Can I Get a Drunk Driving Charge Reduced to Reckless Driving in Michigan?

Many Michigan Jurisdictions Will Reduce an OWI to Reckless ... Sometimes

It may be possible in some jurisdictions to get a drunk driving charge reduced to reckless driving. You can read a number of case victories where I have obtained a reckless driving resolution to a drunk driving charge, and there are many, many more that I have not reported on my site. While many people hope to obtain a reduction to reckless driving instead of a drunk driving conviction, reckless driving carries a 90 day "hard" suspension, and the conviction is usually treated as a drunk driving conviction by the probation department. During the 90 day hard suspension, the convicted motorist may not drive for 90 days at all under any circumstance, and getting caught driving during this period of time will result in additional sanctions as well as a new criminal charged of "Driving While License Suspended / Denied / Revoked" (DWLS). 

A Michigan Reckless Driving Conviction is Not Trivial

Reckless driving is a serious offense which carries heavy sanctions against your driver's license. Again, it is a misdemeanor charge with a 90 day “hard” suspension, and the Secretary of State does not care that you have to work, take of your mother, or if you will lose your job. A hard suspension does not allow for restricted driving privileges at all, ever.  MCL 257.626 describes this offense as a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 93 days imprisonment, or a fine of up to $500.00, or possibly both.

Michigan Driving Penalties for OWI and Impaired vs Reckless

An OWI conviction carries a 30 day hard suspension as opposed to the 90 day hard suspension for a reckless driving conviction provided by the Michigan Secretary of State following conviction. This lesser penalty is imposed on purpose to dissuade people from taking the reckless. 

Getting a charge reduced to impaired driving carries almost no driver's license penalty.  A first offense impaired conviction for OWVI imposes an automatic 90 day restricted driving sanction on a person's driver's license.  The restricted driving privileges are automatic on a first offense, permitting the convicted motorist to drive:

  1. To and from work,
  2. For work,
  3. To and from any emergency medical treatment services, and
  4. To and from any court ordered program.

Given the choice between the various alternatives, many people prefer to save the driver's license.

If you are charged with an OWI 2nd within 7 years...

In cases where the motorist is facing a charge of OWI 2nd, however, the reduction down to a reckless driving is a no-brainer because a person's driver's license is permanently revoked after two alcohol-related convictions within 7 years.


FOR CDL DRIVERS: None of this matters. Whether you are convicted of OWI, OWVI, or Reckless Driving, you are going to lose your CDL for at least one year. If you are a CDL driver, even if you were only driving your normal passenger vehicle, you must actually beat your drunk driving charge to save your career.