OWI First Offense in Michigan

First offense drunk driving charges in Michigan are serious offenses that should not be taken lightly. Michigan has some of the harshest drunk driving laws in the country, and while many assume that a first offense will result in a “slap on the wrist,” one should have a clear understanding of what the consequences are for these offenses.

What Are OWI and OWVI?

“OWI” stands for “Operating While Intoxicated,” and “OWVI” stands for “Operating While Visibly Impaired.” These charges take the place of what was at one time considered to be “OUIL” (Operating Under the Influence of Liquor) and “Operating While Impaired.” Technically, OWI is more serious than OWVI. For most people, OWI is the charge that they are most likely to conceptualize as drunk driving in Michigan, or the threshold for Michigan’s legal limit (.08).

First Offense Penalties

First offense drunk driving penalties may be enhanced by surrounding circumstances such as whether a child is in the vehicle, whether another person has been injured or killed, or whether there is extensive property damage. However, for purposes of this blog, we will assume that no aggravating factors exist. First offense penalties for OWI and OWVI are very similar to one another.

I. OWI

a. Up to 93 days in jail;
b. A fine of $100-$500;
c. Community service up to 360 hours;
d. Permissive vehicle immobilization up to 180 days;
e. 30 day license suspension, and 180 day restricted license;
f. 6 points;
g. Permissive court-ordered ignition interlock device.

II. OWVI

a. Up to 93 days in jail;
b. A fine of $300;
c. Community service up to 360 hours;
d. Permissive vehicle immobilization up to 180 days;
e. 90 day license restriction;
f. 4 points.

Michigan Super Drunk Driving Law

In Michigan, a first offense OWI’s penalties are enhanced where an offender has a blood alcohol content of .17 or higher. This is referred to as being “super drunk.” The penalty for this crime is stiffer than a normal, first-offense OWI.
I. Super Drunk OWI
a. Up to 180 days in jail;
b. A fine of $200-$700;
c. Community service up to 360 hours;
d. Permissive vehicle immobilization up to 180 days;
e. 45 day license suspension, and 1 year restricted license;
f. 6 points;
g. Court-ordered ignition interlock is required

Get A Drunk Driving Attorney

As you can see, the potential penalties for every first-offense, drunk driving conviction are severe. It is important to contact an experienced drunk driving attorney if you are arrested for drunk driving. An experienced attorney will make sure that your rights have been observed, that you are charged with the correct offense, and that if you are guilty of a crime, you are sentenced fairly. Please contact our office at (586) 268-2400 for a free telephone consultation.