A Michigan OWI conviction results in a variety of costs.
Defendants who are found guilty are required to pay a very significant amount of fines and costs to the courts. While the Michigan OWI statute may say that a defendant can be fined up to $500 or $1,000 (for an OWI first offense or an OWI second offense, respectively), that is not the end of what will need to be paid to the court. Defendants are usually made to pay a “cost of prosecution” fee, a “cost of arrest” fee, a “crime victims fund” fee, upfront “probation supervision” fees, as well as many other fees that are particular to each court and municipality. It is not unusual that a Defendant who is convicted of OWI will ultimately be responsible for paying several thousand dollars to the courts. Of course, you will have to appear in court on numerous occasions, which can lead to loss of your personal wages. Some defendants will take the attitude “I just want to get this over with”. However, the hiring of an effective Michigan OWI defense might yield a more cost effective result than simply walking into the court and pleading guilty.
Individuals convicted of Michigan OWI third offense can be ordered to pay as much as $5,000 in fines, plus the tacking on of the above-described fees. An OWI that results in serious bodily injury or death can result in up to $2,500 in fines plus the possibility of up to 15 years in prison.
The costs of a Michigan OWI conviction do not end at the courthouse. The court or the Michigan Secretary of State can potentially order you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your automobile. The monthly fees for the ignition interlock can accumulate to thousands of dollars over the ordered period of installation. Alcohol ankle bracelets and in-home breath testing units are also becoming increasingly popular tools used by the courts. These electronic devices can also add thousands of dollars over the course of time that a defendant is ordered to use them.
The event of a Michigan OWI conviction will be “abstracted” to your Michigan Secretary of State master driving record. The Driver's License Abstract is the reporting tool that insurance companies use to score your insurance rates. It is not unusual for someone who has been convicted of a Michigan OWI to receive a notice of a doubling, tripling or even quadrupling of their insurance premium. Additionally, an outright termination of insurance coverage is possible.
The courts may also require you to participate in alcohol rehabilitative services. Such services can include outpatient or even inpatient treatment.
It is critical that you hire an experienced Michigan OWI defense attorney. Attorney Richard I. Lippitt can assist you in eliminating or greatly minimizing the prohibitive costs associated with a conviction for a Michigan OWI. Mr. Lippitt appears in Michigan courts over 350 times each year in defense of Michigan OWIs.