Michigan is tough on drunk drivers. There is a low threshold to be charged with this crime and the repercussions can seriously interfere with your life. Here are five facts you may not know about drunk driving charges in Michigan.
1. You Do Not Have To Blow Over .08 To Be Charged
Drivers under 21 only need to blow over .02 to be charged with OWI, since there is zero tolerance in Michigan. Commercial drivers only need to blow .04 or above. Furthermore, if you are pulled over and are visibly impaired, you can be charged with OWVI (operating while visibly impaired), regardless of your breath test results.
2. You Could Go To Jail (Even On A First Offense)
Michigan law states that first offenders can be put behind bars for up to 93 days. Some counties are more aggressive than others about putting drunk drivers in jail. Unfortunately, you may not know how serious this threat is until it is too late. It is also important to be aware that few employers are forgiving to employees who have to miss work because they are in jail for OWI.
3. Your Insurance Premiums Will Skyrocket
Fines are bad enough. What few people realize until it is too late is that an OWI conviction will lead to a spike in insurance rates. It is not uncommon for auto insurance rates to double following a conviction for drunk driving. On top of that, there will be numerous fees assessed. Drunk driving convictions drain bank accounts fast.
4. You Could Lose More Than One License
Obviously you run the risk of driver's license suspension if you are accused of OWI, but are you aware that your professional license may be in jeopardy as well? This is definitely a problem for commercial drivers, who risk losing their jobs if their commercial driver's license (CDL) is suspended. It is also a concern for other licensed professionals, including those in the health care field. Doctors, nurses and others may have a duty to report a drunk driving conviction to their licensing authority. The licensing authority may choose to issue sanctions or, in severe cases, revoke a license.
5. You Could Be Sent Back To School
You could be required to take OWI classes. You do not necessarily get to chose to take them at a time that is convenient for you. Furthermore, you will have to pay for these classes, which can add up to hundreds of dollars.
You Can Fight These Charges
An experienced lawyer can help you fight OWI or OWVI charges. At Dawid & Gatti, PLLC, we have more than 20 years of experience and a reputation for results in these cases. We will protect you, your driver's license, your professional license, your bank account and your future from the damage that could be caused by a drunk driving conviction.