Michigan takes a tough stance on operating while intoxicated (OWI), and offenders are subject to harsh prosecution under the law. Even if this is your first criminal offense, you could face serious consequences and bear the stigma of a drunk-driving conviction. If you have been charged with a Michigan OWI first offense, speaking with a qualified OWI defense attorney is strongly encouraged.
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers over 21 in Michigan is .08%--if your BAC is at this level or higher, you can be charged with OWI. The state’s Zero Tolerance law makes it a crime for underage drivers to operate a vehicle with a BAC above .02%. The state’s Super Drunk law makes it an even more serious crime to have a BAC at or above .17%.
BAC is typically determined through a breathalyzer, blood, or urine chemical test. Please note that even if you refuse to submit to a chemical test upon the officer’s request, you can still be charged with drunk driving and face penalties and a suspended driver’s license.
A Michigan OWI first offense is classified as a misdemeanor; however, this doesn’t mean you will get off with a slap on the wrist. In fact, the judge could order you to spend up to 93 days in jail, pay up to $500 in fines, perform 360 hours of community service, and complete a court-approved alcohol and drug education program. In addition, your license penalties may include a 30-day suspension and 150 days of restricted driving. If it’s a Super Drunk first offense, then you could face up to 180 days in jail, and a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
If you were involved in an accident while under the influence that resulted in serious bodily injury or death, you could face felony charges in addition to an OWI. The potential punishment may be 15 years in a state prison.
Even after you complete the terms of your OWI sentence, your criminal record can create problems when applying for employment. In addition, your insurance rates may be substantially raised for a period of time following your Michigan OWI first offense conviction.
As you can see, a Michigan OWI has the potential to change your life. Rather than pleading guilty, consider hiring a qualified Michigan OWI defense attorney to help you fight your pending charges. The Barone Defense Firm is focused on drunk-driving defense and has helped many people win their cases or have their charges reduced to a lesser offense. In fact, our mission is to help you win back your life!