Operating with Presence of Drugs (OWPD)

Operating with Presence of Drugs (OWPD)

OWPD (Operating with Presence of Drugs) / Drugged Driving is operating a motor vehicle with any amount of a controlled substance in the body. No specific amount is required, and the drugs need not affect one’s driving.

The first Operating With Presence of Drugs offense is a misdemeanor punishable by one or more of the following:

  • up to 93 days in jail
  • a fine of $100 to $500
  • community service of up to 360 hours

The Secretary of State will suspend the operator’s license for 180 days and a restricted license is available only after 30 days. Six points will be assessed against the driver’s record.

This statue is distinct from the Operating While Intoxicated and Operating While Visibly Impaired Statutes in that there does not have to be a showing of any specific amount of a controlled substance in your body or that the controlled substance impaired or substantially diminished your ability to operate a motor vehicle.

The only showing is that an individual was operating with a schedule 1 or schedule 2 substance in their body. This statute has come under attack mostly because of the Michigan Vehicle Code Zero Tolerance provision for any amount of a controlled substance in an operator’s system. This seems to be inconsistent with OWI’s provision of Under the Influence or .08, and inconsistent with the requirement of showing the OWVI’s requirement that an operator has less ability than would an ordinary careful driver. Under the Operating with any amount of Schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance in your system, there is no showing of bad driving or that your ability to operate the vehicle is lessened in any manner. All the Prosecutor needs is a valid lab result with the drug showing up in your system.

However in People v. Koon, a 2013 Michigan Supreme Court case, the court held that the Michigan Vehicle Code’s Zero Tolerance Provision for any amount of controlled substance in a driver’s system is inconsistent with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and does not apply to the medical use of marijuana. The MMMA protections will not apply, however, if the defendant is shown to have driven under the influence of marijuana, specifically that the marijuana affected their ability to operate the vehicle.

Kalamazoo Attorneys Representing Clients Facing Drug Charges

The attorneys at Hills at Law, P.C., provide criminal defense representation throughout Kalamazoo, Berrien, and Southwest Michigan. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys possess the tools necessary for building effective criminal defense strategies. We maintain the steadfast commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.


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