Michigan Drunk Driving Offenses

If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense in Michigan, I will work with you to inform you of the particular penalties in your case and a proper course of action.

What Is Drunk Driving Called In Michigan?

In Michigan there are a great number of specific offenses that can be charged when a person is arrested for drunk driving. In some states, other abbreviations are used, like DWI, DUIL, DUI and more. Michigan has two (2) names it uses, however, the abbreviations look the same: Operating While Intoxicated and Operating While Impaired. [Abbreviated OWI (Intoxicated) and OWI (Impaired).]

In general, all drinking and driving offenses are referred to as OWI offenses. These two (2) offenses that are most common in Michigan, as well as the related second and third offenses for each are:

  • Operating while intoxicated — either by Liquor or Drugs, First Offense = Misdemeanor, 6 pts
    • Commonly abbreviated OWI (Intoxicated) or OWI (Drugs);
  • OWI (intoxicated) — can be shown by having either an Unlawful Blood Alcohol or Breath Alcohol Level — or having mind-altering drugs in your system, First — Misdemeanor, 6 pts
    • Previously UBAL, UBAC or Per Se, but now combined into one offense, OWI, as noted above; and
  • Operating while impaired, First Offense = Misdemeanor, 4 pts
    • Commonly abbreviated OWI (Impaired).

This is only a partial list. For a detailed listing of the penalties associated with these offenses, please refer to penalties for drunk driving. While the offenses above are the most common ones, there are numerous other offenses that can be charged. Some of these are listed below:

Marine Safety — Operating Under The InfluenceMisdemeanor0 pts, possible license suspension
Person Under 21 Transport/Possess AlcoholMisdemeanor2 pts, license sanctions beginning w/second offense
Snowmobile —- Operating Under InfluenceMisdemeanor6 pts, license sanctions
Operate CMV w/BAC .04 to .07Misdemeanor0 pts and license restrictions to both operator's license and CDL
Open Intoxicants in VehicleMisdemeanor2 pts, license sanctions for second offense or more
Open Intoxicants in Vehicle - PassengerSame as above
Zero Tolerance (person Under 21 with any BAC)Misdemeanor4 pts, first offense 30-day restricted, second offense, 90-day susp., can enhance OWI (either Intoxicated or Impaired)

The penalties and procedures you face, the range and limitations on any plea offer, and the impact on your license can vary depending on the facts in your case.