In Michigan there are 4 possible scenarios where someone can be charged with a drinking and driving offense.

1.  Zero Tolerance/Under 21 years of age

If you are under 21 years of age the law in Michigan says that you cannot be operating a motor vehicle with any high blood alcohol content. If you are stopped and submit to a chemical test where the results are .07 or lower  you can be charged with Zero Tolerance. Zero Tolerance is a 4 point Misdemeanor whereby you loose your driving privileges for a period of 90 days with restrictions. Additionally, you will receive a two year $500 driver responsibility fee paid to the State of Michigan Treasury Department. Zero Tolerance is a no jail misdemeanor.

Operating While Visibly Impaired  (OWVI)

In Michigan Impaired Driving is a 4 point 93 day misdemeanor. Typically this will be offered by prosecutor’s if your chemical tests are relatively low starting at .08 which is the legal limit in Michigan. Impaired Diving results in a 90 suspension of your driving privileges with restrictions for the 90 days allowing you to drive to and from employment, education and medical emergencies. The law requires you to carry proof of destination at all times. If you are stopped and cannot provide proof you could receive a misdemeanor ticket for violating your restricted license and a potential probation violation. Impaired also results in a two year $500 driver responsibility fee to the state.

Operating While Intoxicted (OWI)

Under Michigan Law this is a 6 point misdemeanor carrying up to 93 days in jail and a $1000 per year  driver responsibility fee. In addition your driving privileges will be suspended for the first 30 days followed by restrictions up to 6 months. Depending on the county you are charged in and the policy of the prosecutor’s office this will be offered under a few scenarios. Keep in mind that as of 2011 a .17 or higher gets you charged with Michigan’s Super Drunk/High BAC Law.


In Michigan, this charge occurs where your blood alcohol is .17 or higher. This offense carries up to 180 days in jail and one year of mandated counseling by law. You will also be required to pay $1000 driver responsibility fee to the State of Michigan Treasury Dept. Your Michigan Driving privleges will be suspended for a period of 1 year. After a 45 day hard suspension you can drive with restrictions for the remainder of the year as long as you install a ignition interlock device in your motor vehicle. I recommend you use Nationwide Interlock for this service. Prosecutors do have the option if your BAC is .17 or higher to offer you the lessor charge discussed above of Operating While Intoxicated. Again this varies from county to county and it is important that you hire an attorney such as Todd Levitt who is experienced in the county and knows the prosecutor’s policy..


Each of the above offenses carry statutory fines, court cost and possible community service.

After you drive on the restricted license you must be sure to pay the State’s Reinstatement fee to have your full privileges restored. One day past the retsricted date without paying the fee will result in you operating with a suspended license

Central Michigan Lawyer, CMU Student Lawyer Todd Levitt has been representing CMU students and their parents for more than 18 years. Todd Levitt is also one of the leading Driver License Restoration Lawyer’s in Michigan. Todd Levitt is an adjunct professor in the College of Business Administartion and is host of The Todd L. Levitt Law Show each Sunday at 9am-10am on WUPS 98.5


For a free consultation, contact Todd Levitt at 989-772-6000 or email at [email protected]