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Michigan DUI Laws

DUI, OWI, DWI—no matter what it’s called, drunk driving is illegal across the United States. In Michigan, the main charge associated with this crime is operating while intoxicated, or OWI, although our state’s laws include several other specific charges that may apply depending on the details of the case.

Charges associated with impaired and intoxicated driving include:

  • Operating while under the influence of liquor (OUIL)
  • Operating with an unlawful bodily alcohol level (UBAL)
  • Operating with a high BAC (Super Drunk—BAC at or above .17%)
  • Operating under the influence of drugs (OUID)
  • Operating while visibly impaired (OWVI)
  • Operating with a presence of drugs (OWPD)
  • Boating while impaired or intoxicated (BWI)

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Penalties

Michigan’s criminal code also spells out the penalties associated with these charges. Though the specific punishments will depend on a number of individual case factors, generally speaking, a person convicted of impaired or intoxicated driving can expect jail time, monetary fines and court costs, as well as some type of sanction against his or her drivers license.

Jail Time

In Michigan, a first-offense OWI charge with a blood alcohol content (BAC) below .17% is referred to as a 93-day misdemeanor, because the maximum jail sentence that a judge may order if you are found guilty is 93 days. The judge may sentence you to all 93 days, or he or she may order no jail time—it all depends on the details of the case and what the judge feels is fair.

If your BAC was .17% or higher and it is your first OWI offense, the maximum jail sentence is 180 days. If you have prior impaired or intoxicated driving convictions within the past seven years on your record, the potential jail times increase.

Fines

For a first-offense OWI with a BAC below .17%, you will be ordered to pay a fine between $100 and $500. If your BAC was .17% or higher, the range increases to $200-$700. If it is your second offense within seven years, the maximum fine increases to $1,000, and if it is your third offense within your lifetime you could be facing a $5,000 fine.

License Suspension

If it is your first OWI offense and your BAC was below .17%, you will be facing a 30-day license suspension followed by 150 days of restricted driving. If your BAC was .17% or higher, it is an automatic one-year suspension. In this case, you may be eligible for restricted driving privileges after 45 days, but you would be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

Upon a second OWI conviction within seven years of the first, you will be facing a one-year license revocation, with no opportunity for a restricted or limited driving permit.

BAC & Breathalyzer Results

The standard BAC limit for driving across the United States is .08%. In Michigan, if your blood alcohol content is .17% or higher, you are considered to be “Super Drunk.” This means that you will face increased minimum jail times, fines, and license suspension periods.

It is important to understand, though, that you can still be charged with impaired or intoxicated driving even if your BAC is below .08%.

Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition interlock devices are typically ordered for those who have previous impaired and intoxicated driving convictions on their records. However, if it is your first offense and your BAC was .17% or greater, you may be ordered to install an interlock device before you can drive again.

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