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What penalties could I face if accused of driving while on drugs?


This blog dedicates a significant amount of time talking about drunk driving. While these are certainly very serious charges that can have long-lasting consequences, such charges do not always have to involve alcohol. In fact, if you are pulled over and thought to be under the influence of drugs, then you, too, could face harsh penalties. Since such punishments can have a devastating impact on your future, it is critical that you educate yourself about the law and, when facing such charges, find a legal professional you can help you defend yourself.

Under Michigan law, it is a crime for you to operate a motor vehicle with any trace amount of a Schedule 1 narcotic or cocaine in your system. You don't even have to be impaired. Law enforcement may be able to draw your blood and test it for drugs. If the results come back positive, then you could be hit with an Operating With any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD) charge. Additionally, if you are under the influence of any drug and it impairs your ability to drive, then you could be facing an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge, which will carry similar penalties upon conviction.

The penalties associated with these crimes can be steep. For a first offense, you could face up to $500 in fines and up to 93 days in jail. If you are not sent to jail upon conviction, then you may have to serve up to 360 hours of community service. You might also have your license suspended for 30 days and be subjected to additional fines.

These consequences, together with the creation of a new or deeper criminal record, can wreak havoc on your personal and professional lives. Therefore, if you face an OWI or OWPD, you may want to consider speaking with an experienced Michigan defense attorney.

Source: Michigan Secretary of State, "Substance Abuse and Driving," accessed on July 3, 2015

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