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What is the difference between a OWI, DUI, DWI, OVI, OWVI, OUIL, UBAL, UBAC, etc.
These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as drunk driving. Different states have different names for the crime. For example, in Ohio the charge is known as OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence); in Oregon the offense is known as driving under the influence of an intoxicant or DUII; in New York . Texas and many other states, the charge is known as driving while intoxicated or DWI. Indiana . Illinois and a substantial number of states use the term driving under the influence or DUI. Wisconsin uses the phrase operating while intoxicated or OWI.
Michigan also uses the phrase operating while intoxicated or OWI. Michigan law also refers to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired or OWVI. However, the phrase driving under the influence or DUI is also commonly used in the State of Michigan. [The term OUIL was formerly used in Michigan but was replaced by the term OWI some years back.]
This website uses the terms OWI and DUI interchangeably.
I j ust got arrested for a State of Michigan OWI / DUI offense. What happens next?
ISSUE ONE: The Michigan Implied Consent Proceeding: Your Michigan license (or your right to drive in Michigan if you re not a Michigan license driver) was most likely suspended for anywhere from one to two years if you refused to submit to a breath test. Read your paperwork carefully. If you would like to challenge this implied consent suspension, you must generally file an appeal (hearing request) within 14 days of your arrest ; a hearing will then be scheduled to address you appeal. If you are unsuccessful on you appeal (or if you do not appeal at all), six points with be added to your driving record and the one to two year suspension will be imposed.
ISSUE TWO: The Michigan OWI / OWVI / DUI Criminal Case: Separate from any implied consent suspension is the criminal charge for OWI / DUI.
OWI. In Michigan, it is unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Operating while intoxicated means either that the person is under the influence of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor and a controlled substance or the person has a bodily alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above. [Driving with a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater is sometime referred to as a per se DUI , a per se OWI , or UBAL or UBAC .] An OWI results in six points to your driving record.
Under 21 years of age. If you re under 21, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle while your bodily alcohol content is 0.02 percent or greater. This offense results in four points to your driving record.
OWVI. It is also unlawful for a person to operate a vehicle when, due to the consumption of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor and a controlled substance, the person s ability to operate the vehicle is visibly impaired (OWVI). An OWVI conviction results in four points to your driving record.
Drug Presence. Michigan law also prohibits operating a vehicle if the person has in his or her body any amount of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or cocaine (a Schedule II controlled substance).
Important: The implied consent suspension proceeding and the criminal OWI / DUI case are completely separate from one another.
Will my Michigan driver license be revoked / suspended?
RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE: Your Michigan driver license (or your right to drive in Michigan if you do not have a valid Michigan license) may be suspended in the implied consent suspension for refusing a chemical (breath) test. Again, you may challenge this suspension by filing a hearing request with the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) within 14 days of your arrest. Requesting a hearing will not necessarily overturn the suspension; rather, it provides you with a chance to overturn the suspension.
RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE: If you are convicted of a Michigan OWI / DUI charge. you will lose your license (or your right to drive in Michigan if you don t have a valid Michigan license) for a period of time. You may qualify for a restricted / occupational license for the bulk of your suspension. Talk to your Michigan OWI / DUI lawyer for possible suspension lengths for your situation.
Also keep in mind that your license can be suspended for a variety of reasons unrelated to a OWI / DUI arrest.
I have a Michigan commercial driver license (CDL). How long will my CDL be suspended for a OWI conviction?
For a first OWI conviction in Michigan your CDL will be suspended for one year (regardless of whether you re driving a commercial vehicle). You face a three years suspension if your were transporting hazardous materials at the time of the OWI offense. For a second OWI your CDL will be revoked for at least 10 years.
What happens if I get caught driving while my license is suspended / revoked (DWLS)?
Driving while your license is suspended or revoked (commonly referred to as DWLS) should be avoided as it is a new crime. Potential penalties include a fines, possible jail time, community service, and a lengthening of your suspension by the Secretary of State. If you re on probation for an OWI at the time you receive a DWLS, you will also face a probation violation allegation.
I really need to drive. Will I be able to get a restricted license / occupational license?
A restricted license may be available to you although there may be a waiting period prior to your eligibility. A restricted license allows you to drive: (a) In the course of your employment or occupation; (b) to and from work; alcohol / drug treatment; the probation office; community service; school; and medical treatment. While driving with a restricted license, you must carry proof of your destination and the hours of any employment, class, or other reason for traveling and you must display that proof upon a police officer s request.
Speak to your Michigan DUI lawyer about whether you qualify for a restricted license. Keep in mind that you cannot obtain a restricted license to drive commercial motor vehicles when you have an OWI / DUI related suspension.
Is a OWI / DUI in Michigan a misdemeanor or felony charge?
In Michigan, a DUI is usually a misdemeanor crime. However, if you have a prior offense within the past seven years and you receive a DUI with a passenger under 16 years of age you face a felony offense. Also, a third or greater DUI is a felony offense under Michigan law regardless of the age of the prior offenses. Refer to the table below for more information.
What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Michigan OWI / DUI charge?
There are approximately 45,000 OWI arrests in Michigan each year. Upon conviction of a Michigan OWI offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including alcohol screening / treatment / education as well as a substantial Driver Responsibility Fee. A range of penalties is set forth below:
MICHIGAN DUI / OWI / OWVI PENALTY CHART