Skip to content

Criminal Defense

What Happens When You Get a DUI in Michigan?

6 min read
Unbundled Legal Help

by Unbundled Legal Help

If you are arrested for a DUI in Michigan, you may want to contact a lawyer right away. Penalties may include fines, a license suspension, and even jail time.

If you’ve been drinking, the best possible solution is to call a taxi or ask a friend to drive you home. Driving under the influence involves serious legal consequences. It can also lead to injury, property damage, or even cause fatalities. 

If convicted of a DUI in Michigan, you may face many penalties, depending on the severity of your offense. These may include heavy fines, a long-term license suspension, mandatory rehabilitation, and even a jail sentence. A DUI will also affect your financial situation, current and future employment, insurance, and more. 

 If you have been arrested for a DUI, it’s important that you talk to a lawyer right away to learn about your options. 

Click here to be connected to a local DUI Attorney in Michigan

Types of Drunk Driving Offenses in Michigan

Michigan has three drunk driving offenses:

  • OWVI, Operating While Visibly Impaired, means that the driver could not drive their vehicle without showing signs of impairment, typically caused by alcohol, drugs, or other uncontrolled substances. With an OWVI, an officer can make an arrest without conducting a blood test or chemical test to determine blood alcohol level. If charged with an OWVI, you may face fines, jail time, and community service. 
  • UBAC/UBAL, or Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content/Level, is a charge a driver will face if their blood alcohol level was over the legal limit (0.08) while operating a vehicle. If convicted, you will face similar charges as with an OWVI, plus community service. 
  • OWI, or Operating While Intoxicated, occurs when a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances such as Xanax or Ambien. 

Whichever of the above offenses they accuse you of, you will face much harsher penalties if this is a repeat offense. 

Any form of DUI may have long-standing consequences. You may be required to attend a drinking rehabilitation program, have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, or even lose your professional license. 

Penalties for a DUI Offense in Michigan

The penalties you will face for a DUI in Michigan depend on several factors, such as whether this is your first or a repeat offense, whether your DUI led to damage or injury, your level of intoxication, and more.

If this is your first offense OWI, you will face up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, 360 hours of community service, and possible installation of an ignition interlock device during probation. An ignition interlock device (IID) is a gadget that will measure your blood alcohol level when you get in the car. If your BAC is over the legal limit, your vehicle won’t start, preventing you from committing another DUI.

 If this is your second offense, you will face from five days to one year in jail, a fine of $200 to $1,000, a maximum of 90 days of community service, and a possible ignition interlock device. The consequences of a third OWI offense may include prison time of one to five years, a fine of $500 to $5,000, probation of 30 days to a year, a minimum of 60 days of community service, and vehicle immobilization, and a possible ignition interlock device. 

If this is your first offense OWVI, you will look at basically the same consequences as with the first time OWI: up to 93 days of jail time and up to 360 hours of community service. But you will face a lower fine, up to $300. If this is your second offense, you will face the same penalties as with a second offense OWI—same with a third offense OWVI.

If they charge you with a first offense UBAC/UBAL, the consequences may include up to 93 days in jail, 360 hours of community service, and up to $500 in fines. If this is your second offense, you will face up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and up to 45 days of community service. 

Other factors will determine the penalties you will receive for the DUI, including whether anyone was physically hurt as a result of your DUI and whether you’ve caused any property damage. 

If you were involved in an OWI that caused the death of a person, you will face prison time of up to 15 years,$2,500 to $10,000 in fines, and vehicle immobilization. If your DUI leads to the death of a first responder or police officer, you will face up to 20 years in prison.

If your OWI has caused serious injury to anyone, you may receive up to five years of prison time, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, and mandatory vehicle immobilization.

Besides the penalties described above, every DUI in Michigan results in license suspension. If you are a first-time offender, they will suspend your license for 30 days and there will also be 150 days of restricted driving privileges. 

Do I Need a Lawyer To Handle a DUI Case in Michigan?

As there are many variables in a DUI, ‌you may want legal help right away. A DUI in Michigan is a serious offense with long-term consequences. It is possible to jail, lose your license and your current job (as well as the possibility of future employment), pay a lot of money in fines—and more.

An experienced DUI lawyer can research your case, inform you of your options, guide you through court proceedings and, perhaps, help you negotiate a better sentence with the judge, and more. 

Doing all the above yourself, with no legal experience, can be complicated. And may put you at a considerable disadvantage if you decide to forgo hiring legal help. 

If you feel they have wrongfully charged you with a DUI, a lawyer can help you make your case in court. 

How Expensive Is a DUI Lawyer in Michigan?

The costs of hiring legal help in Michigan can be very high. Lawyers will typically charge you a flat fee for a full range of services they will perform: from researching your case to representing you in court.

While this is a very effective and comprehensive approach, it is also expensive. Legal costs for a DUI case can range from $5,000 to $20,000 and even more. You will also need to factor in other DUI-related fines. 

How To Make Hiring a DUI Lawyer More Affordable?

Because DUI legal expenses can get quite high, it’s perfectly understandable that you may look for ways to bring costs down. Legal help may be expensive but can be necessary. DUIs in Michigan have serious consequences, and you may need professional legal help to make your case.

You may think hiring a lawyer is out of your budget, but there may be ways it can be done. One option is to work with a lawyer who offers an affordable payment plan. The lawyers we work with at Unbundled Legal Help offer payment plans and you can get started for as little as $1,500 down. Which can help make hiring a lawyer more affordable. We can connect you today with a DUI attorney in Michigan for a free consultation.

Ready to Talk to a Lawyer?

Receive a free consultation with a more affordable lawyer in your local area

Related Blog Posts