DUI Laws in Michigan

This article provides an in-depth look at Michigan's DUI laws, penalties, and related legal issues.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Michigan, carrying significant legal consequences. This article provides an in-depth look at Michigan's DUI laws, penalties, and related legal issues. We will explore the various types of DUI offenses, the legal process, and the potential penalties for each offense. Additionally, we will provide links to official government resources and laws for further reference.

Overview of Michigan DUI Laws

Definition of DUI in Michigan

In Michigan, DUI is defined as operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers over 21 years old is 0.08%. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%, and for drivers under 21, any detectable amount of alcohol is illegal.

Types of DUI Offenses

Michigan law recognizes several types of DUI offenses, each with its own set of criteria and penalties:

  • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI): This is the most common DUI offense and applies to drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
  • Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI): This offense applies when a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle is visibly impaired due to alcohol or drugs, even if their BAC is below 0.08%.
  • Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD): This offense applies to drivers who have any amount of a Schedule 1 drug or cocaine in their system, regardless of impairment.

For more detailed information on Michigan's DUI laws, you can refer to the following official resources:

Penalties for DUI Offenses

First Offense

A first-time DUI offense in Michigan carries several potential penalties, including:

  • Fines: Up to $500
  • Jail Time: Up to 93 days
  • Community Service: Up to 360 hours
  • License Suspension: 30 days, followed by 150 days of restricted driving
  • Points on Driving Record: 6 points

Second Offense

A second DUI offense within seven years of the first offense results in more severe penalties:

  • Fines: $200 to $1,000
  • Jail Time: 5 days to 1 year
  • Community Service: 30 to 90 days
  • License Revocation: Minimum of 1 year
  • Vehicle Immobilization: 90 to 180 days
  • Points on Driving Record: 6 points

Third Offense

A third DUI offense is considered a felony in Michigan and carries the following penalties:

  • Fines: $500 to $5,000
  • Prison Time: 1 to 5 years (or 30 days to 1 year in jail with probation)
  • Community Service: 60 to 180 days
  • License Revocation: Minimum of 5 years
  • Vehicle Forfeiture: Possible
  • Points on Driving Record: 6 points

Enhanced Penalties

Certain factors can lead to enhanced penalties for DUI offenses in Michigan, including:

  • High BAC (Super Drunk Law): A BAC of 0.17% or higher results in increased fines, longer jail time, and extended license suspension.
  • Child Endangerment: Driving under the influence with a passenger under 16 years old results in additional penalties.
  • Causing Injury or Death: DUI offenses that result in injury or death carry severe penalties, including long-term imprisonment.

For more information on DUI penalties in Michigan, refer to the following resources:

Arrest and Booking

When a driver is suspected of DUI, they are typically subjected to a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test. If the officer has probable cause, the driver will be arrested and taken to the police station for booking.


The arraignment is the first court appearance where the defendant is formally charged with a DUI offense. The judge will explain the charges, inform the defendant of their rights, and set bail.

Pre-Trial Proceedings

Pre-trial proceedings include various motions and hearings, such as:

  • Motion to Suppress Evidence: The defense may file a motion to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully.
  • Plea Bargaining: The prosecution and defense may negotiate a plea deal to resolve the case without a trial.


If the case goes to trial, both the prosecution and defense will present evidence and arguments. The judge or jury will then determine the defendant's guilt or innocence.


If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence based on Michigan's DUI laws and the specific circumstances of the case.

For more information on the legal process for DUI cases in Michigan, refer to the following resources:

License Suspension and Reinstatement

Immediate Suspension

In Michigan, a driver's license is typically suspended immediately upon arrest for a DUI offense. The length of the suspension depends on the specific offense and the driver's prior record.

Restricted License

After a period of suspension, drivers may be eligible for a restricted license, which allows them to drive to specific locations such as work, school, or medical appointments.

Reinstatement Process

To reinstate a suspended license, drivers must complete the following steps:

  1. Pay Reinstatement Fees: Fees vary based on the offense and the length of the suspension.
  2. Complete Required Programs: This may include alcohol education or treatment programs.
  3. Submit Proof of Insurance: Drivers must provide proof of valid auto insurance.

For more information on license suspension and reinstatement in Michigan, refer to the following resources:

Underage DUI Laws

Zero Tolerance Law

Michigan has a zero-tolerance law for drivers under 21 years old. Any detectable amount of alcohol in their system is illegal and can result in a DUI charge.

Penalties for Underage DUI

Penalties for underage DUI offenses include:

  • Fines: Up to $250 for a first offense
  • Community Service: Up to 360 hours
  • License Suspension: 30 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second offense
  • Points on Driving Record: 4 points

For more information on underage DUI laws in Michigan, refer to the following resources:

DUI and Commercial Drivers

Lower BAC Limit

Commercial drivers in Michigan are held to a stricter BAC limit of 0.04%. Any commercial driver found with a BAC at or above this limit can be charged with a DUI offense.

Penalties for Commercial Drivers

Penalties for commercial drivers convicted of DUI include:

  • License Suspension: Minimum of 1 year for a first offense, lifetime disqualification for a second offense
  • Fines and Jail Time: Similar to those for non-commercial drivers, but with additional consequences for their commercial driving privileges

For more information on DUI laws for commercial drivers in Michigan, refer to the following resources:

DUI and Drug-Impaired Driving

Drug-Impaired Driving Laws

Michigan law prohibits driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal substances. The presence of any Schedule 1 drug or cocaine in a driver's system is enough to warrant a DUI charge.

Penalties for Drug-Impaired Driving

Penalties for drug-impaired driving are similar to those for alcohol-impaired driving and can include fines, jail time, community service, and license suspension.

For more information on drug-impaired driving laws in Michigan, refer to the following resources:

DUI and Ignition Interlock Devices

Ignition Interlock Program

Michigan requires certain DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. An IID is a breathalyzer that prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver has a BAC above a preset limit.

Eligibility and Requirements

Offenders may be required to install an IID if they:

  • Have multiple DUI convictions
  • Have a high BAC at the time of arrest
  • Are granted a restricted license after a DUI conviction

For more information on Michigan's ignition interlock program, refer to the following resources:

DUI and Out-of-State Drivers

Reciprocity Agreements

Michigan has reciprocity agreements with other states, meaning that a DUI conviction in Michigan can affect a driver's license status in their home state.

Penalties for Out-of-State Drivers

Out-of-state drivers convicted of DUI in Michigan face the same penalties as Michigan residents, including fines, jail time, and license suspension. Additionally, their home state may impose further penalties based on the conviction.

For more information on DUI laws for out-of-state drivers in Michigan, refer to the following resources:


Michigan's DUI laws are comprehensive and carry significant penalties for offenders. Understanding these laws is crucial for drivers to avoid the severe consequences of a DUI conviction. For more detailed information, refer to the official resources and legal references provided throughout this article. By staying informed and making responsible choices, drivers can help ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.

About the author
Von Wooding

Von Wooding

Helpful legal information and resources

Counsel Stack Learn

Free and helpful legal information

Counsel Stack Learn

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Counsel Stack Learn.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.