Drugged Driving – OWPCS and OWID

What is Drugged Driving?

Can you be charged with drugged driving by taking your prescription medication?

You could be charged with drugged driving, OWPCS – Operating With a Presence of a Controlled Substance or OWID – Operating While Intoxicated by Drugs even if you are taking a medication prescribed to you by a health professional.

Michigan law makes it illegal for any person, whether licensed or not, to operate a motor vehicle if the person has any amount of a controlled substance identified in Schedule 1 under MCL 333.7212 or a Schedule 2 controlled substance identified in MCL 333.7214.

The drugged driving law was amended in 2013.  It added the offense of operating under the influence of an “other intoxicating substance” which is defined as “any substance, preparation, or a combination of substances and preparations other than alcohol or a controlled substance”, that is either a drug or substance, other than food that is ingested for a purpose for which it is not intended, and may result in a condition of intoxication. See MCL 257.625(25)(a).

Importantly, a drugged driving charge of OWPCS does not include, as an element of the offense, any proof of being under the influence. That differentiates OWPCS from a drugged driving charged of OWID (operating while intoxicated by drugs) which requires proof of intoxication as an element of the offense.

You could face the following penalties if you are charged with a first drugged driving offense of OWPCS or OWID:

  • $100 to $500 fine and one or more of the following: Up to 93 days in jail. Up to 360 hours of community service.
  • Driver’s license suspension for 30 days, followed by license restrictions for 150 days.
  • Possible vehicle immobilization.
  • Possible ignition interlock.
  • Six points added to driving record.Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years.
Effects of Marijuana on Driving 
Effects of Marijuana on Driving


OWVI - Operating While Visibly Impaired 
OWVI – Operating While Visibly Impaired


The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, MCL 333.26421 et seq., makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Importantly, the Michigan Supreme Court in the case of People v Koon, 494 Mich 1, 832 NW2d 724 (2013) ruled that the act protects a qualifying registered patient from arrest, prosecution and conviction for medical use of marijuana.

Consequently, a qualifying patient may legally operate a motor vehicle with THC in his or her system as long as the level does not render the driver “under the influence”.

Unfortunately, the statute does not define or quantify what constitutes “under the influence” and in some cases, you can still be charged with drugged driving.

Certainly medical marijuana users should educate themselves accordingly so that they, too, can avoid being arrested for drugged driving, OWI or OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired). The following is a list of the effects of marijuana on driving that have been anecdotally linked to moderate to excessive THC levels:

  • Decreased car handling performance

  • Increased reaction times

  • Impaired time and distance estimation

  • Inability to maintain headway

  • Sleepiness

  • Decreased motor skills

  • Inability to stay focused

Although OWVI is statutorily defined as a less serious charge than OWI, a drugged driving conviction of OWVI can still result in life altering consequences.


If you’re facing a drugged driving OWPCS or OWID charge, you should immediately consult with experienced impaired OWI / DUI attorney to discuss your case. Please submit the specifics of your case on-line or call Edward Earl Duke directly at 248-409-0484.

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Drugged Driving - OWPCS & OWID
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Drugged Driving - OWPCS & OWID
You should consider hiring an experienced lawyer for your drugged driving charge. OWPCS (Operating With the Presence of a Controlled Substance) or OWID (Operating While Intoxicated by Drugs) may come with impacting consequences if you are convicted.
Duke Law Group