Michigan judges and courts view an Operating While Intoxicated offense in a very stern light.
Regardless of your previous clean criminal and driving record, a Michigan OWI conviction has significant consequences. Furthermore, a Michigan OWI conviction stays on your record and carries a serious lifetime stigma.
A Michigan OWI is an offense in which a driver over the age of 21 has the presence of a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. If a driver is arrested and then breath or blood tested with a .08% BAC or higher, it is likely he will be charged with a Michigan OWI. For Michigan drivers under the age of 21, there is a “Zero Tolerance” law. For those drivers, it is a criminal offense to have a .02% BAC or higher while operating a motor vehicle. Finally, the state has enacted the Michigan Super Drunk law (technically referred to as “OWI with High BAC”) which imposes even more serious punishments for those Michigan drivers who have a BAC of .17% or higher.
The police will collect evidence of a Michigan defendant’s BAC through the administration of a breathalyzer or blood chemical test. Even if you refused to provide a breath or blood sample, the officer can still charge you with a Michigan OWI, which can lead to serious penalties and the suspension of your Michigan driver’s license.
A conviction for a first offense Michigan OWI is classified as a misdemeanor. Some individuals view misdemeanors as being very minor in nature. A Michigan first offense OWI is indeed a misdemeanor, but there is nothing “minor” about it. A judge has the authority to sentence a first offender to up to 93 days in jail, can order the performance of up to 360 hours of community service and can also order intensive participation in alcohol rehabilitation programs. Additionally, a first offense Michigan OWI can result in a 30-day hard suspension of your driver’s license, where you are forbidden from driving for any reason whatsoever, followed by 150 days of restricted privileges (work, school, medical, court and counseling/AA). If your OWI first offense is categorized as a Michigan Super Drunk first offense, you could be sentenced to a maximum of 180 days in jail and the Secretary of State can impose a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
If your Michigan OWI first offense involved an accident in which a serious injury or death occurred, your matter would be charged as a Michigan OWI felony, in which punishments can be as much as 15 years in a Michigan prison.
After you have completed the terms of your Michigan OWI first offense sentence, your Michigan OWI still has serious lasting consequences. Potential employers can become aware of your conviction, no matter how many years have passed. Of course, there is also a significant likelihood that your automobile insurance rates will be raised as a result of a conviction for Michigan OWI first offense.
A conviction for Michigan OWI first offense has the potential to vastly affect your life and your future opportunities. Do not just go to the court and plead guilty. A qualified Michigan OWI defense attorney can help you fight your Michigan OWI first offense. Attorney Richard I. Lippitt focuses his practice on Michigan OWI offenses. He appears on behalf of OWI clients in Michigan courts over 350 times every year. Mr. Lippitt can help you win your case outright or can fight to have your charges significantly reduced. He knows that this is perhaps the most difficult period of time that a client will experience during their entire life. His goal is to help you through this difficult time and to ensure that you get the best result.