DUI in Michigan

The state of Michigan has two sets of laws regarding drunk driving offenses.  OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) is defined as the substantial impairment of a driver's ability to drive safely due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.  OWI can also be defined as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater.  Alternatively, OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired) refers to visibly unsafe driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  A chemical test is not needed to convict a driver under the OWVI laws.  There are also separate charges associated with operating a vehicle under the influence of schedule one substances such as cocaine.  Even trace amounts found in the blood of these controlled substances can get a driver convicted.

A Michigan driver can be arrested for the following drunk driving offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or combination of these
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater
  • Driving while visibly impaired by the use of alcohol, a controlled substance or combination of these
  • If under 21, driving with a BAC of .02 or greater
  • Authorizing the use of a vehicle by someone under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance or combination of these

Michigan DUI Penalties


Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction $100-500 Up to 93 days
30 days
2nd Conviction $200-1,000 5 days - 1 year 1 year
3rd Conviction $500-5,000 1 year - 5 years Minimum of 5 years

Michigan courts have 77 days to decide a DUI court case.  A first conviction can carry up to 93 days of jail time and up to $500 of fines.  A second conviction can bring up to a year of jail time and one year of license suspension.  A third conviction is considered a felony and can carry a jail sentence of up to 5 years, up to $5,000 in fines and a minimum of 5 years license suspension.

Driver’s License Repercussions

Depending on the circumstances behind the offense, a person’s driver’s license can be revoked or suspended for varying lengths of time.  Where OWI is the judgment, a person’s license will be suspended for 30 days and then be reinstated with restrictions for a further 150 days.  With a restricted license, a driver is allowed to drive to, from, and during work, as well as to and from alcohol treatment, community service, and any probation appointments.  The individual must be in possession of the restricted license as well as proof of destination and hours for law enforcement to see if required.  A second conviction of OWI or OWVI will result in license revocation for a minimum of one year.  A third conviction of OWI or OWVI carries a minimum of 5 years license revocation and possible vehicle forfeiture.

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws

Under Michigan state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved test (blood, breath, or urine) for the purposes of showing intoxication.  Refusing the test will result in a 6 month to 1 year license suspension. Refusing  a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) will be considered a civil infraction and a fine of $150 may be imposed.

Blood tests must be performed by a doctor, or other similarly qualified person.  A driver accused of a DUI offense also has the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at his or her own expense.

If you are worried about possible penalties for a DUI conviction, consult with a lawyer who can discuss with you your particular circumstances and advise you on the best way forward.

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