There are many ways you could get an OWI charge against you. While the easiest explanation is you get the charge for driving while under the influence of alcohol, there is often much more to the charge.
The Office of Secretary of State explains an OWI could occur due to substances other than alcohol because the law covers all substances that intoxicate or impair your ability to drive safely.
If you take anything, including illegal or legal drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications, and it makes you unable to function normally, then it is intoxicating. For example, cold medicine you can get over the counter often causes drowsiness. If you use it and then drive, you could face an OWI charge if an officer sees you swerving or otherwise driving unsafe and tests you to find the substance in your system.
Your OWI charge may become more serious if you are under the legal age to consume alcohol. Under the age of 21, the legal blood alcohol limit is .02%, which means you cannot drink anything before driving. You may face enhanced penalties for driving under the influence if you are under the age of 21.
Your OWI charge may be under various names, such as operating while visibly impaired, which means officers could see you were not clear-headed and were under the influence of something.
Any OWI charge is serious. The courts take a hard stance when it comes to driving under the influence. It is important to your safety and the safety of others to never get behind the wheel after using a substance that can alter your abilities to drive.