Permitting an Intoxicated Person to Operate

Suppose that you and your friends are out enjoying a few drinks and your designated driver decides to join in for a few rounds before driving everyone home in your vehicle. Or, imagine that you and a friend both have been drinking and decide that the “more sober” person will drive home; you then hand your keys over and let your friend take the wheel of your car.

Although you may have had good intentions in both of these scenarios, the fact is that under Michigan state law, you can be held legally responsible for knowingly allowing an intoxicated person to operate your vehicle.

Penalties for Allowing an Intoxicated Person to Operate

If a person is arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) while driving your vehicle, you could face criminal charges. The severity of the charge and the potential penalties you face will depend on the particular circumstances of the driver’s OWI case.

If the driver is charged with OWI and caused significant injury to another person, you could be charged with a felony and face the following penalties:

  • Prison sentence of up to two years
  • Fine between $1,000 and $5,000

If the driver caused the death of another person, you could face a felony charge and the following punishments:

  • Imprisonment of up to five years
  • Fine between $1,500 and $10,000

If no death or injury was involved, you could be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries the following potential penalties:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Fine between $100 and $500