Criminal Defense Attorneys
Flint, Michigan

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What You Should Know About DUI Penalties in Michigan

Michigan DUI defense attorneyMany drivers who are arrested for a DUI in Michigan may believe going to jail is the worst consequence they can face. However, there are several other penalties that can follow a DUI charge for months and even years.

Michigan takes a harsh stance on drunk driving. After a DUI arrest, law enforcement officers might take away your license and impound your vehicle. At this initial stage, you should consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can help fight the charges in court.

The consequences of a getting a DUI in Michigan can be harsh

Under Michigan law (Section 257.625):

  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and certain prescription medications.
  • Driving with a bodily alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or more can result in a charge of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).
  • If you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.02 or more. There is an exception for small amounts of alcohol consumed at religious ceremonies.
  • You can also be charged with Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI). This type of charge applies to drivers who have become visually impaired due to consuming high amounts of alcohol or drugs.

Law enforcement officers can determine your BAC by conducting a chemical test. If an officer pulls you over and suspects that you're driving drunk, you are required to take the chemical test. Under Michigan's Implied Consent law, anyone operating a motor vehicle has already given consent to this test.

If you refuse to take a chemical test, you could lose your driver's license and face other consequences. If this happens, you may request an administrative hearing (Section 257.625e), in which the law enforcement officer who pulled you over may bring hard evidence against you. If you fail to request a hearing within 14 days, six points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended for one year. Additionally, if you refuse to take a chemical test, the officer can destroy your license and issue you a paper permit. This will allow you to continue driving until your DUI case has come to a conclusion.

If you are charged with a DUI, the consequences can be harsh:

  • You could face up to 180 days in jail,
  • Be fined $200 to $700, and
  • Be required to complete up to 360 hours of community service.

Life after a DUI charge

Additional consequences include:

  • Having your driver's license suspended for one year,
  • Having a mandatory ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle,
  • Have six points added to your driving record, and
  • Face a driver responsibility fee of $1000.

If a court-ordered ignition interlock device is installed in your vehicle, you will be required to blow into the device in order to drive. If the device detects alcohol in your system, your vehicle will not start. Moreover, it is illegal to tamper with the device or have another party blow into it. Doing so can result in a misdemeanor charge, which can carry more than six months in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

After a DUI charge, your life could change drastically. That's why it's important to know your rights and consult with an attorney who will fight for you every step of the way. Attorney Michael P. Manley understands how the system works and will advocate for fair treatment for you.


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