In Michigan, most criminal convictions lead to jail time or probation and fines, although there are other criminal consequences that a judge can hand down as well.
Those accused of an operating while intoxicated (OWI) offense could end up in state custody or on probation if they plead guilty, but they will also likely lose their driver’s license. License suspension is a mandatory punishment for an OWI conviction in Michigan.
Someone’s record and charges determine the suspension period
The first time someone pleads guilty to an OWI offense, there is a mandatory six-month suspension period. Drivers will have to wait at least 30 days before they request restricted licenses. A second OWI within seven years of the first will mean a year-long license suspension, and another offense could mean going up to seven years without a license.
Refusing a breath test can also cost someone their license for a year the first time or two years after a second refusal within seven years. Those arrested for an OWI offense with a blood alcohol concentration of more than twice the legal limit will lose their license for at least a year in most cases.
Drivers who have served at least a portion of their suspension can sometimes apply to regain their driving privileges, possibly in part because they will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle.
Defending against an OWI protects someone’s license
A successful defense strategy doesn’t just mean that someone will be able to stay out of jail and avoid a criminal record. Their defense efforts can also preserve their driver’s license and, therefore, their personal freedom.
Those whose jobs involve driving may also preserve their primary stream of income if they successfully defend against their pending charges. Learning more about how Michigan punishes OWI offenses can help those concerned about their upcoming day in court understand what is at stake. Making this effort to learn more can also help them to ask their lawyer informed questions about their specific circumstances.