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In the state of Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher. Anyone who is found guilty of operating a motor vehicle while exceeding the BAC limit may be arrested and can face numerous penalties and fees.

In Michigan, when a motorist is operating a vehicle over the BAC limit, they are said to be Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). However, Michigan also has a separate Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) law which states that motorists who have consumed alcohol, drugs or a combination or both are impaired. This law renders driving while under the influence of any Schedule 1 drug (cocaine, barbiturates, etc.) illegal.

Michigan has “per se” laws in place regarding drinking and driving. The per se law states that a driver is in violation of the law if either their BAC level exceeded .08 percent while operating a motor vehicle or if the driver was visibly impaired due to alcohol/drug consumption.

The official drug and alcohol laws in Michigan are as follows:

• It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor
• It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with an unlawful BAC level
• It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired

Michigan OWI laws also extend to minors and commercial vehicle drivers. However, the minimum BAC level required to be arrested for OWI in these cases is much lower than for regular drivers over the age of 21. Minors may not drive with a BAC level above .02 percent and commercial vehicle operators may not drive with a BAC level exceeding .04 percent.

Michigan’s Penalties for OWI

In the state of Michigan, any motorist found guilty of OWI may suffer one or a combination of the following penalties:

1st OWI Conviction

• Imprisonment up to 93 days
• Driver’s license suspended up to 6 months (eligible for restricted license after 30 days)
• 6 license points
• Fine from $100-$500
• Driver Responsibility Fee imposed for 2 years- $1,000
• May require community service up to 360 hours
• May require Ignition interlock device
• May have vehicle immobilized

2nd OWI Conviction

• Imprisonment from 5 days-1 year
• Driver’s license suspended minimum 1 year
• 6 license points
• Fine from $200-$1,000
• Driver Responsibility Fee imposed for 2 years- $1,000
• May require community service from 30-90 days
• Vehicle immobilized from 90-180 days
• License plate confiscated

3rd OWI Conviction

• Considered a felony offense
• Imprisonment from 1-5 years with probation from 30 days-1 year
• Driver’s license suspended minimum 1 year
• 6 license points
• Fine from $200-$1,000
• Driver Responsibility Fee imposed for 2 years- $1,000
• May require community service from 60-180 days
• Vehicle immobilized from 90-180 days
• License plate confiscated
• Ignition interlock device

Additional Michigan Drunken Driving Penalties

OWVI Charges: For OWVI charges, a driver may face a minimum fine from $100-$500 and may be ordered to spend a maximum of 93 days in jail with an additional 45 days of community service. Both OWVI and OWI charges may lead to the driver being ordered to attend an alcohol/drug education or treatment program.

Minors: Although a person is considered to be of legal age at 18 in the state of Michigan, a person under the age of 21 may not consume alcoholic beverages and will face punishment if they are caught drinking and driving.

Michigan has a zero tolerance policy law in place which states that minors may not drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. Minors found guilty of drinking and driving will receive a fine of $250 minimum and/or may also face 60 days of community service, have their driving privileges restricted for 30 days and or be ordered to attend drug/alcohol treatment courses.

Seeking Legal Help

Did you know that if you refuse to take a breath, blood or urine test to determine alcohol/drug consumption in Michigan you may be at risk of having your license suspended? Motorists must take action within 14 days of their arrest to prevent their license from being suspended for OWI and OWVI charges. If you have incurred any type of alcohol/drug related driving charge in Michigan, contact an OWI/ OWVI lawyer right now to fight your case in court.

Your Michigan OWI/ OWVI attorney will see to it that your case ends with the best possible outcome. They will do whatever it takes to prevent your license from being suspended or have it reinstated if it already was revoked, will negotiate a plea bargain for you, will represent your interests in court to the best of their ability and will always stand by your side to offer you support throughout the duration of your case.

Many times, motorists are unfairly charged with OWI/ OWVI in Michigan and OWI/ OWVI attorneys understand this. They will not rest until your innocence is proven and your charges are either significantly reduced or wiped away altogether. Speak to a skilled team of Michigan OWI/OMVI lawyers today to get started on your case and fight for your rights.

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