As summer winds down and students head back to school this fall, East Lansing
and surrounding areas can expect crowded bars and a lively night life.
Of course, if alcohol consumption figures into your plans for the night,
transportation to and from bars, clubs or restaurants is vitally important
to ensuring a safe night out. Most everyone has seen the campaigns against
driving while drunk, and the stigma of an
OWI conviction carries severe penalties and consequences for those who are
caught by law enforcement. Learn what an OWI is and how to prevent it,
as well as the potential consequences of an OWI conviction.
What is an OWI?
OWI stands for Operating While Intoxicated and is identical to the more
well-known charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). OWI is the more
widely used term in the state of Michigan. Whether you have committed
an OWI depends on a few factors, but the charge will mostly depend on
you Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).
For minors, or those under the age of 21, there is a zero-tolerance rule
in place. This means that if a minor has more than a 0.02% BAC, then the
minor is committing an OWI. For those over the age of 21, anything at
or above a 0.08% BAC will potentially result in an OWI charge.
Unfortunately, there is no sure way to measure whether you are safe to
drive prior to getting behind the wheel without a chemical test. In general,
BAC will vary between individuals based on: (1) amount and type of alcohol
consumed; (2) how long someone has been consuming alcohol; and (3) the
weight, height, and gender of the individual.
Can I refuse a field sobriety test or preliminary breath test?
A field sobriety test or preliminary breath test is typically done prior
to arrest in order to establish probable cause that an individual has
been drinking. When stopped by a police officer, refusal to take the field
sobriety test can result in a fine or jail time and if driving when requested
to take a preliminary breath test, will likely result in an additional
automatic one year suspension of one’s driver’s license. If
law enforcement finds that there is a reason to believe that an individual
has been drinking alcohol or is otherwise intoxicated, they can be charged
with an OWI
What are the consequences of an OWI conviction?
In general, first time offenders will most likely face fines, counseling,
mandatory attendance at alcohol awareness program,and community service,
as well as required attendance in Alcoholics Anonymous. Generally, repeat
offenders will face more serious consequences. However, any OWI, whether
a first offense or not, can lead to potential jail time or even the loss
of one’s driver’s license.
Put simply, an OWI is a serious offense. It has a wide-range of far reaching
consequences that are not just limited to those within the court system.
One’s employment, scholarships, and automobile insurance rates might
be in jeopardy as a result of an OWI conviction. If you plan on attending
professional schools (for example, law school, medical school, or nursing
school), you could be denied admission based on your conviction. Furthermore,
you must always check the “yes” box on job applications when
asked about convictions. Lastly, for non-citizens residing in the United
States, naturalization can be denied. An individual who is not a U.S.
citizen might also be deported or have their green card or visa denied
Avoiding or mitigating the consequences of an OWI charge is important to
your future. If you find that you are in trouble, contact the experienced
Okemos criminal defense attorneys at White Law PLLC. Your future is important
– don’t let one mistake ruin your future.
Contact us today.
We’re Experienced. We Care.
We Exceed Client Expectations.