Drunk Driving

Michigan Drunk Driving Law

Michigan Drunk Driving Laws


When it comes to one of the most preventable types of car accidents, the state of Michigan recognizes three distinct offenses involving drunk driving. In regards to breaking the legal rules of Michigan, allocating fines and handing out possible jail time, the severity and individual circumstances of drunk driving violations are taken into consideration.

There are also many other factors that affect the drunk driving laws of the state, including blood alcohol content, previous driving record, and overall damage.

Drunk Driving Offenses in Michigan

Individuals who are caught driving drunk in Michigan generally fall into one of three categories. The first offense is called an OUIL, meaning that a driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor, such as beer, wine, or champagne. The second offense is called a UBAL or UBAC, which means that an individual was driving their car with a bodily alcohol level or content that exceeded the amount allowed by law. When a driver operates a vehicle while impaired, they are committing the third offense, which is known as an OWI. When a drunk driving case is brought before the court, the prosecuting attorney or city attorney must show (beyond a reasonable doubt) that the driver was operating a vehicle while drunk; was under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance; and that the alcohol in their system directly affected the operation of a motor vehicle. Out of all the drunk driving offenses in Michigan, the easiest of the three to prove is the OWI, which takes into account the operation of a vehicle and the fact that the alcohol visibly affected or lessened the driver's ability to properly operate a motor vehicle. When proving that UBAC has taken place, the prosecutor or the city attorney must show that the drunk driver possessed a BAC (body alcohol content) greater than .10% and that they were operating a motor vehicle at the time. Generally, proving a UBAC is rather easy and often, a prosecutor may include an OUIL charge to obtain a conviction. The drunk driving offenses associated with Michigan law are applied to both adults and minors. The state also stands by a "Zero Tolerance" law for drivers under the age of 21. Fines and Penalties A conviction or guilty plea with an OUIL or UBAC carries a maximum sentence of up to $500 in fines (plus the costs associated with prosecution), up to 93 days in jail, and up to 45 days of community service. A driver who is facing their second DUI, OUIL or UBAC in Michigan may need to pay fines up to $1,000 with the chance of imprisonment for up to one year in jail. A conviction or guilty plea that comes with an OWI carries a maximum sentence of up to $300 (plus court fees), up to 93 days in jail, and up to 45 days of community service. The third time a person is convicted of drunk driving, they may encounter 1 to 5 years of imprisonment and fines that total up to $5,000. On top of the monetary penalties and possible jail time, the drunk driver will have their license suspended or revoked for a certain period of time (depending on the severity of their conviction). Usually, an OUIL or UBAL/UBAC conviction means that their license is suspended for no less than six months and no more than two years. When a prior conviction is involved, the penalty increases. OWI convictions result in a license suspension of no less than 93 days and no more than one year. To enable an individual to travel to and from their place of employment, school, community service, probation, or alcohol treatment, a restricted license is usually issued. This means when driving, they must furnish proof of their destination and hours at the request of law enforcement.