No one wants to go through the process of defending themselves against an OWI or DUI charge a second time, but without a strong defense, a second OWI conviction can result in much harsher penalties than your first offense. While high fines and jail time are a realistic worry during a person’s first OWI experience, many people can walk away with minimal consequences. However, after a second OWI arrest within seven years of the first conviction, this can be a lot harder to achieve.
You should work with a Lansing DUI lawyer to build a strong defense, strive for an innocent verdict or minimize the consequences of a second conviction. The attorneys at DeBruin Law, PLLC, understand that people make mistakes – including the police. Just because you were previously convicted of an OWI, does not mean that you are automatically guilty of the same crime.
Call the criminal defense attorneys of DeBruin Law, PLLC, at 517-731-0353. They know the importance of your freedom and will aggressively fight for your rights in court.
Michigan OWI Law
Under Michigan law, if you’re found operating a vehicle with a 0.08% BAC or any impairment from drugs or alcohol, you can be charged and convicted of an OWI. If you are under 21 years of age, a BAC of 0.02% or more will result in an OWI. While it’s a different name from a DUI, the principles are the same. First-time offenders face up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine and 360 hours of community service.
You can also be charged with an OWI for a high BAC. If a first-time offender has a BAC above .17%, they face a $700 fine, up to 180 days in jail and 360 hours of community service.
If you didn’t have a 0.08% BAC at the time of the arrest but were still too impaired to drive, you can be charged with operating a vehicle while visibly impaired (OWVI), which comes with slightly less severe penalties compared to an OWI. There is a fine of up to $300, up to 93 days in jail and 360 hours of community service.
All of these offenses can result in losing your license or even your car for a period of time. You will also receive points on your driving record and be required to pay a driver responsibility fee for a number of years in order to retain your right to drive.
A Second DUI In Michigan
If a driver is found to be impaired due to alcohol, a controlled substance, an intoxicating substance or any combination of these, then they will be arrested for an OWI. If the same driver was convicted of this or a related offense less than seven years before another arrest, then the charge will be a second OWI.
This seven-year time frame is known as a look-back period. It means that courts only look back seven years to determine if the current OWI is a second offense or treated as another first offense. If the driver had an OWI/OWVI conviction 10 years before this arrest, the current OWI would not be a second offense. It would be treated as a first offense again.
First and second offenses can be any combination of an OWI, an OWI with a high BAC or operating while visibly impaired. While these charges differ slightly, they all count toward determining if an OWI charge is a second offense.
Potential Penalties For A Second OWI
A second OWI is still a misdemeanor, but you face numerous consequences, including:
- A fine up to $1,000
- Up to one year in jail
- 30 to 90 days of community service
- Driver’s license revocation for up to one year, or at least five years if your license was previously revoked within seven years
- License plate confiscation
- Vehicle immobilization for up to 180 days
- Vehicle forfeiture
- Six points on your driving record
- $1,000 driver responsibility fee for up to two years
The Importance Of A Lansing DUI Attorney
If you are convicted of a second OWI, you’ll be labeled as a “habitual offender” in Michigan. This means you will automatically lose your license for at least one year. Additionally, the judge may be worried that you are a danger to public safety either because you have a drug or alcohol problem or difficulty obeying the law, and they may seriously consider jail time. Whether you go to jail for a period of time can depend on many things, including where your DUI case occurs and your attorney.
The actions of an experienced and skilled attorney may help you avoid jail time altogether or see to it that you receive a minimum sentence. For example, your attorney can fight for a plea bargain or by proactively getting you help for substance abuse issues, which can demonstrate to the court that a jail sentence is neither necessary nor productive in this situation.
Call A Lansing DUI Attorney
If you were arrested for impaired driving a second time within seven years, you need to take your defense and legal counsel seriously. The attorneys at DeBruin Law, PLLC, understand how frustrating and scary this process is, which is why they will use every defense available to them under the law to obtain the best consequences possible for your situation. Call DeBruin Law, PLLC, today at 517-731-0353 to learn more.