Throughout most of the United States, drunk driving offenses are charged as “driving under the influence,” or DUI, or “driving while intoxicated,” or DWI. In Michigan and a few other states, this offense is charged as “operating while intoxicated,” or OWI. Although the terminology is different, the charge is the same: a driver allegedly drove while his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08 percent or higher.
Not all OWI charges are the same. Beyond operating a motor vehicle while one’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, related charges include:
When an individual is arrested for OWI, he or she faces administrative penalties separate from the criminal penalties he or she might faces. These administrative penalties are:
For a driver’s first OWI conviction with a BAC below 0.17 percent:
If the driver’s BAC was 0.17 percent or higher at the time of his or her first OWI, he or she faces a year-long driver’s license suspension, six points on his or her driver’s license, a mandatory alcohol education course, and an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle after a 45-day driver’s license suspension. For a driver’s second OWI conviction, the driver may have his or her license revoked for one year.
Additionally, a driver faces criminal penalties for an OWI conviction. The penalties he or she faces depend on his or her BAC at the time of his or her arrest and whether he or she has previous OWI convictions on his or her record within the past seven years. Criminal penalties can include:
A driver convicted of OWI can also be required to complete an alcohol education course or have an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle while he or she is on probation.
If you have been charged with OWI, you can fight the charge to potentially have it lowered or dismissed. To get started on your legal defense strategy with Nickola Law, contact our team of experienced OWI defense lawyers to set up your free legal consultation with us. During your consultation, we will answer your questions and work with you to develop an effective legal defense strategy.
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