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 motor vehicle accidents. If a police officer thinks you are driving in an impaired manner, you will 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 is a very serious offense to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Michigan, and there will be strong consequences for those convicted.


What is Impaired Driving?


Impaired driving is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You do not have to cause an accident or drive “badly” for it to be convicted of impaired driving. If drugs or alcohol are in your system while you are behind the wheel, that is enough for you to face criminal penalties.


Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 drugs are not permitted while you are driving. On this list are drugs such as Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, Meth and Cocaine. It does not matter how you obtained the drug, all Schedule 1 and 2 drugs are illegal behind the wheel no matter what. Even a prescription drug can get you arrested if you are using it while driving, depending on the drug. Just to repeat, if 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 that impair your driving in your system, they can request a search warrant to have a blood test. In most cases, this occurs 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 are in an accident and an officer believes you had drugs in your system.


Alternatively, if you are hospitalized after an accident, many hospitals will 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.  


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 were not driving a car. Other vehicles that are illegal to drive under the influence of drugs include: boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, riding lawn mowers, and bicycles.


Drugged Driving Resulting in Death


Drugged driving on its own brings serious consequences, but a drugged driving accident that results in the death of an individual is exponentially more serious. Michigan law explicitly spells out the consequences of drugged driving resulting in death. An individual who kills another 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 the person has been charged with this crime, or a similar one, in the past. You could also be charged as a habitual offender if, for example, you have been convicted of drugged driving twice or more in the last ten years. Habitual offender status would apply to you with any felong convictions on your record during the last 10 years.


Habitual offenders will face increased penalties from the court and sanctions from the Secretary of State. These may include points on a driver’s license, driver’s responsibility fees, 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. Technically, it is illegal to drive with a Schedule 1 drug in the user’s body, and marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug. Under the law, it doesn’t matter whether or not the driver is impaired – it is illegal just to have a Schedule 1 drug in their system.


Luckily, a marijuana user does not 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 at the marijuana is legal.


It is important to keep in mind that, while medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. To legally use marijuana in Michigan, you must follow the strict rules of the MMMA.


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.


The Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court publish new cases regularly on medical marijuana, so it is important to keep up-to-date. 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 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 hire the best defense attorney you can afford.


Our attorneys here at The Kronzek Firm have extensive experience successfully representing those facing drugged driving  and drunk driving charges. You have a lot on the line and we are 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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