Can I go to Jail for My First DUI in Michigan?

Oftentimes, those charged with drunk driving face penalties that are more than just fines and court costs. They’re serious criminal charges that should be taken seriously. As with any criminal charge, you are innocent until proven guilty, however once guilt is established, your penalty is contingent upon the exact charge and any aggravating circumstances.

Will You Have Jail Time?

In the state of Michigan, first-offense DUI or OWI is considered a misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to 93 days in jail. This could be more if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over 0.16% (two-times the legal limit of .08%). Technically, Michigan does not require jail sentences for the first offense, but there are judges who do issue jail time to all first offenders regardless. 

Any subsequent offenses will, almost always, result in jail sentences of several months up to years depending on the circumstances and judge you have.

Felony DUI or OWI

When you have a DUI or OWI that Michigan classifies as a felony—either because someone was killed or injured, or because it’s more than your 2nd DUI—a jail sentence of at least one year is common. 


Alongside the potential of jail sentences, courts can impose high fines for a DUI or OWI. These fines range from $500 to as high as $2,000. Typically, your combined fine and court costs are over $1,000 in Michigan.

Driver’s License Revocation

DUI or OWI offenders in Michigan will almost always have their license suspended for a significant period of time. Even for a first-time offender, your license will be suspended for at least 90 days, but possibly twice as long. Second-time offenders receive a 1 year suspension, and a third-time offender is up to 5 years. Restricted licenses and interlock devices are also possible, depending upon your circumstances. 

 Alternative Punishment

The Michigan courts may also require you to take alcohol classes, prevention programs, assessments for drug and alcohol abuse, undergo treatment, and community service/victim restitution. These could be alongside jail time and fines, or possibly in lieu of them. 

Minor Drunk Drivers

Minors arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are typically punished quite harshly. If you’re under 21, you’ve broken multiple laws and anything over .02% BAC is considered a DUI. Underage DUI offenders also get their licenses suspended.

Other Consequences for Drunk Driving

Aside from legal punishment, your insurance rates may go, or they may cancel your policy altogether. These charges stay on your record for many years, and a suspended license pretty much guarantees cancellation. Additionally, certain jobs may fire you or refuse your hiring due to a DUI conviction. These jobs include driving a delivery truck, driving a school bus or any other vehicle as a required part or employment. You may also face a civil lawsuit from any victims of injury or property damage due to your DUI or OWI. 

If you’re facing DUI or OWI charges in Howell, contact McCririe Law today to have all your questions answered.