OWI Meaning: Are DUI Michigan & OWI Michigan the Same?

What’s the Difference Between DUI and OWI? Both DUI and OWI are acronyms for drunk driving.

DWI is another acronym that was once commonly used, and this abbreviation means driving while Intoxicated (in TX) but means driving while impaired (in NC).

In Michigan, the most appropriate legal acronym is “OWI.” But “DUI” is still used as a more general reference to drunk driving, due to this ubiquitous abbreviation being the best-known and most widely used acronym in the United States.

closer at the OWI meaning. “DUI” means Driving Under the Influence whereas O.W.I. means “operating while intoxicated” in the Great Lakes State. This article dives deeper into any legal distinctions between the acronyms and why the abbreviations and the impaired driving meaning in various states are needlessly confusing.

What’s an OWI? Michigan OWI attorneys (including our law firm) build their websites to include both acronyms. As you peruse sites built by Michigan OWI lawyers near me, terms such as “DUI lawyer,” DWI lawyer,” or “DUI attorney” may be interspersed in the web articles.

Is There Any Difference Between OWI and DUI?

The Michigan acronym (OWI) is also used in Wisconsin, Indiana, and other states. Other states opted to used OVI (Ohio), DUII (Oregon), DWUI (Wyoming), OUI (Maine and two other states), yet the same general crime that lawyers learn about in law school is being described in a shorthand manner.

In 1999, Michigan DUI laws were changed to broaden to types of behavior the operator of a vehicle could engage in, and still be “legally” operating a vehicle in Michigan. That year, the state legislature in Michigan changed the wording of our laws on DUI charges, as well as the use of the acronyms used for drunk driving from OUIL and UBAL to OWI. This was done so that one term, OWI, could be used to denote both legal theories available to the prosecutor.

Now, OWI can be proved when a prosecutor shows, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person behind the wheel was either operating under the influence of liquor (OUIL) or was operating while having an unlawful bodily alcohol level (UBAL).

Decades ago, Michigan legislators thought that these terms were not comprehensive enough, since a person can be OWI in Michigan without the vehicle being observed being driven. So, operating a vehicle while under the influence is criminalized in the State of Michigan. In the next section, our litigation professionals will explore “what is OWI charge” and related information about the impaired driving meaning in Michigan.

For criminal defense attorneys, this criminal law practice area is very active, since citizens from all walks of life are arrested for these driving impaired offenses. Job issues, being able to drive, or even an unrelated child custody battle may be affected by the outcome of these MI OWI cases.

OWI Michigan lawyer Patrick Barone warns that your driver's license can be suspended after a drunk driving arrest. It is clled an administrative license suspension.

WARNING! MICHIGAN TIME LIMIT OF 14 DAYS AFTER ARREST – If you refused to take a post-arrest breath, blood, or urine test after being arrested for Operating Under the Influence [OWI or OWVI], or another alcohol-related charge in Michigan, your driver’s license may be at risk of being suspended. Failure to take appropriate action to make a written demand for an administrative hearing, and do that within 14 days after your arrest, you may suffer a very disruptive license suspension. Contact us NOW for more information about saving your driver’s license before it is too late.

Once the person charged with OWI in MI learns about the impact on multiple aspects of their life and their employment, and that jail time is possible, many citizens then call our Birmingham, Michigan office for legal help.

What does DUI mean? Driving under the influence (or DUI) is the most widely used abbreviation for intoxicated driving. That abbreviation and DWI are both well-known abbreviations by the public because these two acronyms were the first acronyms to develop nationally, as a short-cut means of describing the crime of drunk driving. At Barone Defense Firm, within our law office, our attorneys near me use either acronym interchangeably.

In the State of Michigan, What Is OWI?

Prior to the change from DUI to OWI, a possible defense to a drunk driving charge would be that you were not driving. Thus, if you were in a parked car, asleep, stopped in an intersection, or otherwise not actually moving, your DUI case might be dismissed.

This defense is generally not available in Michigan any longer because the term operation is broader and more inclusive. If you are in physical control of a motor vehicle, boat or other watercraft (e.g., jet ski), and have an illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 grams percent, that person can be charged with a Michigan OWI.

If you have been arrested in Michigan for drunk driving, then the ticket you received will indicate “OWI.” All of this is set forth in Michigan’s drunk driving laws, which can be found at Michigan Compiled Laws 257.625, et. seq.

However, in Michigan, there were still presumptions in 1999, and the legal limit was 0.10 grams percent. So, if you were above a 0.07 but below a 0.10 you were presumed to be impaired by alcohol, whereas if you were a 0.10 or above you were presumed to be intoxicated. Also, if you were below a 0.07 you were presumed not to be in violation of the law because you were neither impaired nor intoxicated.

Michigan’s law changed again in 2003 when the legal limit was lowered to 0.08. Along with this change, the presumptions were also removed. This meant you could (and still can) be convicted of drunk driving in Michigan even if your breath test is below a 0.07. However, for a prosecutor to prove this theory, it must be shown that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was substantially lessened due to the consumption of alcohol.

One final thing. OWI can be proven if the intoxication is caused by a drug other than alcohol. So if you take Xanax or Ambien, and the use of this drug has caused your ability to drive to be lessened substantially, then you can be found guilty of OWI in Michigan.

Call Today! FREE Consultation Lawyer and Receive Immediate Attention for Your MI OWI Law Case

Michigan DUI lawyer Patrick Barone has been a Super Lawyer for years, which means he is one of the best OUI attorneys in the State.

Contact us 24 hours a day at our law firm’s easy-to-remember toll-free number, 1-877-ALL-MICH or 877-255-6424, for a free criminal case review. The Michigan attorneys near me at Barone Defense Firm travel the entire Great Lakes State, to help citizens in legal trouble in Michigan for alleged criminal law violations.

For your FREE lawyer consultation, call today to learn how to protect yourself from a possible unwarranted OWI conviction. What do you have to lose, when the free legal advice with our litigation team’s criminal lawyers near me can answer many tough questions?

DISCLAIMER: Submitting a contact form, text message or voicemail does not create a contract of employment of an attorney with our office. Since the contact form sends information by non-encrypted email protocol, this possibly is not secure from some monitoring agencies.

Plus, submitting a contact form, sending a text message, making a phone call, or leaving a voicemail does not create an attorney-client relationship. Our law office provides a confidential initial, free consultation to review the known facts and circumstances surrounding your police encounter and arrest and can provide you with free initial information about protecting your right to drive. However, until and unless you retain our legal firm’s professional services and pay the required retainer, no attorney-client representation in your court proceedings will exist.

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