When is DUI a Misdemeanor?

By Kathryn Simmons,

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The phrase “DUI misdemeanor” should not be taken lightly. Too often people think that the word misdemeanor connotes a crime that isn’t very serious and will mean a “slap on the hand”. Not in Michigan and not where drunk driving is concerned. The punishment for OWI, OWPD or OVI can be harsh and the consequences have cost people their jobs and their freedom.

A DUI misdemeanor conviction will change your life. You need an experienced drunk driving defense attorney

Call 248-408-7679 now

When Do You Face DUI Misdemeanor Charges In Michigan?

  • The first time you have been pulled over and arrested for drinking and driving
  • For a second offense within 7 years after a first conviction
  • For A 1st or 2nd OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired)
  • If a commercial driver refuses to take a preliminary roadside breathalyzer test
  • A third drunk driving offense within a lifetime is automatically considered a felony

To understand what DUI misdemeanor charges mean to you, consider the penalties. The temptation might be to think that first and especially second offenders get off easy. But all of these charges carry mandatory fines, along with the possibility of jail, loss of driving privileges; and more. A second offense, while still a misdemeanor, has mandatory jail time. People lose their jobs because they can’t go to work while in jail. Because penalties go up for each successive conviction, that first case can have an enormous impact years later.

First OWI Offense

Fines of $100-$500 plus one or more:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • License suspended for 30 days
  • Driving restrictions for 150 days
  • 6 points
  • “High BAC” penalties are even steeper

Second OWI Offense

Fines of $200 to $1000 plus one or more:

  • Jail from 5 days to 1 year
  • 30 to 90 days of community service
  • Driver’s license revoked for one year
  • License plate seized
  • 6 points
  • Vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days; ignition breathalyzer possible

DUI Misdemeanor Penalties Include Michigan’s Driver Responsibility Fee

The State of Michigan imposes fees on convicted drunk drivers, which are in addition to any fines the court may set. As an example, for a first or second OWI you would pay $1000 per year for two consecutive years. OWVI carries a Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 per year for two years.

When Is It A “DUI Misdemeanor” To Refuse To Take A Breath Test?

  • It is not if a driver refuses to take the preliminary “roadside breathalyzer” test, which is called the PBT in Michigan. It is a civil, not criminal case. The fine is up to $200 and the charge is separate from any you would face for OWI.
  • It is a criminal misdemeanor if a commercial driver – a person operating a commercial vehicle – refuses to take the PBT. It is punishable by jail time of up to 93 days, and a fine of up to $100. The driver will be ordered “out of service” for 24 hours, which usually means the boss will have to know.

Under What Circumstances Do DUI Misdemeanor Charges No Longer Apply?

A third conviction in a lifetime is a felony. Causing death or serious injury is a felony if you are accused of OWI, OWVI or OWPD. It is a felony to drive while your license was suspended, revoked or denied.

To hire a lawyer call 248-408-7679 now. You can come to my office or I can arrange to come to you

Attorney Kathryn L. Simmons is a drunk driving defense attorney who is accepting clients in Lake Orion, Orion Township, Rochester Hills, Oxford, Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Waterford, Pontiac, Bloomfield Hills, Troy, Macomb County and the Oakland County Circuit Court. No attorney or law firm can guarantee the outcome of your case. However, I can provide you with a free evaluation of the details of your case, and suggest a strategy to pursue the best possible outcome.

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