Drunk driving allegations are serious. A DUI conviction could lead to significant problems including jail, fines, license suspension and problems with one's personal and professional lives. However, a Michigan resident could be facing even tougher penalties if he or she is deemed a habitual alcohol offender.
A habitual offender is one that is convicted of two drunk driving crimes within a seven-year period or convicted of three over the course of 10 years. The applicable offenses include OWI and operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher. Those who are found guilty under Michigan's Zero Tolerance laws are automatically deemed habitual offenders.
State law requires a habitual offender's license to be revoked for at least five years if the prior offense occurred within seven years of another revocation. It is important to note that this is a minimum. In order to obtain a driver's license, an individual must petition the court for a hearing and show that he or she has controlled any substance abuse issues, is at a minimal risk of reoffending, is able to drive in compliance with the law and has abstained from drugs and alcohol for at least six months. This term of abstinence may be increased by the court, depending on the circumstances underlying the revocation.
Being labeled as a habitual offender can cause all sorts of problems. Therefore, those accused of a second or subsequent drunk driving offense should be sure to aggressively defend themselves. By working with an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney, these individuals may be able to reach an outcome that is favorable to their position.
Source: Michigan Secretary of State, "Habitual Alcohol Offender," accessed on April 22, 2016