First Offense at Michigan OWI Penalties



As is the case in every state, drivers in Michigan can be charged with operating while impaired, or an OWI, if their blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. Any driver under the age of 21 will face an OWI charge with a BAC of .02 or higher, while commercial drivers can be charged if their BAC measures .04 percent or higher. Michigan also has a law prohibiting driving while visibly impaired, or OWVI. Under this statute, a driver can be charged if he or she is unable to safely operate a vehicle due to the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system. Any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, such as cocaine or marijuana, will result in being charged with OWVI in Michigan.

Regardless of whether a person is charged with OWI or OWVI, he or she will face similar penalties. These could include, among other things, jail time, fines, community service and license suspension. Under Michigan’s implied consent law, even if they are not charged with OWI, they could still face a license suspension for up to a one year for refusing to take a chemical test. If they want to challenge the suspension, they must file an appeal within 14 days after their arrest.

First Offense

A first OWI offense is considered a misdemeanor in Michigan. You could face a sentence of up to 93 days in jail and up to 360 hours of community service. Your license will be suspended for as long as six months, although you can apply for a restricted license after 30 days. You’ll receive six points on your driving record, pay fines ranging from $100 to $500 and face two years of paying a $1,000 driver responsibility fee to the state. You may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device, and you may be required to mechanically immobilize your vehicle for a period of time.

Second Offense

If you are convicted of a second OWI within seven years, you will be required to serve a minimum of five days in jail but could be sentenced to as much as one year. Your license will be suspended for one year, during which time your license plate will be confiscated. Your vehicle must also be mechanically immobilized for anywhere from 90 to 180 days, unless you voluntarily forfeit the car. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device in order to have your license restored. In addition, six points will be assessed against your driving record, you will pay fines ranging from $200 to $1,000, and you will be required to pay a $1,000 driver responsibility fee each year for two years. You may also be required to serve 30 to 90 days of community service.

Third Offense

Being charged with OWI in Michigan three or more times during your lifetime will result in a felony charge. You could face anywhere from one to five years imprisonment, a minimum of a one year license suspension, 60 to 180 days of community service and pay fines ranging from $200 to $1,000. Your license plate will be confiscated, your vehicle must be immobilized or forfeited and you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in order to have your driving privileges reinstated. You will be required to pay the state a driver responsibility fee of $1,000 for two years.

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