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Michigan OWI Laws

Michigan's Operating While Intoxicated Laws

Driving under the influence (DUI) laws are designed to protect citizens on the roadways from being injured or killed by an intoxicated driver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28 people in the United States die every day in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

Whether you've heard it called drunk driving, DUI, or driving while intoxicated (DWI), every state has their own individualized laws penalizing driving a motor vehicle, and other type of vehicles, after drinking a certain amount of alcohol.

In Michigan, the crime is known as "operating while intoxicated" (OWI) and applies a person is driving a motor vehicle in on any road, including parking lots, while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. You can also be in violation of drinking and driving laws if you are with a blood alcohol (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher.

Michigan Implied Consent Law 

When you applied for your driver's license in Michigan, you may or may not have realized that you also agreed to comply with a law known as "implied consent." In a nutshell, implied consent means that as a driver, you agree to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test should a law enforcement officer suspect you of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

To be clear, you can refuse to take a chemical test to measure the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, but this usually comes with severe penalties including huge fines and an automatic driver's license suspension. Don't forget, an officer can still arrest you even if you refusal a chemical test if he or she believes there is probable cause that you are under the influence. 

This chart lays out the basics of Michigan OWI laws:

Michigan OWI Laws: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Implied Consent

"Per Se" BAC Limit 0.08 Percent
Zero Tolerance (Underage) BAC Limit 0.02 Percent
Enhanced Penalty (Aggravated) BAC Limit 0.17
Implied Consent to Submit to BAC Test? Yes

Michigan OWI Laws: Select Penalties

Minimum License Suspension or Revocation (1st, 2nd, 3rd offense) Sanctions imposed following conviction - 6 months (restricted license possible after 30 days) / 1 year minimum revocation / 1 year minimum revocation
Mandatory Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment Yes
Vehicle Confiscation Possible? Yes
Ignition Interlock Device Possible? Yes

Michigan OWI Resources:

Charged Under Michigan OWI Laws? Get Legal Help

Conviction of a DUI/OWI can have various negative impacts on your life. If you've been arrested for a DUI/OWI in Michigan, you may want to reach out to an experienced attorney to discuss your rights and options.

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