Michigan DUI Laws & Penalties

Per Michigan's DUI laws no person shall operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while their ability operate a motor vehicle has been impaired do to the consumption of alcohol, drugs or any intoxicant.

A person is in violation of Michigan's "per se" law if they are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence and they have a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater.  Even though the legal limit is .08% it is not safe to assume that just because you had a couple of drinks that you are safe to drive.

If an officer stops you on suspicion of DUI or driving under the influence and you have a blood alcohol level of .05% you could still be arrested for DUI based on a number of factors including: the officer's observation of your driving behavior prior to stopping you, the officer's observations of your mannerisms during the stop or failing any part of the field sobriety tests (if you took them).



If you submitted to a chemical test and register a BAC of .08% or greater and are arrested for DUI in Michigan, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver's license and issue you a 625g paper permit.  This permit will function as your driver's license allowing you to drive until your case is resolved in court.

If you refuse the chemical test, the arresting officer must inform you of the consequences for refusal and then ask you again if you will submit to a chemical test.  If you still refuse, your license will be confiscated and destroyed and the officer will issue you a temporary permit that states that you refused a chemical test.  This temporary permit will allow you to drive for 14 days.

Within that 14 day window from the date of your arrest you must file a request for a hearing with the Driver License Appeal Division or DLAD if you wish to maintain your driving privilege. If you are a first time offender who refused a chemical test and you fail to request a hearing within 14 days from the date of your arrest, your license will be suspended for 1-year.

Michigan DLAD Hearing Process

You may file for an appeal hearing yourself and represent yourself at the hearing, but it is strongly recommend that you hire a Michigan OWI lawyer who knows the DLAD process and has experience when it comes to representing clients at these hearings.

You can file for an appeal hearing in one of two ways, the first would be to mail the appeal form to the following address by certified mail:

  • Driver License Appeal Division
    Michigan Department of State
    P.O. Box 30196
    Lansing, Michigan 48909-7696

Or you can fax the form to (517) 335-4706 or (517) 241-1376

Once you have filed your request for a hearing, DLAD will notify you by mail with your hearing date and time.

The Hearing

The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer of the DLAD and the purpose of the hearing will be to determine the following items:

  • Did the arresting officer have probable cause to believe that you were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant.
  • Were you placed under arrest for OWI or any other driving under the influence charge.
  • Did the officer read you your Miranda Rights.
  • Did you refuse the chemical test that the officer requested.

These will be the only items discussed at this hearing.  The hearing officer will review the evidence presented by the arresting officer and hear testimony from the officer regarding the arrest.  The hearing officer will then review the evidence presented by you and your lawyer and hear testimony from you and/or your lawyer in your defense.  If there were any witnesses at the scene that your lawyer wants to testify on your behalf, those people will be subpoenaed to appear at the hearing.

If you win your DLAD hearing, your license will be reinstated immediately and you will not have any points assessed to your driving record.  If you do not win your hearing, your license will be suspended.  In this scenario in order for you to have a chance at get a restricted license, your lawyer will need to file an appeal with the Circuit Court of Appeals.

If you go this route and the judge who hears your case does not reverse the arresting officer's suspension of your license, the judge may grant you a restricted license.  The only way to obtain a restricted license in Michigan is through the Circuit Court of Appeals.  If you are granted a restricted license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Michigan SR22 insurance policy before you will be issued a restricted license.

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Michigan Restricted License Limitations

A restricted license may only be used to drive to and from the following places:

  • To and from work.
  • To and from a court ordered alcohol or drug education or treatment program.
  • To and from court ordered probation department.
  • To and from any court ordered community service.
  • If you are a student, to and from school.
  • To and from medical emergencies.

If you are stopped by an officer for any reason and you are driving and not engaged in one of the above activities, you will forfeit your restricted license and not be allowed to drive until your suspension period is over.

Michigan First Offense DUI

A first offense is a misdemeanor offense and is considered a first offense charge as long as there has been no previous offense within the past 7-years.  The penalties for a first offense DUI charge if convicted are as follows:

  • Jail time: A first offense jail sentence will be up to 93 days. The length of the actual sentence has a lot to do with the Judge that is hearing your case.
  • Fines: A first offense will result in a fine of up to $500, but that fine may go as high as $700 depending on your BAC level.
  • Community service: The court may grant you community service in lieu of all or some of the jail sentence you receive.
  • Test refusal: A first offense refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation.
  • Alcohol education: You must attend and complete an alcohol safety class before being issued a restricted license or full reinstatement.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required for BAC offense above .17% after 45 days of license suspension in order to receive a restricted license.
  • License suspension: If your BAC was below .17% the suspension period will be no more than 180 days. If your BAC was above .17% the suspension period can be as high as 1 year. You will also be required to provide proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Michigan SR22 insurance policy before you will be issued a restricted license or before your license is fully reinstated at the end of your suspension period.

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Michigan Second Offense DUI

A DUI is considered a second offense if it occurs within 7-years of a previous conviction and is a misdemeanor offense.  The penalties for a second offense DUI charge if convicted are as follows:

  • Jail time: A second offense jail sentence carries a minimum of 5 days in jail up to a maximum of 1 year.
  • Fines: A second offense will result in a fine of up to $500, but that fine may go as high as $700 depending on your BAC level.
  • Probation: While on probation you cannot move out of state.
  • Community service: The court will require you to serve 30 - 90 days of community service.
  • Test refusal: A second offense refusal will result in a 2 year license revocation.
  • Alcohol education: You must attend and complete an alcohol safety class before being issued a restricted license or full reinstatement.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required for second time offenders for a period of 1 year once your license is reinstated.
  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for at least 1 year without the chance of restricted driving during revocation period. At the end of the 1 year period you must request a hearing with the Secretary of States Office to see if they will reinstate your license. There is no guarantee that they will. You will also be required to provide proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Michigan SR22 insurance policy before your license is fully reinstated at the end of your revocation period.

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Michigan Third Offense DUI

A DUI is considered a third offense if it occurs within a person's lifetime and is a felony offense.  The penalties for a third offense DUI charge if convicted are as follows:

  • Jail time: A third offense jail sentence will be 1 year to 5 years.
  • Fines: A third offense will result in a fine of up to $500 and $5,000.
  • Probation: The probation period will be between 1 month and 1 year. While on probation you cannot move out of state.
  • Community service: The court will require you to serve 60 - 180 days of community service.
  • Test refusal: A third offense refusal will result in a 5 year license revocation.
  • Alcohol education: You must attend and complete an alcohol safety class before being issued a restricted license or full reinstatement.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required for BAC offense above .17% after 45 days of license suspension in order to receive a restricted license.
  • License suspension: Your license will be revoked for at least 5 years without the chance of restricted driving during revocation period. At the end of the 5 year period you must request a hearing with the Secretary of States Office to see if they will reinstate your license. There is no guarantee that they will. You will also be required to provide proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Michigan SR22 insurance policy before you will be issued a restricted license or before your license is fully reinstated at the end of your suspension period.

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Michigan DUI Under 21 Years of Age

Anyone under the age of 21 in Michigan shall not operate a motor vehicle, whether they have a license or not, with a blood alcohol level of .02% or greater.  A first time offender under the age of 21 will have their license restricted for 30 days, you will have to pay a $250 fine and/or provide up to 360 hours of community service.  You will also have to pay an additional $500 driver responsibility fee for 2-years consecutively.

For a second offense under the age of 21 you may face up to 93 days in jail, your license will be suspended for 90 days (your license will be suspended for 1-year if you have a prior drunk driving conviction above the legal limit) following any jail time, you will have to pay up to $500 in fines and/or provide up to 60 days of community service.  You will also have to pay an additional $500 driver responsibility fee for 2-years consecutively.

Both a first and second offense under the age of 21 are misdemeanor charges.  You will also be required to provide proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Michigan SR22 insurance policy.  

Michigan SR22 Requirements

Before the Michigan Secretary of State will reinstate your license following your suspension or revocation period or before issuing you a restricted license, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your Michigan SR22 coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Michigan Secretary of State of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Michigan Secretary of State will immediately suspend or revoke your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the Secretary of State before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Michigan and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't be able to find an SR22 insurance policy in Michigan for any less. Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.

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Other Michigan DUI Resources

  • Michigan First Offense DUI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • Michigan SR22 Insurance Filing - We have compiled everything you need to know about Michigan's SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Michigan Alcohol Highway Safety Classes - We offer a complete listing of state approved DUI alcohol safety programs listed by County.

  • Michigan Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of Michigan bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.