Operating While Intoxicated Can Include Using Prescription and Other Drugs
Michigan State Police Sgt. Mark Thompson discusses the consequences of driving a car while under the influences of drugs and alcohol.
Hey, how about those Tigers! A win is always a great way to start the baseball season. And like most people I’m looking forward to an interesting and successful regular season, with an extension in October. Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!
Teresa Lyden, Speech Pathologist, from the University of Michigan Hospital, Department of Otolaryngology/Speech Pathology contacted me for information regarding the operation of a motor vehicle while taking medication. She was seeking information for patients who may be issued medication for various treatments and then drive.
Everyone knows if a person drinks alcohol in excess, then makes the poor decision to drive their vehicle and is stopped by the police, that person is likely to go to jail for Operating While Impaired (OWI). This is never a good thing to do.
Lyden asks a very important question, what happens to a driver who is not under the influence of alcohol but is under the influence of drugs?
Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 257.625 answers that question clearly. MCL 257.625(1) states, in part, “A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person is operating while intoxicated. As used in this section, "operating while intoxicated" means any of the following:” (a) “The person is under the influence of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor and a controlled substance.”
If a driver of a motor vehicle is consuming some sort of legal or illegal medication, which results in a diminished ability to operate the motor vehicle they could be arrested for OWI.
Something else every driver should be aware of is contained in MCL 257.625 (2), which states, in part, “The owner of a vehicle or a person in charge or in control of a vehicle shall not authorize or knowingly permit the vehicle to be operated upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of motor vehicles, within this state by a person if any of the following apply:” a) “The person is under the influence of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor and a controlled substance.”
This means if you are the owner, or ‘person in charge’ of a motor vehicle, you could be held responsible for allowing someone to operate that vehicle if that driver is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance.
We also need to remember the operation of a motor vehicle, upon a highway or ‘other place open to the general public’ or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of motor vehicles. This means a driver could be arrested for OWI in parking lots and other places which may be not be roadways but vehicles can be operated upon.
Mrs. Lyden has requested a Trooper to attend a meeting and present information regarding the repercussions of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of alcohol, controlled substance or combination of both. Trooper Duane Zook, of the Michigan State Police – Brighton Post has been assigned to develop this presentation for a meeting, in the near future, with Mrs. Lyden, her patients and co-workers.
I must mention to the segment of drivers who think they can have a few drinks, pop a pill, inject something into there arm, or snort something up their nose and then drive because they are only “buzzed.” You are only deceiving yourselves; “buzzed driving” is Operating While Impaired.
If you have questions or comments please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police – Brighton Post, 4803 S. Old US-23, Brighton, MI 48114.