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Drug Driving

Experienced Drug Driving Attorney Assisting Clients in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Policeman writing speeding ticket for a person who is calling a grand rapids drug driving lawyerHave you been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in Grand Rapids, Michigan? Driving while taking drugs can have serious consequences. Even if you are taking legally prescribed medications that are impacting your driving, you may become impaired to the point that your driving is unlawful.

While college students and other residents of Grand Rapids might not understand the severity of drug driving charges, it is important to understand that a conviction for driving while impaired can have significant costs. In addition to risking your own life as well as the lives of other drivers and passengers on the road, a conviction can lead to jail time and financial penalties. In addition, a conviction may limit your ability to drive legally in the future, as well as your ability to secure certain types of employment, rental leases, and credit. It is extremely important to build the strongest defense possible in your case by consulting with a Michigan drug driving defense lawyer.

What Results in a Drugged Driving (OWPCS) charge?

The first element of this charge is operating with a “Controlled or Intoxicating Substance”. According to MCL257.625(1)(a), an “Intoxicating Substance” is:

Any substance, preparation, or a combination of substances and preparations other than alcohol or a controlled substance, that is either of the following:

  • Recognized as a drug in any of the following publications or their supplements:
  • The official United States pharmacopoeia.
  • The official homeopathic pharmacopoeia of the United States.
  • The official national formulary.
  • A substance, other than food, taken into a person’s body, including, but not limited to, vapors or fumes, that is used in a manner or for a purpose for which it was not intended, and that may result in a condition of intoxication.

A “Controlled Substance” is listed by the United States government under its schedules. Schedule 1 controlled substances, MCL 333.7212 and MCL 333.7214, are those that the government has determined have no safe, researched, and acceptable use as a medical treatment, while simultaneously posing a high potential for being abused. Schedule 1 substances include, but are not limited to, heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”).

Drugged Driving vs. Drunk Driving

While Drunk Driving has been the target of education campaigns, emphasized in drivers’ training courses, and subject to rigid enforcement for many years, Drugged Driving is less publicized and not well understood by the general public. According to Ashley Halsey III, writing in The Washington Post, Drugged Driving has recently surpassed Drunk Driving as the cause of fatal accidents. She states, “Forty-three percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, eclipsing the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol.” The increase may be due, in part, to relaxed laws towards marijuana, where some states have legalized all use, others have sanctioned medical use, and most have lowered enforcement or penalties on the use of the drug. Many people mistakenly believe that if marijuana is no longer considered a “bad drug” that it is safe and legal to drive while under its influence. The current opioid crisis may also be a contributor to the increase in Drugged Driving cases

Medical Marijuana and Drugged Driving

Many medical marijuana users do not realize that if they use marijuana for a legal, medical purpose, they still may not drive while under its influence.  While there has been a push for legalization of marijuana and enforcement of existing laws has been relaxed in many states, including in Michigan, the fact is that marijuana is currently still designated as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Under Michigan law, if a person operates a motor vehicle on any roadway or area designated for motor vehicles, including rural roads or parking lots, that person may not have any amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance in their body (MCL 333.7214).

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA), MCL 333.26421 et seq. specifically does not make an exception to this rule, and does not allow the medical marijuana user to drive a motor vehicle while under its influence. However, the Michigan Supreme Court has held that the Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) (MCL 333.26421) supersedes drugged driving law (MCL 257.625(8)) and allows a registered patient to drive with indications of marijuana in his or her system as long as that person is not under the influence of marijuana. People v Koon, 494 Mich 1, 832 NW2sd 724 (2013).

How do you interpret “under the influence?” The Michigan Supreme Court in Koon indicated that it is more than a simple trace amount of marijuana and should have some effect on the person. 494 Mich at 6. This leaves the application of the Drugged Driving law open for interpretation by law enforcement and the traffic courts. The safest way to deal with the Medical Marijuana Act and OWPCS, is to simply not drive when you have been smoking medical marijuana.

Drugged Driving and Prescription Drugs: Operating While Intoxicated by Drugs (OWID)

Michigan law prohibits operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an “intoxicating substance” under MCL 257.625(1)(a). This charge is generally called operating while intoxicated by drugs (OWID). An intoxicating substance includes any drug recognized by the official USA pharmacopoeia, homeopathic pharmacopoeia, or national formulary. This also includes any substance other than food, which is used for the purpose for which it was not intended and that may result in a condition of intoxication.

A person who takes a prescribed medicine or a homeopathic remedy that may influence their driving is subject to the Drugged Driving OWID arrest. Many medicines and or remedies also carry a warning label that informs the patient that they should not operate a motor vehicle or machinery while taking that substance. Failure to comply may result in a Drugged Driving charge. The addition of Intoxicating Substance to the Drugged Driving laws means that many may need to change their driving habits, as there is a large populace who take daily prescriptions and then drive as part of their daily routine, unaware that they are doing so illegally.

Contact a Michigan Drug Driving Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you love is being charged with drugged driving, contact our experienced team at Van Den Heuvel Law Office in Grand Rapids @ 616-698-0000 or clickforhoward.com. We are experienced in drugged driving law and fight every case as if it were our own. Let Van Den Heuvel Law Office put its skills and experience to work for you.

 

 

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

BAC ≥.08
[MCL 257.625(1)]

OWI Super Drunk

BAC≥.17
[MCL 257.625.(1)(c)]

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI)

[MCL 257.625(3)]

Operating With The Presence of Drugs (OWPD)

[MCL 257.625(8)]
First Offense (no priors) Misdemeanor

Possible Fine/Jail:

Up to 93 days jail; $100- $500 fine; or up to 360 hours community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 30 days

Restricted: 180 days

6 point offense

Possible: ignition interlock and/or immobilization of vehicle up to 180 days.

Misdemeanor

Possible Fine/Jail:

Up to 180 days jail; $200- $700 fine; or up to 360 hours community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 45 days

Restricted: 1 year

6 point offense

Court ordered ignition interlock required

Possible: Immobilization of vehicle up to 180 days.

Misdemeanor

Possible Fine/Jail:

Up to 93 days jail; $300 fine; or up to 360 hours community service.

Licensing Action:

Restricted: 90 days

4 point offense

Possible: ignition interlock and/or immobilization of vehicle up to 180 days.

Misdemeanor

Possible Fine/Jail:

One or more of the following: up to 93 days Jail; $100-$500; or up to 360 hours community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 30 days.

Restricted: 180 days

6 point offense

Possible: ignition interlock and/or immobilization of vehicle up to 180 days

2nd Offense or Prior OWI/DUI within 7 years Misdemeanor

Possible Fine/Jail:

$200-$1,000 fine AND one or more of the following: Up to 5 days to 1 year jail; 30-90 days community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 1 year minimum.

Immobilization of vehicle: 90-180 days, unless vehicle forfeited.

Misdemeanor

Possible Fine/Jail:

$200-$1,000 fine AND one or more of the following: Up to 5 days to 1 year jail; 30-90 days community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 1 year minimum.

Immobilization of vehicle: 90-180 days, unless vehicle forfeited.

Misdemeanor

Possible Fine/Jail:

$200-$1,000 fine AND one or more of the following: Up to 5 days to 1 year jail; 30-90 days community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 1 year minimum.

Immobilization of vehicle: 90-180 days, unless vehicle forfeited.

Misdemeanor

Possible Fine/Jail:

$200-$1,000 fine AND one or more of the following: Up to 5 days to 1 year jail; 30-90 days community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 1 year minimum.

Immobilization of vehicle: 90-180 days, unless vehicle forfeited.

3rd Offense or 2 Prior OWI/DUI charges within a lifetime

 

(*within 10 years for licensing action to apply as 3rd instead of 1st)

Felony

Possible Fine/Jail:

$500-$5,000 fine AND EITHER of the following: 1-5 years prison; or 1 year jail and probation of 30 days to 1 year; AND

60-180 days community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 1-5 years.

Immobilization of vehicle: 1-3 years, unless vehicle forfeited.

Felony

Possible Fine/Jail:

$500-$5,000 fine AND EITHER of the following: 1-5 years prison; or 1 year jail and probation of 30 days to 1 year; AND

60-180 days community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 1-5 years.

Immobilization of vehicle: 1-3 years, unless vehicle forfeited.

Felony

Possible Fine/Jail:

$500-$5,000 fine AND EITHER of the following: 1-5 years prison; or 1 year jail and probation of 30 days to 1 year; AND

60-180 days community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 1-5 years.

Immobilization of vehicle 1-3 years, unless vehicle forfeited.

Felony

Possible Fine/Jail:

$500-$5,000 fine AND EITHER of the following: 1-5 years prison; or 30 days to 1 year jail and probation ; AND 60-180 days community service.

Licensing Action:

Suspended: 1-5 years.

Immobilization of vehicle: 1-3 years, unless vehicle forfeited.

(*within 10 years for licensing action to apply as 3rd instead of 1st)