According to the Michigan Department of State, it is unlawful in Michigan to drive while under the influence of alcohol. It is also unlawful to drive while under the influence of a Schedule I controlled substance. Schedule I controlled substances include many different narcotics and drugs, including cannabis.
Understanding the consequences of drugged driving is of vital importance. Not only do you need to know about the legal consequences, but you also need to consider recent data showing the risk of accidents may increase if you are on drugs while behind the wheel. Causing a collision while driving under the influence of drugs could result in serious felony charges and potentially a very lengthy prison sentence.
There are several types of violations which a person could be charged with for driving while impaired in Michigan. You could be charged for Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI), which would mean you were charged since the drugs or alcohol in your system made it obvious you couldn't drive safely.
You could also be charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) if you have a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08 as determined by a chemical test or if you have drugs or alcohol in your body which "substantially affected your ability to operate a motor vehicle."
Finally you could be charged with Operating with Any Presence of a Schedule I Drug or Cocaine (OWPD). The Michigan Department of state indicates OWPD "means having even a small trace of these drugs in your body, even if you do not appear to be intoxicated or impaired. This can be determined through a chemical test."
Because of the OWPD law, you can actually be charged with a crime just because you had some amount of drugs in your system, despite the fact you were not actually showing any signs of impairment at the time when you were driving. You can also be charged for OWVI and OWI if a law enforcement officer subjectively believes you appear to be intoxicated by drugs. This can result in unfair outcomes, as you may not actually have your driving affected in any way but could still find yourself facing serious criminal charges.
Unfortunately, the chances of criminal consequences are likely to increase because of increasing concerns about drugged driving. USA Today reported recently that regulators are concerned about a recent spate of deaths involving drugged drivers. Although the researchers have indicated the link between drugged driving and fatal accidents isn't as severe or clear cut as the link between drunk driving and fatal accidents, the fact there is increasing concern can result in crackdowns in which more people face arrest. If you are arrested and charged, you need to know what your rights are and make sure you make smart choices to defend your future.