State Laws

Michigan DUI Laws

     

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 chemical tests.

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.

See also:
Michigan Felony
Michigan Gun Laws
Michigan Divorce
Michigan Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
Michigan Expungement External link (opens in new window)