First Offense OWI in Michigan

DUI 1Lansing Michigan OWI Attorney

If This is Your First Drunk Driving Offense in Michigan You Can be Charged With:

 

  • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) 1st
  • Operating While Intoxicated with a High BAC, or “Super Drunk”
  • Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI), aka Impaired Driving
  • Under 21 Operating with any BAC

 

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is when you are operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater, the presence of any Scheduled I Controlled Substance or Marijuana, or if any medication has substantially impacted your ability to safely operate the car.

 

The High BAC or “Super Drunk” is the most recent drunk driving legislation which took effect Halloween 2010. It has the same elements of the OWI except the BAC must be .17 or greater which effectively doubles the penalties.

 

Operating While Visibly Impaired, or Impaired Driving, does not require any particular BAC. The prosecution would instead have to prove that it was evident upon viewing that the driver was intoxicated or too impaired to safely drive a car. This can be quite difficult to prove which is why it is rarely used as the original charge. It is most often used as a “lesser include offense” option at jury trials and is the most frequent plea bargain for first offense OWI.

 

Under 21 Operating With any BAC is part of Michigan’s “zero tolerance” for dealing with anyone who drives a car under the age of 21 with any amount of alcohol in their system.

 

Various Penalties for First Offense Michigan Drunk Driving Charges

 

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

 

  • 93 days in jail
  • One-year probation
  • $500 fine plus court costs
  • 45 days of community service
  • Possible ignition interlock or vehicle immobilization
  • Six points on your driving record
  • 30 days suspended license, 150 days of restrictions
  • $2,000 in Driver’s Responsibility Fees ($1,000 for two consecutive years) for OWI
  • $1,000 in Driver’s Responsibility Fees ($500 for two consecutive years) for OWPD

 

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI)

 

  • 93 days in jail
  • One-year probation
  • $300 fine plus court costs
  • 45 days community service
  • Possible ignition interlock or vehicle immobilization
  • Four points on your driving record
  • 90 days restricted license (180 days if impaired by a controlled substance)
  • $1,000 in Driver’s Responsibility Fees ($500 for two consecutive years)

 

High BAC or Super Drunk

 

  • 180 days in jail
  • $200-700 in fines plus court costs
  • 45 days community service
  • One-year suspended license with eligibility for a suspended license after 45 days if an ignition interlock is installed
  • Six points on your driving record
  • $2,000 in Driver’s Responsibility Fees ($1,000 for two consecutive years)

 

Under 21 Operating With Any BAC

 

  • $500 fine plus court costs
  • 45 days community service
  • 30 days restricted license
  • Four points on your driving record
  • $1,000 in Driver Responsibility Fees ($500 for two      consecutive years)

 

When to Accept a Plea Offer

 

  • The case against you is strong and the likelihood of conviction is great
  • The plea offer will reduce or lessen the penalties against you (ex. Impaired Driving as opposed to OWI will allow you a restricted as opposed to a suspended license, less points on your driving record, less driver’s responsibility fees)
  • The plea offer is a non-alcohol related offense such as Reckless Driving or Careless Driving (even though Reckless Driving monetarily hurts more, the stigma is not as great as it relates to future employers, housing, and college applications)

 

When to go to Trial

 

  • The case against you is weak and you believe the prosecutor will have a difficult time proving one or more of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt (especially if you have gotten some key evidence suppressed)
  • The offer isn’t good (when charged with High BAC or Super Drunk, often the offer is to plead to the charge or to regular OWI, both of which result in an automatic suspended license)
  • There is no plea offer (some jurisdictions refuse to plea bargain even first offense OWIs so essentially you have nothing to lose by going to trial)
  • Any plea offer will negatively impact your career (i.e. driving is your career or an essential part of your job)
  • The plea offer will negatively impact your schooling (your scholarship may be revoked or you may be denied acceptance into certain schools or graduate studies)

 

Collateral Consequences of a DUI

 

Aside from the penalties opposed by statute, there are a lot of collateral consequences to DUIs as well such as:

 

  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Getting fired or demoted from certain jobs or careers
  • Restricted traveling—some countries may not allow you entrance if you have been convicted or are currently on probation for a DUI
  • Schooling—you may be denied admittance to certain professional schools or your scholarships may be revoked
  • Citizenship—a DUI conviction could have an effect on your citizenship status or your VISA

 

 

Any decision on whether to go to trial or accept a plea offer should only be made after consulting with an experienced Michigan DUI attorney who has thoroughly reviewed your case and discussed all possibilities and pros and cons of your options. Too much is at stake to take the matter lightly or to handle it on your own. The money you spend on a good DUI or OWI attorney will be a wise investment that pays dividends.

 

If you have been charged with OWI, call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 today to discuss your case with a Michigan OWI attorney.

 

Representing DUI Clients throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Jackson, Livingston, Shiawassee, Kent, Clinton, Barry, and Gratiot and in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Bath, Ithaca, Charlotte, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Corunna, Grand Rapids.