Michigan OWI License Suspension


Many people are unaware that your license can be automatically suspended by the state if you refuse to take a breathalyzer or if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit. This can happen before you ever step foot inside a courtroom. In fact, you have only 14 days from the date of your arrest to contest this license suspension.

Impact of OWI on Your License

If you have been arrested for a first-offense operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge, your license can be suspended for 30 days. After this suspension, you will have a restricted license for 150 days. If you are charged with first-offense high BAC (.17% or above), you could be looking at 45 days of no driving, followed by 320 days with a restricted license—but you must have an ignition interlock device installed to take advantage of this restricted privilege.

Penalties for Second Offense

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 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. 

Penalties for Third Offense

The 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 If your license was revoked at least once within the past seven years, you will face a hard five-year revocation.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. If the license restoration hearing is unsuccessful, though, you will have to wait another full year before applying for reinstatement.

You should know that just because you are granted a license restoration 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.

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