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Patrick T. Barone
The DUI Book
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Michigan OWI First Offense
Hi, I’m Patrick Barone of the Barone Defense Firm and I’d like to discuss with you first offense drunk driving in Michigan. If you have been charged with drunk driving in Michigan and your breath or blood test result is below a .17 and you have no prior offenses within the past 7 years, there is no death or no injury, and then you’re looking at a first offense drunk driving. If it’s a .17 or above on your breath or blood test, that’s a Super Drunk and that’s a subject of another video tape that I have prepared. You can find more information about that on my website.
As far as a traditional first offense drunk driving, the punishments include the following: Up to 93 days in jail. The judge may give you all of those 93 days. You may spend no time in jail or anywhere in between. It will depend on your prior record, the facts and circumstances of your case, the lawyer you have representing you, and the judge that your case is assigned to. It will be important for you to discuss all of those factors with your lawyer before deciding what to do on your case. You don’t want to plead guilty until you know how much, if any, jail time you are looking at.
In addition to jail time, there’s the drivers license sanction. Driver’s license sanction for a first offense drunk driving with no priors in the last seven years, its 30 days no driving following by a 150 days of restricted driving privileges. During those restricted driving privileges, you can drive to and from your employment, necessary medical care, any court ordered probation, or any necessary support groups or treatment that you’re ordered to complete. Any of that information and any of those requirements you are allowed to drive to and from. 24 hours a day 7 days a week, but it has to be within the allowable restrictions.
In addition to the driver’s license sanction and the jail time, it’s a $100-$500 fine, 6 points on your driving record, and a $1000 a year for two years driver’s responsibility fee. In addition to all of that, there are a lot of potential collateral consequences, and again that’s a subject of a separate video tape. What I have given you so far is a summary of the punishment that will apply from the court and from the Secretary of State for a first offense drunk driving. Here is a chart you can look at that summarizes all of it for you.
If you have been charged with first offense drunk driving in Michigan and your lawyer was able to negotiate your reduction to impaired driving, which is a very typical reduction, it’s important for you to know the benefit of that reduction. This is another benefit of pleading guilty to the reduced charge before you go ahead with your plea. Here is how it works. Instead of a 180 day driver’s license suspension with no driving for 30 days followed by a 150 days of restricted, with an impaired driving it’s a 90 day restrictive license. That’s the single most important biggest difference and that’s why most people who are charged with intoxicated driving plead guilty to impaired driving. Otherwise the differences are really not that great. It’s still up to 93 days in jail and it’s still very possible for you to go to jail. Some judges will still put you in jail even for a first offense impaired driving. It’s important for you to discuss that with your lawyer before you plead guilty.
Also it’s still an alcohol related misdemeanor. All of the collateral consequences are identical; there is no differences there what so ever. There is, however, a smaller fine from $100-$500 fine its $100-$300 fine. Instead of 6 points on your driving record, its 4 points on your driving record. Also instead of a $1000 a year for two years driver’s responsibility fee it’s a $500 a year for two years driver’s responsibility fee. Otherwise, everything is identical. As I have said the biggest benefit is the driver’s license sanction. Here’s another chart for you to look like that has the driver’s license and court ordered punishments, including jail time, for an impaired driving.
Ok, so now you have seen the difference between impaired driving and intoxicated driving. You have a pretty good idea of what the differences are in the punishments. But before you plead guilty, you’ll want to talk to your lawyer to make sure that you’re making the right choice and to find out exactly what will happen for you. If you want to know more, here’s some additional contact information and we’ll look forward in hearing from you.
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