A package of new laws allows some of Michigan’s repeat drunk drivers to possibly avoid mandatory minimum jail sentences. As a result of these changes, mandatory minimum sentences have been modified or removed from Michigan’s drunk driving statute, and this means that Judges may now sentence a drunk driver to any term of imprisonment, from zero days up to the maximum otherwise provided for the offense. The new law does not change the applicable fines or maximum possible terms of imprisonment, it only eliminates the mandatory aspects of the minimum sentences, making it possible for some repeat DUI offenders to avoid incarceration.
Legislative History of the New Michigan DUI Laws
These changes arose out of House Bill 5845, which was introduced in June 2020. The proposed law went through several permutations until it was approved by both houses by a vote of 506 to 38 in December 2020. Shortly thereafter it was introduced to Governor Whitmer. The Bill was signed into law by the Governor on January 4, 2021 and becomes effective on March 24, 2021.