Urine Tests and OWID

Urine tests are not typically used in Michigan but rarely may be for for suspected Operating While Under the Influence of Drugs (OWID) cases. Urine tests are most common when the officer suspects you are under the influence of drugs such as prescription medications, cannabis, narcotics, etc.

The difference between DUI alcohol and DUI drugs is that DUI drugs do not have a specific per se law. There is no magic number for the state to hang their hat on like suspected alcohol cases. Michigan says it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater for DUI. There is no specific impairment or under the influence level for drugs.

Although, Michigan law makes it unlawful for a driver to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of a schedule one drug, like marijuana, in their system. Many other drugs are not schedule one drugs and in those cases, the state must prove actual drug impairment or intoxication.

The indicators for alcohol intoxication are much different than those of drug intoxication, which often poses a problem. The officer making the arrest is often not qualified and/or not trained to identify drug impairment. If this is the case, the defense has the power to stop the officer from testifying. However, an increasing number of cases are calling another officer who has this skill to examine the individual in question. Also known as a drug recognition expert, or DRE, this officer is trained specifically to identify the symptoms of numerous drugs. A qualified DRE can testify with the symptoms of the drugs, and the resulting impairments.

An important fact to note: the issue is not the drug in use, but the impairment it may cause on the driver. OWID cases do not always involve dangerous, illegal drugs or narcotics. The drugs used by the suspect could be over-the-counter products (Nyquil or Benadryl, for example) or legally prescribed medicines. The attention is on the driver’s mental stability and physical capabilities to safely operate a motor vehicle. Oftentimes you will want to have your urine re-tested at an independent certified laboratory of your choice to determine the amounts of active drugs in your urine, as the State oftentimes only tests for the drugs’ presence and not the active amount.

The prosecution must prove that you were impaired or under the influence of drugs.

Because of the evidentiary and scientific principles surrounding urine tests it is critical that you consult with and hire a Michigan DUI attorney who has experience handling and defending DUI drug cases.

Barton Morris has received training in DRE cases and is very skilled in defending these charges.