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DUI: an arrest alone can be expensive, not to mention a conviction. But what is the cost of a DUI (driving under the influence) arrest and conviction in Michigan? While there are numerous variables to consider, I will attempt to answer this question based on current laws and my own experience as a DUI lawyer.

Often referred to as DUI in other states, in Michigan OWI (operating while intoxicated) is the crime of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. These offenses garner a lot of attention from the media, lawmakers, and law enforcement, who crack down forcefully upon alleged drunk drivers. Fines, fees, imprisonment, and other penalties are meant to discourage drivers from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, particularly repeat offenders.

Let’s take a closer look at the fines and other financial repercussions of a DUI arrest in Michigan.

Michigan OWI/DUI Fines

The penalties for a Michigan DUI will vary depending on whether this is the driver’s first or subsequent offense, their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time, and other factors.

Here are the average fines for each offense:

  • First DUI offense: $100 to $500 fine
  • First DUI with BAC of .17% or higher: $200 to $700 fine
  • Second DUI within 7 years: $200 to $1000 fine
  • Third DUI within lifetime (felony): $500 to $5,000 fine
  • DUI causing injury: $1,000 to $5,000 fine
  • DUI causing death: $2,500 to $10,000 fine

Other Fines, Fees & Expenses

If you’re arrested for DUI in Michigan, you’ll face other expenses as well. You may face the cost of hiring an attorney, towing or impound costs, DUI education programs, probation fees, drug and alcohol treatment or counseling, and lost income from missed work. You may have to pay to get an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and you will have to pay a $125 license reinstatement fee if your driver’s license was restricted, suspended, or revoked.

Increased Insurance Costs

Another way drivers pay for DUIs is through increased insurance costs. If you have a DUI on your record, you may see your insurance premiums increase by two, three, or even four times what they once were.

Other Hidden DUI Costs

Unfortunately, we’re not done. If you drive for a living, losing your license due to a DUI arrest or conviction can be devastating. In addition to losing income from any work you miss while attending court dates or counseling, you will probably have to find a new job altogether. What’s more, a DUI conviction will remain on your record, where it will continue to affect employment opportunities.

Even if you don’t drive a commercial vehicle or work part-time as an Uber or Lyft driver, a DUI arrest or conviction will leave you without transportation. You’ll have to rely on friends and family or pay for other forms of transportation just to get to work every day, run errands, or go to school. This can add up quickly.

What You Can Do About It

We now know that the true cost of a Michigan DUI will extend further than the expense of hiring an attorney, paying fines, paying for license reinstatement, and a host of other expenses. It will also include the inconvenience of losing one’s license. It will come with the social and familial repercussions of being labeled a “drunk driver.” It will even influence job opportunities.

One of the most important things you can do in the face of a DUI arrest is to involve an attorney. You have the right to legal counsel, and forgoing this right will only have a negative impact on your case. You have no chance of avoiding a conviction if you don’t fight your charges. You are far more likely to face maximum penalties if you have no one protecting your interests. As a Farmington Hills DUI lawyer who has represented countless drivers over the past 19 years, I know what it takes to help my clients avoid the true cost of a Michigan DUI. I am here to fight for the fair outcome that you deserve.

To find out how I can help you, call (248) 599-0054 or contact my firm online. I'm here for you.