The crime of a Michigan OWI is a very serious offense. Michigan courts and the Michigan Secretary of State have been granted the statutory authority to impose numerous punishments and fines.

If you have recently been charged with a Michigan OWI, you will want to hire a qualified Michigan OWI defense attorney. Your attorney should begin preparing your defense immediately so that you can receive every possible advantage and consideration.

As a rule, Michigan courts will always look to your previous record when determining potential punishment. Is this a Michigan OWI first offense, a second offense, or a felony third offense? A first offense conviction can result in up to 93 days in jail, plus the imposition of up to 360 hours of community service and up to $500 in court fines. A Michigan OWI first offense conviction will cause the Michigan Secretary of State to fully suspend your license for 30 days and then grant you restricted driving privileges for an additional 150 days. Independent of the Secretary of State, the court could order you to have an expensive interlock ignition device installed in your automobile. If your Michigan OWI first offense includes an allegation of a blood alcohol content higher than .17%, you can be charged with Michigan OWI with High BAC (“Super Drunk”). A Super Drunk Michigan OWI conviction will trigger an automatic 45-day hard suspension of all driving privileges followed by a mandatory 320-day period of interlock ignition device. Super Drunk Michigan OWI convictions also allow the courts to sentence you to up to 180 days in jail.

If this is a Michigan OWI second offense, you can be ordered to serve up to 365 days in jail and to pay fines of up to $1,000. You will have a minimum one-year period of driver's license revocation during which you are not privileged to drive under any circumstances, including work or serious medical appointments. Even after the one-year hard revocation has expired, your driver's license is not automatically reinstated. Rather, you must request a Michigan Secretary of State driver's license reinstatement hearing. Oftentimes, defendants who have been convicted of Michigan OWI second offense are unsuccessful at their first reinstatement hearing, in which case they must then wait a full additional year for the Secretary of State to consider reinstatement. It is not unusual for defendants convicted of Michigan OWI second offense to be without driving privileges for two, three, four years or even longer.

A Michigan OWI third offense, no matter how many years have elapsed between previous conviction dates, is classified as a felony. The court has the authority to sentence you to up to five years in prison and can impose fines of up to $5,000. Additionally, the Michigan Secretary of State can revoke your driver's license for up to five years. The court may also order the vehicle used during the commission of the Michigan OWI third offense to be impounded or immobilized, regardless of whether someone else may be the owner of the vehicle.

Michigan OWI offenses that have resulted in a serious bodily injury to another person can result in a term of imprisonment of up to two years as well as up to $5,000 in fines. A Michigan OWI resulting in death can result in a term of imprisonment of up to 15 years.

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 harsh punishments associated with a conviction for a Michigan OWI. Mr. Lippitt appears in Michigan courts over 350 times each year in defense of Michigan OWIs.