DUI Penalties

We Aim To Limit The Criminal Punishment And Collateral Consequences Of An OWI/DUI Arrest

If you were arrested for drunk driving or impaired driving, naturally you want to know what punishment you might be facing. The answer depends very much on the specific circumstances of your case — including the qualifications of your defense lawyer.

Michigan statute provides a maximum sentence for every level of DUI and minimum penalties for some offenses. If we cannot beat the charges outright, our priority at the Law Offices of Harris & Literski is to shield clients from the worst consequences of a drunk driving arrest. Our representation may mean the difference of jail versus freedom, or license revocation versus retaining your driving privileges. From hundreds of DUI cases in decades of collective experience, our criminal law attorneys know how to protect your rights and get the most favorable result.

Penalties For A Michigan Drunk Driving Conviction

Below is a condensed list of the primary penalties for various DUI offenses. The full list may include fines, surcharges, community service, alcohol treatment, mandatory classes, ignition interlock and other consequences imposed at the court's discretion.

  • DUI (OWI) — A first offense of driving under the influence (operating while intoxicated) is a misdemeanor. Maximum sentence is 93 days, though most judges do not impose jail. License suspension is 90 days.
  • OWVI — Operating while visibly impaired is a lesser offense, usually punished by fines, 30-day license suspension and 150 days of restricted driving.
  • Repeat DUI — A second DUI/OWI offense within seven years is a misdemeanor with jail time of five days (minimum) up to one year. Your driver's license will be subject to a "hard revocation" of one year.
  • Third or subsequent DUI— A third DUI/OWI is a felony crime, punishable by one to five years in prison, fines up to $5,000, and license revocation for one to five years, plus all the life consequences of a felony record.
  • Refusal of a breath test — Under Michigan's implied consent law, you will automatically lose your license for one year, with no restricted driving privileges.
  • Zero Tolerance — Drivers under the age of 21 with any measurable alcohol (.02 BAC) will receive fines, up to 360 hours of community service and a 30-day license suspension. Subsequent offenses may carry jail time.
  • "Super Drunk" DUI — If your blood alcohol content is .17 or greater on a first offense, the enhanced penalties are a maximum 180 days in jail and a full year of license suspension/restricted driving.
  • Aggravated DUI — Enhanced penalties apply if you caused an accident while driving under the influence, if you were driving on a suspended license, or if you were transporting a child under the age of 16.
  • DUI manslaughter — Drunk driving that results in a death is a serious felony, carrying a prison term of up to 15 years and lifetime revocation of your driver's license.

Fighting The Charges And Mitigating The Penalties

Our attorneys have successfully challenged the underlying charges of drunk driving. We employ creative and proven DUI defenses to challenge the prosecutor's evidence and gain leverage to avoid a conviction. If we cannot defeat the charges, we make every effort to soften the criminal penalties, preserve your driving privileges, and minimize the immediate and future consequences of a drunk driving offense. We will represent you in court proceedings and your Secretary of State hearing.

From offices in Brighton, we represent the accused throughout Livingston County, Washtenaw County and Oakland County, Michigan. Contact us to arrange a free consultation.