Operating a Motor Vehicle While Visibly Impaired Causing Serious Impairment of Body Function

The tough and experienced lawyers at Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC, work hard to protect those charged with Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) from jail time, hefty fines, driver’s license sanctions, and more.

Those arrested for or under police investigation for OWVI or other DUI/OWI offenses will need experienced legal representation to obtain the best possible case outcome.

OWVI is a distinctive drunk driving charge because it requires that a person’s ability to operate the vehicle is visibly impaired due to consuming alcohol or controlled substances. This drunk driving charge is not based on the amount of alcohol but on the impact the alcohol has on the driving. For instance, a police officer might pull an individual over for swerving in the lane, or running over a curb or not stopping at a traffic signal. Sometimes, during a traffic stop open intoxicants like beer or whisky are spotted inside the vehicle or the odor of intoxicants or marijuana is detected. The officer typically conducts field sobriety tests, preliminary breath test (PBT), or even attempts to obtain a blood test. None of these tests are required for this criminal charge, but they can be used to gather evidence of “visible impairment”.

Our lawyers work hard to challenge any faulty Breathalyzer results, flawed testing procedures demonstrating blood alcohol content (BAC), or other violations of your rights. By doing this we are sometimes able to restrict the evidence that can be presented in court.

What criminal penalties do I face with an OWVI charge that resulted in serious impairment of body function?

In the first place, if you were in a motor vehicle and the police were able to give you a breath test or take a blood sample, you are more likely to be prosecuted based on the chemical test. If an individual has an alcohol content of 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine, or is under the influence of a controlled substance, then he or she may face Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charges. However, even in an OWVI case, a person operating a motor vehicle that causes a serious impairment of a body function of another may be charged with a felony with a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, a fine from $1,000.00 or more than $5,000.00, or both. In addition, the judgment of sentence may result in immobilization or forfeiture of the vehicle.

Also, OWI/OWVI penalties vary according to the number of previous offenses and other sanctions through the Secretary of State may apply as well, including driver’s license points, driver’s responsibility fees, and more.

What is the legal definition of a serious impairment of body function?

In Michigan, serious impairment of body function is defined as any of the following criteria.

  • The loss of a limb or its use;
  • The loss of a hand, foot, finger, or the usage of any of these;
  • The loss of an ear or eye or use of either;
  • The loss or substantial impairment of a bodily function;
  • A serious visible disfigurement of the body;
  • A comatose state for 3 days or longer;
  • A brain or mental impairment that can be measured;
  • A skull fracture or other severe bone fracture;
  • A subdural hemorrhage or hematoma; or
  • An organ loss.

For Aggressive, Comprehensive DUI Defense

Drinking and driving is never a good idea and should be avoided at all costs. For those who find themselves charged with a drug or alcohol related driving charge, choosing the right attorney is critical. The trial lawyers at Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC, have nearly 100 years of combined drunk driving defense experience, winning many acquittals, reduced charges and even dismissals for our clients over the years. Feel free to contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation at 1-(866)-7-No-Jail!