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Is Jail Possible After a Fatal Motorcycle Crash Caused by Drunk Driving in Midland Michigan?

— December 8, 2021

On average, 28 people in the U.S. die every day in drunk driving crashes and 10,142 lost their lives in 2019 in this manner. 

A Midland man was charged with killing a motorcyclist in the Summer and injuring his passenger in a drunken crash in rural Bay County. The drunk driver appeared before Bay County District Magistrate Janice Doner for arraignment on single counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury. The former is a 15-year felony, while the latter is punishable by up to five years in prison. Accident victims who have suffered injury, or loss of a loved one should contact a skilled accident lawyer in Midland to assist with recovery of damages, and filing a wrongful death legal action, as well as communicating with insurance companies for timely access to funds for funeral and burial expenses.  

Stringent drunk driving laws

On average, 28 people in the U.S. die every day in drunk driving crashes and 10,142 lost their lives in 2019 in this manner.  Drivers must understand that alcohol impairs muscle coordination delaying reaction times, and causing impaired reasoning and thinking.  Many families are left with grave loss after a drunk driving accident through catastrophic lingering injury, or death.  An experienced car accident attorney can be instrumental with legal action to recover damages to address the resultant negative changes to the affected lives experiencing loss after an OWI-related fatal accident.

In Michigan, Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) cases that lead to death usually fall into three categories: operating while intoxicated (OWI) causing death; manslaughter with a motor vehicle; and second-degree murder.  

Drunk driving and fatal injury

When operating a vehicle while under the influence in Michigan and causing death to another person, the consequences can be steep and may involve felony charges.  When a driver is found guilty they can face up to 15 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.  An attorney familiar with drunk driving accidents can explain how multiple factors will impact the criminal and civil proceedings surrounding OWI-related deaths.  


Drivers who cause injury, or death while driving under the influence may face a wide variety of penalties in the State of Michigan.  They include:

  • Prison sentence of up to five years and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 for the serious injury of another person
  • Prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine between $2,500 and $10,000 for the death of another person
  • Prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine between $2,500 and $10,000 for the death of an emergency responder
  • Revocation of your driver’s license for a minimum of one year; if you had a prior revocation within the past seven years, the minimum revocation will be five years
  • Immobilization of your vehicle for 180 days
  • Confiscation of your license plate
  • Six points added to your Michigan state driving record
  • $1,000 Driver Responsibility fee for two consecutive years

Civil damages through Wrongful Death claim

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Photo by Fey Marin on Unsplash

Under Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act, the deceased person’s spouse, children, step-children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, or the person inheriting the decedent’s estate, can receive compensation when death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or deliberate action of another person.  Claims are meant to address:

  • Medical bills and burial expenses
  • Lost wage compensation (present and future),
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Punitive damages based on case particulars. 

There is a 3-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, and surviving family members may be barred from seeking civil damages if they do not act within the set timeframe. A Michigan wrongful death attorney can assist.

Hire an attorney

When tragedy strikes involving a death caused by a drunk driver, a Michigan accident attorney at the Neumann Law Group can help build a case utilizing the outcomes from the criminal action to strengthen the civil case.  Victims of harmful loss caused by OWI should speak to an attorney shortly after the accident occurs to find out their options toward successful damage compensation.  


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