There are several social and economic repercussions that arise as a result of an operating while intoxicated (OWI) conviction in Michigan. The exact penalties are determined by the exact charge as well as the particular facts of your case and the sentencing judge. Read on to learn more about how an OWI conviction may impact your life.
1. Criminal Conviction
An OWI or High BAC conviction results in serious consequences in Washtenaw County. The law says that a first time offender can be sentenced to up to 93 or 180 days in jail, pay anywhere between $100-$700 in court fines, and have his or her driver’s license suspended with absolutely no driving for 30 to 45 days, followed by additional license restrictions spanning a period of 60 to 150 days.
2. Driver’s License Restrictions
In addition to the criminal repercussions an OWI conviction in Michigan carries, you will also incur civil administrative penalties and fines with Michigan’sSecretary of State Driver Traffic Safety Division (TSD). In order to have your driver’s license privilege reinstated after an OWI conviction, you may have to attend a hearing with TSD. It is best to have an experienced OWI/OWPD attorney throughout the TSD administrative hearing process.
3. Sobriety Court
As of January 1, 2011, drunk driving offenders with a second conviction (or first offender individuals who have serious substance abuse or dependence issues) in Michigan may be eligible to enroll in a local Sobriety Court in order to undergo an alternative sentencing option for their OWI conviction. Typically, individuals who pled guilty to the drunk driving charges asserted against them can petition to attend Sobriety Courts, in lieu of serving jail time.
The duration of sobriety court will depend upon the participant’s Needs Survey result and physical/social assessment. He or she must pass all sobriety court phases prior to graduating from the program. Each phase consists of 90 days of programming and the participant must successfully complete 90 straight days of programming in order to move onto the next phase. Successful participants are not required to pay driver responsibility fees until graduating from the program. Failure to abide by sobriety court rules may result in immediate jail time and expulsion from the program.
4. Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
Depending upon the exact OWI conviction, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device into your vehicle. Ignition interlock devices are alcohol breath testing devices that are commonly installed in vehicles to prevent drunk driving. The driver must blow into the device and pass the breath test before starting his or her vehicle.
5. Automobile Insurance Increase
Your automobile insurance premium will also increase for an OWI conviction. Typically, your insurance company will deem you a risky driver once they find out about your OWI conviction. Depending on the circumstances of the conviction, your premium may increase by a few hundred dollars a month or double.
6. Credit Score Decrease
An OWI conviction may negatively impact your credit score. For instance, if you fail to pay your court fines and penalties that arise from your OWI conviction, the court may send your case to a collection agency. The collection agency will report any delinquent debts to major credit reporting agencies. Even if a collection agency is not involved, credit reporting agencies may learn of your failure to pay fines and costs from the public record.
If you have been arrested for an OWI/OWPD in Ann Arbor, contact Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Stacey Washington to help you navigate through this difficult situation in your life. Stacey Washington has helped numerous clients mitigate any long-term consequences of OWIs/OWPDs.