An overview of drunk driving consequences in Michigan

My name is Marc E. Hart. My law firm is devoted exclusively to criminal defense, bringing 30 years of criminal trial experience to your situation. Rather than just going for the quick and easy plea, my mindset is to vigorously fight the allegations, win the case at trial, or find the leverage necessary to minimize the penalties and collateral consequences in every client’s case.

A drunk driving charge can be a nightmare, especially when it carries serious penalties. Drunk driving laws in Michigan are strict, even for those with first-time convictions. The consequences of an OWI can affect a person for years or might even be lifelong. For this reason, it is imperative for those with drunk driving charges to ensure their rights are protected.

Drunk Driving Laws In Michigan

According to the Michigan State Police Department, penalties for a first-time drunk driving conviction include jail time of up to 93 days, a fine as much as $500, driver's license suspension of up to 30 days followed by 150 days of driving restrictions and community service of as many as 360 hours. For a conviction that involved a blood alcohol content of .17 or higher, even for a first offense, the potential consequences include the following:

  • Driver's license suspension for one year
  • Possible ignition interlock device installation and alcohol education program
  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
  • Fines as much as $700

Additionally, every person convicted of drunk driving in Michigan faces a $1,000 annual penalty for two years, and may face limited driving privileges. These consequences are likely for one woman who received drunk driving charges in October. According to the New York Post, the woman was reportedly trying to pick up her boyfriend at a bar in Paw Paw, but thought the Van Buren County jail's property was the bar's parking lot. A sobriety test revealed her blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent.

Consequences For Drunk Driving With A Child And Felony OWI

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that Michigan enforces a strict child endangerment law, which imposes a fine of anywhere between $200 and $1,000 for a first offense of drunk driving with a child of 16 or under in the vehicle. A second offense qualifies as a felony and will result in a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of $500 to $5,000.

Drivers with more than one prior conviction for operating while intoxicated can also face felony charges, according to the state of Michigan. For instance, it is a felony to have a third drunk driving conviction in one's lifetime. It is also a felony to cause an accident while driving impaired that causes a death or serious injury. The penalties for felony OWI causing an injury include a prison sentence of up to five years, probation, community service, license revocation for one to more than five years, a $5,000 fine and the possible loss of one's vehicle.

It is evident the charges for a high blood alcohol content, repeat convictions or felony drunk driving can severely impact a person's future. If you're facing charges for driving while intoxicated, contact an experienced OWI defense attorney to ensure you are treated fairly in court.