Drunk driving laws in Michigan are broken into three different
sections: driving with an illegal blood alcohol content, operating
under the influence of alcohol, and operating while impaired. Each
offense has different consequences and has varying degrees of severity.
When convicting drunk driving cases the prosecution must prove that the
individual was under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination
of both; was operating a motor vehicle, and that the alcohol or drugs
consumed affected the operation of the motor vehicle.
Under these circumstances the prosecution will attempt to prove that
the individual was impaired and unsafe to drive. Evidence will be
brought before the court and can include driving patterns, physical
appearance, blood alcohol content levels, field sobriety tests, and
The prosecution may also attempt to convict an individual through per
se law. Under per se law an individual can be convicted for having a
blood alcohol content percentage above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
The prosecution will not provide impairment evidence, rather only a
blood alcohol content percentage to prove the body's chemistry level.
In order for a conviction to take place the evidence must show that the
individual was operating a motor vehicle, had a blood alcohol content
above the legal limit, and that the alcohol consumption weakened the
operation of the motor vehicle.
Minor DUI Laws
Michigan has a zero tolerance law for minors drinking under age and
driving. Adults can often legally operate a motor vehicle if their
blood alcohol content is below the legal limit, but under the zero
tolerance law, a minor will be arrested for having any amount of
alcohol in his or her system. Driver's license suspension will follow
along with a possible fine.
Michigan DUI Punishments
Punishments for driving under the influence convictions in Michigan are
based on the number of prior offenses an individual has. Punishments
can also increase if aggravating circumstances are present. These can
include having a minor in the motor vehicle upon arrest, driving over
the speed limit, having a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit,
and being responsible for the injury to another.
A second DUI offense in seven years will elevate a crime as well as a
third offense within ten years of any priors. A first DUI offense can
earn imprisonment between ninety-three days and five years, a fine
between one thousand dollars and ten thousand dollars, and driver's
license suspension for one year.
A second DUI offense can earn imprisonment between one year and fifteen
years, fines between one thousand dollars and ten thousand dollars, and
driver's license suspension between one year and five years. A third,
fourth, or fifth DUI offense can earn imprisonment between one year and
fifteen years, a fine between one thousand dollars and ten thousand
dollars, and driver's licenses suspension for a minimum of five years.
DUI offenses can be either misdemeanor offenses or felony offenses,
depending on the aggravated circumstances and the number of prior
offenses. Causing the death of another individual will result in an
automatic prison sentence of five years or more, no matter the number
of priors. Causing another serious injury will result in two years of
imprisonment not matter the number of priors.