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Michigan DUI Law

Of the 1,155 traffic fatalities on Michigan highways in 2004, 329 involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, which is over the legal limit.  201 of those deaths involved a driver who had a concentration of more than twice the legal limit.

Legal Standards

Michigan makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of greater than .08.  Additionally, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while you are “visibly impaired” by alcohol or other drugs.

Penalties

First Conviction:  The first conviction is a misdemeanor.  The court has discretion to apply any or all of the following penalties:  up to 360 hours of community service, up to 93 days in jail, and a fine of $100 - $500.

Second Conviction in 7 Years:  The second conviction is also a misdemeanor.  This time the court will apply a fine of $200 - $1,000 and either (1) a jail term of 5 days – 1 year (48 hours of which must be served consecutively) or (2) 30 – 90 days of community service or (3) some combination of the two.

Third Conviction in 10 Years:  This conviction is a felony.  The court will fine you $500 - $5,000.  Additionally the court will either sentence you to (1) 1 – 5 years in prison or (2) 30 days – 1 year in jail, plus 60 – 180 days of community service.  Finally, on the third conviction, Michigan may take possession of your car and sell it at auction.

Aggravating Factors

The following factors will increase the length of your sentence.

DUI that Causes Death:  If your drunk driving has killed someone, you have committed a felony that is punishable by a fine of $2,500 - $10,000 and/or up to 15 years in jail.  Michigan may take possession of your car and sell it at auction

DUI that Kills Fireman, Police Officer, or Emergency Personnel:  If your DUI has killed a safety officer, the maximum jail time goes up to 20 years.

A DUI that causes permanent disfigurement, loss of bodily function or impairment of vital organs results in a penalty of up to 5 years in jail and/or $1,000 - $5,000 fine.  Additionally, Michigan may take possession of your car and sell it at auction.

Minor (under 16) in the Car:  If you are driving drunk with someone under 16 in the car the court will impose a fine of $200 - $1,000 and either (1) 5 days – 1 year in jail (48 hours of which must be served consecutively) or (2) 30 – 90 days community service.

If you have a prior DUI and drive with someone under 16 in the car, you have committed a felony.  This is punishable with a fine of $500 - $5,000 and either (1) 1 – 5 years in jail or (2) 30 days – 1 year in jail and 60 – 180 days of community service.

Drunk Driving Under 21

If you are not of legal age to drink, the state makes it a crime to have a BAC of .02 - .08 (if it’s over .08, you are charged under the other statute). 

The penalty for driving in the .02 - .08 range under 21 is up to 360 hours of community service and/or a $250 fine.  If you have a prior conviction the court may impose any or all of the following sanctions: (1) 60 days of community service, (2) a fine of up to $500, (3) up to 93 days in jail.

Owner Liability Statute

Michigan also makes it illegal to knowingly allow someone who is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to drive your car.  The penalties for this are as follows:

Standard DUI:  Up to 93 days in jail and/or $100 - $500 fine.

DUI with Serious Bodily Injury:  Felony, up to 2 years in jail and/or $1,000 - $5,000.

DUI Where Death Occurred:  Felony, up to 5 years in jail and/or $1,500 - $15,000.