Detroit Lawyers Explain DUI Charges Penalties

Detroit Drunk Driving Lawyers Explain DUI Penalties

Drunk driving or “DUI” laws are the same across the entire state of Michigan. Whether you are arrested for DUI in Detroit, Southfield or Kalamazoo, the same laws and penalties will apply.

In Michigan there are three different specific drunk driving offenses with which you can be charged:

  • OWI (Operating While Intoxicated)
  • OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired)
  • UBAC/UBAL (Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content/Level)

Additionally, other criminal charges may be added under some circumstances. If children were present in the vehicle at the time you were arrested you may be charged with OUIL/child endangerment. If someone was injured or killed as a result of your alleged intoxicated driving, you may also be charge with the felony of OUIL Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death.

Also, separate charges exist for Operating With Any Presence of Drugs (OWPD) and Operating Under the Influence of Drugs (OUID).

Read about OWPD & OUID Drugged Driving HERE.

OWI (Operating While Intoxicated)

OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) is the most common of the drunk driving offenses in Detroit and Michigan. If a breathalyzer or blood test shows that your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is at or above the legal limit of 0.08% you will be charged with OWI.

OWI First Offense carries a penalty of up to 93 days in jail, fines of $100 to $500, 360 hours of community service – and occasionally vehicle immobilization and/or possible ignition interlock device during probation at the Judge’s discretion.

OWI Second Offense carries a penalty of jail time of 5 days to one year, fines of $200 to $1,000, a minimum of 30 days of community service (maximum 90 days), possible ignition interlock device during probation at the Judge’s discretion, as well as mandatory vehicle immobilization.

OWI Third Offense is a felony. It carries a penalty of prison time of one to five years, fines of $500 to $5,000, a minimum of 30 days probation with jail (maximum of one year), a minimum of 60 days community service, mandatory vehicle immobilization and possible ignition interlock device during probation at the Judge’s discretion.

OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired)

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) differs from an OWI in that you can be charged and convicted of OWVI even if you pass the breathalyzer test – if the police officer believes that your ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner was impaired by alcohol. This is often “determined” by field sobriety tests, dash or body cam video and the officer’s version of how they observed you driving.

OWVI First Offense carries a penalty of up to 93 days in jail, fines of up to $300, 360 hours of community service, and sometimes vehicle immobilization at the Judge’s discretion.

OWVI Second Offense carries a penalty of time of 5 days to one year, fines of $200 to $1,000, minimum 30 days community service (maximum 90 days), mandatory vehicle immobilization.

OWVI Third Offense is a felony. It carries a penalty of prison time of one to five years, fines of $500 to $5,000, a minimum of 30 days probation with jail (maximum one year), a minimum of 60 days community service (maximum 180 days), as well as mandatory vehicle immobilization.

UBAC/UBAL (Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content/Level)

Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content/Level (UBAC/UBAL) is nearly identical to OWI, and carries almost identical penalties. UBAC/UBAL and OWI are more or less two different ways that a prosecutor can convict you of driving while intoxicated – with some very fine legal distinctions. Technically, an OWI is defined as when alcohol has affected the ability to drive. Whereas a UBAC/UBAL, is when a person has a .08 BAC or higher, regardless of whether it lead to unsafe driving.

Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content/Level (UBAC/UBAL) subjects you to the same penalties as OWI, with the difference being that if convicted will be required to perform community service – which can be optional in OWI cases.

OWI Causing Death

OWI Causing Death is a felony that carries a penalty of prison time of 15 years, fines of $2,500 to $10,000, as well as mandatory vehicle immobilization. If a firefighter or police officer dies, the sentence is increased to 20 years in prison.

OWI Causing Serious Injury

OWI Causing Serious Injury carries a sentence of prison time of five years, as well as fines of $1,000 to $5,000, and mandatory vehicle immobilization.

Driver’s License Suspension

In addition to these penalties, every DUI conviction also includes a driver’s license suspension, which is handed down by the Secretary of State. The length of the suspension will depend upon the offense and whether it is a first, second or third offense.

Free Consultation with Detroit OWI / DUI Attorney:  800-717-4757