Getting arrested for drunk driving is terrifying. A single error of judgment could wreak havoc on your life for years to come. To protect yourself from hefty fines and long criminal sentences, you need to know what type of laws can affect first time DUI offenders in the state of Michigan.
Misdemeanor for First Time Offense
In Michigan, unlike many other states, the first two times you are charged with a DUI, the offenses are considered misdemeanors. Michigan has the three strikes and you’re out mindset: a third DUI charge is a felony and carries a minimum one-year jail sentence. If convicted, your license is also suspended for five years.
For the first drunk driving offense, you must have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit in Michigan: 0.08. Penalties for a first offense DUI include up to 93 days imprisonment, $100 to $500 in fines and a maximum six-month license suspension. However, in Michigan, the state has what is called a “super drunk” driving law. Penalties are harsher—even for first time offenders. In these cases, drivers have blood alcohol content above .17. The penalties are essentially doubled: 180 days in jail, $200 to $700 fines, and a year’s license suspension. Community service time may also be imposed.
Chemical Test Refusal
First time offenders may decide to refuse a chemical blood test at the time they are pulled over for suspected drunk driving. However, Michigan does have an implied consent law in place. Under this provision, refusal to take the test to measure your blood alcohol content will result in six points added to your license. Your license is also automatically suspended for one year.
Should You Fight First Time DUI Charges?
Pleading guilty to first time DUI charges shouldn’t be your knee jerk reaction. There is a chance to plea down to a lesser offense or have the charges dropped completely. An attorney may help either prove the tests you were given at the time of your arrest were flawed or you were not in fact impaired.
Representation can also help if any property was destroyed leading up to your arrest or anyone was injured at the time of your DUI. An attorney specializing in DUI defenses will also be able to advise you on how to reinstate your license after a conviction.