Operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OWI, is a serious crime in the state of Michigan. An OWI conviction can lead to the loss of your driving privileges, community service, expensive fines, and even jail time. In addition to your sentence, you may also encounter problems in your personal life, as an OWI conviction can jeopardize future employment opportunities, and lead to higher auto insurance rates. Fortunately, being charged with OWI does not automatically lead to a conviction—the state must first prove you are guilty of breaking one or more of the Michigan OWI laws. In order to avoid the most serious penalties associated with this offense, it is important those accused consult with a Grand Rapids DUI lawyer immediately to discuss their case. An experienced defense lawyer in Grand Rapids can help prepare you for what to expect and ensure that the damage is minimized as much as possible.
To convict you of OWI, the prosecution must prove you are guilty of one of three things: operating a vehicle while under the influence of liquor (OUIL), operating a vehicle with an unlawful blood alcohol level (UBAL), or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs (OUID). Although the acronyms for these charges may seem similar, the methods for proving them are quite different.
For an OUIL violation, the prosecution must prove that your driving abilities were limited due to your alcohol consumption—regardless of your blood alcohol content level. On the other hand, in cases involving UBAL charges, the state only needs to show that your blood alcohol content level was above the legal limit of .08%. Unlike an OUIL charge, the prosecution is not required to prove your driving abilities were impaired in order for you to be charged with UBAL, which makes it important that a DUI attorney in Grand Rapids is available to assist in building a defense.
In OWI cases that involve OUID charges, the prosecution must prove you were driving while under the influence of drugs. This charge can be justified by proving you had a prescription drug or a controlled substance in your system. In situations involving prescribed drugs, the prosecution must also prove the drug in question can impair a person’s driving abilities. However, in cases involving controlled substances (such as cocaine or marijuana), the prosecution does not need to prove your driving was impaired.
Regardless of whether your case involves OUIL, UBAL, or OUID charges, the consequences for an OWI conviction are life-altering, and can impact your life for years to come. As a result, it is important to speak with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of Michigan’s OWI laws.
Attorney Patrick T. Barone is a Grand Rapids DUI attorney. After more than a decade representing Michigan residents like you, he has the legal experience and knowledge to help fight your OWI charges. With the right defense, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate your charges altogether.Contact Barone Law Firm for your free case evaluation.