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Ottawa County Marijuana DUI Lawyer

Despite the laws involving recreational and medical marijuana, driving while under the influence of any kind of marijuana remains illegal. This is true provided there is corollary evidence that your ability to drive was impaired by marijuana consumption.

Working with an Ottawa County marijuana DUI lawyer may give you an advantage when navigating the criminal justice system. From challenging law enforcement mistakes to ensuring your rights are protected throughout the legal process, a focused DUI drug lawyer can provide the support you need.

Laws Prohibiting Driving While Intoxicated in Ottawa County

There are two different types of DUI laws in Ottawa County that relate to marijuana usage. These offenses are referred to as Operating with the Presence of Drugs (OWPD) and Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI).

OWPD Involving Marijuana

Under Michigan Compiled Laws § 257.625(8), it is illegal to drive with the presence of any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance. Schedule I drugs generally consist of substances that the federal government deems to be the most dangerous in terms of risk of addiction and/or misuse and which have little or no medical application. Even though it is legalized for medical use in Michigan, this Schedule currently includes marijuana. Consequently, if drivers have any traceable amount of marijuana present in their bodies, they may face OWPD charges. There is no required evidence of impairment for a conviction under this charge. A good argument against this zero-tolerance position can be made, and at some point, the law in Michigan relative to zero-tolerance marijuana is likely to change.

OWVI Involving Marijuana

What will never change is that according to Mich. Comp. Laws § 257.625(3), it is illegal for drivers to operate motor vehicles while visibly impaired by alcohol, a controlled substance such as marijuana, and/or any other intoxicating substance, or a combination of these things. Unlike an OWPD, an OWVI requires proof of visible impairment for a conviction.

Exceptions for Medical Marijuana Use While Driving

The one established exception to OWPD occurs when drivers are registered medical marijuana cardholders. Since these individuals are permitted by law to use marijuana for medical purposes, any trace of the drug in their body is insufficient for an OWPD conviction.

In this situation, the prosecution must prove either substantial impairment by marijuana that impacts the ability to drive under an OWPD charge or visible impairment by marijuana under an OWVI charge. Those with valid medicinal marijuana cards may wish to consult a skilled Ottawa County marijuana DUI attorney regarding charges of driving while impaired by marijuana.

This exception to the zero-tolerance provision of the Michigan OWI law was established by case law. The same has not yet happened for recreational marijuana but may happen soon. Also, there are provisions in the recreational marijuana laws suggesting that zero tolerance should not apply to recreational marijuana. Of course, this all assumes the driver is 21 years of age or older.

Possible Implications of a Marijuana DUI Conviction

Both OWPD and OWVI convictions could result in the same penalties. The potential punishment for a first marijuana DUI conviction may include incarceration for up to 93 days, community service hours, a suspended license, and restricted driving privileges. A second or subsequent conviction may result in harsher penalties. While the potential punishments are similar to those for a first conviction, the jail terms and impact on driving privileges may be far more serious.

It may be valuable to discuss any charges with a marijuana impairment DUI lawyer in Ottawa County. An experienced criminal attorney could provide detailed legal advice about how to efficiently handle allegations and potential defenses.

Consult an Ottawa County Marijuana DUI Attorney

Marijuana DUI charges may have serious implications for your future. Your ability to drive, support yourself, and lead a normal life may be compromised by an OWVI or OWPD conviction. Fortunately, an Ottawa County marijuana DUI lawyer could work to protect you. By examining the details of a specific case, you could build a strong defense regarding the charges against you.
With the help of skilled legal counsel, you may be able to resolve your marijuana DUI charges with minimum impact on your life. Reach out today to speak with a representative and begin building your defense.