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Michigan First-Offense OWI/DUI

The fines, jail, and license restrictions resulting from a first-offense OWI in Michigan:

Generally, in Michigan, a first-offense OWI (operating while intoxicated) results in a fine, driver’s license restrictions as well as jail time or community service. Often community service is substituted for jail time for a first-time offender. It should be noted that many people also use the term “driving under the influence,” or DUI. There are two general categories of intoxicated driving in Michigan. A person can be convicted for operating a vehicle while:

  • “intoxicated” by or “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs (called “OWI” or “DUI” or “DUID,” or

  • “visibly impaired” by alcohol or drugs (called “OWVI” for “operating while visibly impaired”), or

  • Having any amount of a schedule 1 controlled substance in the body.

An individual with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more who’s materially impaired by drugs or alcohol is considered “intoxicated” or “under the influence.” On the other hand, to be convicted of an OWVI, the prosecution needs to prove that the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was visibly impaired (less than the ability of a normal careful driver) – not necessarily that the driver was materially impaired.

With that said, the consequences of an OWI are more severe than those for an OWVI. This blog post will outline the possible penalties for both offenses on a first conviction. It should be noted that these are misdemeanor offenses.


In Michigan, an OWI or OWVI is considered a first offense if the driver has no prior convictions within the last seven years, and this is not a third offense.

Jail Time: A judge could order up to 93 days in jail for both an OWI or OWVI. But for OWIs involving a BAC or .17% or greater, the maximum jail time is 180 days.

Community Service: An OWI or OWVI conviction can also result in up to 360 hours of community service.

Fines: The fine is generally $100 to $500 for a first OWI conviction. If the driver had a BAC of .17% or greater, the fine will be $200 to $700. The fine for a first OWVI cannot exceed $300.

Vehicle Loss: While not required for a first OWI or OWVI, the court is allowed to immobilize the vehicle owned by the convicted person for 180 days. An OWI or OWVI conviction could also result in complete vehicle forfeiture.

Passenger under 16: OWI and OWVI offenses involving passengers under 16 years of age carry enhanced penalties. Such offenses require the driver to pay a mandatory fine of $200 to $1000 and serve either 30 to 90 days community service or five days to one year in jail. Finally, the judge will order the driver’s vehicle to be immobilized if not already forfeited.


Driving under an influence will also result in license-related penalties.

OWI: A person convicted of an OWI will suffer a 180-day license suspension. However, after 30 days, the driver can apply for a restricted license. With a restricted license, the person can drive for limited purposes with the use of an ignition interlock device. However, if the driver’s BAC was .17% or higher, the suspension period will increase to one year and the driver can obtain a restricted license only after 45 days of suspension.

OWVI: An OWVI conviction does not usually result in actual suspension time. The driver’s license will be officially suspended for 90 days –180 days if drugs were involved – but a restricted license is immediately available.

Passenger under 16: The suspension period will increase to 180 days if there was a passenger under 16 years of age in the vehicle. A restricted license is available after 90 days.

If you have been arrested, or charged with a DUI related offense, contact attorney Will Nahikian today. Let me fight for your interests in court and help you get on with your life. Call me today at 248-227-1978, or set up a free initial consultation.

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