Michigan Drunk Driving Penalties

If you are convicted of even a first offense drunk driving in Michigan there are many consequences that may be imposed by the Courts, the Secretary of State, and collaterally by a variety of individuals and institutions.

For our clients charged with a first offense OWI, it is often the collateral consequences that cause the most concern.  These are summarized in detail below, but include things such as an impact on your job, your marriage and even the custody to your children.

You may not have thought about many of these possible consequences and your attorney may not have advised you about them or even know about them.  What follows is a partial list which was modified and embellished to fit the Michigan DUI laws and DUI penalties from the original which was written by Georgia DUI Lawyer Mr. William C. Head. 

Mr. Head’s list is entitled “The 89 possible DUI Related Consequences.”

Court-related Consequences

  1. DUI Convictions in Michigan are FOREVER – no expunction law in MI (can’t be removed from record and a conviction will NOT “age” off).  You take it to the GRAVE.
  2. Jail – up to 12 months on misdemeanor offenses; up to 5 years for felony offenses.
  3. Fine – Misdemeanors – up to $ 1,000 + surcharges (+/- $, 1,650) for first or second DUI; up to $ 5,000 + surcharges (+/- $ 7,000) for third or fourth DUI.
  4. Major rental car companies will not rent vehicles to anyone with a DUI conviction (length of time varies from 3 to 6 years).
  5. Ignition Interlock device installation will soon be required on virtually all repeat offenses and (with some judges) even for a “first” time offense under MI law.
  6. DUI is the only motor vehicle offense that shows up on NCIC database (national crime information center, Quantico, VA).  This is kept by the FBI.

Driver’s License Consequences

  1. License suspension or revocation (length varies, depending on prior DUI convictions and dates of those convictions).
  2. Repeat offender revocations may be “lifetime” depending on circumstances.
  3. SR-22 (assigned risk insurance, at higher rates) for 3 years to maintain driving privileges once they are reinstated.
  4. Commercial driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year (first offender).
  5. The Michigan Secretary of State has an on-line chart that set’s forth these consequences for all criminal matters as well as alcohol related crimes.
  6. There are also non-driving loss of license issues.

Insurance Consequences

  1. Increased insurance costs on auto, life and possibly health insurance.
  2. SR-22 (assigned risk) required for 3 years (or only eligible for substandard rate policy).
  3. Life insurance companies will typically deny policy issuance or raise rates (you won’t qualify for best “preferred risk” rates).
  4. Health insurance (individual policy) rates can be increased or policy denied.
  5. If in accident that would be covered by worker’s compensation law, claim could be denied if proof of DUI (an illegal act) causing your injuries is proven such that your benefits can be denied.

Travel and Immigration Consequences

  1. You may also simply lose access to a vehicle based on a conviction.
  2. Total denial of ability to immigrate to some countries (e.g. Canada).
  3. Business or personal trips to some foreign countries, such as Canada, blocked or extremely difficult to obtain.
  4. Denial of naturalization (not allowed to become a U.S. citizen) for 5 years after DUI case is closed out.
  5. Possible deportation for U.S. to country of origin, in not a U.S. citizen.
  6. “Green” card renewal or work visa renewal can be denied or delayed.
  7. If no proper proof of legal residency in U.S.A. can be delayed at customs, or even prohibited altogether.
  8. Travel from U.S.A. and back to the U.S.A. can be delayed at customs, or even prohibited altogether.
  9. Restriction on being able to ship a hunting rifle to some countries for sporting or recreational purposes, if DUI conviction on record.
  10. Second LIFETIME DUI triggers provisions of “The Interstate Compact” – see Interstate Compact, sections 2.105 and the dozen or so subsequent provisions – you may not be allowed to move to new state while on probation.

Employment Consequences

  1. Automotive franchises have a “morals” clause in their agreements with manufacturers, so DUI may cause loss of multi-million dollar contract for dealership.
  2. If licensed as a broker under federal or state securities laws, can lose ability to be a broker (series 7, series 63).
  3. Job applications – must always check the box “yes” when asked about convictions.
  4. Professional license applications – any of the “licensed professions” can withhold or delay licensure or initiate revocation proceedings (e.g., State Bar, Medical Board).
  5. Employee manual from job may require disclosure to Human Resources department.  Then, company official decides on termination.
  6. Loss of company vehicle with associated loss of the financial savings from not having to own and maintain another vehicle.
  7. Loss of company insurance for company-issued vehicle.
  8. Company has contract with Avis or Hertz, but license check on computer shows DUI.  Rental company denies access to vehicles. So cannot perform job duties.
  9. Commercial driver’s license may be lost (which can lead to loss of employment).
  10. Concealed weapons permits may be denied (which can lead to loss of employment).
  11. Some industries/employers will terminate immediately upon conviction, (e.g., any pharmaceutical sales company, State Farm Insurance employee, companies with a preferred “group” rate with major insurance that is conditioned on having NO EMPLOYEES with a DUI conviction).
  12. Security clearance will be denied or revoked at military bases or similar businesses that “contract” with the U.S. Government on high security clearance (e.g., nuclear power plants).
  13. Military superior officers may sanction any service member by denying privileges on the base, and impose other restrictions on duties.
  14. Military career may be over or future advancement denied, based on DUI conviction.
  15. Personnel in military who are about to be deployed to combat duty (Iraq or Afghanistan) can be pulled out of deployment and may be discharged from military service, possible by general discharge or even dishonorable discharge.
  16. Denial of admission to many professional schools, (e.g., law school, medical school, nursing, physical therapy certification).
  17. Pilot’s license can be revoked or withheld for any ALS driver’s license suspension or DUI conviction.  Failure to make timely report to FAA can revoke pilot’s license.
  18. Teacher can lose job, in certain schools and counties, both private and public.
  19. All branches of military will delay your enlistment until all probation is terminated, so delay can affect plans.
  20. Doctors or dentists can be suspended from practice until “rehabilitated” for alcohol dependency or drug dependency.  DEA permit to dispense medications such as anesthesia or hydrocodone can be withdrawn permanently or for period of time, to be later reconsidered.
  21. “Pouring” license to serve alcohol (bartender) can be denied if you have DUI or are on probation for DUI.
  22. Union contracts often call for and require reporting of any DUI convictions.  Failure to report can cause loss of union membership.
  23.  CPAs with larger firms are required to report a DUI conviction under full financial disclosure rules of the federal Sarbarnes-Oxley Act.
  24. Cosmetologist license can be suspended for repeat offenders.
  25. College sports athlete can lose scholarship if repeated alcohol-related offenses.
  26. Pro-athlete with repeated DUI offenses can be banned from League until and unless rehabilitated.

Unrelated Legal Consequences

  1. Child custody (where divorce pending or already in place) where other spouse uses DUI as “leverage” to obtain or change.
  2. Concealed weapons permit may be revoked or denied.  There may also be consequences to your CCW for simply refusing a breath or blood test.
  3. Accident caused by DUI where others are injured or killed, can lead to the person injury claim becoming NON-DISCHARGABLE in federal bankruptcy courts.  This means that your wages can be garnished indefinitely, until full debt is paid in full. See 11 U.S.C.A. § 523 (a) (9).
  4.  No “first offender” status available on DUI – prohibited by statute in Michigan.
  5. No “youthful offender” status available under Michigan DUI laws.
  6. If repeat offender a, new appearance bond may require meeting certain conditions for you pending the disposition of new DUI, such as installing an ignition interlock system on any vehicle that you drive.
  7. If felony DUI conviction, cannot possess any firearms or ammunition. 18 U.S.C.A. § 922.


  1. A college or university may sanction you — separate from ALS and criminal cases — for using alcohol illegally (either DUI or possession of alcohol) any time offense occurs on campus property.  Some colleges go beyond this to include any reported arrest or conviction.  Typical sanction is suspension for a semester or quarter, plus possible alcohol or drug treatment classes.
  2. If recipient of H.O.P.E. scholarship, if for a drug-related crime, results in loss of scholarship, if convicted (DUI or other drug-related criminal offenses) of the drug-related charge (including DUI-drugs).
  3. Some professional schools such as medical and/or law schools, will not admit you with a prior DUI.  If you are currently enrolled in such schools, you may be placed on probation.  A failure to disclose such conviction may result in your expulsion from school.

Inconvenience and Embarrassment

  1. Can’t rent a car for work or travel; and must pay for cabs or other transit options out of pocket.   Expense account will not cover anything but the “contract” rental car vehicle.
  2. Pilot’s license revoked or restricted for a period of time, so hobby is embargoed.
  3. Letter writing campaign directed at you from MADD or other “critics” of DUI offenders.
  4. Internet access to criminal arrests accessible from sever websites, including your courts “docket”.
  5. Court records available online (e.g., Google search) so you can be “Googled”.
  6. Police blotters in weekly neighborhood newspapers can start neighbors gossiping.
  7. Repeat offenders in MI will have photo, name and nature of charges published in official county “legal organ” at your expense.
  8. Having to use a U.S. Passport to cash a check (instead of driver’s license) can create stigma with grocer or other regular service providers.
  9. Can be “turned away” from airport at “port of entry” in foreign country (i.e., Toronto) due to DUI showing on record.
  10. If you apply to your religious organization for a volunteer position (e.g., Sunday school teacher) expect to sign release forms for a background check.  Some churches will reject any person with a DUI.
  11. Traveling through airports, where some form of official (state-issued or federal-issued) identification is needed.  A passport can take two months to obtain, especially if you do not have your driver’s license as part of your proof of identity in seeing the passport.  The immediate confiscation of driver’s license creates a “problem” getting through security, at least in the short term.
  12. If called for jury duty, one common question asked of the panel is about “prior criminal convictions, including DUI”.

 For more information about how the drunk driving penalties in Michigan will personally impact you contact our office at 248 594 4554 because your case matters.

Get a FREE confidential CASE EVALUATION on your Michigan OWI/OWVI/DUI by calling (248) 306-9159 , or filling out this consultation request form. Call now, there’s no obligation!