Felony Drunk Driving

As a highly skilled Lansing DUI defense lawyer, Nicholas Leydorf knows the serious consequences of a third DUI conviction. In Ingham County and throughout Michigan, a 3rd drunk driving offense is a felony. Essentially, this means harsher penalties if convicted, including the potential for a prison sentence. Anyone who has been arrested for a third drunk driving or OWI offense should consult with a capable and aggressive defense attorney immediately in order to avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction where possible.

First and second DUI offenses are typically charged as misdemeanors; because a third offense is considered a felony, the biggest difference is the incarceration period and location. For a misdemeanor first offense drunk driving conviction, jail is not likely and is typically not imposed unless there are aggravating circumstances. A second OWI conviction requires a minimum of 5 days in jail with a maximum of one year in jail. On the other hand, felony conviction could result in more than one year in prison. To put it simply, there is no more serious DUI offense than a 3rd or felony drunk driving arrest, regardless of whether you have been arrested three, five, or eight times. It is important to note that regardless of how long it has been since your first or second offense, a third DUI offense (technically referred to as OWI, or operating while intoxicated) in Michigan is charged as a felony.

Lansing Criminal Penalties for 3rd DUI or OWI Offense

All drunk driving charges result in potential jail/prison time, fines, and driver's license suspension for those convicted. Depending on the circumstances of the case, community service, vehicle immobilization, and successful completion of alcohol/substance abuse programs may also be required.

If convicted on a third drunk driving offense in Ingham County and throughout the state, the possible consequences include:

  • One to five years in prison, or
  • Up to one year in jail with probation
  • Fines of between $500 and $5,000
  • Driver's license revocation for a minimum of five years
  • 60 to 180 days community service
  • Vehicle immobilization for one to three years

At the end of the five-year driver's license revocation period, your license will not automatically be restored. In fact, you must request a hearing with the DAAD (Driver Assessment and Appeal Division) with the Secretary of State. If you do not win this hearing, you may be without a license for the rest of your life! Furthermore, if you are convicted of a felony, you will lose other privileges that we take for granted. For instance, felons cannot legally possess firearms, and are not able to serve on juries. A felony traffic offense will remain on an individual’s criminal record for the rest of their lives, and according to current Michigan law, may never be expunged.

Felony DUI is a Very Serious Matter

Not only are the criminal penalties extremely harsh, a 3rd DUI conviction could result in serious or even permanent damage to your career and reputation. Ingham County DUI defense attorney Nicholas Leydorf knows how to investigate drunk driving cases to determine if mistakes were made by police, evidence illegally collected, or defendants' rights violated. Finding the right lawyer who knows what to look for is vital to ensure that your rights are protected. Hiring a general practice lawyer who occasionally handles a drunk driving case is not who you need on your side. Until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you are innocent. It is critical that you choose a lawyer who will challenge the evidence and results of breath/blood tests, testing machine reliability, and more to protect your freedom and future. Contact The Leydorf Law Firm today at (517) 388-6800.