DUI Related Suspensions in Michigan

If you have been convicted or are being charged with Operating While Impaired (OWI) in Michigan, then the consequences could have a grave effect on your life and ability to conduct professional and personal business. Whether you have already been convicted, and want to understand the implications of the conviction on your driving privileges, or you are being charged and would like to know the best outcomes possible, we are here to explain and provide support. Most of all, we are here with top-notch legal representation to get you back on the road and on with your life.

Suspensions Related to OWI in Michigan: Deeper Discussion of First Offense OWI

Since we are discussing suspensions related to an OWI in Michigan, we will be discussing first offense drinking and driving and refusal to submit to chemical testing. Although there are many other crimes that carry a mandatory suspension, such as commission of a felony using a motor vehicle and fraudulently altering documents pertaining to motor vehicles; a first offense drinking and driving is by far the most common. Both second and third drinking and driving offenses carry a mandatory revocation and are beyond the scope of this section.

OWI I: First Offense Conviction

If you have already been convicted of a first offense OWI, then the driving consequences are pretty straight forward. You will have a mandatory 30-day suspension followed by 150 days of driving on a restricted license. This means no driving at all for the first 30 days. After 30 days you can pay the $150 driver’s reinstatement fee and receive a restricted license.

The rules for the restricted license are detailed under MCL 257.319, so you may only drive under the following circumstances during the 150 days during your restricted driver’s license:

  • To and from your employment or occupation

Any combination of the following:

  • To a person’s residence
  • To a person’s work
  • To an alcohol or drug treatment program ordered by the court
  • The court probation department
  • A court ordered community service program
  • An educational institution which the person is enrolled as a student.

One additional restriction specified in MCL 257.319(19):

While driving with a restricted license, the person shall carry proof of his or her destination and the hours of any employment, class, or other reason for traveling and shall display that proof upon a peace officer’s request.

Therefore, you can go to and from work, school, treatment, or probation, and must carry proof of your destination at all times while driving on a restricted license.

Being Charged with a First Offense OWI

If you are being charged with a first offense OWI, then you are likely panic-stricken and worried, especially after reading the ramifications it will have on your driving privileges. If you are being charged with a first offense OWI, there is no better decision than hiring an extremely qualified attorney that specializes in drinking and driving related offenses.

Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, there are many preferable outcomes. If your situation warrants an argument for improper arrest or a miscalibrated instrument used in determining your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), then it may be possible to seek a dismissal of all charges. However, there are also ways to litigate a reduction in charges by presenting evidence and negotiating with the prosecutor. This can mean a reduction from a high BAC charge to regular OWI, or potentially a reduction in charge to a Operating a Vehicle While Visibly Impaired (OWVI). Although an OWVI is still a criminal misdemeanor, it does not carry a mandatory full suspension of your driver’s license. The only driving restrictions for an OWVI is a restricted driver license for a period of 90 days. Therefore, if convicted, you will still be able to drive to and from work and school.

No matter what the facts, circumstances, or events leading up to your arrest, Grabel & Associates will work with you to provide top-caliber legal representation to protect your rights and driving privileges.

First and Second Offense Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing

Under MCL 257.625c, any person operating a vehicle on a public highway or other place open to the general public is considered to give their implied consent to have their breath or urine tested for chemical testing. Therefore, if you had been pulled over and refused a chemical test, then the officer will submit a Report of Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing to the Secretary of State. If you wish to contest the officer’s report, then you have to act fast. You have 14 days to contest the refusal at an administrative hearing. Grabel & Associates can prepare your appeal and represent you at the hearing. Navigate to our “Implied Consent and Breathalyzer Refusal Suspension” page to learn more about the process.

If you have not contested the hearing, then an automatic mandatory suspension will take effect after 14 days from the date the officer arrested you, and will last for a period of one year. It will also add another six points to your license.

It is not uncommon for a person to receive a first offense OWI and a first offense refusal to submit to chemical testing in the same incident. If you are convicted of both offenses, then the suspensions will run concurrently, meaning they will happen at the same time and the longer period is controlling. So, if you are convicted of an OWI first offense and a first offense refusal to submit to chemical testing, then you will have your driver’s license suspended for a period of one year from 14 days after the date of the refusal to submit to chemical testing.

A second refusal to submit to chemical testing operates much like the first. You can contest the officer’s findings at an administrative hearing. However, if you are convicted of the civil infraction of refusing to submit to chemical testing under MCL 257.625f a second time within seven years, then you will have your driver’s license suspended for a period of two years.

If you were arrested and found to have a blood alcohol content of .17 or higher than you may have been charged or convicted of a High BAC OWI, often referred to as a “Super Drunk OWI”. There is a mandatory suspension of your driving privileges for a period of 45 days. Then, you will have a restricted license for 10.5 months. However, the provisions of the restricted license also require the installation of a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in your vehicle for the 10.5 months.

Getting Back on the Road: Protecting your Rights and Driving Privileges

As you can see the crucial period in determining your driving privileges while facing a drinking and driving related suspension occurs in district court after the charges have been filed, but before you have been convicted. That is why it is so important to hire competent, experienced legal representation to fight and protect your driving privileges. Call Grabel & Associates today to set up a free consultation and begin the process of setting yourself up for success.

Please note: Recently Administrative Hearings Section (AHS) changed their name to the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight. Common use of the name Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight has not yet been widely accepted and the entity responsible for driver's license hearings is still referred to as AHS in almost all legal areas, which is why we continue to use the term "AHS" throughout our website. More information about this change can be found at the Michigan Secretary of State's website here.

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