Repeat Offender Laws: OWI 3rd

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MCL 257.625 states that a 3rd OWI is a felony:

(c) If the violation occurs within 10 years of 2 or more prior convictions, the person is guilty of a felony and shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $500.00 or more than $5,000.00 and to either of the following:

(i) Imprisonment under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections for not less than 1 year or more than 5 years.

(ii) Probation with imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days or more than 1 year and community service for not less than 60 days or more than 180 days. Not less than 48 hours of the imprisonment imposed under this subparagraph shall be served consecutively.

(d) A term of imprisonment imposed under subdivision (b) or (c) shall not be suspended.

(e) In the judgment of sentence under subdivision (a), the court may order vehicle immobilization as provided in section 904d. In the judgment of sentence under subdivision (b) or (c), the court shall, unless the vehicle is ordered forfeited under section 625n, order vehicle immobilization as provided in section 904d.

The violations must occur within ten years of at least 2 prior convictions. This includes prior convictions for OWI, OWVI (operating while visibly impaired), a Zero Tolerance conviction, or a prior conviction for violation of the new "any amount of a controlled substance" provision. Only one zero tolerance violation can be used as a prior conviction for purposes of this section, even if the underage driver has several zero tolerance violations.

Out-of-state convictions may be used to calculate the number of prior convictions in certain instances.

The language of the statute indicates that fines shall be paid in the amount of at least $500 and not more than $5,000, plus 1 to 5 years imprisonment in the Department of Corrections or at least 30 days to 1 year in the county jail with 60 to 180 days community service. The statute mandates that a term of imprisonment shall not to be suspended.

Finally, although forfeiture of the vehicle is optional, if the vehicle used in the underlying offense is not forfeited, it is mandatory that the court order the vehicle immobilized upon conviction.