OWI: Operating While Intoxicated

Aggressive Criminal Defense Against Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Charges Throughout Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, St. Joseph and Berrien County

The attorneys of Willis Law defend clients throughout western Michigan who have been charged with drunk driving, which is referred to as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Michigan.

Most of our clients are professionals, college students, professionals, tradesman, business owners and others who have been arrested for the first time. Others are facing OWI second offense and felony OWI third offense. We know that a drunk driving arrest can be frightening. You can rely on us to guide you through the process and work diligently to protect your interests, including keeping you out of jail, protecting your criminal record and protecting your driving privileges.

The first step is knowing the potential penalties for the charges you face.

Penalties for a Michigan OWI Conviction

Operating while intoxicated means you were unable to safely operate the vehicle because of the level of drugs or alcohol in your system. It also means driving with a breath or blood alcohol content of .08 or more.

OWI 1st Offense – Operating While Intoxicated I – OWI First Offense

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 2 years probation
  • Fines of $100 to $500
  • 360 hours (45 days) of community service
  • Possible order of ignition interlock device during probation
  • Possible immobilization of your vehicle
  • 6 month driver's license suspension

OWI 2nd Offense – Operating While Intoxicated II – OWI Second Offense

  • Minimum 5 days in jail
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to 2 years probation
  • Fines of $200 to $1,000
  • Not less than 30 days or not more than 90 days of community service
  • Possible order of ignition interlock device during probation
  • Mandatory immobilization of your vehicle
  • Minimum 1 year revocation of driver's license

OWI 3rd Offense– Felony Operating While Intoxicated III – OWI Third Offense

  • From one to five years in prison
  • Probation with jail not less than 30 days nor more than 1 year
  • Fines of $500 to $5,000
  • Sixty to 180 days of community service
  • Possible order of ignition interlock device during probation
  • Mandatory immobilization of vehicle
  • Minimum 5 years revocation of driver's license

Operating With a High Bodily Alcohol Content (High BAC)

In 2010, Michigan's "super drunk" laws go into effect. If your blood alcohol content is .17 or above on a first offense, you will face stiffer penalties, including:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • $200 to $700 in fines
  • One-year driver's license suspension with no exceptions for the first 45 days, restricted driving privileges thereafter with an ignition interlock device
  • Immobilization of vehicle if caught driving without an ignition interlock installed

Our lawyers are experienced in resolving DUI charges, including OWI. To arrange a free initial consultation about your case, please contact us by e-mail or call (888) 461-7744. From offices in Kalamazoo, Paw Paw and Grand Rapids, we represent clients throughout western Michigan. We offer discounts to students, seniors and members of the military.

Some of Our Many Positive Results

Steve G.: Through negotiations, we had the charge reduced to DWI with no probation and no jail. Client completed a highway safety program and a victim impact panel and the charge was reduced again to careless driving, a civil infraction rather than a criminal charge; the OWI charge and the DWI were dismissed.

Michael G. (A Colorado college student): We immediately got the refusal of PBT charge dropped and then the OWI reduced to visibly impaired. We got client a restricted license that allowed him to drive to keep his job. Then, after a 12-month delayed sentence, the visibly impaired was dismissed and client pled to careless driving. No jail time, no probation and no community service, no criminal record.


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  • Willis Law I've worked with several attorneys in the Kalamazoo area, and Michael is, without a doubt, extraordinary.
  • Willis Law A truly excellent experience from start to finish.
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