DUI and OWI- Not Just For Drunk Drivers

When the terms DUI or OWI are heard, most people automatically think of drunk driving. What is often forgot is that these charges also include drugged driving, an equally as dangerous and serious act.

In Michigan, it is considered a crime to drive while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs. This means that if an illegal amount of alcohol or drugs are found in a driver’s body and these substances have substantially affected that person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, the driver can be charged with an OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), OWPD (Operating with the Presence of Drugs) or OUID (Operating Under the Influence of Drugs).

What qualifies as an “illegal” amount varies depending on certain circumstances. In regards to alcohol, a person over the age of 21 cannot legal drive with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 or above. Drivers under the age of 21 are legally not allowed to drive with any alcohol in their system, other than a miniscule amount that may have been consumed during a religious ceremony. When it comes to drugs, operating a motor vehicle with any presence of an illegal drug can result in an OWPD or OUID charge. Even with a valid prescription, driver’s who consume more than the prescribed amount of a certain drug can be charged with OWPD or OUID.  Additionally, drivers who appear to be unimpaired by drugs can still be charged with an OWPD or OUID just because a trace amount of drugs drugs can be found in the driver’s body.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be a very dangerous situation for the driver and everybody else on the road. Drunken and drugged driving can dramatically impair a driver’s concentration, motor skills, and common sense. Impaired drivers often display some similar driving behaviors such as weaving in and out of lanes, running off the road, speeding or driving too slow, failure to stop at red lights or stop signs, and driving on the wrong side of the road.

A first offence OWI or OWPD charge could result in some pretty serious consequences including:

  • Up to $500 in fines
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Suspended driver’s license
  • Possible vehicle immobilization or ignition interlock
  • Six points on the driving record
  • A driver responsibility fee of up to thousands of dollars


Drivers who have been charged with an OWI, OWPD, or OUID should consult with an attorney immediately. In many cases, such charges can be reduced or dropped depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest and the evidence involved in the case.

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