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The hard truth about a first offense OWI
If you are convicted of a drunk driving charge how serious is it? Its pretty serious. The most common is the OWI first offense. This is by far the most common arrest. First offenders. Not a criminal and someone that went to the bar after work, or went on a date and is driving home and run through a yellow light. A person who is never been in trouble in their life. In fact, they were not even drinking that much. 3 or 4 drinks. The cop smells it alcohol and the next thing you know you are standing on one leg with cars whizzing by and trying to convince the cop to let you go. And just like that you are in handcuffs and on your way to jail. What next? What is going to happen to you? You are in the system. You are going to be treated like a criminal. You are going to be treated like a shoplifter, a domestic violence offender, or someone who committed assault. Except a shoplifter and domestic violence offenders keep their drivers license and don't get their car insurance doubled.
A first offense OWI could get you 93 days in jail. It's not likely;however in some jurisdiction there are judges that give 45 days in jail for a first time offender. There are fines that come to around $2,000 ( the statute says up to $500 but once they add on all the costs its comes to around $2,000) plus probation and drug testing. The government is going to put their hands deep into your pockets for at least a year. The drug testing and the random alcohol testing is a pain in the ass. I think that a first offense OWI carries with it a punishment that is the harshest of all misdemeanors. And if you violate the terms of your probation you will spend time in jail. You will suffer a license suspension. An OWI carries a 30 days no driving and 150 days restricted license. You could also get up to 360 hours community service.
Second Offense OWI in Michigan
Sentencing on an OWI is very harsh. Mandatory jail. Usually a year or more probation. And the Michigan Secretary of State will revoke your license. You could get an interlock device on your car. And it cost lots of money. If there was ever a DUI charge to fight it should be the second offense.
An OWI 3rd is a 1 to 5 year felony with mandatory jail of min of 30 days. Revocation of your license to drive with no appeal for 5 years. If is it as true OWI 3 you will usually get 30 to 45 days, but you can get more. And if it is a 4th or 5th OWI you will likely serve prison time. That is why I always say if you can beat a first offense you should take even them to trial.
I am a firm believer in preparing every case for trial. If the trial attorney walks into court on your case ready for trial they have an upper hand. For on, they really know the facts of the case usually much better than the prosecutor and they know your chances of winning. This can give the trial attorney a stronger positions. And second, being ready for trial sends a message to the prosecutor and they will offer a better deal. Sometimes way better deals. I have seen a lot things where it looked like prison and by being prepared there were negotiations that a defendant only did a couple days in jail.
What your sentence will be is always up to the judge. If have seen prosecutors try to scare people at the pre trial saying things like "this judge will do that or this." It always amazes me that people know how the judge thinks. It is true that some judges seem to rubber stamp every sentencing the same and you can use that as a guide, but the truth is every case is different.
This is a brief video explaining b OWI sentencing. Please forgive the quality of the video and watch the content.