Michigan DUI Laws

Michigan has several separate charges for drivers who are impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. These charges are collectively known as driving under the influence (DUI) offenses.

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI): Your ability to drive is substantially affected by alcohol or drugs. For OWI, your BAC is at or above the legal limit of 0.08%.

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI): You weren’t able to drive safely and the officer could see it. Your field sobriety tests likely show it. You don't need a blood alcohol content (BAC)of 0.08 or above to be charged with OWVI.

Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD): You might not appear impaired, but if you have even a trace of these drugs in your blood and your driving,(as determined by a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine), you can be charged.

DUIs/OWIs Carry Two Separate Penalties

When you are arrested for a DUI/OWI offense in Michigan, you'll have to deal with both your criminal case and your separate license suspension. The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) will handle your license suspension pursuant to the implied consent laws and the Michigan criminal courts will take care of your criminal penalties.

In other words, what happens in court won't have any bearing on the status of your driver's license and vice versa. Neither one impacts the other.

Potential DUI/OWI Consequences

The Michigan courts impose criminal penalties including:

  • Fines;
  • Jail Time;
  • Community Service.

The state imposes administrative penalties including:

  • Suspension or Revocation of your license.

Remember, the higher your BAC, the more severe your penalties may be. Multiple convictions will also result in harsher sentences.

Code Sections Michigan Vehicle Code Section 257.625
BAC Limit

Over 21: 0.08 Percent or higher , Commercial Drivers: 0.04 Percent or higher

What is Prohibited?

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI): You were driving a motor vehicle and were substantially affected by alcohol or drugs. For OWI, your BAC is at or above the legal limit of 0.08%.

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI): You were driving a motor vehicle and were visibly affected by alcohol or drugs. Your field sobriety tests likely show it and/or the way you were driving. You don't need a blood alcohol content (BAC)of 0.08 or above to be charged with OWVI.

Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD): You might not appear impaired, but if you have even a trace of these drugs in your blood and your driving,(as determined by a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine), you can be charged.

Implied Consent Yes. If you refuse a test, automatic driver's license suspension of one year. If you refuse twice within seven (7) years it's a two (2) year license suspension.
Enhanced Penalty

BAC .17 or Higher

  • Up to $700 fine;
  • Up to 180 days in jail;
  • Up to 360 hours of community service;
  • Up to one year license suspension;
  • 6 points on a driver's license;
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program;
  • Ignition interlock device after 45 days license suspension is required to receive a restricted driver's license.
Under 21

Zero Tolerance: BAC 0.02% or higher, up to 360 hours of community service, fines. If your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you will face the same penalties as an adult.

Typical DUI/OWI Sentences

1st Conviction: Up to 93 days in jail, a fine up to $500, up to 180 days license suspension, 360 hours of community service, probation, a DUI education course and 6 points on your driving record.

2nd Conviction: Up to one year in jail, a fine up to $1,000, minimum one (1) year license suspension, 30-90 days of community service, probation, DUI education course or substance abuse treatment, license plate confiscation, and possible Ignition Interlock Device.

Felony Charges: You will face felony charges if you do any of the following:

• 3 OWI or OWVI convictions in your lifetime;
• Causing serious injury while driving (you'll face up to five years imprisonment OR a $1,000 to $5,000 fine, or both);
• Causing death while driving (you'll face up to 15 years imprisonment OR a $2,500 to $10,000 fine, or both).

It's best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time who will stay sober. If you're impaired and don't have a designated driver, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. If you do find yourself facing a DUI, you may wish to contact a Michigan criminal defense attorney for assistance.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.