Operating While Visibly Impaired
Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) is usually a lesser offense of drunk driving in Michigan, and is usually used for plea bargaining purposes, or a jury may convict on this charge rather than a higher charge. Visibly impaired is similar to "under the influence" but has a lower standard to prove. In order to show an "operator was visibly impaired, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant's ability to operate was so weakened or reduced by the consumption of alcohol, controlled substances, or a combination of these that the operation was with less care than that used by an ordinary, careful and prudent driver". This weakening or reduction of the ability to operate must be visible to an ordinary, observant person.
A key point to the OWVI charge is a jury cannot presume the driver's ability to operate was lessened because of an alcohol test result. Like "under the influence" each drunk driving case is fact specific with strengths and weaknesses; your attorney will highlight factors that tend to show that you were not visibly impaired while driving. Some factors may include the lack of bad driving, cooperation with the police, performing well on field sobriety tests.
Remember, it is always the prosecutions burden to prove this element, but they will only highlight the negative factors to gain a conviction; your attorney must even out the playing field and tell the complete story.
Here is the possible punishment for Operating While Visibly Impaired:
- Up to a $300 fine, and one or more of the following:
- Up to 93 days in jail.
- Up to 360 hours of community service.
- Driver's license restrictions for 90 days (180 days if impaired by a controlled substance).
- Possible vehicle immobilization.
- 4 points added to the offender's Michigan driving record.
- Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years.
A Operating While Visibly Impaired in Michigan is similar to a straight Operating While Intoxicated, except the license sanctions are a lot more favorable. For an impaired offense there is no hard suspension, and the restrictions are only 90 days; the points and fines are also lower than the more serious offense.
If you've been charged with Operating While Visibly Impaired in Michigan, I want you to call me and tell me the facts of your case. I will want to know the answer to these questions:
- Why were you stopped by the police?
- Did you admit to drinking alcohol?
- How much did you actually have to drink?
- Did you perform field sobriety tests?
- Did you do a PBT? If so, were you informed of your rights?
- What sort of chemical test did you take? Blood? DataMaster?
- Did the police officer read you your rights, and did the officer wait 15 minutes before giving you the test?
Once I have those answers, I will give you a preliminary game plan for your case, but we're not done. We need to order the police reports, DataMaster logs, videos and audio from your incident. My first approach will be to DEFEAT your case with a dismissal or a not guilty verdict. I will also explore other options such as reductions to non-drunk driving offenses like Careless Driving.
You will know where you stands on the strengths and weaknesses of all possible defenses, and the best possible plea deal from the prosecutor. From there I will tell you as a former prosecutor what my advice would be for going forward with a trial, or whether or not you should consider the best plea offer. Ultimately you will make that decision with my guidance. I look forward to helping you. Call me now at 248-924-9458, and let me know your goals, and how I can help achieve those. Because my services are in such high demand, I only take on a limited number of cases each month. If I don't have room to take your case, I would be happy to suggest another good attorney.
DUI Attorney & Former Prosecutor Jonathan Paul