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Motorists with Michigan DUI and DWI convictions on their driving record incur tough penalties as a result of the seriousness of these offenses. The MI Secretary of State (SOS) and the courts enforce strict DUI laws, under which drivers are penalized if they operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs or refuse to take a chemical test. The severity of DUI consequences in Michigan usually depends on several factors, such as the level of blood alcohol content (BAC) in a driver’s system, as well as the number of previous DUI and DWI convictions on the offender’s report. A driver’s age can be an important factor in determining punishments after committing a DUI offense as well. For more detailed drunk driving information in MI, continue reading the sections below.

DUI Citations and Convictions in Michigan

If you have been issued a DWI or DUI ticket and fail to have it dismissed in court, you will incur harsh penalties such as steep fines, possible imprisonment and a loss of your privilege to drive. If you are subject to an MI DWI arrest after being pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be required to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC level. An administrative DUI suspended license will be issued and demerit points will be placed on your driving history if you refuse to take the test.

Michigan Under the Influence Violations and Penalties

Under drunk driving laws in Michigan, drivers will be charged with DUI if they refuse to take a test or are caught driving with a BAC above the legal limit, which endangers their lives and the lives of others. There are several types of DUI offenses which may result in severe penalties administered both by the MI SOS and the court system, including the following:

  • Operating while visibly impaired (OWVI) suggests that your ability to drive is impaired due to the presence of alcohol and/or other drugs in your system.
  • Operating while intoxicated (OWI) means that your ability to operate a vehicle is affected as a result of a high BAC level (.08 percent or more).
  • Operating with any presence of a Schedule 1 drug or cocaine (OWPD) implies that you may face charges provided a chemical testing detects even a small trace of these drugs in your system.

First DUI Offense

When facing a DWI conviction in Michigan for the first time due to OWI or OWPD, licensees will be penalized with a 30-day license suspension, a fine between $100 and $500 and a jail sentence of up to 93 days and/or community service. First-time DUI and DWI offenders may also be required to install an ignition interlock device, pay a driver responsibility fee and face possible vehicle immobilization. Six demerit points will be placed against their driving report. Harsher consequences, including a license suspension of 1 year and up to 180 days in prison, will apply to drivers with a BAC of .17 percent or more.

Second DUI Offense

A second MI DWI conviction resulting from operating while intoxicated will lead to a driving license revocation for a period of 1 year (or at least 5 years in the event of a previous revocation within a 7-year period), confiscation of the offender’s license plates, a jail sentence and mandatory community service.

Third DUI Offense

Licensees charged with DUI for the third time will incur the toughest penalties, as these offenses are considered felonies under state laws. For instance, drivers with a third violation will be fined between $500 and $5,000 and face DUI probation or imprisonment of up to 5 years. A minimum license revocation period of 1 year and other punishments similar to those issued for first or second offenses apply as well.

Drinking and Driving in Michigan

The severity of drunk driving laws in MI is due to the fact that alcohol and other drugs have a negative impact on motorists’ concentration and judgment while behind the wheel. As these substances are known to reduce the ability of drivers to see clearly and react in a timely manner, they are a major cause of fatal accidents. MI DUI penalties are usually much stricter for underage motorists since they have not yet reached the legal drinking age.

Michigan DUI Attorneys

If you are at risk of incurring steep drunk driving fines and other penalties, it is best to hire an experienced defense attorney that specializes in DUI and DWI. By engaging the services of an MI drunk driving attorney, your chances of reducing the punishment greatly increase. A good lawyer with years of experience will be able to guide you through your court proceedings, advise you on the best course of action and negotiate lower fines and sentences on your behalf. 

Michigan Open Container Laws

Michigan drunk driving charges will also be brought against motorists caught operating with an open container of alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle. While a first DUI of this type will not cause any action against the offender’s driving license, second or subsequent violations will result in an MI DUI suspended license for at least 30 days followed by restrictions, demerit points on his or her driving record, a fine of up to $100 and possible alcohol screening.

Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in Michigan

One of the penalties issued to motorists in violation of the set motor vehicle laws is the loss of their privilege to drive. Licensees with a DUI drivers license suspension in Michigan will need to initiate a reinstatement procedure with a nearby MI SOS location in order to restore their license to begin legally driving on public roads and highways. To restore a DUI suspended license, drivers will generally need to complete the following steps:

  • Wait out the mandatory suspension/revocation period.
  • Serve a jail sentence/community service (if applicable).
  • Install an ignition interlock device (if required).
  • Arrange payment for the applicable MI cost of DUI/DWI restoration.

Note that other reinstatement requirements, including mandatory participation in DUI traffic school programs or providing payment for additional fees may apply depending on the offender’s circumstances.

Michigan Alcohol Awareness Classes

Motorists with one or several DUI offenses on their report may be obliged by the presiding court to enroll into an alcohol treatment or self-help program. These DUI classes in MI, also known as rehabilitation programs, usually help drivers learn more about the negative effects of intoxicants on safe driving. Participation in these DUI courses is typically imposed on licensees with one or more convictions.

Michigan Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI

Several MI DUI laws, including the Implied Consent and Zero Tolerance laws, are enforced by relevant state agencies in order to deter drivers from driving while intoxicated. Per the Implied Consent rule, you will be subject to strict DUI penalties, including a 1-year license suspension and six points on your driving history if you refuse to undergo a chemical test. If you are faced with a DWI arrest in Michigan for the second time within 7 years and refuse testing again, you will lose your privilege to drive for 2 years. Furthermore, if your test shows a BAC level over the permitted limit (.08 percent and more for adult drivers and .02 percent or higher for motorists younger than 21 years old), you will also incur tough punishments and will be required to resolve your case with the SOS and in court.

Hardship License in Michigan

Motorists with a DUI suspended license in Michigan may be able to obtain a restricted credential, which can be used to drive to and from specific locations, including places of employment, rehabilitation locations and more. Licensees who were issued a DUI drivers license suspension due to high BAC, for instance, may request such credential 45 days upon the start of their 1-year suspension period, if deemed eligible. Prior to initiating the procedure, however, drivers must install an IID in their vehicle and submit proof of such action to a local Michigan SOS office.

Last updated on Friday, September 21 2018.

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