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Operate While Intoxicated or Impaired

Penalties for DUI First, DUI Second, DUI Third

Attorneys use the label "DUI" loosely as a catchall when referring to all of the offenses associated with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI is merely a convenient way to refer to the following specific types of DUI Alcohol Offenses and DUI Drug Offenses as they may appear on your legal papers or Secretary of State record:

  • OWI w/High BAC: BAC .17 or more
  • Super Drunk: Same as above, OWI w/High BAC
  • OWPD: Presence of a Schedule 1 drug, marijuana, cocaine
  • OUID: Under the influence of other drugs (prescription drugs)
  • OWI: While intoxicated w/BAC of .08 to .16
  • OWVI: While Visibly Impaired (threshold BAC not required)
  • Zero Tolerance: Minor (under age 21) w/BAC .02

BAC is another commonly utilized abbreviation in connection with DUI cases. When you see "BAC" on legal documents (court documents, ticket, test results, temporary license), it means Blood Alcohol Content.

The Big 3 DUI FAQ: Can a DUI be dismissed? Jail? Will there be a trial?

Our experienced DUI lawyers practice extensively in the Metro Detroit Courts and can give you a fairly accurate prediction of what to expect if you are charged with any DUI case in Oakland County, Macomb County, St. Clair County and Wayne County. Before we go into details about DUI penalties, here are a few of the most pressing questions that we get asked by those charged with DUI:

Can you Get a DUI Dismissed?

Without exception, anyone charged with a DUI wants to get it dropped or amended to a non-drinking offense such as "careless driving". Realistically, a DUI is rarely dropped down to a non-drinking or non-criminal offense. Statistical information regarding DUI convictions is compiled by the Michigan State Police for each court. The following statistics are derived from the 2017 MSP DUI Audit regarding DUI cases reduced to a non-alcohol offense in a cross section of Metro Detroit courts with a historically high number of DUI cases:

Am I Going to Jail?

The question of "jail time" causes our clients the most anxiety and stress and we try to cover it as soon as possible. The following is a partial list of factors that a judge considers when imposing a sentence for a DUI:

  • Prior record of the offender
  • Age of prior criminal offenses
  • Aggravating circumstances (injury to another person)
  • Blood alcohol content
  • Compliance with bond conditions before sentence

In general, with the exception of maybe 1 or 2 judges in the entire Metro Detroit area of Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair, jail is not imposed for a first time DUI conviction. A first time DUI offender, even with minor past offenses, is looking at a period of probation, possible random testing, possible counseling and fines/costs +/- $1,500.00. Second offenders may not be so lucky but jail can also be avoided for offenders that are proactive with AA, counseling or enter into a Sobriety Court Program. Jail cannot be avoided upon conviction of felony DUI 3rd lifetime offense but we are often able to get it under control with a judicial plea agreement to the minimum sentence (30 days jail with community service) which is dependent upon several circumstances such as injury to others, prior felony record etc.

Will There be a Trial?

Pursuant to the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution, the accused party in any criminal matter has a trial by jury. In determining whether or not to demand a trial, our drunk driving defense lawyers will make recommendations based upon various factors. Since trials can be expensive and risky, the client is always given the final word. Here are a few legal considerations that we explore when discussing the option of trial with our clients:

  • Whether the prosecutor can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Review of DUI major components: operation of vehicle, legality of traffic stop and impairment or intoxication.
  • Whether the prosecutor has made a reasonable plea bargain or has been tough on negotiations and there is nothing to lose by going to trial.
  • Whether aggravating circumstances will be brought up at trial making things worse for the accused party.
  • Whether the jury will be given instructions to consider a verdict for a lesser offense such as "impaired driving".

In reality, the odds of a DUI case going to trial are remote. Statistics for the entire United States indicate that 90% of all criminal cases are resolved by plea bargaining. Plea bargaining is also used extensively by criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors in the counties of Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne. For the most part, plea bargains usually, but not always, mean a reduction from the original charge to a lesser more acceptable one. The idea of being put in a better position and saving the expense and risks associated with a trial is hard to turn down in most cases.

Penalties for DUI 1st, DUI 2nd, DUI 3rd & Causing Death or Injury

The following penalties are associated with DUI convictions in Michigan. Driver license sanctions (consisting of revocation, suspension and/or restrictions) and points are mandatory and imposed by the Michigan Secretary of State only after a conviction is entered by the court. For misdemeanor offenses, the court may impose a maximum period of 2 years probation. For felonies, the court may impose a maximum period of 5 years probation.

First Offense OWI with High BAC (.17 or more)
License ActionSuspend 45 days, restrict 320 days with BAIID
Max Jail180 days
Max Fine$200 to $700, plus costs
Comm ServiceUp to 360 hours
First Offense OWI (.08 to .16) or Operate with Presence of Schedule 1 Drugs
License ActionSuspend 30 days, restrict 150 days
Max Jail93 days
Max Fine$500, plus costs
Comm ServiceUp to 360 hours
First Offense Operate While Impaired (OWVI)
License ActionRestricted for 90 days
Max Jail93 days
Max Fine$300, plus costs
Comm ServiceUp to 360 hours
Zero Tolerance (under age 21, BAC .02 or more)
License ActionRestricted for 30 days
Max JailNone
Max Fine$250, plus costs
Comm ServiceUp to 360 hours
Second DUI Penalties (within 7 Years of a Prior DUI Conviction)
License ActionIndefinite revocation for minimum 1 year
Max Jail5 days to 1 year
Max Fine$200 to $1000, plus costs
Comm Service30 to 90 days
Immobilization90 to 180 days unless forfeited
License PlateConfiscated
Points6 for OWI, 4 for Impaired
Third DUI Penalties (Felony)
License ActionIndefinite revocation for minimum of 1 year
Max Jail1 to 5 years in prison or, 30 days to 1 year in jail w/probation
Max Fine$500 to $5000, plus costs
Comm Service60 to 180 days
Immobilization of vehicle1 to 3 years unless forfeited
License PlateConfiscated
OWI, Impaired, OWPD, DWLS Causing Serious Injury (Felony)
License ActionIndefinite revocation for minimum 1 year
Max Jail5 years
Max Fine$1,000 to $5,000, plus costs
Immobilization of vehicleup to 180 days unless forfeited
License PlateConfiscated
Vehicle ForfeiturePossible
OWI, Impaired, OWPD, DWLS Causing Death (Felony)
License ActionIndefinite revocation for minimum 1 year
Max Jail15 years
Max Fine$2,500 to $10,000, plus costs
Comm Service30 to 90 days
ImmobilizationUp to 180 days unless forfeited
License PlateConfiscated
Vehicle ForfeiturePossible

There are numerous sanctions and penalties associated with DUI cases that do not apply to other crimes. These sanctions are given more attention within a page dedicated to: DUI SOS and Court Sanctions.

DUI Defense Lawyers: Email or Call for Free Consultation
Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County & St. Clair County

EMAIL or CALL Abdo Law for a FREE CONSULTATION. Phone messages after business hours are forwarded to our attorneys. We offer same day, evening, weekend appointments and the ability to retain us over the internet. Payment plans and all credit cards accepted.

CALL: Metro Detroit: 586-412-5555 or Toll Free: 844-Got-Abdo

Client Reviews
The level of service exceeded my expectations, your devotion to my refusal to settle for a lessor misdemeanor was reassuring and inspired, and the team's creative interpretation of the law in finding a comparable civil infraction was legendary. It was a five-star experience. Thank you for refusing to settle when I was innocent of my accused crime. Satisfied Client, Assault Charge DISMISSED
Matt and his staff...turned a terrible situation in my life into a positive life learning experience. Not many court cases end up being a positive in life, but Abdo Law delivered just that. Going with their firm was the best decision I could have made and I owe them everything for turning my bad decision into a extremely manageable situation. Thank you Abdo law!!!! Bill L., Satisfied Client
The Abdo Law Firm represented myself during one of my biggest times of need in my life. They handled my cases with ease and met my expectations far beyond what I anticipated. Not only did they got one, but two domestic violence charges completely dropped. I would have been lost without this five-star Law Firm. Satisfied Client, 2 Separate Assault Charges DISMISSED
Abdo law FOUGHT and got my DUI kicked out of court when my job was on line. Five Stars! Satisfied Client, OWI DISMISSED