Michigan DUI Law
In the state of Michigan, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. These laws are often referred to as OWI or OMVI laws. Because it is a crime to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, you will face criminal charges if arrested for driving under the influence in Michigan. If you find yourself in this situation, it is wise to contact a Michigan DUI attorney for assistance defending yourself against criminal charges. A qualified Michigan DUI lawyer will gather information about your case and may be able to use expert witnesses or other information to help you win. If you are convicted of a drunk driving offense, your Michigan DUI attorney may be able to minimize the impact of any penalties that are imposed.
Michigan DUI Offenses
Michigan actually has three separate driving under the influence offenses. One is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The second is operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level that exceeds the legal limit. The third is operating a vehicle while impaired. These are all criminal offenses, so the prosecutor has to show that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and that the alcohol had a substantial effect on your ability to operate the vehicle if you are to be convicted of a driving under the influence offense. If the prosecutor wants to convict you on operating a vehicle with an unlawful blood alcohol level, he or she must show that you had a BAC that exceeded the legal limit of 0.08% and that you were operating a vehicle when you had this blood alcohol level. To gain a conviction for OWI, the prosecutor must show that you were operating a motor vehicle and that the consumption of alcohol resulted in a weakness in your ability to operate the vehicle safely. In all three types of cases, the prosecutor must prove those elements of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is why having a Michigan DUI attorney represent you is so important. Using a skilled Michigan DUI lawyer gives you access to expert witnesses and other information that you would not be able to take advantage of if you were to attempt to represent yourself or use a lawyer who does not have DUI experience.
There are criminal penalties associated with convictions on drunk driving and OWI charges in the state of Michigan. These penalties become more severe as you accumulate additional offenses past a first offense. For a first offense driving under the influence conviction, you can face up to $500 in fines, repayment of prosecution costs, up to 45 days of community service, and jail time of up to 93 days. A second offense increases these penalties to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. A third offense is considered a felony and can result in fines up to $5,000 and one to five years in jail. If you are convicted of OWI, you can face $300 in fines, repayment of prosecution costs, up to 93 days in jail, and up to 45 days of community service.
Administrative Licensing Penalties
In addition to the criminal penalties imposed for a driving under the influence conviction, you will also face administrative penalties. For a first offense, the suspension period is not less than 6 months and not more than 2 years. A restricted license for work and medical purposes is not available for the first 30 days of the suspension period. If convicted of an OWI offense, the suspension period is not less than 93 days and not more than one year. However, you may be eligible for a restricted license as soon as the suspension goes into effect. A second conviction may result in your license being revoked. If an offender accumulates several convictions, the judge may decide to seize the offender’s vehicle. In some states, the car will not be confiscated if it is a family’s only means of transportation or if the vehicle is owned and registered to someone else. In Michigan, this does not matter. The vehicle can be confiscated regardless of who owns it or whether it is the only means of transportation for the offender’s family. Because this can crush you financially, it is imperative that you contact a Michigan DUI lawyer to help you fight your DUI charges and help you to keep your motor vehicle.
Offenders who are convicted of more than one DUI offense can be given repeat offender status. The penalties imposed upon repeat offenders are more severe to try to prevent these offenders from committing further offenses. There are also penalties in place for offenders who are caught driving with a suspended license. This is called Driving With License Suspended (DWLS). A first DWLS can result in up to 93 days in jail and fines up to $500. An additional license suspension period will be imposed for a DWLS offense. A second DWLS offense can result in up to one year in jail or up to $1,000 in fines. An additional license suspension period is mandatory for this type of offense. A third DWLS can result in the same fines and penalties as a second offense along with another license suspension period. A third offense also results in license plate confiscation and an immobilization period of 90 to 180 days. A fourth DWLS also results in the same criminal penalties and fines of a third offense with mandatory plate confiscation and an immobilization period of 90 to 180 days. A fifth DWLS offense has the same criminal penalties and fines attached. There is a mandatory plate confiscation, immobilization period of 1-3 years, and mandatory registration denial for this level of offense. These penalties make it difficult for offenders to carry out income-producing activities, drive to medical or dental appointments, attend religious services, and go anywhere that is not in walking distance. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, contact a Michigan DUI attorney so you get the best chance of a fair case.