Michigan Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Michigan?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Beginning October 1, 2018, a person will be guilty of driving under the influence if there blood alcohol content is .10 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater. Under Michigan law, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Michigan

  • First-time offenders are subject to one or more of the following punishments: a term of imprisonment of up to 93 days; a fine of $100 to $500; and community service of up to 360 hours. The driver’s license suspension period is 180 days.
  • Those who commit a second offense within seven years of the first offense must pay a fine of $200 to $1,000. They also face up to one year in prison, community service of 30 to 90 days, or both. The offender’s driver’s license will be revoked. Depending on the circumstances of the violation, a new license may or may not be issued for one or five years.
  • Those who commit a third or subsequent offense within 10 years of two or more prior convictions must pay a fine of $500 to $5,000. These offenders are also subject to either (a) one to five years in prison; or (b) probation with imprisonment in a county jail for 30 days to one year and community service of 60 to 180 days. The offender’s driver’s license will be revoked. Depending on the circumstances of the violation, a new license may or may not be issued for one or five years.

Additional Penalties for Drunk Driving that Causes Death or a Serious Impairment of a Body Function of Another

  • A person who drives while intoxicated and causes the death of another person is subject to a prison term of up to 15 years, a fine of $2,500 to $10,000, or both.
  • A person who drives while intoxicated and causes serious impairment of a body function of another person is subject to a prison term of up to five years, a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, or both.

Additional Penalties for Drunk Driving While a Passenger Under 16 is in the Vehicle

A person who commits a DUI while a passenger under 16 is in the vehicle must pay a fine of $200 to $1,000. These offenders are also subject to a term of imprisonment of up to one year, 30 to 90 days of community service, or both. A person who commits a second DUI while a passenger under 16 is in the vehicle within seven years of a first conviction or within 10 years of two or more prior convictions for the same offense must pay a fine of $500 to $5,000. These offenders are also subject to (a) a term of imprisonment of one to five years; or (b) probation with imprisonment in a county jail for 30 days to one year and 60 to 180 days of community service.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Michigan’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted of DUI while operating any vehicle for the first time will have his or her commercial driver’s license suspended for one year. If, however, the offender was driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the suspension period is three years. If a commercial driver commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle, the offender’s commercial driver’s license will be suspended for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

  • First-time offenders are subject to up to 360 hours of community service, a fine of up to $250, or both.
  • Those who commit a second or subsequent offense are subject to one or more of the following punishments: up to 93 days in prison; a fine of up to $500; and 60 days of community service.
  • A driver under 21 who commits a DUI while a passenger under 16 is in the vehicle is subject to one or more of the following punishments: up to 93 days in prison; a fine of up to $500; and 60 days of community service A driver under 21 who commits a second or subsequent DUI while a passenger under 16 is in the vehicle must pay a fine of $200 to $1,000. These offenders are also subject to a term of imprisonment of up to one year, community service of 30 to 90 days, or both.

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What is Michigan’s Dram Shop Law?

Under Michigan law, a licensed drinking establishment is prohibited from serving alcohol to minors and visibly intoxicated persons. If an unlawful sale causes a minor or a visibly intoxicated person to injure another, the injured person may file an action for damages against the drinking establishment. This law requires that suit must be filed within two years of the injury. Additionally, written notice to all defendants must be given within 120 days after the plaintiff enters into an attorney-client relationship for the purpose of pursuing a claim under this law. If proper notice is not given, the claim may be dismissed. This law also requires that the minor or visibly intoxicated person be a named defendant in the action and be retained as a defendant in the action until it is concluded by trial or settlement. Under this law, a visibly intoxicated person has no right of action against a drinking establishment for injuries he or she suffers as a result of intoxication.

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What is Michigan’s Liquor Liability Insurance Statute?

Under this statute, licensed drinking establishments are required to carry at least $50,000 of liquor liability insurance to provide security for liability under Michigan’s Dram Shop Law.

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Criminal Penalties for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor

In Michigan, it is a crime for an adult to furnish alcohol to a person under 21. A person who violates this law for the first time is subject to serve up to 60 days in prison and pay a fine up to $1,000. A person who commits a second or subsequent violation is subject to 90 days in prison and a fine up to $2,500. The offender may also be ordered to perform community service. If, however, the minor dies or suffers injury because of intoxication, the adult who furnished the alcohol faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

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Criminal Penalties for Selling Alcohol to a Minor

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Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

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