Garton & Vogt
The serious consequences of driving drunk in Michigan
Michigan takes drunk driving seriously, imposing strict punishments for those convicted of the crime.
In Michigan, the charges associated with driving drunk typically include one of the following:
- Operating while visibly impaired: This occurs when someone is visibly unable to operate a vehicle due to the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Operating while intoxicated: This includes someone who is substantially affected by a substance or has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
- Operating with any presence of a schedule 1 drug or cocaine
- Under age 21 operating with any bodily alcohol content
As the Michigan Department of State points out, the state's courts take quick action when someone faces one of these charges, deciding the cases within 77 days of the arrest. People charged with any drunk driving-related crime should be aware of the consequences.
The length of a jail sentence depends on several factors, including the number of DUI convictions the person has had and the driver's blood alcohol content. The Michigan State Police warn that a first offense in which someone has a blood alcohol content of below 0.17 can still result in up to 93 days in jail. A first offense at a BAC at or above 0.17 can lead to up to 180 days in jail. Second and subsequent offenses can result in up to one year in jail.
It should be noted that when aggravated factors are present, the length of a jail sentence can be more severe. For example, someone who has two prior OWI convictions or two or more convictions within seven years will face felony charges that carry with them up to five years in jail. If the incident resulted in someone's death, the driver could be sentenced to up to 15 years in jail.
Driver's license suspension
Under state law, anyone convicted of such a crime will face a mandatory six-month driver's license suspension. In some cases, the person may be able to gain restricted driving privileges after 30 days of the suspended license. Someone convicted of a second or subsequent offense will face at least one year of license suspension.
Fines, similar to jail time, depend largely on the factors associated with each case. At minimum, someone convicted of driving drunk could be fined between $100 and $500. That number escalates depending on the crime, going up to $10,000 for an incident that results in the death of someone else.
People convicted of drunk driving in Michigan may have to use an ignition interlock device on their vehicles, acquire six points or more on their driver's licenses and have to complete community service. In some situations, the driver may have to complete an alcohol treatment program.
Due to the severe nature of these penalties, anyone facing drunk driving charges should immediately consult with an attorney.