In Michigan, you could face a lifetime driver’s license revocation if you are convicted of operating while intoxicated (OWI). For this reason, it is crucial that you hire an attorney who has experience defending drunk-driving cases. A lawyer can fight your charges in an effort to avoid a conviction that will have a profound effect on your future.
Many people are unaware that your license can automatically be suspended by the State if you refuse to take a breathalyzer or if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit—even before you go to court for your OWI charge! In fact, you have only 14 days from the date of your arrest to contest this license suspension, so you must act quickly.
If you have been arrested for an OWI first offense, your license can be suspended for 30 days. After this suspension, you will have a restricted license for 150 days. If you’re arrested for a first offense high BAC charge you’re looking at 45 days of no driving, followed by 320 restricted, but you must have an ignition interlock installed to take advantage of this 320 day restricted privilege.
For a second OWI offense within seven years, your license can be revoked for life. You do have the right to contest the revocation after one year. If your hearing is successful, your driver’s license will be restored but you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. If you lose, you will have to wait a year to request another hearing. Unfortunately, the more times you lose, the more likely it is you will continue to lose in the future. This is because they will use your prior record, including your prior unsuccessful attempts, against you at each new hearing.
The driver’s license penalty for a third OWI offense depends on your record. If this is your third offense within 10 years, your license can be revoked for five years. If your license was revoked at least once within seven years, you will face a hard five-year revocation. However, if your license was not revoked within this time, you can apply for the reinstatement of your license after one year. Just like with a second offense, you can get your driving privileges restore if you win your hearing, but will have to wait a year to request another hearing if it is unsuccessful.
You should know that just because you are granted a hearing, it does not mean you will automatically get your license back. You must present clear and convincing evidence that you meet the eligibility requirements for license restoration in order to win your hearing. A skilled OWI lawyer can help you prepare for this hearing.