In Michigan, driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense. A driver can be arrested and charged with crimes related to driving under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol. Understanding the laws related to operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or with drugs present in your system can help protect you from being charged and convicted of these offenses.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Michigan
In Michigan, driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID, is a serious offense. If convicted, you could face incarceration, fines, probation, and/or have your license suspended. Many people make the mistake of operating under the belief that, as long as they are not taking illegal or street drugs, they are not violating the law. In Michigan, the law does not distinguish between prescription and non-prescription drugs for purposes of DUID. In other words, just because you were under the influence of medication that was legally prescribed by a physician does not mean that you are immune from DUID charges or that you cannot be convicted of DUID.
Most people realize that driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08 percent (0.02 if under the age of 21) is a crime. However, Michigan law also makes it illegal to drive:
- While intoxicated or impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescribed medications.
- With any amount of cocaine or a schedule 1 controlled substance in your body.
In essence, this means that while driving with what most people consider serious drugs in your system is clearly illegal, drugs that are prescribed by a physician that impair your ability to drive can also result in an arrest for DUID in Michigan.
Operating with the Presence of Drugs in Michigan
Under the laws of Michigan, you can also be charged with the crime of operating with the presence of drugs, or OWPD. Under this statute, you can be convicted of a criminal offense if you are driving with the presence of any illicit drug in your system. The state does not have to prove that your driving was impaired in any way, that you were “high” or that the drugs affected you at all in order to convict you. It is important to note that medical marijuana is included as an illicit drug for purposes of the OWPD offense. Even if you have a valid prescription for medical marijuana, you could still be charged and convicted of OWPD in Michigan.
Penalties for DUID or OWPD in Michigan
If you are convicted of either DUID or OWPD, it can seriously impact your life for many years to come. Both DUID and OWPD are considered in the same category as drunk driving offenses. A first-time offender could face a brief period of incarceration, up to a $500 fine, community service work, a period of probation, a license suspension followed by license restrictions and points against your license. In addition, your insurance rates will likely go up and a conviction could affect your ability to seek employment or could impact the job you already have if driving is part of your duties.
For a second or subsequent offender, the potential penalties can be significantly more serious, including destruction of your license plate and immobilization of the vehicle registration for your car or truck upon your arrest. If convicted, you could be required to install, at your expense, an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and could face a lengthy period of incarceration, and/or probation as well as hefty fines.