Michigan drunk driving laws outline three distinct offenses: OUIL or operating under the influence of liquor, UBAL/UBAC operating a motorized vehicle with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration level or OWI or operating while impaired.
OWI is the easiest to prove and simply requires the state to prove that the driver was visibly impaired or their ability to operate a motorized vehicle safely was weakened due to alcohol.
Drivers convicted of drunk driving in Michigan can face a penalty of $500, additional court costs, up to 93 days in jail and 360 days of community service. Penalties for a second drunk driving conviction can include up to one year in jail and fines up to $1,000.
In addition to these fines and penalties drivers may also face additional long-term ramifications of having a DUI or OWI on their driving record which should be considered prior to pleading guilty to OWI. Following an OWI conviction in Michigan many drivers have sought to expunge their OWI convictions only to find this is not possible in every state.
What is an expungement?
Expungement is the process of removing or clearing an OWI offense from a driver’s driving record. If an expungement is allowed, it will remove the criminal offense from the court records, police records and from any other agency records. The bad news is that many states do not allow any type of drunk driving conviction to be expunged from a driver’s record.
Can I expunge a Michigan OWI conviction?
Many websites suggest that an OWI conviction can be expunged in the state of Michigan, but this is not true. Some states do allow expungements, but Michigan does not. According to the state of Michigan, the law specifically precludes a person from attempting to expunge the conviction or to allow a judge to set aside the OWI a conviction.
Talk to your OWI lawyer if you are found not guilty of drunk driving. Information may still appear on your criminal record and may need to be reviewed. For instance, if you are arrested but the case is dismissed or if you are arrested and charged but found not guilty you may be allowed to expunge information related to these actions.
What to consider prior to pleading guilty to a Michigan OWI
Many Michigan drivers plead guilty to OWI without realizing that the guilty plea and conviction may eliminate job opportunities, the ability to acquire medical licenses or other educational pursuits.
Talking to a DUI lawyer allows you to fight your OWI charges. DUI lawyers can review the administration of the field sobriety test, video tapes from the DUI arrest, how the evidence was collected and whether the police had probable cause to make the OWI arrest.
A DUI lawyer can also review your options of pleading down to a less charge. After reviewing your DUI arrest the lawyer can advise you of all of your options after a Michigan OWI arrest.
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