Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Laws
Michigan’s anti-drunk and drugged driving laws require swift and sure action and stiff penalties for drivers who violated them.
The laws require:
• Courts to decide drunk driving and drugged driving cases within 77 days after the arrest.
• A mandatory 6-month driver license suspension, even for a first conviction. The driver may be eligible for a restricted license after serving 30 days of the suspension.
• A mandatory 1-year driver license suspension for a first conviction of operating with a BAC of .17 or higher. This “High BAC” crime is one of the operating while intoxicated offenses. A High BAC driver may be eligible for a restricted license after serving 45 days of the license suspension, but only if an ignition interlock device is installed on any vehicle the offender owns or intends to operate.
• Court to order participation in, and successful completion of, 1 or more rehabilitation programs, including alcohol treatment or a self-help program, or another program the court decides is appropriate. The court must order this rehabilitation if the defendant has 1 or more prior convictions, or is convicted of High BAC.
• Five days to 1 year of consecutive jail time, or 30 to 90 days of community service, or both for a second conviction of drunk or drugged driving.
• Harsher license sanctions of revocation and denial for persons with multiple drunk or drugged driving convictions.
• A reinstatement fee of $125 if your driver’s license was suspended, revoked, or restricted.
• A Driver Responsibility Fee of $1,000 for 2 consecutive years for a driving while intoxicated conviction, including a High BAC conviction.
• A Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years for convictions for driving while impaired, with any presence of a Schedule 1 drug or cocaine, or child endangerment.
Additionally, the laws make the following drunk and drugged driving offenses felonies:
• A third conviction in the driver’s lifetime.
• A conviction for drunk or drugged driving that causes death.
• A conviction for drunk or drugged driving that causes serious injury to another person.
Preliminary Breath Test
If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer who believes you may be driving while intoxicated or impaired, you may be asked to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) to determine whether alcohol was involved.
If you refuse to take the PBT, you may be charged with a civil infraction, which carries a fine up to $150 plus court costs.
A person under age 21 who refuses to take the PBT will have 2 points added to his or her driving record.
Whether you take the PBT or not, you still must take the evidentiary test required by the implied consent law.
Michigan’s Implied Consent Law
If you are arrested for drunk or drugged driving, you are required to take a chemical test to determine your bodily alcohol content (BAC) or the presence of drugs in your body. Under Michigan’s Implied Consent law, all drivers are considered to have given their consent to this test.
Refusing to take this test has driver’s license consequences that are separate from those that result from any conviction that flows from the traffic stop. You may request an administrative hearing regarding the alleged refusal. At the hearing, the law enforcement officer would have to prove certain things before the statutory consequences would apply. If you do not request the hearing, or if the officer proves his or her case at the hearing, the following will happen:
• Six points will be added to your driving record.
• Your license will be suspended for 1 year if it is the first time you refused to take the test under the Implied Consent law.
• Your license will be suspended for 2 years if you refused to take the test one or more times within the preceding 7 years. There are no hardship appeals in circuit court for a restricted license in this situation.
If you refuse to take the test, or if the test shows that your BAC is 0.08 or higher, the law enforcement officer will destroy your driver license, and will issue a paper permit to you. You may drive on the paper permit until your criminal case is resolved in court.
Driver’s License Sanctions and Other Consequences
As indicated above, if there are multiple drunk or drugged driving convictions, or a single High BAC conviction, the court must order the defendant to participate in, and successfully complete, a rehabilitation program.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) or Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD)
• $100 to $500 fine and one or more of the following:
• Up to 93 days in jail.
• Up to 360 hours of community service.
• Driver’s license suspension for 30 days, followed by license restrictions for 150 days.
• Possible vehicle immobilization.
• Possible ignition interlock.
• Six points added to driving record.
• Driver Responsibility Fee:
• $1,000 for 2 consecutive years for OWI.
• $500 for 2 consecutive years for OWPD.
High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC of .17 or higher). This is one of the operating while intoxicated crimes, but it has harsher consequences.
One or more of the following:
• Up to 180 days in jail.
• $200 to $700 fine.
• Up to 360 hours of community service.
• Driver’s license suspension for 1 year. Eligible for restrictions after 45 days of suspension if an ignition interlock device is installed on all vehicles the offender owns or intends to operate.
• Possible metal license plate confiscation if the offender operates a vehicle without a properly installed ignition interlock device.
• Mandatory vehicle immobilization if the offense is subsequently convicted for operating a vehicle without a properly installed ignition interlock device.
• 6 points added to the offender’s driving record.
• Driver Responsibility Fee of $1000 for 2 consecutive years.