In Michigan, if you are convicted of three drunk driving offenses within your lifetime, you will be charged with a felony. Causing the serious injury or death of another person while driving drunk—even if it is your first offense—will also be charged as a felony. Felony convictions carry significantly steeper penalties than misdemeanors, and you stand to lose a number of rights and freedoms if found guilty of a felony charge.
If convicted of a third OWI felony offense, then depending on your prior record, you could spend as many as one to two years in prison; the statute even allows up to five years. Cases that involve injury or death could result in 15 years in prison. The judge may also sentence you to pay expensive fines, perform community service, and obtain alcohol treatment. In addition, you could be subject to a lifetime driver’s license revocation, as well as the confiscation of your vehicles.
For these reasons, it is very important that you contact a Michigan DUI attorney, who will be able to use their knowledge to build the strongest defense possible.
The following are a few of the rights and privileges you may lose if you are convicted of a felony charge:
Those holding professional licenses, such as lawyers or doctors, may lose their ability to practice their profession. Non-citizens may face possible deportation proceedings. Additionally, if you are convicted of a felony, any additional felony convictions can result in enhanced penalties such as a longer prison sentence or higher fine.
Federal law leaves it up to individual states to determine felons’ voting rights. In some states, felons never lose the right to vote, even while in prison. Other states require felons who have completed their sentence to serve a mandatory waiting period, and in some states, ex-felons must apply to have their voting rights restored. In Michigan, those convicted of felonies only lose their right to vote while they are serving time in prison. Upon their release, ex-felons in Michigan automatically regain their right to vote.
Due to the severity of the penalties for an OWI felony in Michigan, you need a top-notch legal team on your side that understands the law as well as the technical aspects of a drunk-driving offense. If your felony charge is based on prior record of OWI convictions, your lawyer can review the circumstances to determine if they can be excluded from your case in order to reduce your charge. An experienced OWI lawyer will also look at the breathalyzer, blood, or urine test that was used to find your blood alcohol content (BAC) to see if it was accurate or if it was flawed.