Michigan DUI and OWI Laws and Penalties

In Michigan, a DUI charge is a serious offense. A DUI conviction could subject you to penalties ranging from fines to prison sentences and even the loss of your vehicle or license. It’s likely that you’ll have to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), even if you’ve only been convicted of your first DUI. Understanding Michigan law is an essential component to moving forward and getting back on track. While each case is different and consulting with your attorney is important, here are the typical Michigan DUI laws that affect drivers in the state.

 

Is it Legal to Drive? BAC Levels and Legality in Michigan

 

While each state is able to have its own set of acceptable BAC levels in most cases, Michigan conforms to the most common formula. If you’re driving in Michigan, the following BAC levels are the acceptable or legal levels with which you can drive.

 

  • Under 21 – If you’re under the age of 21, Michigan has a zero tolerance policy and any alcohol is considered illegal. Given that you’re not of the legal age to drink, drinking at all is technically a crime, so drinking and driving is out of the question.
  • 21 and over – The legal limit of alcohol you can have in your body while driving in Michigan is 0.08%.
  • Commercial – Commercial drivers face a lower limit given the nature of driving for your job, operating vehicles that are often larger than the standard car or truck, and the hours commercial drivers spend on the road. If you’re driving commercially or with a commercial license, your limit is 0.04%.

 

Circumstantial OWI Laws in Michigan

 

Aside from age restrictions, you’ll also face various sets of penalties based on your specific situation. Michigan OWI laws assign different penalties to different drivers depending on how many offenses that driver has had in the past for operating while intoxicated.

 

First Offense

 

In the state of Michigan, your first OWI offense can carry with it some harsh penalties. While they’re not as severe as the penalties imposed upon repeat offenders, they’re still serious and can drastically change your life. Here’s what you can expect if you’ve been convicted on an OWI charge in Michigan for the first time.

 

  1. Fines ranging from $100 to $500.
  2. License Suspension that starts with a 6-month mandatory time limit.
  3. Imprisonment  that can last up to 93 days.
  4. IID Installation – Depending on your specific situation, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you operate for a given period of time.

 

Second Offense

 

After your second offense, you’ll be imposed to the the same kinds of penalties as first-time offenders are. However, second-offense OWI convictions come with steeper penalties than first-time offenses.

 

  1. Fines ranging from $200 to $1,000.
  2. License Suspension to last a minimum of one year.
  3. Imprisonment lasting from five days to a year (or 30-90 days community service in some situations).
  4. Mandatory IID Installation required.

 

Third Offense

 

If you receive your third OWI charge or conviction in Michigan, DUI laws state that you could face any combination of the following penalties.

 

  1. Fines ranging from $200 to $1,000.
  2. License suspension to last a minimum of one year.
  3. Imprisonment lasting from 30 days to five years.
  4. Mandatory IID Installation required.

 

Other Michigan State OWI Penalties

 

There are a variety of penalties you may be subjected to if you’re convicted of an OWI that are not listed above. While each situation is unique, some of the penalties you may have to take on are listed here.

 

  • Mandatory 6-month license suspension with possible eligibility for restricted license after 30 days of your suspension.
  • Participation in a rehabilitation program or treatment program.
  • Additional jail time.
  • Additional community service.
  • License suspension or revocation.
  • Driver responsibility fees of up to $1,000.
  • Felony charges if it’s your third conviction, someone was killed, or someone was injured.

 

IID Installation in Michigan

 

If you’ve been convicted of a OWI in Michigan and you’re required to install an IID, the directive to do so will usually come via court order. After you get your order you can apply for a restricted license (in some cases). You’ll have a certain amount of time to complete all applications and have your ignition interlock installation completed. It’s important to consult with only a state-approved IID vendor in Michigan so you can be sure your installation is valid and your time in the ignition interlock program will count. Only approved and registered IID installation providers can make sure you’re in compliance with all court orders and report your data accurately.

 

Just because you install an IID doesn’t mean you automatically have your driving privileges back, though. You’ll still have to go through legal proceedings that may or may not require you to obtain a special restricted driver’s license in order to drive. Additionally, you’ll have to attend regular maintenance appointments to ensure your IID is working properly and to prove that it has not been tampered with.

 

While the information reflected here is current as of this writing, laws do change from time to time and unique circumstances may change the penalties and requirements that you’re subject to.