Drinking and driving in Michigan has serious consequences. It is not taken lightly by the criminal justice system. Over the years, Michigan has substantially increased the minimum criminal punishments to those found guilty of drinking and driving. But it is not only those that have been caught drunk driving that fall under Michigan’s intoxicated driving laws. Those with other illegal, and sometimes legal, drugs in their system can be found guilty under the same laws used to convict offenders guilty of consuming alcohol and driving.
As it stands in Michigan, it is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescription medications. Anyone found to have an alcohol content of .08 or more can be charged with the crime of driving while intoxicated. If the alcohol content found in a person’s body is .17 or more, Michigan has created a “High BAC” category that increases the severity of the possible punishment. Both of these charges are known as “Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).”
Michigan also has a zero tolerance policy for those under the age of 21. Anyone under 21 with a blood alcohol content of .02 to .07 can be charged with a crime. In addition to these offenses, anyone found to have any amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance (cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine’s, etc.) in their system while driving a motor vehicle can also be charged with “Operating with Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD).”
If convicted of drunk driving, a client can expect to lose their license for six months if convicted of an OWI along with fines and the possibility of jail time. Each successive OWI brings a longer mandatory driver license suspension, higher fines, and longer jail sentences. The same goes for any driver with convictions for driving with any Schedule 1 controlled substance in their body. Under the “High BAC” crime, punishment is much more severe
Judges have plenty of discretion when it comes to the punishment handed down to offenders. Some require mandatory jail terms, even for first-time offenders. Others allow those convicted to participate in alcohol rehabilitation programs and probation. A skilled criminal defense attorney can provide invaluable help any Michigan driver facing an intoxicated or drugged driving charge. If you have been charged with any type of impaired driving, your next step should be a call to an experienced criminal defense attorney in Troy, Michigan.