Michigan DUI 101

Michigan DUI offenses include three different drunk driving classifications a person can be charged with:

  • OWI – Operating While Intoxicated
  • UBAL/UBAC – Unlawful Body Alcohol Level/Content
  • OWVI – Operating While Visibly Impaired

There are stringent laws governing a Michigan DUI and anyone caught driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. The number of drinks individuals can consume before reaching the legal limit will differ from person to person, which can make it difficult to determine if there is too much alcohol in your system to render you over the legal limit. For this reason, the safest choice is to stay away from alcohol altogether if you plan on operating a vehicle.

What is the Legal Blood Alcohol Content Limit in Michigan?

The blood alcohol content limit varies with age. Those who are over the age of 21 have reached their limit when their blood alcohol content (BAC) has reached .08 percent. Those under the age of 21 may not drive at a bodily alcohol content of .02 percent or higher, nor with the presence of any alcohol in your system, aside from that consumed at a recognized religious ceremony. Those who operate commercial vehicles have reached their limit when their BAC has reached .04 percent.

What Are the Penalties for Michigan DUI/OWI Offenses?

The fines and penalties increase in severity with each additional conviction.

First time offense:

  • Jail time of up to 93 days
  • License suspension up to six months
  • Fines from $100 to $500
  • $1,000 fine for a two-year “Driver Responsibility Fee”
  • Possible community service for up to 360 hours
  • Possible breath alcohol ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle
  • Possible immobilization of your vehicle

Second time offense:

  • Jail time from five days up to one year
  • Minimum one-year license suspension
  • Confiscation of license plate
  • Fines between $200 to $1000
  • $1,000 fine for a two-year “Driver Responsibility Fee.”
  • Breath alcohol ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle
  • Immobilization of the vehicle for anywhere between 90 to 180 days
  • Possible community service for anywhere between 30 to 90 days

Third time offense:

  • This constitutes a felony
  • Jail time of 30 days to one year, with imprisonment for one to five years
  • Suspension of license for a minimum of one year
  • Confiscation of license plate
  • Fines between $200 to $1000
  • $1,000 fine for a two-year “Driver Responsibility Fee”
  • Breath alcohol ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle
  • Immobilization of the vehicle of between 90 to 180 days
  • Possible community service of between 60 to 180 days

Are There Any Restricted License Options?

A Michigan DUI offender is eligible for a restricted license after 30 days of being convicted of a first DUI/OWI offense. A restricted license permits the convicted individual to drive to and from the following places:

  • Work
  • School
  • Community service
  • Alcohol treatment
  • Probation

A proof of destination must be supplied to law enforcement if necessary.

Which DUI Programs Does the Court Mandate?

Those who are convicted of drunk driving in Michigan are ordered to have a mandatory alcohol assessment to determine the severity of the person’s alcohol issues, which can be paid either by the offender or the state. Treatment for alcohol problems is mandatory in the state of Michigan, failure of which can result in a return to court and ineligibility of having their license reinstated. There are a few different alcohol awareness programs that the offender can participate in, all of which vary in duration.

When faced with a Michigan DUI conviction, it is best to follow instructions from the court closely, and to ensure that repeat offenses do not occur.