Substance Abuse and Driving
When you drink alcohol, or use other drugs, and drive, you endanger your life, and the lives of your passengers and others on the road. Each year, thousands of people are killed or permanently disabled because someone drove while intoxicated or impaired after consuming alcohol or other chemical substances.
Michigan takes a strong stand against intoxicated and impaired drivers.
Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired is Illegal
Drink or use drugs and drive, and the results can be deadly. In addition to thousands of injuries, several hundred people die every year in Michigan from alcohol and drug-related crashes.
The courts, law enforcement, state and local governments, as well as a number of private agencies, are working together to reduce and prevent the thousands of injuries and deaths that result from drunk driving and drugged driving in Michigan.
Under Michigan law, it is illegal to drive:
- While intoxicated, or impaired, by alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescribed medications.
- With a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or more. (This crime is one of the driving while intoxicated offenses.)
- With a bodily alcohol content of 0.17 or more. (This “High BAC” crime is one of the driving while intoxicated offenses.)
- With any amount of cocaine or a Schedule 1 controlled substance in your body. (For more information about Schedule 1 drugs, see section 7212 of the Michigan Public Health Code; MCL 333.7212.)
Additionally, if you are under age 21, it is also against the law to:
- Drive with a bodily alcohol content of 0.02 or more, or with any presence of alcohol in your body except for that consumed at a generally recognized religious ceremony.
- Buy, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages. You may transport alcohol in a vehicle only when accompanied by someone age 21 or older. If you are stopped by the police, with alcohol in your vehicle, and there is no adult with you, you can be charged with a misdemeanor, whether you are on the road or in a parking lot.
It is best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time, who will stay sober. You can also ask someone else to give you a ride, call a taxi, or use public transportation.
Never ride with anyone who has been drinking or using drugs. If necessary, take away the person’s vehicle keys, and offer him or her a place to sleep. Be sure drivers are completely sober before they get behind the wheel.
Types of Charges
Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) means that because of alcohol or other drugs, your ability to operate a motor vehicle was visibly impaired.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) includes 3 types of violations:
- Alcohol or drugs in your body substantially affected your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
- A bodily alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08. This level can be determined through a chemical test.
- High BAC means the alcohol level in your body was at or above 0.17. This level can be determined through a chemical test.
Operating With Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (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.
Under Age 21 Operating With Any Bodily Alcohol Content (Zero Tolerance) means having a BAC of 0.02 to 0.07, or any presence of alcohol in your body other than alcohol that is consumed at a generally recognized religious ceremony.