A DUI Is a Misdemeanor and Comes with Severe Consequences in Michigan
If you’re facing a second DUI in Michigan, you need to understand your rights, your options, and the possible outcomes of your case.
Michigan has some of the toughest DUI laws in the USA, and you might be wondering, “Will I go to jail for my second DUI in Michigan?” Being convicted of a second DUI within seven years of your first offense comes with several possible consequences, including jail time, but you do have options. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can fight to reduce the charge.
We’ll answer some of the common questions that come with a second DUI charge and outline the possible penalties.
What Is a Second Offense DUI?
In Michigan, it’s illegal to drive while drunk, intoxicated, or otherwise impaired by drugs or alcohol. Michigan uses the term “operating while impaired,” or OWI, to refer to a DUI. For alcohol, the legal limit is a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
A second-offense OWI happens when you’re convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated less than seven years after your first conviction.
Like a first offense, a second-offense OWI typically comes with a misdemeanor charge. If you injured another person, it becomes a felony punishable by a maximum $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Will I Go to Jail for My Second DUI in Michigan?
Michigan law allows the court to order jail time, community service, or a combination of both as punishment for a second OWI offense. While it is possible for the court to give only a community service sentence, many two-time OWI offenders spend at least a short time in jail, usually five days at a minimum.
Your sentence will depend on your prior record, the circumstances of your case, and the judge’s discretion. Each case is unique, so it’s vital to have the right legal counsel to represent you.
What Are the Consequences of a Second OWI in Michigan?
A second OWI comes with significant penalties and consequences. The repercussions you face will depend on your circumstances and the court’s discretion.
The criminal penalties that come with a second OWI charge range from alcohol testing to potential jail time:
- Education and evaluation. You may have to complete various alcohol abuse evaluations, education classes, and testing.
- Monetary penalties. Fines for a second OWI are between $200 and $1,000, depending on the circumstances. You will also have to pay for court costs, which usually range between $500 and $1,000.
- Driving penalties. Depending on your record, your vehicle may be immobilized for up to 180 days or confiscated completely. You will have six points added to your driver’s record and have your license revoked, which may be permanent.
- Community service. You may be required to complete between 30 and 90 days of community service. Some judges order community service in place of or in combination with jail time.
- Jail time. Under Michigan law, a second OWI is punishable with up to one year of jail time.
Second-offense OWI consequences can range far beyond the courthouse. Here are some other ways a second OWI can affect your life:
- Insurance issues. OWIs can significantly impact not only your car insurance but your health and life insurance policies as well. Your insurance rates will likely increase significantly, and some insurance companies may drop you altogether.
- Lifestyle difficulties. An OWI will show up in your background check information, making it difficult to find employment or housing.
- Relocation difficulties. Michigan is part of the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision, which prohibits you from moving to a new state while on probation without prior approval.
Penalties for Underage Drivers
Michigan has a zero-tolerance policy for people under 21 who drink and drive. Underage drivers face heavy fines, up to 60 days of community service, and a maximum of 90 days of jail time.
Can I Still Drive After a Second OWI?
Michigan law requires a mandatory license revocation for anyone convicted of more than one OWI in seven years. You will not be eligible for limited work permits and will lose your driving privileges after conviction.
If you want to drive again, you have to wait at least one year to petition the court for a hearing to reinstate your driver’s license. During the hearing, you must provide solid and persuasive evidence that you are taking your sobriety seriously and that you will not offend again. Evidence can include completed alcohol abuse classes, professional assessments, and statements from family and friends.
If you win your petition to have your driver’s license reinstated, you must install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your vehicle. The BAIID measures the alcohol on your breath before the car starts and intermittently while driving. Positive breath tests immobilize your vehicle and send a report to your probation officer.
If the court does not grant your license restoration, you must wait one more year before petitioning the court again.
How Can I Avoid a Second Offense OWI Conviction?
Michigan courts often take second OWI offenses very seriously. If you are arrested, you should contact an attorney immediately.
While second-offense punishments are likely to be harsher than a first-offense OWI, your attorney can help you prevent a second conviction and avoid jail time in a few ways. Your attorney may be able to file a motion to dismiss the case, attempt to reduce the OWI to a lesser charge, or win a “not guilty” verdict in court, depending on your background and circumstances surrounding your arrest.
Are You Facing a Second OWI Charge? Contact Our Experienced Michigan Drunk Driving Lawyers
If you’re wondering, “Will I go to jail for my second DUI in Michigan?” you need an attorney on your side to represent you. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Sharp and Associates Law Firm can help you understand your options, guide you through the process, and build a defense that fights for your rights.
Call Sharp & Associates Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.