In a previous post we offered a general overview of drunk driving law in Michigan. In this entry we will explain the basic penalties for various drunk driving violations. The two most common first time offenses related to drinking and driving are Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) and Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI). OWI convictions can carry a fine of $100 to $500 and one or more of the following: 1) up to 93 days in jail; 2) up to 360 hours of community service; 3) driver license suspension for 30 days plus further restrictions; 4) possible vehicle immobilization; 5) possible ignition interlock; 6) 6 points on your driving record; and 7) $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for 2 years.
OWVI is a lesser charge than OWI and the punishment involves a fine of up to $300 and one or more of the following: 1) up to 93 days in jail; 2) as much as 360 hours of community service; 3) driver license restriction for 90 days; 4) possible vehicle immobilization; 5) 4 points on your driving record; and 6) $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for 2 years.
The penalties increase significantly for any 2 such convictions within 7 years. Most importantly, 3 alcohol-related offenses within your lifetime are a felony and carry mandatory jail time.
Alcohol-related offenses that cause death or serious injury are also felonies. An accident resulting in death includes a sentence of up to 15 years and one resulting in serious injury can result in a 5 year sentence. A special exception is carved out for a drunk driving accident that results in the death of an emergency responder. This crime carries up to a 20 year prison sentence.
Courts are imposing stiffer penalties for these crimes everyday. This makes it imperative that you seek out competent legal representation as soon as you are able.