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Under the Legal Limit - Drunk Driving Arrest

Under the Legal Limit - Drunk Driving Arrest.pngIn Michigan, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can lead to criminal penalties. For example, you can be charged with an OWI (commonly referred to as a DUI) if you drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit of .08%. In addition, you can also be arrested for impaired driving if you operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This means you are substantially and materially affected by alcohol.

Operating While Visibly Impaired

Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) is a less serious conviction than an OWI. It is commonly used for plea bargaining purposes. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your driving ability was reduced as a result of consuming alcohol. An observant reasonable person would be able to identify your diminished capacity.

An OWVI case is fact specific. An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts and identify strengths and weaknesses in your case. Evidence to support your case could include you passing all field sobriety tests and/or having a BAC significantly lower than .08%. On the contrary, evidence regarding the refusal to take a chemical test could hurt your case. Also, any evidence supporting the voluntary consumption of alcohol could also support a misdemeanor conviction for Reckless Driving which carries 6 points and a 90-day license suspension (with no restricted driving allowed).

Operating While Visibly Impaired Criminal Penalties

If you are convicted of an OWVI, you can face up to a $300 fine, 93 days in jail or serve up to 360 hours of community service. Your driver's license will is suspended and restricted for 90 days and 4 points will be added to your driving record. You will also have to pay the Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years and a $125 driver license reinstatement fee.

If you are subsequently charged with an OWVI within 7 years of your first DUI conviction, you can face up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year of imprisonment. Your driver's license will be revoked for a minimum of one year, license plate confiscated, and 4 points added to your driving record. As mentioned above, you will have to pay the Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years and a $125 driver license reinstatement fee. Being convicted of a second OWVI could be a sign of alcoholism. Contact me for information on Sobriety Court and alcohol substance abuse treatment programs throughout the Washtenaw County area.

If you have been charged with OWVI in Michigan, contact my law office for a consultation. I can review the facts of your case and provide you with legal advice and guidance on how to proceed. Do not delay in obtaining legal advice. Doing so could hurt your case.

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