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Patrick T. Barone
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Michigan OWI Laws
One thing clients are always very interested in, is knowing exactly how the crime of drunk driving is defined by the law in the state of Michigan. There are three different ways to prove it.
The acronym that we use in Michigan is OWI, which stands for operating while intoxicated. The prosecutor can prove this crime by showing one of three things. The first is OUIL, which means operating under the influence of liquor. The second way is to show that you had an unlawful blood alcohol level. The acronym we use for that is UBAL. There is a third definition which is from the 2003 change in the law, and that is operating under the influence of drugs.
Operating under the influence of drugs is somewhat more complicated because there are two ways to prove that crime. The first is to show that the person had a prescribed drug in their system, something like Benadryl. If they have a prescribed drug in their system and it does cause their ability to operate to be substantially lessoned, then the prosecutor can prove that you are under the influence of drugs. So drugs that were prescribed by your doctor can also cause you to be in jeopardy of the law if it affects your ability to operate the car.
The second way to show that you were operating under the influence of drugs is to show that you have a controlled substance in your system, such as Marijuana or Cocaine. If you have a controlled substance in your system, then it's zero tolerance. This means that the prosecutor does not have to prove that your ability to operate was substantially lessoned.
Going back to the alcohol related crimes, those are OUIL (operating under the influence of liquor), where the prosecutor must prove that your ability to operate was substantially lessoned by the consumption of alcohol. That can be distinguished from the UBAL (unlawful blood alcohol level) crime, because in that crime all the prosecutor needs to show is that at the time you were driving, you had more than .08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of your breath or in your blood. If the prosecutor can prove that, the prosecutor does not need to show that there was any impact on your driving ability.
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