What are the Clues Police Use to Pull You Over For OWI?

The police must have reasonable suspicion that some type of traffic violation or crime has occurred in order to pull you over. The police are trained to look for several “clues” of drunk driving, including:

  1. problems maintaining proper lane position (swerving);
  2. speeding and braking issues;
  3. attention issues (e.g. delayed response to traffic signals);
  4. judgment mistakes (e.g. running red light, risky lane switching).

If the police notice any of these issues, they may pull you over and begin their investigation to determine if you are driving drunk. I know the common mistakes (and assumptions) police make in improperly pulling you over and will attack every step of the investigation.

What does the prosecutor have to actually prove to convict an accused of the crime of OWI?

Under Michigan law, the prosecutor must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt to prove you are guilty of an OWI.

  1. You actually operated a motor vehicle.
  2. You operated the motor vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles.
  3. You operated the motor vehicle under the influence of alcoholic liquor (or other intoxicating substance) with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater.

What is the difference between a DUI and OWI?

Driving Under the Influence (or DUI) is the commonly understood term for drunk driving. However, under Michigan law, it is called “Operating While Intoxicated” or OWI. The terms are used interchangeably, and it is important to understand the legal limit (.08 BAC) and the consequences of going over the limit in the context of being charged with an OWI.