The charge of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is a very serious offense in Michigan with harsh penalties including restrictive driving privileges, possible jail time, and high fines and costs.
It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove all of the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor can try to convict someone of drinking and driving two ways. The first, by the common law of Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI), or through the “per-se” violation of an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).
For Operating While Visibly Impaired, it is the prosecutor’s burden to show that the ability to operate a motor vehicle was substantially lessened due to the consumption of alcohol.
For Operating While Intoxicated, it is the prosecutor’s burden to show that someone’s blood or breath alcohol level was over .08 at the time of driving.
Here are the following penalties for each Michigan drinking and driving offense:
1st Offense Operating while Intoxicated (no prior OWI crime)
This is a misdemeanor charge and includes 1 or more of the following:
1. Up to 93 days in jail
2. $100-$500 in fines
3. Up to 360 hours of community service
Michigan OWI driver’s license sanctions and driving privileges:
1. License suspended for 30 days with additional 150 days restricted driving privileges
2. 6 points on your record
3. Possible court-ordered ignition interlock
4. Possible vehicle immobilization for up to 180 days
2nd Offense Operating while Intoxicated (or any prior OWI crime within 7 years)
1. This is a misdemeanor charge and includes $200-$1000 in fines AND one or more of the following:
a. 5 days to 1 year jail time
b. 30-90 days community service
Michigan 2nd offense OWI driver’s license sanctions and driving privileges:
1. Minimum 1 year revocation of driver’s license
2. 6 points on driving record
3. Possible vehicle forfeiture
4. If the vehicle has not been forfeited, immobilization of vehicle for 90-180 days
3rd Offense Operating while Intoxicated (or 2 prior OWI crimes within 10 years)
1. This is a felony charge and includes $500-$5000 in fines AND either of the following:
a. 1 to 5 years in prison
b. Probation with 30 days to 1 year in jail AND 60-180 days of community service
Michigan OWI 3rd driver’s license sanctions and driving privileges:
5. Minimum 1 to 5 years revocation of driver’s license
6. 6 points on driving record
7. Possible vehicle forfeiture
8. If the vehicle has not been forfeited, immobilization of vehicle for 1 to 3 years
Defenses for the charge of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI):
1. Involuntary Intoxication
2. Faulty Breath or Blood Alcohol Test
3. Person being charge was not driving the vehicle
4. Error in the administration of field sobriety tests
5. Illegal reason for the police stopping you
If you have been charged with Operating While Intoxicated call Michigan defense lawyer Aaron J. Boria, PLLC, (734) 453-7806.