3 Factors That Can Worsen an OWI Charge – Insights from a Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Attorney

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2016 | Drunk Driving |

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Any form of impaired driving is a serious offense. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Michigan has several laws related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These include:

  • Operating while Visibly Impaired (OWVI);
  • Operating while Intoxicated (OWI);
  • And Operating with Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD).

Each of these offenses carries different penalties, which may include a fine, time behind bars, vehicle immobilization, installment of an ignition interlock device, a license suspension and other consequences. There are certain factors that can make an OWVI, OWI or OWPD charge worse. For example, if your intoxicated driving injures another person, then the penalties may be more severe. If police arrested you for drunk or drugged driving in Michigan, contact Gordon & Hess, PLC. A criminal defense attorney in Grand Rapids can evaluate your charges and aggressively fight for a positive outcome to your case. Call 616-369-7452 to schedule a free consultation. You can also visit www.USAttorneys.com to learn more about Michigan criminal law. Here are three factors that can aggravate OWI charges:

  1. Vehicular Assault

If your impaired driving causes an accident that injures someone, then you may face vehicular assault charges. These charges often involve a serious bodily injury such as the loss of body parts, disfigurement, permanent damage to organs, or increased risk of death. This is a felony charge, and a conviction will likely come with time behind bars and an expensive fine.

  1. Vehicular Manslaughter

If your impaired driving kills another person, then you may face vehicular manslaughter charges. This does not require that you killed the person intentionally. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, vehicular manslaughter is a second-degree felony, and a conviction could come with up to 20 years in prison. The fine could cost you $10,000, and the victim’s family may sue you for damages.

  1. Children in the Vehicle

If Michigan police arrest you for OWI while you are transporting a child younger than 16, then you may face child endangerment charges. A first offense is a misdemeanor, according to Michigan Penal Code Section 257.625. A conviction could come with up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, a driver’s license suspension and other penalties. If you commit OWI child endangerment within seven years of a previous OWI offense, then you may face up to five years in jail if convicted. The fine could reach $5,000. Michigan has a Zero Tolerance policy for drivers younger than 21. If an underage driver commits OWI while transporting a child younger than 16, he or she may face up to 93 days in jail, as well as community service and a $500 fine. Every OWI charge is a serious matter – even if it is your first offense. A Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney from Gordon & Hess, PLC can structure your defense and help you avoid mistakes that could compromise your interests. We offer 30 years of combined experience representing clients throughout west Michigan. Call 616-369-7452 today to schedule a consultation.