Drunk Driving (OWI)

Alcohol and Drug Related Driving Offenses in Michigan

The law in Michigan is very serious about drinking and driving, or what is referred to “operating while intoxicated” (OWI). However, rarely are these types of cases cut and dry – there are often circumstances that disprove or at the very least call in to question whether you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is important to understand the law and to hire experienced counsel to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

There are severe consequences for an OWI conviction under Michigan law – even if it is your first offense. Depending on the circumstances, an OWI can be a misdemeanor or a felony. However, the following are potential consequences if you are convicted of an OWI charge in Michigan:

  • Fines and court fees
  • Restriction and/or revocation of your driver’s license
  • Points on your driver’s license and increases in your car insurance premiums
  • A jail or prison sentence
  • A permanent criminal record
  • Risk of losing your job

When You Hire ZAYID LAW for Defense of OWI Charges

Given what is at stake, if you have been charged with an OWI, it is critical to secure counsel early on to defend you and ensure that your rights are preserved throughout the legal process. The sooner that you contact ZAYID LAW, the sooner we can fight the charges brought against you and work to minimize the fines, penalties and other potential consequences.

Read more below and browse the ZAYID LAW Michigan Criminal Defense Information Center to arm yourself with information on Michigan OWI charges and the criminal justice system. If you have been charged with a drunk driving in Oakland, Macomb, or Wayne County Michigan, I strongly advise you to contact an attorney today to be sure your rights are protected. When you become a client of ZAYID LAW, I am available any time you need me – by phone, text message, email, Zoom, or in person — because your freedom is my focus.

Learn more about Michigan criminal defense attorney Justin Zayid, founder of ZAYID LAW.

Michigan Drunk Driving / Drugged Driving Offenses and Penalties

Operating While Visibly Impaired

Under Michigan law, even if your blood alcohol content is less than 0.08, you can be still prosecuted for “operating while impaired.” While the “legal limit” is usually measured by Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), this offense simply requires “less ability than would an ordinary careful driver.” The law also says that your ability to drive “must have been lessened to the point that it would have been noticed by another person.”

OWVI First Offense: Misdemeanor

Penalty:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Fines up to $300
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • A restricted driving license for 90 days (work or other essential tasks)
  • 4 points on your driver’s license

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

Often referred to as “DUI,” OWI is the most common drunk driving offense in Michigan. The prosecutor must prove that you were at or above the legal limit of 0.08 or that because of drinking alcohol, your mental or physical condition was significantly affected and you were no longer able to operate your car in a normal manner.

OWI First Offense: Misdemeanor

Penalty:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Fines up to $500
  • A 30-day “hard” suspension on your driver’s license (no driving at all) followed by a 180-day restricted license
  • 6 points on your driver’s license

OWI Second Offense: Misdemeanor

Penalty:

  • Up to 1 year in jail, with a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail
  • Up to 90 days of community service
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Several hundred dollars in court costs
  • A 1-year revocation of your driver’s license, after which you’ll need to petition the Secretary of State to get your license back

OWI Third Offense: Felony

Penalty:

  • 1-5 years in prison, or up to 5 years’ probation with 30 days to 1 year in jail and up to 180 days of community service
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Several hundred dollars in court costs
  • A 1-5 year revocation of your driver’s license, after which you’ll need to petition the Secretary of State to get your license back
  • Vehicle forfeiture, or mandatory vehicle immobilization for 1-3 years if your vehicle is not forfeited

Operating with a High Blood Alcohol Content

If the prosecutor can prove your BAC was above .17, you may be charged with Operating with a High Blood Alcohol Content, or what is referred to as “superdrunk.” This requires proof of BAC more than double the legal limit and, accordingly, comes with tougher punishment.

"Superdrunk" First Offense: Misdemeanor

Penalty:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Fines up to $700
  • Initial 45-day “hard” driver's license suspension
  • Following hard suspension, a restricted license for 1 year, during which time you must have an ignition interlock device installed on your car
  • 6 points on your driver’s license

Operating Under the Influence of Drugs — Drugged Driving

Michigan police have a legal basis to pull you over even if you were not drinking, but were under the influence of drugs. The standards for operating under the influence of drugs are the same as alcohol. For operating while impaired, the prosecutor must prove the drugs caused you to drive with “less ability than would an ordinary careful driver,” which means your ability to drive “must have been lessened to the point that it would have been noticed by another person.” For operating while intoxicated, the prosecutor must prove that because of any drugs in your system, your mental or physical condition was significantly affected and you were no longer able to operate your car in a normal manner.

Drugged Driving First Offense: Misdemeanor

Penalty: The penalties for operating while impaired by drugs and operating while intoxicated by drugs are the same as if you had been under the influence of alcohol rather than drugs. — with one notable exception. For an operating while impaired by drugs conviction, your license will be restricted for 180 days rather than only 90 days.

Contact ZAYID LAW Today to Fight Your Drunk Driving Charge

ZAYID LAW will provide aggressive defense to your drunk driving / OWI charges early and often in your case. I know the courts, understand the law, and am in the position to produce the best possible outcome to your case. I know what it takes to defend you against the system, and it is important to contact ZAYID LAW from day one to preserve your rights and get ready to defend your case.

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