First Offense OWI/DUI in Michigan

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A driver in Michigan may be subject to varying penalties for a first offense. If the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or above, the penalties will be less than if the BAC is .17% or higher. Michigan refers to DUIs as OWIs (Operating While Intoxicated) or if the driving is impaired and the BAC is below .08% the driver may be charged with an OWVI (Operating While visibly Impaired). Penalties increase if a minor is present in the vehicle or if there is bodily injury.

Administrative Penalties

If BAC is below .17 and this is a first offense:

  • Up to 180 days license suspension
  • 6 points on a driver's license

If BAC is .17 or higher and this is a first offense:

  • Up to one year license suspension
  • 6 points on a driver's license
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program
  • Ignition interlock use and compliance after 45 days license suspension is required to receive a restricted driver's license. Convicted drunk drivers have limited driving privileges, are prohibited from operating a vehicle without an approved and properly installed ignition interlock device, and are responsible for all installation and upkeep costs for the device.

Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver's license suspension.

  • First offense refusals to submit under implied consent laws carry mandatory administrative license suspension of one (1) year

Criminal Penalties

How Much Will it Cost?

To get an idea of how much a first offense DUI will cost you, see our article on the cost of a DUI.

If BAC is below .17 and this is a first offense:

  • Up to $500 fine
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service

If BAC is .17 or higher and this is a first offense:

  • Up to $700 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service

Conviction of first offense in Michigan will influence charging and sentencing of subsequent OWI/DUI arrests for a period of seven (7) years

Can I Get a First OWI / DUI Reduced?

An OWI/DUI defendant in Michigan is not prohibited from bargaining down criminal charges. For example, a defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced. However, the ability to reduce charges typically depends on the availability of some evidence or proof that seriously attacks the prosecutor's case. For example, if your blood alcohol concentration level was significantly over the .08 standard in the state, or you injured another person, damaged property or had other complications to your case, it may be impossible to get a reduction of your charge. Your best chances of reducing charges is if you can prove:

  • that your driving ability was not impaired.
  • the tests given to you were unreliable.

Generally, your chances for a plea bargain improve with professional advice.

Getting Legal Help

The state of Michigan does not expressly prohibit plea option deals involving reduction of OWI charges into lesser criminal offenses. For more information and insight into how this is possible, consult with a Michigan first OWI/DUI lawyer to find out more.

by: , Attorney

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