DUI (“driving under influence”) laws have become increasingly strict. Since the ‘90s, organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving started shining a bright light on drunk driving across the country, and it has since become a serious crime everywhere. These days, the crime is not strictly confined to alcohol use. “Driving under the influence” can include illegal drugs as well.
There is a lot of fear surrounding a DUI charge. How you are sentenced relies on how many prior offenses you’ve had and your blood alcohol level (BAC) at the time of the arrest. Depending on those details, incarceration could range anywhere from 93 days in jail to five years in prison.
Don’t let those numbers panic you. A DUI charge does not automatically mean you will be locked up. Sentences often come with community service instead of jail time. Here is a breakdown of how Michigan generally handles DUI charges.
If this is your first DUI, there are certain penalties you can expect no matter what. There will be a fine, from $100 to $500. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days, and once your license is usable again, you will be under strict driving restrictions for the next 150 days. Six points will be added to your license, and your car could be impounded or have an ignition lock installed. The judge can assign either jail time or community service, which can be up to 360 hours. Jail time for a first-time offense can be up to 93 days.
These penalties change when you have a high blood alcohol content (BAC). The law considers a high BAC to be .17% or more. At this level, the license suspension is one year. A sympathetic judge may cut that down to 45 days as long as ignition locks are used for the rest of the sentence. License points are, again, six. Fines climb to between $200 and $700. Once again, community service could be mandated for up to 360 hours. Jail time for a high BAC is up to 180 days (six months) in jail.
If you’ve been charged a second time, your BAC is no longer factored into the equation. The state sees you as a second-time offender, and leniencies are removed. Your fines rise to $200 – $1,000. The car goes under much tighter lockdown as it goes into impound for 90 – 180 days; your license plate is taken; and your license to drive is revoked for a year. Six more points are added to the license. Instead of hours, you could be given days of community service, between 30 and 90. Jail time for a second offense is from five days to one year.
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Once you’ve been charged with your third offense, the crime goes from a misdemeanor to a felony. Prison time is now an option. A third-time DUI offender is looking at one to five years in prison or 30 days to one year in jail with probation. Three-timers are given 60 – 180 days of community service. Licenses can be revoked for up to ten years, and the license plate is again confiscated. Your car can be impounded for three years or taken away completely, and yet another six points are added to your license.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact us today for a free consultation. We want to help keep you in your car and living your life. We can be reached at (517) 316-1195 or online here.