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In Michigan, operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) is a serious crime under the Michigan Vehicle Code that states it is illegal to drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over .08. However, if you are under 21, the BAC limit is .00 due to Michigan’s Zero Tolerance laws.

It is estimated that one-third of all traffic fatalities in Michigan involve the use of alcohol. Studies show conclusively that operating a motor vehicle after consuming even one drink makes you more prone to accidents. Michigan also now includes drivers with certain illegal drugs in their system as operating a vehicle while intoxicated as well. Driving with drugs like marijuana, GHB, cocaine, and cocaine-derivative drugs in your system will subject you to the same penalties for drunk driving. In addition, even being behind the wheel with your keys in your pocket may be sufficient to being convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. There are several types of OWI offenses that carry the same penalties.

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) means that because of alcohol or other drugs, your ability to operate a motor vehicle was visibly impaired.

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) means:

  1. You operated a motor vehicle with alcohol or drugs that substantially affected your ability to drive (exhibited during a field sobriety test)
  2. Had a BAC content at or above .08, or
  3. Had a BAC at or above .17, which is considered a High BAC OWI

Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD) means having even a small trace of these drugs in your body, even if you do not appear to be intoxicated or impaired. This can be determined through a chemical test.

Under Age 21 Operating With Any Bodily Alcohol Content (Zero Tolerance) means having a BAC of 0.02 to 0.07, or any presence of alcohol in your body other than alcohol that is consumed at a generally recognized religious ceremony.

  • First Offense - Misdemeanor: Up to 93 days in Jail and $500 Fine. License Suspension Up to 6 months.
  • First w/ High BAC -Misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail, up to $700 in fines, and up to 1 year of community service.
  • Second Offense - Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in Jail or up to 3 months community service, and up to $1000 infines. Minimum 1-year revocation of license if convicted within 7years of previous offense.
  • Third Offense -Felony: Up to 5 years in jail and up to $5000 dollars in fines.,Up to 6 months community service. Minimum1-year revocation of license if convicted within 7 years of previous offense, maximum of 5 years.
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