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If you are facing a Michigan DUI Felony charge, then you know the system and know what to expect from the court. However, you may not have been expecting to be charged with a felony as the law has changed to three OWI or any combination within your lifetime. This has caught many of our clients by surprise and caused them a great deal of anxiety, fear and hopelessness. There is hope so do not give up the fight!
We have had clients facing felony drunk driving charges where we have been able to keep a felony off their record and still get them into a sobriety court. Much of this will depend on following the advice of counsel regarding alcohol screening, usually a tether of some kind or frequent testing, and 12 step involvement with a sponsor and treatment.
A Michigan OWI Third Offense Felony carries the following penalties:
- Imprisonment for 1–5 years or probation with jail imprisonment for 30 days–1 year, with not less than 48 hours served consecutively, and community service for 60–180 days;
- a mandatory fine of $500–$5,000;
- permissive vehicle forfeiture; mandatory vehicle immobilization for 1–3 years if no forfeiture. MCL 257.625(9)(c), (e), .904d(1)(d) If a defendant is imprisoned for the violation for which immobilization is ordered, the period of immobilization begins at the end of the period of imprisonment. MCL 257.904d(6).
- Driver’s license revocation and denial if there are 2 convictions within 7 years or 3 convictions within 10 years. The minimum period of revocation and denial is 1 year (minimum of 5 years if there was a prior revocation within 7 years).
- License plate confiscation.
- Vehicle registration denial.
- 6 points added to the offender’s driving record.
- Driver Responsibility Fee of $1,000 for 2 consecutive years.
Many times there will be drunk driving convictions that are very old with long periods of sobriety in between. If there has been a recent relapse it is so important to get sober and maintain your sobriety through the entire case. Many times facing a felony and the possibility of going to prison will trigger even more binge drinking that can land you in jail while your case runs its course. We have heard too many judges say that “he or she will stay sober in jail”. This is certainly not the place to be able to get yourself turned around and back on the sobriety train.