It is estimated that one-third of all traffic fatalities in Michigan involve the use of alcohol. Studies show conclusively that operating a motor vehicle after consuming even one drink makes you more prone to accidents. Michigan also now includes drivers with certain illegal drugs in their system as operating a vehicle while intoxicated as well. Driving with drugs like marijuana, GHB, cocaine, and cocaine-derivative drugs in your system will subject you to the same penalties for drunk driving. In addition, even being behind the wheel with your keys in your pocket may be sufficient to being convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. There are several types of OWI offenses that carry the same penalties.
Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) means that because of alcohol or other drugs, your ability to operate a motor vehicle was visibly impaired.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) means:
You operated a motor vehicle with alcohol or drugs that substantially affected your ability to drive (exhibited during a field sobriety test)
Had a BAC content at or above .08, or
Had a BAC at or above .17, which is considered a High BAC OWI
Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD) means having even a small trace of these drugs in your body, even if you do not appear to be intoxicated or impaired. This can be determined through a chemical test.
Under Age 21 Operating With Any Bodily Alcohol Content (Zero Tolerance) means having a BAC of 0.02 to 0.07, or any presence of alcohol in your body other than alcohol that is consumed at a generally recognized religious ceremony.
The penalties for one of the above OWI offenses are as follows (penalties vary depending on the frequency of violations and the time frame):
Furthermore, Michigan's implied consent law dictates that if you're arrested and refuse to take a breathalyzer, your license will be automatically suspended for 1 year and 6 points will be added to your driving record. This is in addition to any penalties you'll receive if you are convicted of drunk driving. Other penalties may include:
Possible vehicle immobilization.
Possible vehicle forfeiture
Possible ignition interlock.
Driver Responsibility Fee:
$1,000 for 2 consecutive years for OWI.
$500 for 2 consecutive years for OWPD.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an OWI offense, it is imperative
you seek legal representation from a lawyer familiar with this area of the law. Finding a resolution that can keep someone’s criminal record clean and keep you out of jail may be available.