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DUI in Michigan

What is a DUI in Michigan?

DUI, or driving under the influence, is defined by Michigan statutes as operating a motor vehicle with .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher. It is the offense of driving while visibly impaired.

Similarly, any Michigan driver under 21 found operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or higher can be charged with a DUI.

To be considered guilty of a DUI in Michigan, a motorist must be intoxicated and operating a vehicle. However, riding a snowmobile, ATV, or bicycle while under the influence is also a severe offense that may result in jail time and fines.

The Michigan State Police oversees the apprehension and prosecution of offending motorists within state limits. Since Michigan operates an implied consent law, drivers suspected of operating vehicles while intoxicated are subjected to a chemical test. These motorists can be charged with a civil infraction and lose their Michigan driver's license if they resist a chemical or physical evaluation. However, if there is probable cause, chemical tests are not required to establish the offender's guilt.

The state of Michigan determines the penalties for each DUI offense by considering the severity and nature of the offense. Penalties are also dependent on the offender's previous offenses. Michigan does have a Habitual Offender Act, which addresses repeat offenses. The state's procedure for prosecuting DUI offenders is outlined in the Michigan Vehicle Code. Ultimately, DUI offenses within state limits are featured in the offenders Michigan criminal records depending on the nature and severity of the crime.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Michigan?

A DWI in Michigan may not be considered the same as a DUI under Michigan law. However, they are similar concepts. DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated, which is a different offense from Operating Under the Influence or Impaired Driving. DWI is more often used to refer to the crime of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, narcotics, or similar inebriating substances.

Michigan DUI Laws

The Michigan Penal Code 750.316 outlines the state's provisions for sentencing and penalizing DUI offenders in the state.

According to the section, motorists, whether licensed or not, will be deemed guilty of a DUI (resulting from alcohol or drug use) if they are apprehended operating a vehicle while they:

  • Have an alcohol content of 0.08g or more per 100mls blood, per 210L of breath, or per 67mls of urine
  • If, at under 21, they have an alcohol content of 0.02g or more per 100mls of blood, per 210L of breath, or 67mls of urine
  • Are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both
  • If they are under the influence of one or more controlled substances, depressants, stimulants, or narcotics

DUI Penalties in Michigan

In Michigan, DUI offenses are penalized based on the nature of the offense, its severity, and the offender's criminal history. The following are penalties typically issued to DUI offenders in Michigan:

(a) First-time offenders may face Imprisonment for a maximum of 93 days or a $100.00 fine or both. However, if the first-time offender is a licensed Michigan operator or chauffeur, their penalties will be according to the provisions of the Michigan operator's or chauffeur's license sanctions outlined in section 315 of the Michigan vehicle code 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.315.

(b) Motorists guilty of a second violation within seven years of their first conviction will face a jail sentence of a maximum of 93 days, a $1000.00 fine, or both.

However, Michigan operators and chauffeurs will be penalized per section 315 of the Michigan vehicle code.

(c) If a motorist commits their third offense in 7 years, they stand the risk of jail time for a maximum of 93 days, a $2000 fine, or both.

Persons convicted of a DUI may lose their driving privileges. They may not be granted probationary driving privileges, except they do not have an alternative means of transportation to and from work.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in Michigan?

Motorists found guilty of a DWI in Michigan may be penalized thus:

First Offense:
First offenders may face up to 93 days in jail, up to a $1000 fine, and a one-year license suspension.

The defendant may also be ordered into a substance abuse program requiring them to get and stay clean and subjecting them to random drug tests.

Second Offense:
Second-time offenders face up to 1 year in jail and up to $2000 fine, as well as two-year license revocation. The defendant can also be ordered into a substance abuse program.

What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Michigan?

Michigan is one of twenty-six US states that consider selected traffic offenses a strict liability crime, particularly drunk driving convictions. Essentially, the driver doesn't have to be proven negligent or reckless to be convicted.

First-time DUI offenders risk jail time, automatic loss of driver's license, and expensive fines. In addition, a DUI conviction on an offender's record is usually detrimental to future employment prospects.

Offenders could be sentenced to jail time for a first offense if they have two or more prior violations within seven years.

The court may allow a work release, alternative work service, community service, or a fine. If the offender's BAC is 0.17 or higher, they will also have to complete an alcohol treatment program.

Where the offender resists chemical testing, they may face up to 93 days in jail for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test. While the court may reduce the jail time if they plead guilty, they will have to complete an alcohol assessment, pay a $250 civil fine, and face a possible ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. If the motorist is convicted of operating with BAC at 0.17 or higher while under 21 years old, they may have to spend up to 93 days in jail. The offender may also face license suspension for up to a year, and they may be required to attend a program specifically for first-time offenders.

What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Michigan?

In Michigan, second-time DUI offenders typically face a minimum of five days in jail, points added to their licenses, and an ignition interlock device for at least one year.

Second-time DUI offenders are issued 6 points within the first two years of driving if convicted by a district court or 8 points if convicted in circuit court. A second conviction for a moving violation within 12 months will result in at least three points assigned to the driver's record if convicted by a district court or four points in circuit court. In addition, individuals may pay up to $1,500 in prosecution, conviction, and incarceration expenses.

The driver's license may be suspended for 180 days to five years if the second offense is committed less than ten years after the first offense.

Summarily, offenders convicted of violating Section 625(1) of the Michigan code are punishable upon conviction by a fine not less than $200.00 or more than $700.00 and Imprisonment for not more than 93 days.

The Secretary of State shall not issue an operator's license to any person during the period in which that person is authorized to operate a vehicle in this state under an occupational permit pursuant to section 319 of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.319.

Second-time DUI offenders are NOT eligible for any alcohol education program discount.

What Happens After a Third DUI in Michigan?

In Michigan, a motorist is deemed guilty of a third DUI conviction if convicted of drunk driving in the state three or more times within seven years. Offenders in this category usually serve at least five days in jail, and their license is revoked for one year.

After the offender's day(s) in jail, their license will be suspended for five years. If this is not their first offense, they'll get credit for the time already served in prison on their second and third convictions.

If convicted, they must serve at least five days in jail before their license is reinstated, and they will be suspended for another 60 days. Afterwards:

  • They must complete 12 months of probation, during which they must not drive at all.
  • They have to complete an alcohol treatment program. Their choices are either a county-approved community mental health agency or a facility licensed under the Michigan Public Health Code (Part 36). If they choose a private agency and fail to complete the program, your license will be suspended for another year.
  • They must also install an interlock device on their car. For the first year, it will only allow them to drive for purposes of employment, education, treatment, or grocery shopping. After that, they'll be eligible to remove the device and later get a limited license after paying a $100 reinstatement fee.
  • The state imposes a $1,000 license reinstatement fee.
  • The Secretary of State offers a hardship reinstatement for a license any time after one year. Suppose the offender is employed and can prove financial hardship without driving, they'll still have to pay the $100 reinstatement fee and be subject to the installation of an interlock device for two years from the date of conviction.
  • The Secretary of State requires all convicted drunk drivers to appear in person at a local Secretary of State branch office and re-submit their license. For the second and third convictions, there is no fee for this service.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Michigan?

a Michigan DUI can remain on your driving record for up to 14 years from the date of conviction. However, eligible persons may petition the state's courts to have the records expunged after ten years. Ultimately, In Michigan, a DUI conviction will stay on the offender's record for at least ten years from the date of conviction. A minor who has been convicted of a DUI may have their driving privileges permanently revoked if they do not have a valid license at the time of the arrest.

DUI Expungement in Michigan

There are two ways to expunge a DUI or drunk driving charge in Michigan.

First, the defendant must wait ten years from the date of completing all terms and conditions imposed as part of his sentence before they can file for expungement on his own.

Second, the Michigan Department of State Police (DSP) will automatically delete all records on the offender's record within one year if they have no other alcohol or drug arrests during that time.

To get this process started, eligible persons may visit the state DSP website and complete an Expunction/Sealing of Arrest/Conviction Record application. The offender will need to provide their Michigan identification card number, birth date, and driver's license number.

The DSP records system does not allow applicants to use a different name or address other than the one on the application.

Applicants must also send them a court-certified copy of their driving abstract and proof of their Michigan DUI arrest date.

The DSP will notify offenders if it is unable to verify their DUI arrest, the application will be returned if the driving abstract is not accompanied by an official court order of expungement or sealing.

If approved, the DSP will notify the court in which the case was originally filed, and they will seal all court records related to the Michigan DUI arrest. The applicant will then be notified when the court records have been sealed.

Requestors must also fill out a Certificate of Eligibility and submit it to the county clerk where they live, along with a $45 filing fee before they can petition that court for an order of expungement.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Michigan?

DUI offenders in Michigan are likely to serve jail time whether or not it is their first offense.

When an individual is charged with a Michigan DUI, the consequences may differ from case to case. The severity of the charge depends on whether it is the offender's first offense, their blood alcohol level (BAL), and whether there were any previous DUI offenses by that person in Michigan or elsewhere.

What is the Average Cost of DUI in Michigan?

The average cost of a Michigan DUI is around $10,000.

However, additional costs can be incurred over time as well. For example, the motorist's car insurance premium will likely increase dramatically after a Michigan DUI conviction. Offenders are also required to have an ignition interlock device installed, costing around $60 each month.

Second-time offenders are likely to spend up to $12,000. This will be in addition to a longer jail sentence.

Third-time DUI offenders in Michigan will spend an average of $15,000 and are likely to have a felony on their record for the rest of their lives.

How Much is Bail for a DUI in Michigan?

When a motorist is charged with a DUI in Michigan, the cost of their bail will be determined by a judge.

The amount set for bail will also vary depending on the offender's criminal history. Generally, bail is set between $500 to $10,000. Persons charged with a 1st degree DUI may have their bail set as high as $10,000.

Persons who cannot pay for their Michigan DUI Bail may be released from jail at least until their arraignment or trial; this is called being given a personal recognizance bond. Essentially, the offender will not have to pay anything unless they fail to appear for court or commit another crime.

However, if the judge does decide to release the offender on a personal recognizance bond, they may pay a percentage of their bail; the county sheriff determines this amount.

How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Michigan?

A person who has been convicted of a DUI in Michigan may have their license reinstated if they meet the state's eligibility requirements. DUI offenders in Michigan can have their licenses reinstated in the following steps.

First, those who have been convicted of a DUI must complete the following:

  • A driver's education class that is approved by the state of Michigan.
  • Undergo an examination by a medical professional to see if sobriety has been achieved
  • Attend a drug and alcohol treatment program if the driver has not previously attended one

If this is completed within 180 days of the date the driver was convicted, then their license will be reinstated when they pay an annual fee to have it valid for four years. If these steps are not completed within 180 days, then the driver will be required to pay a reinstatement fee and pass another examination.

Afterward, drivers can apply for their license at any Michigan Secretary of State Office.

How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Michigan?

In Michigan, being charged with a DUI can often mean losing employment, difficulty finding future work, and even a myriad of legal issues.

Motorists who are convicted for drunk driving in Michigan may lose their driver's license, pay fines and court fees and pay for any damage done by the accident. In addition, offenders will likely be required to attend paid counseling sessions and pay for an ignition interlock device (where applicable). Other indirect financial implications include increased insurance rates, alternative transportation options (where the license is suspended), and attorney fees.

Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Michigan?

In Michigan, it is illegal to be employed in a job that requires driving if you have been convicted of a DUI. Consequently, an employee can get fired for a DUI in Michigan even if it didn't occur at work or the company wasn't aware of the DUI.

Whether or not a motorist gets fired for a DUI in Michigan will depend upon several factors:

- The industry or company

- The company's policy on employee DUIs

- Where the DUI occurred

If the job is non-driving related and the offense occurs outside company hours or on the office premises, then it is the prerogative of the company to determine how the DUI should be addressed. However, if an employee has been convicted of a work-related DUI, then disciplinary actions must be taken, and this may lead to termination.

How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Michigan?

DUI checkpoints are not legal in Michigan. The Supreme Court of Michigan ruled that sobriety checkpoints are against the Constitution and violate the Fourth Amendment rights of state residents. Hence, state police are disallowed from operating sobriety checkpoints in Michigan.

Notwithstanding, Michigan cities and counties can operate other checkpoints within their judicial districts. Also, in the state of Michigan, police officers can stop and briefly detain a motorist on suspicion of drunk driving and arrest persons confirmed to be inebriated while operating their vehicle.

Which is Worse, DUI or DWI?

In Michigan, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired (DWI) are sometimes used interchangeably. While they can be used to refer to the same offense, there are differences between the two. Michigan law stipulates that impaired driving is not limited to alcohol impairment. Hence, the amount of evidence required to prove impairment is much less for drugs than for alcohol.

In Michigan, the penalties for DUI and DWI vary depending on the extent of intoxication or impairment and the offender's criminal history.