these offenses. If you are facing a serious injury or death case, it is vital that you begin to work immediately with a skilled and experienced lawyer.

Your Operating While Intoxicated lawyer:
The benefit of having such an experienced team of drunk driving lawyers is that we know what it takes to win! We will do everything in our power to get your OWI crime dismissed or get it dropped to the lesser charge of Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI). We have spent over 80 combined years defending drunk driving clients, and we are pleased to say that during that time, we have earned a reputation as being highly-skilled defense attorneys. We fight to win!

Call us today to schedule your free consultation: (866) 766-5245. Or, email us!

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© 2012 Michigan OUI Defense

Kronzek & Cronkright PLLC. practices law throughout the state of Michigan including, but not limited to, the following geographical areas: Ingham County, Livingston County, Washtenaw County, Jackson County, Calhoun County, Eaton County, Barry County, Ionia County, Montcalm County, Clinton County, Gratiot County and Kent County. This includes the following cities and towns: Lansing, Howell, Brighton, Corunna, Durand, St. Johns, Ithaca, Stanton, Greenville, Ionia, Hastings, Charlotte, Battle Creek, Jackson and Ann Arbor.

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