Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) is when a person has consumed alcohol, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance and it’s resulted in the driver’s impaired ability to see as they operate the motor vehicle. An OWVI is incredibly similar to an operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) charge as they both share similar penalties and include driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Michigan prosecutors created the charge for offenders whose level of intoxication doesn’t suffice to establish OWI, but the offender still presents a danger to the public because “their ability to operate a vehicle is visibly impaired.”
In other words, to prove that the defendant operated while visibly impaired, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Due to the drinking of alcohol or consumption of a controlled substance, the defendant drove with less ability than would an ordinary careful drive; and
- The defendant’s driving ability must have been lessened to the point that it would have been noticed by another person.
OWVI Attorney in Oakland County, Michigan
It might be tempting to disregard OWVI charges as they aren’t explicitly OWI, but it’s important you don’t waste a moment when building your defense to OWVI charges. The penalties for OWVI are exactly the same as OWI, so that means you could face imprisonment and expensive fines that could drain your pockets. Instead of fighting these charges alone gain experienced legal representation with a special focus in OWI/OWVI cases on your side.
Dallo of Dallo Law, P.C. has represented clients accused of OWVI, OWI, OWPD and other alcohol related offenses for years. He has the practice, knowledge, and resources needed to fight your case. Plus, his fighting spirit both in and out of the courtroom drives Mr. Dallo to investigate every legal route your case can take to ensure you get the best result possible.
Call Dallo Law, P.C. now at (248) 283-7000 to set up your first consultation for free with criminal defense attorney J. Dallo. Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Pontiac, Bloomfield Hills, Waterford Township, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield Township, Warren, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Bloomfield Hills, New Baltimore, Romeo, Fraser and Eastpointe.
- Factors in Considering OWI and OWVI
- Consuming Alcohol After Driving Before Testing
- The Purpose of the OWVI Statute
- Additional Resources
Factors in Considering OWI and OWVI
When considering whether the defendant was OWI or OWVI, the standard jury instruction in Michigan instruct the jury to think about the following:
- What was the mental and physical condition of the defendant at the time that [he / she] was operating the motor vehicle?
- Were the defendant’s reflexes, ability to see, way of walking and talking, manner of driving, and judgment normal?
- If there was evidence that any of these things seemed abnormal, was this caused by [drinking alcohol / using or consuming a controlled substance / using or consuming an intoxicating substance / using or consuming a combination of (alcohol / a controlled substance / an intoxicating substance)?
- You may also consider bodily alcohol content in reaching your verdict.
- In that regard, [was / were] the test(s) technically accurate?
- Was the equipment properly assembled and maintained and in good working order when the test(s) [was / were] given?
- Were the test results reliable? Was the test given correctly?
- Was the person who gave it properly trained?
- Did the circumstances under which the test was given affect the accuracy of the results?
- One way to determine whether a person is intoxicated is to measure how much alcohol is in [his / her] [blood / breath / urine].
- There was evidence in this trial that a test was given to the defendant. The purpose of this test is to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s [blood / breath / urine].
- If you find:
- That there were 0.17 grams or more of alcohol [per 100 milliliters of blood / per 210 liters of breath / per 67 milliliters of urine] when [he / she] operated the vehicle, you may find that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle with a high bodily alcohol content, whether or not it affected the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.
- That there were 0.08 grams or more of alcohol [per 100 milliliters of blood / per 210 liters of breath / per 67 milliliters of urine] when [he / she] operated the vehicle, you may find the defendant guilty of operating a motor vehicle with an unlawful bodily alcohol content, whether or not this alcohol content affected the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.
- You may infer that the defendant’s bodily alcohol content at the time of the test was the same as [his / her] bodily alcohol content at the time [he / she] operated the motor vehicle.
- In considering the evidence and arriving at your verdict, you may give the test whatever weight you believe that it deserves. The results of a test are just one factor you may consider, along with all other evidence about the condition of the defendant at the time [he / she] was operating the motor vehicle.
Consuming Alcohol After Driving But Before Testing
What happens if you had something to drink after driving but before testing? In those cases, the model jury instructions instruct the court to add the following language to paragraph (6):
“However, you have heard evidence that the defendant consumed alcohol after driving but before the [blood / breath / urine] test was administered. You may consider this evidence in determining whether to infer that the defendant’s bodily alcohol content at the time of the test was the same as [his / her] bodily alcohol content at the time that [he / she] operated the motor vehicle.”
To convict a defendant of OWVI under MCL 257.625(3), the courts have required the prosecution to present evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that consumption of alcohol weakened or reduced the defendant’s ability to drive such that the defendant drove with less ability than would an ordinary, careful, and prudent driver. People v Lambert, 395 Mich 296, 305; 235 NW2d 338 (1975).
Additionally, the prosecution must establish that the defendant’s impaired ability to drive was “‘visible to an ordinary, observant person.'” Id.
The Purpose of the OWVI Statute
The Michigan Legislature created the offense of OWVI under MCL 257.625(3) to address those situations in which a defendant’s level of intoxication and resulting impairment does not suffice to establish OWI, yet the defendant still presents a danger to the public because his or her “ability to operate the vehicle is visibly impaired.” People v. Mikulen, 324 Mich. App. 14, 26, 919 N.W.2d 454, 462 (2018).
For these reasons, the prosecutor is not necessarily required to show that the defendant was operating his vehicle in a drunken or impaired manner. Id.
OWVI Laws in Michigan – Visit the official website for the Michigan Legislature to read the statute addressing OWVI, OWI and OWPD laws. Access the site to learn the elements of the crime, admissible defenses, and factors that could enhance the penalties of the crime.
CDL Penalties for OWVI – Visit the official website for the Office of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to learn more about the commercial driver license holder penalties for OWVI. Access the site to learn what actions will immediately result in being placed out-of-service, what happens if you refuse OWI or DUI testing, and other related information.
Bloomfield Hills Attorney for OWVI Charges in MI
When law enforcement can’t get a good BAC reading from you to suffice an OWI, they may then claim you’re operating a vehicle while impaired visibily (OWVI). It can be incredibly frustrating and stressful to know you’ve been charged essentially with an OWI even though there was no concrete proof of your “intoxication.” You may be feeling powerless and fear conviction despite the lack of evidence. Don’t wait another moment in agony over the future and start planning your defense today with Dallo Law, P.C..
Dallo of Dallo Law, P.C. is dedicated to each and every one of his client’s cases. No client is ever put on the backburner with Dallo Law, P.C. and you can rest assured that every legal avenue of your case will be tested until you receive the best possible result. Get started on your defense now by calling Dallo Law, P.C. at (248) 283-7000 to set up your first consultation for free. Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area.