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Buzzed driving can result in a drunk driving charge in Michigan

| Apr 21, 2017 | Blog |

Michigan is known for a lot of things, and one of them is the state’s hard stance on impaired driving. Did you know that buzzed driving can result in a drunk driving charge if a law enforcement officer notices any visible signs of impairment?

In most states, you will face drunk driving charges only if your blood-alcohol level has exceeded a certain point, which is generally .08 percent. However, if a police officer suspects impairment and your BAC is below that level, you may still face an operating while visibly impaired charge. This may not sound like a serious offense, but it does carry some significant penalties if a court convicts you.

What are the signs that someone is driving while impaired?

Law enforcement officials look for several different driver actions when trying to keep impaired driver off the road. Some of these include:

  • Weaving within a lane of traffic
  • Failing to maintain a lane of traffic
  • Speeding or excessively slow driving
  • Failing to obey traffic signs and signals

If an officer claims to have witnessed you doing anything that suggests possible impairment, it is likely that he or she will pull you over and ask you to perform sobriety tests.

What are the potential consequences of an OWVI conviction?

If convicted as a first-time offender, the consequences may include:

  • A fine up to $300
  • Jail time up to 93 days
  • Community service up to 360 hours
  • License restrictions
  • Payment of the driver responsibility fee

If you are a repeat offender, the severity of the consequences will dramatically increase. Those convicted on second or third offenses may face:

  • A fine up to $5000
  • Imprisonment up to five years
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • License revocation
  • Confiscation of license plate
  • Denial of vehicle registration
  • Payment of the driver responsibility fee

As you can see, your BAC does not have to be above the limit for a DUI charge to have a significant impact on your life.

Fighting a OWVI charge

If you pass a Breathalyzer test with flying colors but are still facing an OWVI charge, it may be in your best interest to fight the charge in court. When it comes to signs of visible impairment, it is all subjective. Human error does occur, resulting in police charging drivers with offenses they did not commit.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you in fighting your OWVI drunk driving charge by reviewing the details of your case, investigating any evidence offered against you and questioning the arresting officer’s actions. In doing all this, it may be possible to secure a case dismissal or at least minimize the potential penalties if prosecutors achieve a conviction.

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