When it comes to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges, the penalties for first offenses vary from state to state. Each individual state will determine the severity of these crimes as well as the appropriate punishment. In some states, a first offense may only be a civil infraction while other may see a DUI or DWI charge as a serious criminal offense. How the offender’s punishment is enforced also varies from one state to the next, either determined by law or by a judge.
In the state of Michigan, a first DUI or DWI offense carries a penalty of the offender having their license suspended or revoked for a period of six months to one year. Additionally, the offender will be required to take a mandatory alcohol education course in addition to an assessment for and possible treatment of an alcohol dependency problem. If this is the offender’s second DUI or DWI charge, the punishment will also be having their vehicle confiscated as well as having to use an ignition interlock device.
First DUI Offense Penalties for Underage Individuals
Statistics show that although only 10 percent of licensed drivers are under the age of 21, these young drivers also count for almost 17 percent of fatal alcohol-related crashes. The penalties for underage DUI or DWI also vary from one state to the next. Generally, the punishment for these offenses include some type of fine, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, as well as possible license revocation, mandatory alcohol and drug classes, and possible community service.
For the state of Michigan, a first Underage DUI or DWI offense can be charged if the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC, is between .02 and .08 percent. The penalties for this offense consist of a $250 fine and 15 days of mandatory community service. If the offender’s BAC is above .08 percent, he or she will be charged with an OWI, or Operating While Intoxicated. This offense carries a punishment of up to 93 days in prison, license suspension for one to six months, and Michigan DUI fines that can range from $100 to $500.
If the same offender is charged with a second DUI or DWI offense within 7 years of their first charge there are additional, stricter penalties. A second DUI or DWI charge will carry a punishment of 60 days of community service and a fine of up to $500. If the offense is an Operating While Intoxicated charge, where the offender has a BAC of above .08 percent, the individual will face penalties of five days to one year in jail, a one year license suspension, and fines between $200 and $1,000.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.