Many people in Michigan already know that if their blood-alcohol concentration is above the legal limit of 0.08%, they can be charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI). However, what they may not know is that there are three drunk driving violations that could lead to an OWI, and there is a separate drunk driving offense, operating while visibly impaired (OWVI), that they could be charged with under other circumstances. It is important to understand what these crimes are, so you can plan an effective defense strategy.

What is an OWVI?

A person could be charged with OWVI if an officer visibly observes that you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, and thus are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. This means that you could be charged with OWVI even if your BAC was below the legal limit or a chemical test was not performed.

What constitutes an OWI?

There are three violations that could lead to charges of OWI. First, a person could be charged with OWI if they are substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol and cannot drive safely. A person can also be charged with OWI if their BAC is above the legal limit, as shown by a chemical test. Finally, a person can be charged with OWI if they have a BAC at or above 0.17%, as shown by a chemical test.

Defending against charges of OWVI and OWI

Being charged with OWVI or OWI in the Grand Rapids area is very serious and could lead to undesirable and long-lasting consequences, including the suspension of your driver’s license, fines, jail time, community service and court-ordered participation in an alcohol treatment program. Thus, it is essential to seek the advice needed to formulate a solid defense strategy that could lead to the reduction of charges or having the charges dropped altogether.