What are the Laws for a First DUI?

By Kathryn Simmons

first DUI conviction in Michigan is serious. The laws here are written to be very tough. If you have been arrested and it is your first offense, do not assume that a judge or prosecutor will automatically cut you any slack because it is your first mistake. The laws set minimum penalties that the court must impose. And the sentences are often much greater than the minimums. This is why people hire attorneys: to work toward the most suitable outcome in their case.

If this is your first DUI charge, you need a lawyer. Call 248-408-7679 now. Get a free initial consultation

A first DUI will be designated either an OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) or an OWPD (Operating With any Presence of a schedule 1 drug or cocaine). There is a separate and tougher portion of the law governing an OWI with high BAC (blood alcohol content). Finally, there is OVI (Operating while Visibly Impaired).

If the first DUI is OWI or OWPD:

You face a fine of $100 to $500. In addition, you can expect at least one more and perhaps other additional penalties:

  • You could be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail
  • A judge could require up to 360 hours of community service
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days; there will then be license restrictions for 150 days
  • A judge could require that your vehicle be immobilized so that you can’t drive
  • An ignition interlock device may be ordered
  • You face 6 points on your driving record
  • Michigan imposes what is called a Driver Responsibility Fee. For OWI, it is $1,000 for 2 consecutive years. For OWPD, it is $500 for 2 years.

If the first DUI is high BAC:

This is a Michigan law you don’t find in all states. It is still considered OWI, but the majority of the penalties were designed to be harsher. The fine is at least $200 and up to $700, with one or more additional consequences:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • A suspended driver’s license for 1 year; you would be eligible to have your attorney seek a restricted license after 45 days, but you would have to accept an ignition interlock device on all vehicles you own or operate, including work vehicles
  • 6 points added to your driving record
  • The Driver Responsibility Fee would be set at $1,000 per year for 2 consecutive years
  • Your vehicle could be immobilized if you were to drive without a properly installed ignition interlock device

In a first DUI with high BAC, a defense attorney may seek to challenge the credibility of the blood test results. In some instances, this has resulted in the lesser charge of OWI. There have been situations in which the blood evidence was not allowed at all and the case fell apart. Every case is different, and your lawyer must determine which strategy is appropriate to your situation.

OVI – Operating while Visibly Impaired:

This arrest is based on what a police officer observes, such as weaving between lanes or slurred speech. The law allows for a fine of up to $300 and one or more additional penalties:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • A restricted driver’s license for 90 days
  • Possible vehicle immobilization
  • 4 points on your driving record
  • A Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years

For aggressive defense against your first DUI. Call 248-408-7679 now. I can come to you, or you can come to my office

Call Attorney Kathryn L. Simmons for a defense attorney in Lake Orion, Orion Township, Rochester Hills, Oxford, Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Waterford, Pontiac, Bloomfield Hills, Troy, Macomb County and the Oakland County Circuit Court. No attorney or law firm can guarantee the outcome of your case. However, I can provide you with a free evaluation of the details of your case, and suggest a strategy to pursue the best possible outcome.