One of Michigan's Leading Lawyers for DUI Defense Reach Out Today
Woman using breath alcohol analyzer in the car

Will I Lose My License After Being Charged With a DUI?

Daniel J. Larin, P.C. Aug. 29, 2023

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drinking and driving claims the lives of 28 people a day in the United States, or one every 52 minutes. Annually, around 10,000 nationwide fatalities occur. In Michigan alone, there were 974 highway fatalities in 2022, of which 33 percent were the result of impaired driving.

Like all states, Michigan enforces laws against driving while impaired. So, can you lose your license if you are charged with impaired driving? The answer is yes. Can you petition to restore some driving privileges for work and other necessary transits? The answer is also yes—but it will depend on whether it’s a first offense or a subsequent offense, and on other factors. 

If you’ve been charged with the Michigan equivalent of a DUI which is called an OWI—operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs—and you worry about losing your driving privileges, contact Daniel J. Larin, P.C. With more than 25 years of experience in handling OWI and driving restoration cases, our attorney will fight for your rights and strive to get the results you need. 

From our office in Birmingham, Michigan, we serve clients throughout Bloomfield, Rochester Hills, and Oakland County, as well as the surrounding areas of Wayne County and Macomb County.  

DUI License Penalties in Michigan

Most people equate an arrest for drinking and driving with the acronym DUI, but in Michigan, there are actually two related laws. One, as mentioned above, is an OWI: operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The other is OWVI: operating a vehicle while visibly impaired.  

An OWVI does not require any proof of alcohol or drug consumption, just the observation by the police officer that the driver was operating the vehicle in a visibly impaired manner. 

The penalties for either offense fall into these ranges: 

  • FIRST OFFENSE: Jail time of up to 93 days, or 180 days if the BAC was 0.17 percent or higher. A fine of $100 to $500 for an OWI, $100 to $300 for an OWVI, and $200 to $700 for a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher. Community service of up to 360 hours. 

  • SECOND OFFENSE: Jail time of five days to one year. A fine of $200 to $1,000. Community service of 30 to 90 days.  

  • THIRD OFFENSE: Jail time of one to five years, or 30 days if one year of community service is ordered. A fine of $500 to $5,000. Community service of 60 to 180 days. 

It’s incredibly important to contact a local DUI/OWI attorney to help you with your case, as no two situations are exactly the same. 

DUI License Suspensions

Both an OWI and OWVI conviction can result in the suspension of your driver’s license:  

  • OWI DRIVING SUSPENSIONS: First-time offense can result in a 180-day loss of driving privileges, one year for a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher. 

  • OWVI DRIVING SUSPENSIONS: First-time offense can result in a 90-day suspension. 

For OWI driving suspensions, it is possible to obtain a restricted license after 30 days, 45 days for a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher, and 90 days if there was a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 16. However, keep in mind that the restricted license will require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), which requires the vehicle operator to breathe into the device to determine their BAC before starting the vehicle and then also while operating the vehicle. 

A first-time OWVI conviction can result in a 90-day suspension, but a restricted license could be immediately available. The suspension can increase to 180 days if a controlled substance is involved. 

Getting Your License Reinstated

The steps to getting your driving privileges restored can be challenging and complex. 

After filing a Hearing Request Application with the Michigan Secretary of State, you will have to obtain Community Support Letters (the official term) from three to six of your family members, friends, or co-workers. You will also need to get a professional evaluator to conduct a Substance Use Evaluation, and you will need to obtain a lab report from a 12-panel urinalysis drug screening. There is also a filing fee to be paid. 

In short, getting your license restored in Michigan is not a DIY project. You will need the guidance and aid of an experienced OWI/driver’s license restoration attorney to complete all the steps and get back on the road. 

Discuss Your Case With an Attorney

When facing OWI or OWVI charges, seek out an attorney’s advice as soon as you can. Your attorney can help you exercise your full rights under the law, navigate the driving privilege restoration system, and accelerate the process. 

If you’re in or around Birmingham, Michigan—or anywhere in the counties of Oakland, Macomb, or Wayne—set up a consultation with Daniel J. Larin, P.C. Our lawyer is here to help.