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OWPCS Charges

Operating with the Presence of a Controlled Substance (OWPCS) Charges

Under Michigan state law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if you have any trace of a controlled substance in your body. Law enforcement officers typically use blood tests to determine the presence of drugs in OWI suspects, but urine tests can also be used. Both tests are problematic if you understand the detection methods used of certain Schedule 1 drugs. Other considerations include measurement uncertainty, limits of detection, and uncertainty budgets, each or all of which might be applicable and could provide a defense. This is why it is very important to contact a Michigan DUI drug lawyer immediately

Medical Marijuana DUI

Under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, licensed medical marijuana users will not be prosecuted under the Operating with a Presence of Controlled Substance (OWPCS) statute. This means that mere presence is not enough, the prosecutor must show actual intoxication. However, a clear distinction has not yet been made to determine what constitutes "under the influence" for the purpose of enforcing the statute.

Recreational Marijuana DUI

With recreational marijuana, the distinction between mere presence and intoxication is less clear. As of the time of this writing, this issue has not been resolved definitively, but the weight of authority appears to suggest that lawfully consumed recreational marijuana is also no longer a mere presence drug. If so, then recreational marijuana is the same as medical marijuana, either way the prosecutor must prove intoxication.

Illicit Drug Detection Times

Many drugs are detectable in the body long after the intoxicating effects of the drug have passed. Marijuana, for example, typically has an intoxicating effect that lasts for a few hours at most, but marijuana metabolites can be detected in a blood or urine sample as long as 30 days after consumption. This means that, under Michigan's current OWI laws, a person who smoked a small amount of marijuana a month ago could still be convicted of driving under the influence.

Other Types of Controlled Substance DUIs

For other schedule one drugs, such as heroin, LSD, and mescaline, we still have zero tolerance, meaning the prosecutor need only show that you drove with any amount of these drugs in your system. Intoxication is not relevant. You can be charged and found guilty of DUI based on presence of a controlled substance even if the substance caused no intoxication whatsoever.

Penalties for OWPCS

The penalties for a first-time OWPCS conviction are essentially the same as the penalties for a first OWI offense. The penalties include:

  • A fine between $100 and $500
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of mandatory community service
  • Suspension of driver's license for 30 days plus 150 days of license restriction
  • Six points assessed on driving record
  • $500 Driver Responsibility fee for two years
  • What to do Next if You're Facing a Michigan OWPCS Charge

The crime of OWPCS carries with it the exact same consequences as the more traditional DUI charge involving alcohol. Because these crimes are treated so seriously in Michigan, it is important for you to protect your rights and your future by hiring the best lawyer can afford. We offer free consultations with no risk or obligation.

Client Reviews
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Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
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Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
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The Barone Defense Firm is the firm I recommend. They are truly concerned about the person, not just the legal issue, but the person as well. They are the most knowledgeable defense firm that I am aware of, having actually written the book on DWI Defense. If you are faced with a DWI you will not find a more professional and skilled law firm. But, most importantly, they care about how the accused individual recovers his or her life when the case is complete. Very remarkable group of lawyers. William H.