Drugged Driving: Operating Under the Influence of Intoxicants

What does Drugged Driving mean in Michigan?

Drugged Driving means driving under the influence of drugs. (OUID). Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is known to impair driving, and often leads to serious car crashes. If a police officer thinks you’re driving in an impaired manner, you’ll likely face charges of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI), or perhaps Operating Under the Influence of Drugs (OUID).

All of these are the same as being charged with drunk driving. It’s a very serious offense to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Michigan, and there will be strong consequences for anyone convicted.

What is Impaired Driving?

Impaired driving is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You don’t have to cause a crash or drive “badly” for it to count as impaired driving. If there are drugs or alcohol in your system while you’re behind the wheel, that’s enough for you to face criminal penalties.

Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 drugs aren’t allowed while you’re driving. This list includes drugs like Heroin, LSD, Meth and Cocaine. It doesn’t matter how you got the drug, all Schedule 1 and 2 drugs are illegal behind the wheel, no matter what. Even certain prescription drugs can get you arrested if you’re using it while driving. So remember, if ANY drug (even a prescription drug) impairs your ability to drive, you can be convicted for drugged driving or OUID.

If a police officer has probable cause to suspect that you may have drugs in your system, they can request a search warrant to have a blood test. In most cases, this happens when the officer sees signs of drug use after pulling you over for suspected drunk driving. You may also have a blood test warrant when you’re in an accident and an officer believes you had drugs in your system.

Alternatively, if you’re hospitalized after an accident, many hospitals automatically draw your blood to see if there are any drugs in your system.

Any of these blood test results can be used against you in court to prove that you had drugs in your system while you were driving.  

Marijuana May be Legal, But Drugged Driving Isn’t!

Another thing you need to remember is that even although marijuana has been legalized in Michigan, drugged driving is still against the law! If you’re under the influence of marijuana, you can be pulled over and charged with a crime, just as if you were driving drunk.

Also, it’s important to remember that even although the state of Michigan has passed a law saying that adults over the age of 21 can use weed for recreational purposes, it’s still illegal under federal law. So while driving under the influence of marijuana might get you into trouble for Operating While Intoxicated under Michigan law, the charges will be so much worse if you get busted by the feds!

What if I Wasn’t Driving a Car?

Just like drunk driving, it is possible to be convicted for drugged driving, or operating under the influence of drugs (OUID) even if you weren’t driving a car. Other vehicles that are illegal to drive under the influence of drugs include: boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, and riding lawn mowers.

Drugged Driving Resulting in Death

Drugged driving on its own brings serious consequences, but a drugged driving accident that results in a death is much more serious! Michigan law explicitly spells out the consequences of drugged driving resulting in death. Anyone who kills another person while drugged driving will likely face felony charges with up to 15 years in prison, a fine of $2,500 to $10,000, or both. They may also face vehicle forfeiture or immobilization.

Even worse is a drugged or intoxicated driver that kills a firefighter, police officer, or other emergency responder parked on the side of the road with their lights activated. This crime could lead to felony charges with imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine of $2,500 to $10,000, or both. Again, this person may also face vehicle forfeiture or immobilization.

Just like with any other drunk or drugged driving charge, the penalties may increase if you were charged with this crime, or a similar one, in the past. You could also be charged as a habitual offender if, for example, you’ve been convicted of drugged driving twice or more in the last ten years. Habitual offender status would apply to you with any felony convictions on your record during the last 10 years.

Habitual offenders face increased penalties from the court, and sanctions from the Secretary of State. These can include points on your driver’s license,  and license restrictions, suspension or revocation.

Drugged Driving and Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana can sometimes complicate drugged driving laws. Under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. What’s complicated is that marijuana can stay in the user’s system for a month. 

Luckily, a marijuana user doesn’t have to wait an entire month for the drug to leave their body so that they can drive. Now, medical marijuana users can drive with the marijuana metabolite in their body.

It is still illegal for them to drive with the active marijuana ingredient in their body.  In other words, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, but it is not illegal to drive with the residue of marijuana in the user’s system – so long as the marijuana is legal.

Is also important to remember that marijuana laws are mutable and constantly changing.  Though we regularly update our webpages on medical marijuana law, you should not rely on this site or any other website for legal advice. You should rely on advice that you get directly and personally from an experienced criminal attorney and not rely on web site information.

Your Drugged Driving Attorneys

A drugged driving conviction is very serious and has the potential to change your life forever. In court, drunk and drugged drivers are seen as criminals. Courts and judges have little patience for drugged driving. Because of this, if you believe you’re facing a drugged driving conviction, you should immediately hire the best defense attorney you can afford.

Our attorneys here at The Kronzek Firm have extensive experience successfully representing those facing drugged and drunk driving charges. You have a lot on the line, and we’re ready to help give you some peace of mind.

We regularly defend drugged driving criminal cases in Livingston County, Ingham County, Oakland County, Eaton County, Kent County, Clinton County, Isabella County, Jackson County, Ionia, Barry County, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and throughout the lower peninsula of Michigan. Call our trusted criminal defense team today and we can offer you a free initial consultation. Call 1-(866)-7-NoJail today!

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