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In the state of Michigan there are three specific drunk driving offenses that can be prosecuted. The first is called O.W.I., or "Operating While Intoxicated". The second is referred to as driving with an unlawful bodily alcohol level/content (UBAL/UBAC). The last is dubbed an OWVI, or operating while visibly impaired.

What exactly is the difference between these three seemingly similar offenses?

OMVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired)

An OWVI is the least grave charge of the three. In a case such as this, the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person in question was (1) driving his/her motor vehicle and was doing so (2) while alcohol undermined his/her capacity to drive an automobile. These standards are relatively low and their existence is determined by a police officer's judgment. Therefore, they are more a matter of police opinion than anything specifically scientific. Read more about driving patterns in your DUI case.

UBAC/UBAL (Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content/Level)

In a UBAC case, the prosecutor has to prove two things: First, that the alleged transgressor was the operator of the vehicle during the time in question. Second, that the driver possessed a blood alcohol content (BAC) which exceeded a level of 0.08% while operating a motor vehicle. Read more about Attacking DUI Breath Tests.

OWI (Operating While Intoxicated)

The OWI offense requires the prosecutor to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle. Second, they must demonstrate that the defendant was under the influence of a controlled substance and/or alcohol while driving. The prosecutor bears the burden of demonstrating that the operation of the vehicle was substantially affected by the consumption of those substances.

Anyone can be prosecuted for the above mentioned offenses if they meet the threshold for intoxicated driving. The legal limit in Michigan is .08%. Over and above the ordinary drunk driving laws, persons under 21 are held to an even stricter standard: there is virtually no legal limit for underage persons who drive with alcohol in their system. There are a number of Michigan traffic laws that affect people under the legal drinking age. Each and every instance of intoxicated driving should be reviewed by a qualified Michigan OWI lawyer. Call Attorney Joseph Awad at (877) MY CRIME to learn more about how to address your particular situation.

It's critical to remember that the State has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the crimes alleged. This places the "burden of proof" on the accuser, rather than on the accused. This is what differentiates the US justice system from others systems throughout the world. In America, a person, is "innocent until proven guilty," not guilty until proven innocent. This is intended to discourage abuses of power in the legal system and ensures that convictions don't happen haphazardly.

Continue reading about Michigan DUI penalties for OWI/OMVI/UBAC charges.

Some further information:

Michigan Department of State
Alcohol / Drug Offense Information
Appeal Processes for Restoring Your Driver's License
CDL (Commercial) Drivers – Alcohol Penalties
Driver License Hearing Request
Driver Assessment and License Appeal Offices
Drunk Driving Standard

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The Law Office of Joseph F. Awad is Michigan's Premier Drunk Driving Defenders.

The Law Office of Joseph F. Awad, P.C. specializes in Criminal Defense of Michigan Drunk Driving OWI OUIL DUI Charges. Aggressive and Experienced, Attorney Awad will fight for your rights.

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If you are facing a drunk driving charge, get a FREE consultation for your case. The firm offers statewide representation. You can also contact us by visiting our Farmington Hills Office:

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26677 W. Twelve Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48034