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Michigan DUI laws

  DUI Laws & Info  -   POSTED: 2007/01/09 23:26

When a driver is first arrested, he or she is required to stay in jail from 4 to 24 hours, depending on the blood alcohol level. Then, they will be arraigned to determine bond.

Michigan is a “0.07" State, meaning that any breath alcohol level over a 0.07 is a punishable criminal offense. Penalties vary depending upon whether you are a first offender, as well as the specifics of the situation, such as the actual blood alcohol content at arrest. Penalties include anything from fines, probation, driver license sanctions, and even car forfeiture and imprisonment. The penalties increase based on breath alcohol level and circumstances for the particular offense.


A. Criminal Penalties for Conviction of Operating Under the Influence of Liquor (OUIL), Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content (UBAC), and Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWI) OFFENSE OUIL, UBAC First Offense- $100.00 to $500.00 fine plus costs. Up to 93 days jail and up to 45 days of Community Service. OWI - First Offense Up to $300.00 fine plus costs. Up to 93 days jail and up to 45 days of Community Service

B. Screening and Additional Costs. All convictions for alcohol related driving offenses require the judge to order the defendant to undergo screening for substance abuse, and rehabilitation may be part of any sentence, all at defendant's expense. [MCL 257.625b(5)] In addition, the defendant may be ordered to pay the costs of prosecution. [MCL 257.625(12) ]

C. License Suspensions and Restrictions. The maximum possible license sanctions that may be imposed will be based upon the master driving record maintained by the Secretary of State under MCL 257.204. [MCL 257.625b(4)]Sentences and licensing actions also apply to a person convicted of an attempted violation of any of the offenses listed above as if the offense had been completed. [MCL 257.204(b)]. Anyone driving while license suspended or revoked is also subject to license suspension or revocation for a like period of the original suspension or revocation.

There are three distinct drunk driving offenses in Michigan:

Operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor (OUIL),
Driving with an unlawful bodily alcohol level/content (UBAL/UBAC), and
Operating while impaired (OWI).
Of these, OWI is the least serious and most common offense. It is relatively easy for prosecutors to prove.

First offense impaired (Operating While Visibly Impaired-OWI) is a misdemeanor violation. Upon conviction or guilty plea, OWI results in up to 93 days in jail, up to $300 fine, and 45 days of community service, plus a 90 day restriction of license (to and from and during work, treatment, probation, community service and support groups). A $125 reinstatement fee is due at the end of restriction. Failure to do so will cause the license to be suspended.

Fines and costs, are dependent on the individual court, are imposed, as is alcohol education.

If you refused to take a breath, blood or urine test after being arrested for DWI / UBAL / OUIL / OWI or another drinking related charge in Michigan, your license may be at risk of being suspended, if you do not demand an administrative hearing within 14 business days after your arrest.

First offense intoxicated (Operating While Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor-OUIL) is a misdemeanor violation, with no license whatsoever available for the first 30 days. Thereafter, a restricted license (to and from and during work, treatment, probation,

community service and support groups) can be issued for a period of up to 6 months.
A conviction or plea of guilty of first offense OUIL results in a maximum sentence of up to $500.00 in fines plus the costs of prosecution, up to 93 days in jail and up to 45 days of community service.

For a first offense drunk driving, your insurance will probably be voided or not renewed, forcing the driver into the pool of high-risk insurance companies. The high-risk insurance companies generally charge three times the normal insurance for less coverage.

In addition, Michigan has a identical charge called Unlawful Body Alcohol Level(UBAL) for a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .10 or higher per 210 milliliters of blood. A conviction or plea of guilty of first offense UBAC means a maximum sentence of up to $500.00 in fines plus the costs of prosecution, up to 93 days in jail and up to 45 days of community service.

For a conviction of OUIL or UBAL/UBAC, a license will be suspended for not less than 6 months and not more than 2 years, without restriction for the first 30 days. In all the above cases, licensure is governed by the Secretary of State-Drivers Licenses Appeals Division (DLAD) and not the courts.

The actual license sanctions are imposed directly by the Secretary of State when they are notified by the Court of an applicable conviction. So, after a person is sentenced for drunk driving he/she walks out of the Court with a driver license, but then is notified of the applicable license sanctions by mail. This notification also includes the dates when such restrictions (or revocation) begin and end.

Michigan has a traffic points system, with points accruing on your license for two years. In drunk driving related cases, operating under the influence of liquor or drugs = 6 points, unlawful bodily alcohol content of 0.10 or more = 6 points, refusal to take a chemical test = 6 points, under age 21 with any bodily alcohol content= 4 points, refusal of Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) by anyone under age 21 = 2 points, and open alcohol container in vehicle = 2 points. A person’s license is subject to suspension if they accumulate 12 points within a 2 year period. You may easily accrue 12 points or more though one drunk driving incident.

Michigan’s misdemeanor Zero Tolerance law requires that first offenders under 21 receive up to a $250 fine and/or 60 days (up to 360 hours) community service, at the discretion of the Judge. Drivers License is restricted for 30 days.

Michigan misdemeanor child endangerment law calls for a $200 to $1,000 fine and one or more of the following for offenders who drive with a child in the car while OUIL/OWI/UBAL: 5 days to 1 year in jail, 30-90 days community service, depending on the severity of the blood alcohol content, and the circumstances. 90 day license suspension,180 day car immobilization, and even car forfeiture are possible for this offense.

If you have a commercial driver’s license, any BAC of over .04 will cause the consequences of an OWI violation: up to 93 days in jail, up to a $300 fine, and 45 days of community service. In addition, you may face a 90 day restriction of license, a one year suspension, and up to 180 days of vehicle immobilization.

The judge must order the drunk driver in all alcohol related motor vehicle convictions to go through screening for alcohol and substance abuse, at the drunk defendant's expense.

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