Drunk Driving, Drugged Driving, and Other Alcohol and Driving Offenses

Operating While Visibly Impaired- OWVI

The least serious alcohol related charge is Driving While Visibly Impaired. If this is your first offense and there has not been an accident, the Prosecutor might be convinced to lower a straight drunk driving charge to "Impaired Driving." What the mean to you is lower fines, less points, and most importantly, you can still drive to work or work related stuff. It would be unusual for an Officer to write a ticket for impaired. Typically, the Prosecutor will be willing to reduce an OWI to an Impaired if you are willing to plead to this somewhat lesser offense.

The penalties for Impaired Driving as Opposed to OWI are:

• A $300 fine as opposed to a $500 fine
• 3 months restricted license as opposed to one-month hard suspension and 5 months restricted
• 4 points on your license as opposed to 6 points
• Your insurance rates will still go through the roof
• You still will have a misdemeanor on your record
• Canada still won't let you in

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)


First Offense

If this is your first drunk driving offense, you may face a $500 fine, up to 93 days in jail, up to 360 hours of community service, suspension of your license for 30 days, followed by restrictions for 150 days, possible vehicle immobilization, possible ignition interlock, and six points added to your driving record.

Second Offense

If you get a second conviction for OWI, the judge could impose up to a $1,000 fine, five days to one year in jail, thirty to 90 days community service, driver license denial or revocation for a minimum of one year, license plate confiscation, vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days unless your vehicle is forfeited, possible vehicle forfeiture, and six points on your driving record.

Third Offense

A third drunk driving charge is a felony. You'll face a $500 to $5,000 fine, one to five years imprisonment or probation with at least 30 days in jail, sixty to 180 days community service, driver license denial or revocation for a minimum five years, license plate confiscation, vehicle immobilization for one to three years unless the vehicle is forfeited, possible vehicle forfeiture, registration denial, and six points added to your driving record.

Michigan's "Super Drunk" Laws

Super Drunk .17 or Higher BAC

If your Blood Alcohol Content is greater than .17, you could be charged under Michigan's Super Drunk Law. If you are charged 'High BAC", you face enhanced penalties, higher fines, increased driver's license sanctions, and a required vehicle interlock.

Penalties for Super Drunk

The law imposes a one-year substance abuse treatment requirement. In addition, fines and potential incarceration is increased with offenders facing up to 180 days in jail. The Secretary of State office will suspend your driving privileges for one-year, the first 45 days being a "hard" suspension (meaning no driving) with the offender being entitled to a restricted license with installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) at the offender's expense which can be hundreds per month.

If You Get 2 Drunk Driving Charges within 7 Years

If you get 2 alcohol related driving convictions within 7 years, the Secretary of State will revoke your license. This is not a suspension, but a revocation which means that you could never be allowed to drive for the rest of your life.

If Your Drive While Your License is Suspended or Revoked

Driving while your license is suspended or revoked can be serious and much depends on why it was suspended in the first place. You could face jail if you have done this multiple times plus the Secretary of State will add even more time to your suspension or could even revoke your license. You could also face forfeiture of the vehicle you were driving.

Get Driving Again…Legally

Unfortunately in Detroit, there are not a lot of alternatives for getting around. You could take UBER or rely on friends, but it gets expensive and you lose your friends quickly. Get a Criminal Defense Attorney to help get your license back. Call (248) 705-3742 for a no-cost consultation. Click Here for License Restoration Information. Depending on the facts, a Prosecutor might be convinced to drop the "super drunk" charge to a straight OWI or, sometimes, even impaired. If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, DUI, OWI, of OWVI, contact Schmierlaw at (248) 705-3742 to talk about your case.

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Whether it is representation in a legal matter or just some legal advice, Schmierlaw can help. We specialize in Criminal and Drunk Driving Defense and can help you with any sort of legal issue which may arise including Felonies or Misdemeanors, Drunk Driving, Traffic Tickets, Juvenile Offenses, or any other legal concern which you may have.

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Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
2222 Attard Street, Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Tel: (248) 705-3742     FAX: (248) 540-0044    Email: jschmier@schmierlaw.com