Attorneys and Lawyers for Michigan Drunk Driving / Operating While Intoxicated OWI / DUI / Operating While Visibly Impaired OWVI Impaired Driving / OUID / Michigan Super Drunk Law

Home » General » Attorneys and Lawyers for Michigan Drunk Driving / Operating While Intoxicated OWI / DUI / Operating While Visibly Impaired OWVI Impaired Driving / OUID / Michigan Super Drunk Law

The Michigan drunk driving / OWI / DUI denfense attorneys at the Canu Torrice, PLLC (Canu Torrice Law) criminal defense law firm represent so many clients on 1st, 2nd and 3rd offense drinking and driving cases here in Michigan, and receive so many questions on this blog about the penalties and aspects of drunk driving in Michigan that  I will reprint the portion of our main website at below in hopes in will answer some of your questions.  

The offense of drunk driving in Michigan is currently known as “OWI” or “Operating While Intoxicated,” and this offense is exactly the same as an OUIL, UBAL, DUI or a DWI as it is referred to in other states, therefore we use the terms interchangeably. Every state has its own unique manner of classifying a drunk driving offense under several acronyms.

Previous statistics have shown that an OWI arrest is made about every ten minutes in Michigan alone.   A drunk driving charge is one of the most common criminal offenses in the United States, and the bulk of these charges are made against otherwise law abiding people. Approximately 3,836 people are arrested each day for suspected drunk driving nationally, with 150 people being arrested in Michigan daily.

Based upon recent reports from the federal government, approximately one in ten motorists arrested for drunk driving is wrongfully arrested, although our government describes this more optimistically as “accurate in 91 percent of the cases, or as high as 94 percent if explanations for some of the false positives are accepted.” (A “false positive” is an innocent person locked in jail, with or without an acceptable explanation.)

It is not illegal per se to drink and drive in Michigan.  In fact it is absolutely legal to drink and drive. It is only illegal to drive while “impaired” or “intoxicated.”   Moreover, even intoxicated motorists have constitutional rights that require a dismissal in many cases. If you have been charged with drunk driving, it is important that you contact an attorney at Canu Torrice Law as soon as possible.  Important video tape evidence may be available that could exonerate you, require suppression of evidence, or mandate that the case be dismissed.

On September 30, 2003, Michigan made .08 % blood-alcohol content (BAC) the new drunk driving standard.   Michigan previously had a two-tiered standard, with .10 BAC or greater considered drunk driving and .08-.09 BAC being impaired driving.   Michigan is the 44th state to adopt an .08 BAC standard for drunk driving offenses.   A first-time offender convicted of drunk driving/OWI in Michigan faces severe penalties: up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, 360 hours of community service, 6 points on their driver’s license, 180 days with a suspended license, with a restricted license possible after 30 days. Convicted drunk drivers will also be subject to a new $1,000 Michigan Driver’s Responsibility Fee penalty which will be imposed for two consecutive years.

Drivers may still be arrested and charged with “Operating While Visibly Impaired” (“OWVI”) in Michigan, but under the new drunk driving laws, no particular BAC must be associated with an OWVI charge.   This means any BAC under .08 % can be considered “impaired Driving” in Michigan. A first time offender convicted of Operating While Visibly Impaired/OWVI faces up to 93 days in jail, a $300 fine, 4 points on their driver’s license, 90 days with a restricted license.   Also, an additional $500 penalty assessed for two consecutive years under Michigan Driver’s Responsibility Fee laws.

Operating Under the Influence of Drugs, or OUID, is treated similarly to an a OWI offense in Michigan. Michigan law contains a zero tolerance provision for drivers with certain illegal drugs in their system.  These “schedule 1″ drugs are those with no medicinal use, such as marijuana, GHB, cocaine and cocaine-derivative drugs. With this change, prosecutors will not have to prove the driver was impaired, just that they were driving with those drugs in their system.   This means a driver does not have to be “high” or intoxicated from illegal drugs at the time of the arrest for an OUID charge to be valid, just that there were illegal drugs in the driver’s system.   The same penalties for drunk driving apply to those convicted under the zero-tolerance drug provisions.   Other penalties have also been increased.

Michigan Implied Consent Laws provide for a suspension of your Michigan driver’s license if you refused to take a breathalyzer test (called a “DataMaster”) or blood test after you were arrested for a drunk driving offense.   If you refuse to submit to these tests, then you have only 14 days to request a hearing before your license is suspended for one full year, and 6 points are added to your Michigan driver’s license. For a second refusal in seven years, it is a two year driver’s license suspension.   Every driver in Michigan is required to submit to a breathalyzer or a blood test if a police officer has “probable cause” to believe you are drunk driving. Michigan’s “Implied Consent” laws set forth such penalties which are separate from drunk driving sanctions.   This means even if you are sober, if you refuse to submit to an breathalyzer or a blood test you may face a suspension of your Michigan driver’s license.   However, these penalties are not triggered by a preliminary breath test (“PBT”) refusal on the side of the road at the scene of a drunk driving arrest, Implied Consent violations only occur after you are brought back to the police station after an arrest fro drunk driving/OWI/OWVI.   A PBT refusal is only a civil infraction in Michigan that carries a fine of $100.00 to $200.00.   It is a zero (0) point offense that is not abstracted to your driving record, and is the functional equivalent of a parking meter ticket.

Everyone in Michigan knows that if you are charged with any type of drunk driving /OWI /DUI offense, you better hire a good drinking and driving DUI criminal defense attorney who knows the driver’s license laws in Michigan (as staed above, drunk driving in Michigan is referred to by courts, police and attorneys as “OWI” being an acronym for “Operating While Intoxicated,” which is the same thing as “DUI” as many people commonly call it).

Well, this sound advice is about to have even more weight added to the scales of justice with the newest set of drunk driving / OWI / DUI laws in Michigan.  Michigan has continued its trend of increasing the penalties for drunk driving or OWI offenses in January 2009, when Governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law what many care referring to as Michigan’s “super drunk” driving law, which is set to take effect on October 31 2010.

Michigan’s new “super drunk” OWI driving law imposes harsher penalties on this accused of drunk driving OWI first offense with a bodily alcohol content (BAC) of 0.17 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine (NOTE: the new law only applies to 1st offense drunk driving cases).   

The most significant increased penalties under Michigan’s new “super drunk” driving law are the potential for increased jail time from 93 days in jail, which has traditionally been the maximum penalty for an dunk driving OWI 1st offense, to 180 days in jail (6 months)  for those convicted of a “super drunk” driving OWI first offense.

Additionally, upon conviction of a “super drunk” driving OWI, the Michigan Secretary of State will suspend your Michigan driver’s license for one (1) full year, with the first 45 days as a “hard” suspension with no driving privileges whatsoever, and the following 320 days with a restricted driver’s license CONDITIONAL upon the convicted “super drunk” driver having an ignition interlock device (an alcohol breathalyzer essentially) installed on the person’s vehicle.   The way a typical ignition interlock breathalyzer device works is before you can stat your vehicle you have to blow into the breathalyzer attached to the ignition of your vehicle, and then you have to periodically blow into the breathalyzer while you are driving as well (which prevents someone from having a non-drinker blow into the ignition interlock breathalyzer just so they can start their car and drive).  If you blow above the minimum level allowed of 0.025 BAC, your car will not operate.  Oh and yes, you will also have to pay to have this ignition interlock device installed in you vehicle which is very expensive.

The increased driver’s license sanctions and suspensions under the new “super drunk” driving OWI law represents a significant increase from a standard drunk driving OWI 1st offense which carried a six (6) month driver’s license suspension, with the first 30 days as a “hard” suspension and an automatic 5 month restricted license thereafter with NO ignition interlock requirement.  The new “super drunk” driving OWI law in Michigan also provides an additional penalty for any Michigan driver who attempts to operate their vehicle with an ignition interlock in place by increasing the driver’s license suspension penalty for any violation.  Specifically, if a convicted “super drunk” driver in Michigan attempts to operate their vehicle with an ignition interlock after blowing a BAC of 0.025 or more into the vehicle’s built in breathalyzer machine, (in addition to being a certain violation of any probation with the court with likely jail) the Michigan Secretary of State will automatically impose another 45 day “hard” suspension on your driver’s license, and 320 day restricted driver’s license, once again, conditioned on having an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. 

So, what does this new drunk driving legislation mean to Michigan drivers and attorneys?  More possible jail time, more driver’s license suspension sanctions, and more fines costs and other fees for defendant drivers if they are convicted – and an increased need to have one of the drunk driving OWI attorneys at Canu Torrice Law protect your rights and defend against these Gestapo like drunk driving OWI laws in Michigan. 

With the creation of this new “super drunk” driving legislation in Michigan, prosecutors and courts will most assuredly have a new set of policies and plea bargain restrictions, as well as sentencing tendencies, which could mean jail time and a loss of your full Michigan driver’s license for a year unless you have a dunk driving lawyer who knows the law and the defenses to drunk driving cases.  Fortunately the Michigan drunk driving OWI attorneys at Canu Torrice Law are already preparing for this new law change and developing new defenses and strategies to combat these harsh new “super drunk” driving laws in order to protect your rights.  Fear not, for our law firm will continue its leadership role in the battle against police and prosecutors under these new drunk driving laws.

Michigan Drunk Driving Attorney 

Why The Attorneys At Canu Torrice Law Get Results Others Cannot?

The expert drunk driving/OWI attorneys at Canu Torrice Law provide their clients with aggressive and thorough legal representation in defense of all types drunk driving and OUID cases. Our attorneys are well trained in Michigan’s drunk driving laws, field sobriety testing, and the science behind breathalyzer and blood testing. MANY DRUNK DRIVING CASES HAVE DEFENSES THAT MOST ATTORNEYS OVERLOOK! The criminal defense experts at Canu Torrice Law have the extensive training, specialized knowledge of the law, and trial experience to win drunk driving cases in Michigan. As soon as the attorneys from Canu Torrice Law are retained for your case, discovery requests and subpoenas are served on the arresting police department and the prosecutors or city attorneys pursuing your case in order to protect your Constitutional rights. Many attorneys fail aggressively seek the discovery evidence that could help you have the charges against you dismissed.

Put the power of our knowledge and extensive legal experience to work for you! Many Michigan attorneys claim to be “drunk driving experts” but most simply walk into court and accept whatever “plea bargain” the prosecutor offers their client. The attorneys at Canu Torrice Law will NEVER plea their clients guilty to any offense unless every possible defense is exhausted. The Michigan criminal defense team of attorneys at Canu Torrice Law are available 24 hours a day at (586) 285-1700. Call our law firm today!


Canu Torrice Law

(586) 285-1700


  1. Josh on July 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm said:

    How stupid is it to do breath tests in car for interlock breathalyzer for drunk drivers in michigan when they have alcohol bracelets tethers that go on a driver defendant 24/7. isnt it a lot safer to have an alcohol tether on a driver who has a superdrunk or drunk driving dui conviction in michigan than a blow machine for breathalyzer interlock that anyone who is not drinking can blow in to get the car started? how about not letting them drive at all and just immobilizing the car compeltely if the state of michigan is that worried about the driver driving without an interlock device to blow in? another example of how dumb politicans and courts are, get rid of the stupid 1990s pbt interlock machine and use the new technology that is out there, like scram alcohol tethers and do not give the drunk driver the opprotunity to screw with the machine.

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