Elements of the Crime: Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)


Below are the jury instructions for Operating While Intoxicated, more commonly referred to as "drunk driving," "driving under the influence," or "DUI". Jury instructions show the elements of the charges and what the prosecutor has to prove to a jury in order to convict a person of the offense.

For all jury instructions, see the following link:

http://courts.mi.gov/Courts/MichiganSupremeCourt/criminal-jury-instructions/Documents/MCrimJI.pdf

M Crim JI 15.3 Specific Elements of Operating While Intoxicated [OWI]

(1) To prove that the defendant operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the prosecutor must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant [choose from the following]:

(a) operated the vehicle with a bodily alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more [per 100 milliliters of blood / 210 liters of breath / 67 milliliters of urine];

(b) was under the influence of alcohol while operating the vehicle;

(c) was under the influence of a controlled substance while operating the vehicle;

(d) was under the influence of an intoxicating substance while operating the vehicle;

(e) was under the influence of a combination of [alcohol / a controlled substance / an intoxicating substance] while operating the vehicle. [Choose from the following alternatives:]

(2) “Under the influence of alcohol” means that because of drinking alcohol, the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in a normal manner was substantially lessened. To be under the influence, a person does not have to be what is called “dead drunk,” that is, falling down or hardly able to stand up. On the other hand, just because a person has drunk alcohol or smells of alcohol does not prove, by itself, that the person is under the influence of alcohol. The test is whether, because of drinking alcohol, the defendant’s mental or physical condition was significantly affected and the defendant was no longer able to operate a vehicle in a normal manner.

(3) “Under the influence of a controlled substance” means that because of using or consuming a controlled substance, the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in a normal manner was substantially lessened. To be under the influence, a person does not have to be falling down or hardly able to stand up. On the other hand, just because a person has consumed or used a controlled substance does not prove, by itself, that the person is under the influence of a controlled substance. The test is whether, because of the use or consumption of a controlled substance, the defendant’s mental or physical condition was significantly affected and the defendant was no longer able to operate a vehicle in a normal manner. [Name substance] is a controlled substance.

(4) “Under the influence of an intoxicating substance” means that because of consuming or taking into [his / her] body an intoxicating substance, the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in a normal manner was substantially lessened. To be under the influence, a person does not have to be falling down or hardly able to stand up. On the other hand, just because a person has consumed or used an intoxicating substance Michigan Model Criminal Jury Instructions Traffic Offenses Chapter 15 328 does not prove, by itself, that the person is under the influence of an intoxicating substance. The test is whether, because of consuming or taking into [his / her] body an intoxicating substance, the defendant’s mental or physical condition was significantly affected and the defendant was no longer able to operate a vehicle in a normal manner.

[Choose (a) or (b) as appropriate:]

(a) [Name substance] is an intoxicating substance.

(b) An intoxicating substance is a substance in any form, including but not limited to vapors and fumes, other than food, that was taken into the defendant’s body in any manner, that is used in a manner or for a purpose for which it was not intended, and that may result in a condition of intoxication.

Use Note 1

If the defendant is charged with OWI by virtue of bodily alcohol content only, use the appropriate bracketed material in this paragraph (1)(a) and do not use any of the following paragraphs (1)(b) through (4). If the defendant is charged with OWI by virtue of operating under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or an intoxicating substance only, do not use this paragraph (1)(a), but use the appropriate alternative paragraphs (1)(b)-(e) with the associated paragraph (2), (3) or (4). If the defendant is charged with OWI alternatively as having an unlawful bodily alcohol content or operating under the influence of alcohol or a substance, use the appropriate paragraphs based on the evidence presented. 2 Select the appropriate combination of alcohol or substances based on the evidence presented.

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