Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving Ann Arbor

Prescription medications and OWI charges in Michigan

While most states refer to impaired driving as either a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated), Michigan refers to drunk or drugged driving charges as an OWI: operating while intoxicated. Like most states, Michigan sets its blood alcohol level at 0.08 percent. This means it is relatively simple to determine alcohol intoxication under the law in Michigan. However, the law for OWI charges also includes those who are determined to be impaired while under the influence of street drugs or even prescription medication.

Mind-altering drugs include many prescription medications

According to the state of Michigan, many legal prescription medications can impact your driving and result in an OWI charge. Although you may have a tolerance to the medication and feel comfortable driving while taking it, it is possible for you to be charged with an OWI if you inform law enforcement of your prescription during a traffic stop. From opiate and opioid painkillers to over the counter medications like antihistamines, many of them could pose a risk of impairment. It will be up to the officer to decide if you appear impaired and if the medication is a likely cause.

Medical marijuana patients can also face OWI charges

Because there is no simple test to determine marijuana impairment, law enforcement will often arrest and charge anyone who tests positive for marijuana during a roadside stop. Typically, this testing relies on saliva swabs for an immediate confirmation of the presence of marijuana in the body. Unlike urine tests, it will only show use in the last day or two. The results, while quick enough to be administered in a roadside stop, are generally not considered useful by courts. This means a secondary test, such as a urine test, may be administered after your arrest.

If you were exposed in a social situation via second hand smoke or by kissing someone using marijuana, you could test positive for marijuana without ever directly consuming it.

An experienced attorney can help

Maybe you were stopped because you swerved to avoid a pothole. Later in the stop, you admitted to ingesting certain medications, and now you are facing serious OWI charges. Whatever the reason for facing an OWI for a legal prescription medication, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. The initial consultation with an attorney is free, and they can provide you invaluable insight. An OWI conviction can drastically alter the course of your life in just a few minutes.

From reviewing the details of your medical issue to what happened during and after the traffic stop, they can determine what your best defense may be. It's possible the evidence against you won't hold up in court. Did law enforcement violate your civil rights or employ bad science? An attorney will be able to go to the courts to ask for evidence to be withheld or charges thrown out. Don't gamble with your future. Call an experienced OWI defense attorney as soon as you have been arrested or charged!