Understanding Michigan’s drunk driving laws

Understanding Michigan’s drunk driving laws

Michigan drivers who decide to get behind the wheel after drinking or taking illegal drugs should reconsider their decision. As FindLaw.com explains, Michigan is very serious about keeping impaired drivers off the road.

There are several charges in Michigan that come under the heading of driving under the influence. Three of these charges are the following:

  1. Operating While Intoxicated
  2. Operating While Visibly Impaired
  3. Operating With Any Presence of Cocaine or a Schedule 1 Drug

All DUI offenses, be they OWI, OWVI or OWPD, have two separate penalties. Michigan criminal courts handle the criminal charges and penalties if convicted and the Michigan Secretary of State’s office handles the associated driver’s license suspension.

Criminal conviction penalties can include fines, community service and a jail or prison sentence. The higher a person’s blood alcohol content at the time of his or her arrest, the harsher the resulting penalty will be if convicted of the charge. Likewise, the penalties become harsher each time a person is convicted of a DUI offense.

Driving while intoxicated

The Michigan Legislature states that Section 257.625 of the Michigan Vehicle Code contains the definitions, charges and penalties relating to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. DWI is defined as any one of the following:

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or a combination of the two
  • Driving with an alcohol content of 0.08 grams or more per 210 liters of breath, 100 milliliters of blood, or 67 milliliters of urine
  • Driving with an alcohol content of 0.17 grams or more per 210 liters of breath, 100 milliliters of blood, or 67 milliliters of urine if the impaired driver caused an accident resulting in an injury or death

Beginning on October 1, 2018, the allowable blood alcohol content will change. At that point, 0.10 grams per 210 liters of breath, 100 milliliters of blood, or 67 milliliters of urine will be the new definition of DWI.

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