Michigan Criminal Attorney Paul J. Tafelski Explains The Difference Between An OWI And OWVI
Michigan criminal attorney Paul J. Tafelski discusses the difference between OWI and OWVI in a new blog post (https://www.michigandefenselaw.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-a-michigan-owi-and-owvi/). The lawyer mentions that in most states, DUI is the term used to describe the law that prohibits someone from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, a slightly different term is used to describe DUI.
According to the Michigan DUI attorney Paul J. Tafelski, “The first, and most common impaired driving offense, is called operating while intoxicated (OWI). The term OWI is broadly used to describe when a motorist is under the influence of “alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance,” or a combination of these substances.”
The drunk driving lawyer also adds that in order to prove that someone committed an OWI offense, the prosecutor should be able to prove that the substance - like drugs or alcohol - was actually in the defendant’s system. In order for the prosecutors to prove that the defendant committed an OWI or OWVI offense, the defendant will have to undergo a chemical test.
In the blog post, the lawyer mentions that for alcohol OWIs, the BAC or blood-alcohol content should be 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood. There are also cases where chemical tests are not available, or if the driver’s BAC is less than 0.08. In such situations, Michigan lawmakers allow prosecutors to pursue a charge called operating while visibly impaired (OWVI). OWVI is similar to OWI except that there’s no need to prove an exact BAC.
Aside from the aforementioned, the attorney adds that the maximum punishments for a first-time OWI and first-time OWVI are very similar. This includes a punishment of up to 93 days in jail, up to 45 days of community service, and fines of up to $500 for OWI and up to $300 for OWVI.
Attorney Paul J. Tafelski says, “While it may sound like the legal differences between an OWI and an OWVI are slight, that is not necessarily the case when it comes to the effect a conviction for either has on a driver’s record. An OWI charge is generally seen as more serious, and may result in the court requiring a defendant to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.”
Lastly, the criminal lawyer emphasizes how important it is to seek the help of an experienced criminal attorney if someone has been arrested or charged with OWI or OWVI. Having a skilled lawyer may be helpful for the defendant to understand their rights.
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Paul J. Tafelski
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