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DUI / OWI in Michigan
Michigan DUI/OWI Arrest
After being arrested for a Michigan DUI, it is normal for the person to be afraid of the court system. Usually the person is afraid of jail time, the loss of a driver’s license, and the possibility of having a criminal record. With that said, there is simply too much at stake for a person facing a Michigan DUI related charge. You need the help and guidance from a top Michigan OWI Lawyer. Our Office has extensive experience aggressively fighting and defending Michigan DUI cases all over the State and can help you too.
We regularly appear in courts such as the 48th District Court in Bloomfield Hills, MI, the 44th District Court in Royal Oak, MI, the 52-1 District Court in Novi, MI, the 52-4 District Court in Troy, MI, the 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills, MI, the 36th District Court in Detroit, MI, 35th District Court in Plymouth, MI, the 45A District Court in Berkley, MI, the 43rd District Court in Ferndale, MI, the 3rd Circuit Court in Detroit, MI, the 6th Circuit Court in Pontiac, MI, the 40th District Court in St. Clair Shores, the 1st District Court in Monroe, MI, the 16th District Court in Livonia, MI, the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as many other District and Circuit Courts.
If you are charged with any of the below offenses, then you need the help from a skilled Michigan DUI Lawyer. Contact our office today for your consultation and talk to a Michigan DUI Lawyer who can help you!
- OWI – Operating While Intoxicated .08 BAC or above
- OWVI – Operating While Visibly Impaired
- OWI High BAC – Operating While Intoxicated with Bodily Alcohol Content .17 or above
- OWI Child Endangerment – Operating While Intoxicated with a Minor Child in vehicle
- DUI – Operating Under the Influence
- DWI – Driving While Intoxicated
- OWI Zero Tolerance – Minor Operating with an unlawful BAC .04 or above
- OUIL – Operating under the influence of liquor
- OUID – Operating Under the Influence of Drugs
- OUPCS – Operating Under the Presence of Controlled Substances
- MIP – Minor in Possession or consumption of alcohol
- Open Intox – Having an open bottle of intoxicants in the car while driving
- OWI Injury – Operating While Intoxicated causing Injury
- OWI Death – Operating While Intoxicated causing Death
DUI / OWI Specifics in Michigan
A drunk driving charge is commonly referred to as a “DUI” (Driving Under the Influence). Although there are several terms for it, in Michigan, the actual charges regarding a DUI or drunk driving are “OWI” (Operating While Intoxicated) and “OWVI” (Operating While Visibly Impaired). Michigan also has an OWI “Super Drunk” statue which covers people arrested with a high Bodily Alcohol Content (BAC) at the time of the alleged offense. With all of the complexities in the laws, it is important to have the right Michigan OWI Lawyer on your side.
In addition to Drunk Driving laws, Michigan also has a law which prohibits people from operating under the influence of drugs or “drugged driving.” This offense is commonly referred to as “OUID.” Technically, this is still an OWI type of offense and can carry very serious penalties. If you or someone you know is facing this charge, contact our office today to speak with a Michigan OWI Attorney to help you with your “Drugged Driving” charge.
The legal limit for an alcohol related OWI in Michigan is .08. That basically means that it is against the law for a person to operate a vehicle in a place open to the public with a BAC of .08 or above regardless if the person actually feels affected by the alcohol. If the police and prosecutor do not have a breath or blood test for alcohol, it is still very possible for them to pursue the OWI charges. If this situation did arise, they would proceed under the “common law” theory which basically states that a person can be convicted of OWI if due to the consumption of alcohol, the person’s ability to operate the vehicle was substantially and materially lessened. If your case requires further explanation on these theories, contact our office to speak with a Michigan OWI Attorney who is very experienced in this area of law.
Michigan also has a law which involves a “High BAC”, or bodily alcohol content. If the person’s BAC is proved to be .17 or above on a First Offense, then he or she will face additional sanctions under Michigan’s “Super Drunk” law.
For “Impaired Driving” or OWVI, all that the prosecutor is required to prove is that due to the consumption of alcohol, the driver’s ability to operate was lessened to the point that it was noticeable to another person. Thus, a person’s BAC can actually be below a .08 and the prosecutor is not required prove anything regarding the driver’s BAC.
Under Michigan law, it is also illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of a controlled substance in his or her body (OUID). Under this law, it does not matter if the controlled substance/drugs actually affected the person’s ability to operate. All that the prosecutor is required to prove is that the person operated the vehicle while there was a presence of a controlled substance in that person’s body.
Drunk Driving Penalties
When a person has questions about the possible penalties for any OWI charge, it would be best to get the information from an experienced Michigan DUI Lawyer. In Michigan, the three most common drunk driving charges are OWI – Super Drunk (Operating While Intoxicated with BAC of .17 or above), OWI (Operating While Intoxicated with BAC .16 or below), and OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired). The three charges carry significant sanctions. There are also additional criminal charges involving accused repeat offenders as well as people accused of operating under the influence of drugs.
Michigan’s “Super Drunk” Laws – BAC .17 and above
The State of Michigan has enacted enhanced penalties for certain DUI offenders under the state’s “Super Drunk” law. Pursuant to this law, if a person is arrested for an OWI-First Offense and has a BAC of .17 or above at the time of the arrest, then he or she may be charged under this law. If convicted of this offense, then the person may receive up to 180 days in jail, a $700.00 fine, 1- year of required alcohol/substance abuse treatment, as well as a driver’s license suspension for 1- year. With regard to the 1-year driver’s license suspension, the first 45 days of the suspension is considered a “hard suspension” which means that there is absolutely no driving permitted during that time. After the first 45 days of the suspension have run, the person then may obtain restricted driving privileges but is REQUIRED to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device installed in his or her vehicle before any driving.
In addition to the above mentioned sanctions, a person convicted under this law also may be subjected to vehicle immobilization, 2 years of probation, community service, as well as additional fees and court costs. Furthermore, if convicted of this offense, the person would have 6 points added to his or her Michigan driving record.
OWI – BAC .16 and below
For a First Offense OWI (BAC of .16 or below), there is a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail as well as a fine up $500 plus court costs. The court could order 360 hours of community service, order the installation of an ignition interlock, and possibly order that the vehicle be immobilized for 180 days. In addition, the Secretary of State will suspend your driver’s license for a total of 180 days. The license suspension consists of the first 30 days with absolutely no driving followed by 150 days of “restricted” privileges. The Secretary of State will also add 6 points to your Michigan driving record.
OWVI – Operating While Visibly Impaired
For a First Offense OWVI or “Impaired”, there is a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and a fine up to $300 plus court costs. The court could order up to 360 hours community service and even order that the vehicle be immobilized for 180 days. There is also a 90 day license suspension which consists of 90 days of “restricted” privileges. Additionally, the Secretary of State will add 4 points to your Michigan driving record.
Second Offense, OWI or OWVI
For a Second Offense (2 within 7 years) alcohol driving related conviction (OWI or OWVI), there is a fine of $200 – $1,000, a minimum of 5 days jail with a maximum of 1 year in jail, or 90 days community service, or both. The court may also order the completion of certain rehabilitative programs. Additionally, there are fines, court costs, fees to the Secretary of State, vehicle immobilization, and even possible vehicle forfeiture. The Michigan Secretary of State will also revoke your driving privileges for a minimum of 1 year if there are 2 alcohol related driving convictions within a 7 year period. During the time that your license is revoked, no driving is permitted. After the year has passed, you would then be eligible to request a hearing regarding the restoration of your driving privileges.
Third Offense, Felony OWI
For a Third Offense (3 within a lifetime) conviction, there is a fine of $500 – $5,000; and either 1 to 5 years of incarceration, or probation with 30 days to 1 year in jail and 60 to 180 days community service. The court also has the authority to immobilize the vehicle or order that the vehicle be forfeited under certain circumstances. The court could also consider rehabilitative programs and order that the person complete such programs. In addition, there are driver’s license sanctions which would be imposed by the Secretary of State.
Generally speaking, any OWI charge carries substantial penalties and sanctions. A Felony OWI carries even more serious penalties and consequences. If a person is facing or is convicted of a Felony OWI charge, it is possible that the person will lose his or her job, lose a driver’s license for an extended period of time, face substantial jail time or imprisonment, etc. That is why it is important to have a knowledgeable Michigan OWI Lawyer to help with your case.
OWI – Child Endangerment
If a person is arrested for OWI or OWVI and the person has a passenger in the car who is less than 16 years of age, then the person may be charged with the Child Endangerment Offense. This offense is a misdemeanor charge and carries a penalty of 5 days to 1-year in jail. There is a minimum requirement of 5 days in jail and the person may receive 30-90 days of community service.
If a person is charged with OWI-Child Endangerment and he or she has a prior OWI or OWVI conviction within 7 years, then he or she may be charged with a Felony Offense. For the felony charge of OWI-Child Endangerment, then the person may face up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.
This too, is a very serious offense. Contact our office today to speak with a Michigan DUI Attorney who can help you with your case.
OUID or “Drugged” Driving Penalties
If a person is charged under the OUID first offense law, then the person could face up to 93 days in jail and a fine from $100-$500. If convicted, the Secretary of State would also impose a suspension of 180 days with absolutely no driving for the first 30 days. The Secretary of State would add 6 points to the driving record.
For a second offense (2 within 7 years), a person could face up to 1 year in jail as well as fines, costs, community service, rehabilitative programs and vehicle forfeiture. If there is a second conviction, then the Secretary of State will revoke the driver’s license for a minimum of 1 year.
Refusing the Breath or Blood Test
In Michigan, if a person is arrested for an OWI and is later requested to submit to “chemical test for alcohol, (usually breath or blood) a person has the right to refuse the test. However, if the person refuses to take the test, 6 points will be added to the driving record and a license suspension of 1 year will be imposed. If a person is cited for a “refusal”, there are certain driver’s license appeal procedures available.
If you are facing a “refusal”, it is extremely important that you contact a Michigan DUI Attorney immediately to assist you in an attempt to save your driving privileges through an appeal. A request for an appeal must be filed within 14 days of the alleged refusal in order to schedule an appeal hearing with the Michigan Secretary of State. Therefore, time is certainly of the essence when dealing with a refusal.
The first step of the refusal appeal is to file a request for a hearing with the Secretary of State’s Office. At the hearing, it is important to have a Michigan OWI Attorney familiar with the Secretary of State procedures to assist you with the case. If your request for driving privileges is denied by the Hearing Officer, then the person may appeal to a Circuit Court for restricted driving privileges. It is important to note that not everyone automatically qualifies for restricted privileges. If this situation applies to your case, contact our officer to speak with a Michigan OWI Attorney for further help.
Under 21 and “Zero Tolerance”
In Michigan, it is against the law for a person under 21years of age to drive with “any bodily alcohol content.” Under the law, any bodily alcohol content is defined as .02 or more and less than .08. If the minor driver’s BAC is .08 or above, then it is likely that the minor driver will be charged with the same offense used to charge drivers 21 and over.
The sanctions for a violation of the “Zero Tolerance” law are significantly different from the law used to charge drivers 21 and over. Under the “Zero Tolerance” law, a person charged with a first offense does not face actual jail time but instead does face a maximum penalty of 360 hours community service and a fine of $250. The “minor’s” driver license also would be suspended for 30 days by the Secretary of State.
For a second offense Zero Tolerance violation (2 within 7 years), a person could face up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, as well as community service. Additionally, the Secretary of State would suspend the driver’s license for 90 days.