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OWI Causing Property Damage

OWI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated charges, already carry with them strong penalties if convicted. However, if you’re pulled over after causing an accident, you’ve likely caused property damage to another person and may expect to see additional penalties.

Known colloquially as OWI Causing Property Damage, damaging another person’s car, fence or other property while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime in Michigan.

In the following article, we’ll cover the penalties and causes of an OWI Causing Property Damage charge.

Oakland County OWI Property Damage Lawyer

If you have been arrested for an OWI causing property damage in Michigan, contact Dallo Law, P.C. to obtain competent legal representation. Your freedom depends on your defense attorney’s actions early in the case and the strategy he or she uses throughout the investigation and prosecution.

You have the right to an attorney who will use every resource available to fight for you. Attorney Dallo is prepared to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Reach out to Dallo Law, P.C. at (248) 283-7000 to schedule your first consultation.

Our firm accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Pontiac, Troy, Waterford Township, Oakland Charter Township, Royal Oak, Clarkston, Southfield, and Bloomfield Hills.

Information Center

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What is an OWI Charge?

An OWI charge consists of operating a vehicle with an illegal blood limit (UBAL) or operating a vehicle with a high enough alcohol or drug content to where the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle is significantly affected.

Michigan Penal Code Section 257.625 states a person is “operating while intoxicated” if .08 grams of alcohol is found per:

  • 210 liters of breath;
  • 67 milliliters of urine; or
  • 100 milliliters of blood.

For purposes of Michigan’s OWI statute, the term “intoxicating substance” is defined to include a substance in any form, including but not limited to vapors and fumes, other than food, that was taken into the defendant’s body in any manner, that is used in a manner or for a purpose for which it was not intended, and that may result in a condition of intoxication.

The term “under the influence” is defined to mean the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is affected negatively due to drinking alcohol, using or consuming a controlled substance such as Adderall.

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What is OWI Causing Property Damage

While there is no specific statute regarding property damage, many people are arrested for an OWI after being involved in an accident. After an accident, police will try to determine what happened. If you appear intoxicated, they may require you to complete a field sobriety test and/or a breathalyzer. If you are found to be intoxicated, the chances are high that you will be found at fault and will face OWI charges.

Other modifiers, such as whether another person was injured, if you have a minor in the back seat, and so on, may play into the severity of the charge.

While there are no criminal enhancements associated with OWIs causing property damage, you will be opened up to a civil suit, or tort. If you crash into someone’s business, house or fence, you may be liable for a civil suit.

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Penalties for OWI Causing Property Damage

The following penalties apply for base OWI charges.

  • Community service for more than 60 days
  • A fine of no more $500
  • Imprisonment of no more than 93 days

In addition to the above penalty schedule, drivers may be required to complete sobriety training, face suspended licenses, have their car impounded and be forced to use ignition interlock devices among other penalties.

Additionally, the driver may be required by the court to pay for any property damages. Personal injuries as a result of the property damage can be pursued in a civil court.

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Defenses for OWI Causing Property Damage

Disputing Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Test Results: Challenging the accuracy or reliability of the BAC test results is a common defense. Factors such as improper testing procedures, calibration issues, or medical conditions that may affect the results could be considered.

Questioning Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are subjective, and various factors can influence performance. An attorney might challenge the validity of these tests, arguing that external factors like weather conditions, medical conditions, or improper administration could lead to inaccurate results.

Establishing an Alternative Cause for the Accident: To counter the claim that your intoxication caused the accident, your defense might present evidence suggesting another plausible cause, such as a mechanical failure, adverse road conditions, or the actions of another driver.
This last defense is one of the most critical for a defense attorney. A good lawyer will seek to separate the OWI from the accident.

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Additional Resources

Cases, Opinions & Orders | Michigan Courts – Visit the official website of Michigan’s judicial branch to access current orders, review cases, and research court opinions.

Sobriety Court – Visit the official website for the Oakland County sobriety court. The sobriety court is a specialized docket designed to address the problem posed by repeat drunk drivers. It offers sobriety programs and is supported by organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Parents of Mudered Children and The Traffic Improvement Association.

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Hire an OWI Property Damage Defense Attorney in Oakland County

If you have been arrested for an OWI causing property damage, your future and freedom are at stake.

Attorney J. Dallo at Dallo Law, P.C. is uniquely qualified to represent you in any case of murder. With our firm representing you, you will have the best possible chance at minimizing the penalties if not beating the criminal charges altogether. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to set up your first consultation.

Dallo Law, P.C. has offices located in Bloomfield Hills, and accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area.