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If you are charged with Operating While Visibly Intoxicated, this could mean that you might have been socially drinking with friends and the alcohol somehow impaired or affected your ability to operate your motor vehicle. You might have not eaten that night or had a shot immediately preceding getting in the car. Either way, if you have had ANY drunk driving conviction within the last 7 years, you could be facing a second offense that could result in severe penalties to your freedom and drivers license.
Even if your prior alcohol conviction is more than 7 years from your current arrest, it could still affect you at sentencing depending on the district court judge that serves your area. Many district courts have several judges and they are assigned by blind draw. You need an experienced attorney that knows the local court system and can honestly tell you what you may be facing if convicted of Operating While Visibly Impaired as a second offense.
If you have a second OWVI violation within 7 years of a preceding conviction:
- Imprisonment for 5 days–1 year, with not less than 48 hours served consecutively – you may be eligible for a sobriety court if your jurisdiction has funding for this alternative. Be sure to speak with your attorney about this option as it can, in some instances, keep you from serving this mandatory jail time provision.
- a fine of $200–$1,000, and/or community service for 30–90 days;
- permissive vehicle forfeiture; mandatory vehicle immobilization for 90–180 days if no forfeiture. MCL 257.625(9)(b), .904d(1)(c). 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 for a minimum of 1 year (minimum of 5 years if there was a prior revocation within 7 years) this provision is similar to what you will face if convicted of OWI as a second offense. This is typically a death penalty for your license and the Secretary of State makes it very difficult to regain your driving privileges.
- License plate confiscation.