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Michigan OWVI First Offense Penalties

It is certainly rare to see an individual charged with Operating While Visibly Intoxicated as their initial complaint. This is due to the fact that so many individuals stopped and investigated for drunk driving are well over the .08 blood alcohol level set by the State of Michigan.  OWVI is commonly called “impaired driving” and it is used very often as a plea bargain from an original Michigan OWI charge as there are significant differences between the penalties.

Here is a comparison to show you the major differences:

  • OWVI : Up to 93 days in jail – OWVI carries with it 93 days in jail as well.
  • OWVI: a fine of up to $300, and/or community service up to 360 hours; OWI can carry up to a $500 fine. This is not including any court costs that are significantly higher for an OWI conviction.
  • OWVI: permissive vehicle immobilization up to 180 days. MCL 257.625(11)(a), .904d(1)(a). 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).  OWI: Same penalty for vehicle immobilization but since OWVI is a less severe crime this could be factor in whether or not the court exercises its discretion to immobilize your vehicle.
  • OWVI: Driver’s license restrictions for 90 days (180 days if impaired by a controlled substance)  OWI: We have bolded and underlined this as an OWI conviction will carry with it a mandatory 30 day hard suspension of your license. This key difference alone can certainly make it worth hiring an attorney to handle your DUI case.
  • OWVI: 4 points added to the offender’s driving record.  OWI: Carries 6 points on your license and can make a huge difference depending on your overall driving record.
  • OWVI: Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years.  OWI carries $1000 fee every year for 2 years and this can have a large financial impact on a family.

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