Defendant’s Second Michigan OWI Offense

If you have previously been convicted of a Michigan OWI, you are aware of how punitive the courts can be.

Naturally, the consequences of a Michigan OWI second offense only become harsher. This is why you need an aggressive qualified Michigan OWI attorney to represent you at this critical juncture. The choice of the right attorney can vastly improve your chances of either getting your case dismissed or significantly reducing the punishment and consequences of a Michigan OWI second offense.

A Michigan OWI second offense is characterized as a misdemeanor. Do not let the classification fool you. There is nothing minor about a Michigan OWI second offense misdemeanor. If your Michigan OWI second offense has occurred within seven years of your previous offense, the penalties are greatly increased. A judge can now sentence you to up to one year in jail, with a requirement for a minimum five-day period of incarceration. Of course, court costs and fines are significantly higher than those for a first offense. Additionally, a defendant convicted of Michigan OWI second offense can be ordered to perform up to 90 days of community service and to participate in extensive alcohol rehabilitative programs.

Most clients find the driver’s license sanction to be the harshest consequence of a Michigan OWI second offense conviction. Michigan law is clear: a Michigan OWI second offense conviction will result in an automatic one-year hard revocation of all driving privileges. There are no allowances to drive for work, school, child care or medical purposes during the period of revocation. After the one-year revocation has passed, the driver can petition the Michigan Secretary of State for a Driver’s License Reinstatement Hearing. A driver’s license can never be restored, regardless of how many years have passed since an OWI conviction, without scheduling a reinstatement hearing. This is a very difficult hearing that often results in a continued denial of all driving privileges. If the driver is denied privileges at his reinstatement hearing, he cannot re-petition the Secretary of State for a new hearing for another 12 months. Theoretically, a driver can potentially be denied year after year, thus resulting in a lifetime loss of driving privileges.

When a driver completes his one-year hard revocation of all driving privileges and then has a successful Driver’s License Reinstatement Hearing, he will then be granted the opportunity to drive only in an automobile that has the installation of an interlock ignition system. The interlock ignition system is a breathalyzer that is connected to your car’s ignition system. The presence of breath alcohol will prevent the car from starting. Even worse, evidence of an attempt to start the car with the presence of breath alcohol will often trigger a new complete revocation of all driving privileges.

Under a federal provision known as the Driver License Compact, the loss of your Michigan driver’s license after a conviction for Michigan OWI second offense results in the driver being unable to gain driving privileges in any other state. Many years ago, a revoked Michigan driver could set up residency in Ohio or Indiana or any other state and could then seek driving privileges in that state. The advent of the federal Driver License Compact prevents that maneuver. If your driver’s license is revoked in Michigan due to a Michigan OWI second offense, it is revoked throughout the entire United States.