In this article, we’ll look at the most common DUI, or Drunk Driving charges in Michigan. This is the third in a series of “Short Version” articles taken from a longer, prior Blog post. We’ll examine the most common terms used when discussing Drunk Driving in Michigan. As a DUI Lawyer, I am often asked about the “alphabet soup” of terms that surround this group of Charges. Let’s get right to it:
OWI is the actual name for DUI or Drunk Driving in Michigan. It means Operating While Intoxicated. This offense carries 6 points, a mandatory 6-month suspension of the Driver’s License (with a restricted license that is granted after the first 30 days of no driving), and carries fine of up to $500, plus Court Costs. This usually means a person will be paying somewhere between $700 to $1500 in total fines and costs, depending on which Court is handling the case.
OWVI, or Impaired Driving, is the term for the less-severe form of Drunk Driving or Operating Under the Influence of Drugs (OUID), which is discussed below. This charge carries 4 points, a 90 day restriction of the Driver’s License, a fine of up to $300, plus Court Costs. As the Lawyer representing a person charged with OWI, I will, if the case against them is “solid,” negotiate, a “Plea Bargain” from OWI (or OUID) to the less-severe charge of Impaired Driving. The total final amount a Driver will pay to the Court ranges from between $600 to $1100, again, depending on where the case is being heard.
OUID, or Operating Under the Influence of Drugs, is just like OWI, except that instead of being under the influence of Alcohol, the Driver is under the influence of Drugs. The less-severe form of this charge is the very same OWVI, or Impaired Driving that is examined above.
OWPD stands for Operating While In the Presence of Drugs. Cases brought under this law are, fortunately, not so common. What it means is that if a Driver tests positive for Drugs in their system, then they are “OWPD.” There is no need to prove that they were under the influence of those drugs. For example, a person who tests positive for marijuana, and who used it 3 weeks before that test, although clearly no longer under its influence, can be charged with OWPD merely because of that positive test result.
Of course, the consequences for any of these Offenses ramps up dramatically if it is charged as a 2nd or 3rd Offense. Generally speaking, 3rd Offenses are Felonies.
OUIL, UBAL and UBAC are all terms that are no longer part of Michigan law (UBAC never was).
DUI is a general term used to describe Drunk Driving, even though there is no law entitled or addressing “DUI” in Michigan. The term is means “Driving under the Influence,” although as you can see even from the brief description of Michigan’s laws as outlined above, one might be tempted to ask “driving under the influence of what?” Michigan law makes very clear whether the Charge involves Alcohol, and if so, whether the Driver was “drunk” or merely “impaired,” or if the charge instead refers to being under the influence of, or being impaired by the use of Drugs.
A more thorough review of the potential penalties a Driver faces in any of these charges is laid out in the “Common Charges and Penalties” page of my website.