Being arrested for drunk driving is no laughing matter. If you have been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OWI, in Michigan, it is important to understand the potential punishments you now face. Whether you are a first-time offender or have been convicted of OWI in the past, Michigan OWI sentencing can be quite severe.
There are three categories of OWI penalties, the first being court-imposed sentences such as fines, community service, probation, and jail time. Depending on the nature of your offense as well as your prior criminal record, you may be fined anywhere from $100 to $5,000, and spend up to five years in jail. If a serious injury or death occurred, you may be required to pay as much as $10,000 in fees, and receive up to a twenty-year prison sentence.
Your driving privileges will also be suspended if you are convicted of OWI. Unlike court-imposed penalties, these mandatory sanctions are dictated by the secretary of state, and are applied to all OWI offenders—regardless of their criminal record. If this is your first OWI, your license will be suspended for 90 days. Second-time offenders, on the other hand, will receive a one-year suspension. If you have been convicted of two or more OWIs within the past ten years, your driving privileges will be restricted for the next five years. You will also have to pay a yearly “driver responsibly fee” of $500 or $1,000.
Once you are convicted of OWI, you will encounter difficulties in your personal life as well. You can expect much higher auto insurance rates, and your conviction will show up on your criminal record if an employer, housing provider, or educational institution ever checks your background.
Because it is a criminal offense, an OWI conviction can also affect your custody rights, immigration status, and military acceptance. In addition, you may not be allowed to obtain a concealed weapons permit or a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and you may be prohibited from leaving the state. Under state law, certain civil employees may even be suspended if they are convicted of OWI.
Fortunately, an OWI charge does not always lead to a conviction. With help from a skilled defense attorney, you can fight your OWI charges, and improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in court. Attorney Patrick T. Barone brings over a decade of experience to the table, offering the personalized legal representation you need during this stressful time. Contact the Barone Defense Firm today for a free consultation.