owi vs. dui: What’s the Difference Between An OWI and a DUI? Across the United States, a driving under the influence (DUI) charge is the crime of driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or under the influence of alcohol. However, you may have noticed that in Michigan, this is known as a operating/driving while intoxicated (OWI) charge.
Is the name change simply a matter of semantics? Or is there more to it?
OWI vs. DUI
Simply put, the term DUI and OWI are both acronyms that are used interchangeably to describe driving/operating while intoxicated.
While states use one acronym over the other, both define the same crime: no matter what state you’re in, you cannot operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. In fact, Utah’s legal limit is even lower at .05%!
States with OWI charges
Along with Michigan, OWI charges are listed in many other states’ statutes. This includes:
Keep in mind that consequences vary state-by-state for first, second and third time offenders.
What does it mean when you’re charged with an OWI in Michigan?
According to Michigan law, an OWI criminal charge happens when an impaired person under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts the vehicle in a position posing a significant risk of causing a collision (i.e. if the engine is on and if the vehicle is in gear). Usually this involves driving your car on the road, but you can also get a drunk driving charge simply by sitting in your parked car!
While the usage of owi vs. dui differ by each state, the seriousness of these drunk driving offenses remains the same. By hiring a dedicated and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, your chances of license suspension and jail time decrease and your chances of returning to a normal life post-arrest significantly increase.
Sydney Fairman is the Social Media Marketing Specialist for the Law Offices of Barton Morris and Cannabis Legal Group. While at Central Michigan University, Sydney was an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and held various internships, leadership and part-time positions. These places of employment include the City of Mt. Pleasant, Grand Central Magazine, Mackinac State Historic Parks and WCMU Public Media (PBS). She graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelors Degree in Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations and minor in Journalism. Sydney comes to us after her first position post-college with Gale, a Cengage Company as a Marketing Associate. She possesses a passion for writing, marketing and graphic design and showcases this on the Law Offices of Barton Morris’ website/social media channels, as well as Cannabis Legal Group’s website/social media channels.