fbpx Skip to Content

Whether you’ve been charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) or Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OUI), drunk driving in Michigan comes with serious consequences. You could end up with jail time, hefty fines, license revocation, and more.

At Fausone Bohn, LLP, we fully understand your fears and concerns regarding an alcohol-related crime. Our Criminal Defense team has years of experience in drunk driving cases and understands the law better than anyone else. Our team will aggressively assist and advocate in mitigating the damage associated with your charge.

How Drunk Driving Affects You in Michigan

Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs is a very dangerous combination. Your senses are dulled, reaction times slowed, and the safety of yourself and the people around you are in question. In addition to thousands of injuries, several hundred people die every year in the State of Michigan from alcohol and drug-related crashes. But just because you made a mistake, does not mean the courts should throw the book at you.

Under Michigan law, it is illegal to drive:

  • While intoxicated, or impaired, by alcohol, controlled substances, or other intoxicating substances.
  • With a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or more.
  • A blood-alcohol content of 0.17 or more.
  • With any amount of cocaine or a Schedule 1 controlled substance in your body.

Additionally, Michigan’s Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Laws make the following driving offenses felonies:

  • A third conviction in the driver’s lifetime.
  • A conviction for drunk or drugged driving that causes death.
  • A conviction for drunk or drugged driving that causes serious injury to another person.

How We Can Help

Fausone Bohn, LLP has over 25 years of specialized experience defending our clients against drunk driving charges in Michigan. Our attorneys help clients by observing all facts and circumstances of the case to provide any necessary context to the judge.

Our criminal defense attorneys utilize a variety of strategies when combatting drunk driving charges. Namely:

  • Challenge the Traffic Stop
    • In the State of Michigan, a driver can only be stopped if the Police Officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that a traffic law or other type of law has been violated. As well as a Police Officer legally cannot detain you unless a crime has been specifically committed.
  • Anonymous Report of a Drunk Driver
    • Michigan law states anonymous tips of drunk driving events can be deemed reliable. This only occurs if the officer witnesses part of the tip to be true, then they may reasonably rely on it.
  • Were You in Physical Control of The Vehicle?
    • According to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, to “operate” or “operating” a vehicle is defined as “being in actual physical control of a vehicle”. At the time of arrest, were you in physical control of your vehicle? Was it in immediate danger of collision or was the vehicle in a position of safety?

Classifications of Drunk Driving Offenses in Michigan

As stated previously, it is a crime for anyone 21 or older to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. As well as, Michigan has very strict penalties for individuals caught driving with a BAC of 0.17 or higher. However, a driver can be arrested at any BAC level if they display signs of impairment while driving The following is a list of potential penalties for all three classifications of driving while intoxicated:

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

To be charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt you were in actual physical control while operating a motor vehicle on a public road, while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or other intoxicating substances, with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or more. Charges include:

First-Offense –

  • Up to 93 days in Jail;
  • Fines of $100 to $500;
  • 360 hours community service;
  • Possible vehicle immobilization;
  • Possible ignition interlock device during probation;
  • 6 points added to your driving record.

Second Offense (Within 7 Years) –

  • Jail time of 5 days to 1 year;
  • Fines of $200 to $1,000;
  • Possible 30-90 days community service;
  • Driver’s license revocation for minimum 1 year;
  • License plate confiscation;
  • Mandatory vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days;
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture;
  • 6 points added to your driving record.

Third Offense (In a Lifetime is a Felony) –

  • Prison time of 1 to 5 years;
  • Fines of $500 to $5,000;
  • 30 days probation with jail (maximum one year);
  • Minimum 60 days community service (maximum 180 days);
  • Possible ignition interlock device during probation;
  • License plate confiscation;
  • Vehicle registration denial;
  • Mandatory vehicle immobilization for 1 – 3 years, unless forfeited;
  • 6 points added to your driving record.

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI)

If charged with Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt you were operating a vehicle on a public road, and your ability to drive was weakened or reduced by consumption of alcohol, controlled substance, intoxicating liquors, or a combination of all. Charges include:

First-Offense –

  • Up to 93 days in jail;
  • 360 hours community service;
  • Fines up to $300;
  • Driver’s license restrictions for 90 days;
  • Possible vehicle immobilization;
  • 4 points added to your driving record.

Second Offense (Within 7 Years) –

  • Jail time 5 days to 1 year;
  • Fines of $200 to $1,000;
  • Minimum 30 days community service (maximum 90 days);
  • License revocation for minimum 1 year (minimum 5 years if a prior revocation occurred within 7 years);
  • License plate confiscation;
  • Mandatory vehicle immobilization;
  • 4 points added to your driving record.

Third Offense (In a Lifetime is a Felony) –

  • $500 to $5,000 in fines;
  • 1 to 5 years imprisonment;
  • Probation with 30 days to 1 year in jail;
  • 60 to 180 days community service;
  • Driver’s license revocation and denial;
  • License plate confiscation;
  • Vehicle immobilization for 1 to 3 years, unless vehicle is forfeited;
  • Vehicle registration denial;
  • 4 points added to your driving record.

High Blood Alcohol Content - "Super Drunk"

To be charged with High Blood Alcohol Content, otherwise known as Michigan Super Drunk charge, a prosecutor must prove without reasonable doubt that you were operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content of .17 or higher. A High BAC is a misdemeanor and carries the following offenses:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Fines of at least $200 but no more than $700
  • Up to 360 hours of community service;
  • 6 points added to your driving record;
  • One-year license suspension (Secretary of State can approve restricted license 45 days after suspension occurs);
  • Restricted license will permit you to operate a vehicle with an ignition interlocking device under the following circumstances:
    • To and from residence and employment, and during employment.
    • To and from alcohol or drug education or treatment programs.
    • To and from regularly scheduled treatment for serious medical conditions.
    • To and from probation, community service, and school.

Other Alcohol-Related Charges

  • Minor in Possession (MIP): Any person under the age of 21, who purchases, attempts to purchase, consumes, attempts to consume, possesses, or attempts to possess alcoholic liquor, or have any bodily alcohol content will be responsible for a state civil infraction or guilty of a misdemeanor.
    • First Offense – Civil infraction; Fines up to $100; May participate in substance-use disorder service, at your expense.
    • Second Offense – Misdemeanor charge; Up to $200 fine and/or imprisonment up to 30 days if you violate probation; fail to complete treatment, screenings, or community service; or fail to pay any fine; May undergo substance use disorder services, community service, or abuse screening at your expense
    • Third Offense – Misdemeanor charge; Subject to $500 fine and/or imprisonment up to 60 days if you violate probation; fail to complete treatment, screenings, or community service; or fail to pay any fine.
  • Open Intoxicants: An individual who is the operator or occupant of a motor vehicle shall not transport or possess any alcoholic liquor or beverage in a container that is open, uncapped, or upon which the seal is broken, within the passenger area of a vehicle that is moving on a Michigan road or any place open to the public or generally accessible to vehicles, including parking lots.
    • Potential punishments: Misdemeanor with 90 days in jail; Up to $100 in fines; Community Service; Substance abuse screening at your own expense.

Experienced Defense Eager to Help You

If you have been charged with an alcohol-related crime, contact the Michigan law firm of Fausone Bohn, LLP. Our Criminal Defense team has successfully defended clients against Drinking and Driving charges for over 25 years. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys, contact us online or call (248) 380-0000. We serve clients throughout Wayne County and across the State of Michigan.