Unlike other states, in which driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is known as a DUI, in Michigan this offense is known as operating while intoxicated or OWI. Generally speaking, a person is charged with this crime when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08%. However, that is not always the case. Even when a person’s BAC is under the legal limit, they may face criminal charges. If convicted, these charges can lead to jail time, high fines, and a driver’s license suspension or revocation. A DUI attorney in Grand Rapids can help you avoid these consequences if you have been charged, and will give you the best chance of retaining your freedom.
OWI is the most common charge related to drinking and driving in Grand Rapids, and a person may face this charge when driving with a BAC over 0.08%. Even if you are only slightly above this limit while operating a vehicle, you may still face charges.
Another type of charge you may face if you were driving under the influence of drugs is an OUID, or operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs. It is important that all drivers in Michigan understand this, particularly if they are currently taking medication. Law enforcement can charge you with an OUID whether you are under the influence of narcotics or prescription medication that is in your name, as long as the drug impaired your ability to drive safely.
Even if your BAC is lower than the legal limit in Grand Rapids, there is still a chance that you may face OWVI charges. This offense refers to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired and it largely rests at the discretion of law enforcement whether to charge someone.
Cases involving an OWVI do not require chemical tests, such as a breathalyzer, but instead, law enforcement may conduct field sobriety tests on the side of the road. You are not legally obligated to take these tests and there is no penalty for refusing a test. No one should subject themselves to a field sobriety test, as they rarely work in favor of those being charged but make it easier for the prosecution to secure a conviction.
If you are convicted of an OWI, you will lose your driver’s license. After being charged with a first offense, you will lose your license for six months. You can request a restricted license, which would allow you to travel to work or school, but you must wait at least 30 days before making the request.
Even if you are not convicted of an OWI, you will still lose your license if you refuse a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, urine test, or blood test. Unlike field sobriety tests, you are required to submit to these tests under Michigan’s implied consent laws. If you refuse these tests, even if you are not intoxicated, you will lose your license for at least one year.
Being charged with driving under the influence or being visibly impaired is a scary experience. If you have been charged, our DUI attorney in Grand Rapids can help. At Van Den Heuvel, we understand the defenses to these charges, and how to use them to give you the best chance of success. Call us today or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.