Drunk Driving OWI Laws in Michigan

If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Michigan, you can be arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI). Be sure that you know your legal rights and options to defend yourself. Contact a legal professional as soon as you can after the arrest so be sure to contact a Michigan DUI defense attorney who can help you resolve your case before your first day in court.

Michigan Drunk Driving Laws

Operating while intoxicated (OWI) is the drunk driving law in Michigan. It requires proving a driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

per se OWI prohibits having a BAC of .08% or more while operating a vehicle, but there are a few exceptions:

  • Commercial drivers cannot have a BAC of .04% or more
  • Drivers under 21 years of age cannot have any amount of alcohol in their system

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: “Super drunk” is a BAC of .17% or more; driving under the influence with a child driving passenger under the age of 16; accidents resulting in serious bodily harm or death; prior convictions

First offense:

  • Misdemeanor OWI, punishable by a fine of $200-$1,000; community service for 30-90 days, and up to one year in prison.

Second offense within 7 years of a prior conviction:

  • Felony OWI, punishable by a fine of $500-$5,000 and imprisonment for 1 to 5 years or probation with at least 30 days in county jail. In addition, the driver faces community work service for 60 to 180 days. In some cases, imprisonment can be suspended if the driver successfully completes a specialty court program.

Three or more offenses, regardless of how many years ago, are treated like a felony, with heightened penalties.

Zero Tolerance and BAC

The number used to legally determine if you are too drunk to drive is known as your BAC. This stands for blood alcohol concentration. For any driver over or at 21 years of age, the max BAC is 0.08. Anything at or above this will result in an arrest. As in other states, commercial drivers can only have a BAC that is under 0.04.

Potential Defenses to Your Drunk Driving Charge

A Michigan criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and potential defenses or help you decide if a plea agreement is right for you. Contact a local OWI defense attorney with experience representing Michigan drivers facing drunk driving charges.

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