OWI – Operating While Intoxicated

OWI defense attorneys in Grand Rapids, Michigan - Springstead & Bartish

Operating While Intoxicated charges (commonly referred to as OWI on traffic tickets and bond receipts) are among the most common, if not the most common misdemeanor or felony criminal charges in Michigan. Because Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law is dedicated almost exclusively to defending criminal charges and operating while intoxicated is our single biggest practice area and one of the most commonly charged crimes in Michigan, our OWI attorneys have defended hundreds, if not thousands, of drunk-driving cases in West Michigan. If you or somebody you know has been arrested for or charged with are an OWI, you contact an experienced OWI lawyer immediately. The award-winning lawyers at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law offer a free case evaluation and consult and will do everything in their power to win your OWI case or get you the best possible result.

OWI in Michigan

While Michigan law refers to the most common forms of drunk driving as “operating while intoxicated (OWI),” “impaired driving (OWVI)”, or “operating with a high BAC” you may hear people refer to it by a variety of names, such as:

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI);
  • Driving under the influence (DUI);
  • Unlawful bodily alcohol level (UBAL); or,
  • Unlawful bodily alcohol content (UBAC).

While there are practical differences among these terms, e.g., being accused of drunk driving based on your BAC level versus how the alcohol may have impacted or affected your driving, the terms are typically used interchangeably and generally refer to drunk driving. More specifically, Michigan law prohibits operating a motor vehicle as follows:

(1) A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person is operating while intoxicated. As used in this section, “operating while intoxicated” means any of the following:

(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance or a combination of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance.

(b) The person has an alcohol content of 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine, or, beginning October 1, 2018, the person has an alcohol content of 0.10 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.

(c) The person has an alcohol content of 0.17 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.

(2) The owner of a vehicle or a person in charge or in control of a vehicle shall not authorize or knowingly permit the vehicle to be operated upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of motor vehicles, within this state by a person if any of the following apply:

(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, other intoxicating substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance.
(b) The person has an alcohol content of 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine or, beginning October 1, 2018, the person has an alcohol content of 0.10 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.

(c) The person’s ability to operate the motor vehicle is visibly impaired due to the consumption of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance.

Click here to view M.C.L. § 257.625; online.

Michigan’s drunk-driving statute, inter alia, goes on to criminalize a number of other forms of drunk or drugged driving, provide enhanced penalties for repeat offenders, and list the penalties associated with each offense.

Consequences of an OWI in Michigan

The consequences of being convicted for an OWI are serious and can have a long-lasting impact on your life, far beyond the pendency of your criminal case, as OWI’s cannot be expunged from your criminal history in Michigan. The following chart sets forth the penalties for a variety of OWI’s:

OWI penalties michigan

Sources:
Michigan Secretary of State Department of State Alcohol/Drug Offenses
Michigan Legislature Vehicle Code

Call Now for a Free Case Evaluation and Consultation

If you or somebody you know has been arrested or charged with OWI, please feel free to contact one of Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law’s award-winning lawyers for a free consultation about the case at (231) 924-8700 or (616) 458-5500.