Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI)

Under Michigan law, you do not necessarily need to be charged with an OWI to be charged with a drunk driving offense. even if you’re blood alcohol content is less than 0.08, you can be still prosecuted for “operating while impaired.” While the “legal limit” is usually measured by Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), this offense simply requires “less ability than would an ordinary careful driver.” The law also says that your ability to drive “must have been lessened to the point that it would have been noticed by another person.” This charge does not require blood test or breathalyzer test evidence, and convictions can be based on questionable evidence from field sobriety tests, common traffic violations, and more.

What is the Difference Between OWI and OWVI?

The primary difference between an OWI and OWVI is whether your BAC is above .08%, or above the legal limit. If you have a BAC above 0.08% and operate a motor vehicle, you could face charges of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), commonly referred to as DUI. In contrast, OWVI charges do not require BAC threshold, but instead rely upon the observations by a police officer who determines you appear to be impaired. You may think that because you are below the legal limit, you are immune to prosecution, however, this is a grave and common mistake. It is critical to contact ZAYID LAW who can advise you on the ramifications of driving with the presence of alcohol, but below the legal limit. Understanding the potential consequences of both OWI and OWVI is necessary to fight the charges brought against you and to reach the best possible outcome.

First Offense: Misdemeanor


  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Fines up to $300
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • A restricted driving license for 90 days (work or other essential tasks)
  • 4 points on your driver’s license

Second Offense: Misdemeanor


  • A fine of between $200 and $1,000
  • Jail sentence of between 5 days and 365 days, 30 to 90 days of community service, or both.
  • Driver’s license can be revoked for a year or more
  • Vehicle could be immobilized or forfeited
  • 4 points could be added to your driver’s license
  • Driver responsibility fees.

Third Offense: Felony


  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Prison (1 to 5 years) or probation combined with a jail sentence of between 30 days to a year.
  • Community service for up to 180 days
  • Driver’s license revocation
  • Vehicle immobilization or forfeiture
  • 4 points on your driver’s license
  • Driver responsibility fees

ZAYID LAW understands the severity of these punishments and stands ready to protect your interests on day one. Contact ZAYID LAW today to work on your case and fight for the best possible outcome.

How Does ZAYID LAW Defend OWVI Charges

ZAYID LAW understands that just because you weren’t charged with an OWI, you can still be charged with OWVI, which comes with varying degrees of penalties. If you beat charges of Operating While Intoxicated, you can still be charged with Operating While Visibly Impaired, and could face jail, fines, driver’s license suspension, and more. You will require a skilled lawyer to protect you and fight to keep you on the road throughout every step of your case, and our lawyers have the experience needed to achieve outstanding results in even the most difficult DUI cases.