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Understanding OWI penalties in Michigan

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Michigan is a serious offense with substantial legal consequences. The state implements stringent laws to deter and penalize drunk driving, emphasizing public safety. 

Here, you can learn more about the penalties you can face if you are arrested and convicted of OWI. 

Potential penalties for a first OWI

The penalties can be severe for a first-time OWI offense. They include up to 93 days in jail, a fine ranging from $100 to $500 and up to 360 hours of community service. Additionally, there is a potential for a driver’s license suspension of up to 180 days. In some cases, a restricted license may be granted after 30 days. 

Potential high BAC penalties

Michigan law also recognizes High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) violations. The penalties increase significantly if a first-time offender has a BAC of 0.17% or higher. These include up to 180 days in jail, fines between $200 and $700 and a one-year suspension of the driver’s license. The law was created to impose harsher penalties on those who are a greater risk on the road.

Potential penalties for repeat OWIs

Repeat OWI offenders face harsher penalties. For a second OWI conviction, penalties include up to one year in jail, fines between $200 and $1,000, mandatory community service and a minimum one-year driver’s license revocation. If a third offense occurs within a lifetime, it’s considered a felony with up to five years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines and a driver’s license revocation for a minimum of one year and up to five years if there was a prior revocation within seven years.

The penalties for an OWI show how serious the state takes drunk driving. The laws are designed to be both punitive and deterrent, reflecting the commitment to road safety. It’s crucial for drivers to understand these potential consequences and to always make responsible decisions regarding alcohol consumption and driving.