Law Blog

Operating While Intoxicated vs Operating While Impaired

As the weather warms up and people start having BBQ’s, graduation parties, and weddings, that means one thing…that police will be on the look out for lots of potential drunk drivers.  This time of year always sees an increase in the number of Operating While Intoxicated and Operating While Visually Impaired cases here at Nessel and Kessel Law.  For that reason, let’s brush up on the differences between the charge of OWI and OWVI.

OWI – First, is a misdemeanor offence which carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, as well as possible community service.  Just as important, a conviction for your first drunk driving (OWI) means an immediate 30 day suspension of your license followed by another 150 days having a restricted license.  You will also get 6 points on your driving record, meaning your insurance premium will increase significantly. 

OWVI – First, while being a serious offense involving heavy ramifications, is a lesser offence.  While it is still a misdemeanor and carries with it the maximum of 93 days in jail, the fine is only $300.  Further, an Operating While Impaired will only earn 4 points on your driver’s license.  Perhaps most important, a conviction does not carry with it any suspension of your license.  However, you will have 90 days on a restricted license.

For a more in depth conversation on drunk driving offenses in Michigan, click here.   

Anyone that’s charged with a drunk driving offense needs an attorney, preferably one of Michigan’s top criminal defense attorneys.  If you or a friend or family member has been charged with a drinking and driving offense contact Nessel and Kessel Law today.   


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