Third Offense OWI/DUI in Michigan

A third offense OWI/DUI in Michigan is classified as a felony and can have serious administrative penalties (five-year license suspension) and criminal penalties (including a minimum jail time of one-year). 

Administrative Penalties

If you are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense, the following administrative penalties are possible:

  • A $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two years.
  • You may need to install an ignition interlock device at your own expense.
  • Driving license is suspended for up to five years.
  • Six points added to your driver’s record.
  • Confiscation of your driver’s license.
  • Vehicle is either forfeited or immobilized for one to three years.

Criminal Penalties

If you are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense, the following criminal penalties are possible:

  • Probation with a jail sentence of 30 days to one year.  
  • A jail sentence of one to five years.
  • Fines from $500-$5,000.
  • 60-180 days of community service.
  • Your vehicle immobilized for one to three years.

The Lookback Period

In Michigan, courts look back at all prior DUI convictions, regardless of how long ago they occurred.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor in Michigan

If there is serious bodily injury, a third offense OWI/DUI is considered a third-degree felony.  If a death is caused by the accident and the driver was intoxicated, it could be classified as a second- or even as a first-degree felony.  DUI accidents without serious bodily injury are usually classified as misdemeanors.

Plea Options

The individual can do any of the following:

  • Plead Guilty or "No Contest"–the individual admits to everything with which he/she is charged and will accept whatever penalty the court imposes.
  • Plead Not Guilty and Fight It–the individual does not admit to anything with which he/she is charged and challenges the State of Michigan to meet its burden of proof.
  • Plea Bargaining–This usually only applies to first-time DUI/DWI offenders, as this lessens or eliminates the penalty of incarceration and replaces it with extended probation periods and costly other conditions.

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