When talking about operating while intoxicated in Michigan, much of the focus is normally on alcohol. However, the truth is that an OWI-related arrest can stem from the suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, including not only illegal drugs, but also some prescribed medications.
The Secretary of State website provides a good deal of information related to OWI. Mixed in is information on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs. This information includes the following points to consider:
No. 1: You do not need to appear to be under the influence
If a driver tests positive for even a trace amount of a Schedule 1 drug or cocaine, this can result in an OWPD charge. OWPD stands for operating with any presence of a Schedule 1 drug or cocaine. Even if the driver does not appear to be impaired from the drug, the simple fact that the drug is in someone's system is enough for a charge.
There are a number of Schedule 1 drugs, including Benzethidine and Morpheridine.
No. 2: A prescribed drug can raise a red flag
Everyone's internal system is different. This means that while one medication, like one used for allergies, may not affect one person, it could make someone else very drowsy. Often, drowsy driving can look like drugged or drunk driving, with someone swerving. This can lead to an arrest and subsequent charge.
No. 3: A decision is made within 77 days
The state of Michigan takes drunk and drugged driving accusations very seriously. Within 77 days of an arrest, the courts must decide whether a person is guilty or not. This is less than three months, which is not a lot of time. This is why people are strongly encouraged to reach out to an attorney soon after an arrest.
At Dawid & Gatti, PLLC, we represent those facing OWI-related charges. We look at the entire case to build a strong defense case. Just because someone has been arrested, it does not mean he or she needs to be found guilty.