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Understanding felony OWI in Michigan

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2023 | OWI/DUI

Driving under the influence is a serious offense and has severe implications in every state, including Michigan. In Michigan, Operating While Intoxicated charges fall under either misdemeanor or felony categories. The categorization depends on several factors, including the number of past convictions and the severity of the situation.

When someone discusses a felony OWI, they refer to a more serious form of the charge, carrying more severe penalties than a misdemeanor OWI.

A felony OWI differs from a misdemeanor OWI

In Michigan, a first or second OWI offense within a seven-year period is typically a misdemeanor. However, if a driver commits a third OWI offense within their lifetime, it is a felony. If any OWI offense causes serious injury or death, it also counts as a felony OWI.

Penalties for a felony OWI

The penalties for a felony OWI in Michigan are severe. Convicted individuals can expect imprisonment for one to five years or probation with a jail term of 30 days to one year. Additionally, they may face fines between $500 and $5,000, community service for 60 to 180 days and vehicle immobilization for one to three years. In some cases, the state may even seize and sell the defendant’s vehicle.

Impact of a felony OWI on driving privileges

A felony OWI conviction also significantly impacts driving privileges. Offenders face a minimum one-year driver’s license revocation and confiscation of their license plate. Following the revocation period, offenders must apply for a new license and might need to install an ignition interlock device.

Felony OWI and criminal records

A felony OWI conviction leaves a permanent mark on a person’s criminal record, affecting their employment prospects and quality of life. Employers, landlords and financial institutions often conduct background checks, and a felony conviction can result in adverse decisions.

Understanding the gravity of a felony OWI in Michigan and its potential impact on one’s life can help underscore the importance of not driving when intoxicated.