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3 ways you could get an unexpected OWI

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Many people who face drunk driving charges knew that it was a risk when they set out. People leave the bar after having a few too many drinks, but they think they can get home safely. Perhaps they’ve done it many times in the past.

But there are also cases where people get OWI charges and they are relatively surprised. They didn’t know they were doing anything wrong, or they didn’t realize exactly how serious it was. Let’s look at a few ways that this could happen to you.

You were impaired by something else

One issue that can sometimes happen is if you’re impaired by something else, such as recreational marijuana or prescription medications. For instance, many painkillers will instruct you not to operate heavy machinery, such as a car, after taking them. Plus, even though marijuana is legal for purchase in Michigan, it is not legal to drive while you are still high. But marijuana can last in your system for far longer than alcohol, resulting in some unexpected arrests.

You were drinking yesterday

It is also possible to get charged with drunk driving when you haven’t had any alcohol that day, but you did have some the day before. People often forget that alcohol only leaves your system at a rate of 0.015% per hour. This means someone who stays up late consuming numerous drinks may assume that they are sober when they wake up, but they could still register as intoxicated on a breath test.

You are under age

Like many other states, Michigan, uses zero tolerance laws. This means that underage drivers have strict rules and can be given charges if they test positive for any amount of alcohol. The same 0.08% legal limit does not apply to them. As a result, an 18-year-old, who had one beer could suddenly find themselves facing charges that they thought they wouldn’t face until they had consumed far more alcohol.

If you have been arrested, it’s critical that you understand all the legal defense options at your disposal.