Under Michigan law, the stakes are high for anyone found guilty of a second-time driving under the influence (DUI) offense. Also referred to as “OWI,” or operating while intoxicated, if you are convicted of DUI within seven years of your first conviction, you may be sentenced to:
- Prison for five days to up to one year;
- Revocation of driver’s license for one year;
- Fines up to $1,000;
- Immobilization and/or seizure of your vehicle;
- Community service up to 90 days; and
- Six points added to your license.
If you are facing DUI charges, it is important to be proactive. Speak to a criminal defense lawyer with experience in DUI as soon as possible to protect your rights, and help ensure a bad decision does not have ongoing catastrophic results for your life.
Everybody Processes Alcohol Differently
Scientific research shows an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may be affected by several factors, including but not limited to:
- Age. As a person ages, the intoxicating effects of alcohol increase.
- Drink strength. Different drinks have significantly different alcohol content and potency.
- Food. When a person eats before and while they drink, their BAC increases more slowly.
- Sex. Alcohol is water soluble, and because women’s bodies generally have less water content and total mass than men, they usually reach a higher BAC even if they consumed alcohol at a similar rate.
- Weight. The less a person weighs, the faster their BAC climbs.
- Medicines and drugs. Legal and illegal drugs can raise BAC more quickly.
- Race and ethnicity. Genes affect how the liver handles alcohol. Asians and Native Americans may process alcohol more slowly, so BAC can increase more quickly.
Alcohol Can Influence Decision Making Processes
People make poor choices when intoxicated. This may be because the first part of the brain to be affected by alcohol consumption is the frontal lobe, the portion of the brain responsible for judgment and reasoning.
Getting behind the wheel when you have been drinking is not a rational or safe decision. Doing so in Michigan can cost you the privilege of driving. Under Michigan law, if your license is revoked for a second DUI, such revocation may be permanent. Additionally, you must wait one full year before you can even begin the process of attempting to regain it.
Revocation is Different From a Suspension
A driver’s license suspension means:
- You still have a license, but it will be suspended for a specific period; and
- After your period of suspension has passed, your driving privileges will be restored.
A driver’s license revocation means:
- The privilege of driving is taken away from you, and you are not allowed to regain it.
- In Michigan, revocations are lifetime revocations.
- After you serve the minimum applicable revocation period (usually one to seven years), you have a right to have a hearing only. You have no right to have your license restored.
Michigan’s laws are strict. If you receive a second alcohol-related conviction within seven years of your first conviction, your driver’s license will be revoked. The law is unbending; it will not matter if you need your license for employment or to take care of your family. You will not be able to file a license appeal for at least one year.
For some offenders, it may be possible to have driving privileges restored by complying with certain stringent requirements of the Michigan Secretary of State. These include submitting required documentation to the Department of State for an Administrative Review. After the Department receives all information, a review may be conducted. At the conclusion of the review, the applicant will receive a written order by mail that either grants or denies the request.
Don’t Let an Unfortunate Mistake Diminish or Tarnish Your Reputation and Hard-Earned Achievements
DUI is one of the most common criminal offenses in the United States. However, DUI convictions can have serious and lasting consequences. Apart from the penalties determined by the court, a criminal record can mean restrictions and limitations on future educational and professional opportunities, as well as permanent damage to your reputation and standing in your community.
Negative consequences of a DUI conviction may include:
- Damaged record. Many companies and organizations conduct criminal background checks before hiring a new employee or working with a new volunteer. Background checks are also routinely conducted by colleges before granting financial aid, or even admission. A felony or misdemeanor DUI conviction will appear in a background check, and may prevent an applicant from securing an opportunity.
- Lost employment. The time away from work that is necessary for court dates, community service, and even jail time can put an offender’s current job at risk. Additionally, any job that requires driving or use of a company owned vehicle may be foreclosed after a conviction.
- Increased auto insurance rates. Auto insurance rates increase significantly for any insured driver who receives a DUI conviction.
- Professional harm. A DUI conviction can adversely affect the way an employee is perceived by coworkers and their employer. Additionally, offenders who hold professional licenses may be subject to disciplinary action, and the possible revocation of their license. While everyone makes mistakes, for professionals such as physicians, nurses, attorneys, real estate brokers, pharmacists, dentists, pilots, teachers, and first responders, a DUI conviction may end their career.
- Ignition Interlock Device. You may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in Michigan after a conviction for a DUI offense. This can be expensive and burdensome and can lead to further actions against you because of false-positive readings.
Get the Legal Help You Need From Michigan Defense Law
If you are in Michigan and have been charged with a second DUI (OWI) within seven years of your first conviction, get help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Attorneys Paul Tafelski and Andrew W. Kowalkowski of Michigan Defense Law work hard to protect the rights of their clients, and ensure they get the best possible outcome in their case.
Being charged with DUI does not mean a conviction is inevitable. When it comes to DUI, getting a good attorney to advocate for you is the best thing you can do. They may be able to challenge the evidence, or negotiate for dismissal. Contact Michigan Defense Law today at (248) 451-2200 or online and learn if we may be able to help you.