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3 Types of Charges for Impaired Driving in Michigan
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3 Types of Charges for Impaired Driving in Michigan

In Michigan, there are several types of impaired driving offenses. Penalties for an OWI can vary based on the exact offense. OWI charges can lead to life-changing consequences, even if it was your first offense. You may face fines, jail time or even license suspension, meaning an impaired driving charge is nothing to take lightly. 

If you failed a field sobriety test, you are likely concerned about your future and the possible impacts the charge may have on your freedom. Contact a Michigan OWI/DUI attorney at The Law Offices of Bradley J. Friedman right away. Our firm knows firsthand the impact that an OWI charge can have on an individual’s life, so we work tirelessly to protect your clients’ rights. Below, we cover three types of impaired driving charges in the state of Michigan, their potential consequences and what our firm can do to help. 

OWI (Operating While Intoxicated)

The primary DUI charge in Michigan is an OWI, or operating while intoxicated. It is most commonly used against drivers who are believed to have operated a vehicle while intoxicated from drugs or alcohol. There are three provisions that need to be met for someone to be charged with an OWI:

  • Your ability to safely operate a vehicle on a roadway is compromised due to alcohol or drug usage. 
  • Your BAC, or blood alcohol content, was found to be 0.08% or higher if you are 21 or older, or 0.02 or higher if you are under 21. 
  • Your BAC was found to be 0.17% or higher, therefore categorizing your charge as Super Drunk. 

If police arrest someone who visually appeared to be unable to safely operate a vehicle, they may be charged with OWVI (Operating While Visibly/Viably Impaired). Since OWVI relies on witness reports and other potentially unreliable information, you’ll want to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to build your legal defense. 

OWPD (Operating with the Presence of Drugs)

Drunk driving charges aren’t the only risk to your driving privileges. Michigan law outlines certain penalties for those convicted of “drugged driving.” Specifically, individuals often face significant consequences when charged with OWPD. Unfortunately, drivers do not need to be visibly impaired to face such charges, since police may arrest an individual even if a trace of Schedule 1 drugs is discovered in their system, which includes: 

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Ecstasy

Unfortunately, the definition of “trace amount” isn’t always clear, even among prosecutors, meaning this DUI law needs to be taken very seriously. Discuss the specifics of your situation with our DUI defense attorney. 

Zero Tolerance Law

The state of Michigan established the Zero Tolerance law, which prohibits anyone under 21 from operating a vehicle with a BAC of over 0.02%. Essentially, the law applies to anyone under the age of 21 who was revealed to have the presence of alcohol in their system, although certain exceptions exist for a BAC that was shown to be the result of a religious service. While a first-time OWI Zero Tolerance offense may not result in jail time, subsequent offenses can lead to increasingly severe penalties, including license suspension. 

Contact a Criminal Law Attorney Immediately

If you face OWI charges in Michigan, don’t hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Bradley J. Friedman at the earliest opportunity. We can help you explore your options so you can protect your driving privileges.

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