Monday, October 14, 2013

Drunk Driving law and Penalties - Michigan: What should I expect?


If you're thinking about going out for a night of drinking, and then getting behind the wheel, here are some things to consider.

Michigan law regards any BAC (blood alcohol content) above .08 percent as "impaired" driving, for a driver who is over age 21. Of drivers under age 21, any BAC at .02 percent or above is considered impaired (also known as "zero tolerance" of impaired driving for underage drivers). Also, it's illegal to drive under the influence of any amount of cocaine or a Schedule 1 controlled substance in your body. (For more information about Schedule 1 drugs, see section 7212 of the Michigan Public Health Code; MCL 333.7212.)

If you're impaired (between .08 - .16 percent BAC) and this is a first offense**, fines and penalties will be:
  • Up to $500 fine
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to 180 days license suspension
  • 6 points on a driver's license. 
  • There's also the possibility you'll be required to use an ignition interlock device.
  • A reinstatement fee of $125 if your driver's license was suspended, revoked, or restricted. (More information at MSP and Michigan SOS).
  • This doesn't include lost time at work, lost wages from attending court, meetings with your attorney, time spent doing all the required community service, paying your attorney, and so on.  

Michigan has changed its law recently to include a higher BAC  with a higher penalty, also known as the "Super Drunk" law. If your BAC was .17 or higher,and this was a first offense, penalties are:
  • Up to $700 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to one year license suspension
  • 6 points on a driver's license
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program
  • Ignition interlock use and compliance after 45 days license suspension is required to receive a restricted driver's license. Convicted drunk drivers have limited driving privileges, are prohibited from operating a vehicle without an approved and properly installed ignition interlock device, and are responsible for all installation and upkeep costs for the device.
  • A reinstatement fee of $125 if your driver's license was suspended, revoked, or restricted. (More information at MSP and Michigan SOS
Michigan "ratchets up" fines and penalties when it's a second or third offense, with a third offense being a felony. And penalties go up if there's a death or serious injury. Also, refusing to take a chemical test to test your BAC results in a license suspension. But if you're still in the car, and not arrested yet, the PBT (preliminary breath test) and other roadside sobriety tests can be refused. Related article from my blog here. 

If you already have gotten arrested for drunk driving, it's essential that you hire an attorney who can defend you in court. A good defense attorney can perhaps get results of your BAC test thrown out, suppress incriminating statements you may have made, or perhaps throw out the traffic stop altogether. 

Want to calculate your potential BAC? Try this website.  Keep in mind that what you ate, how long ago it was, how close together your drinks were, how much you weigh, and how often you drink are all factors that can affect your BAC.

** And there are no fatalities or serious bodily injury. Different fines apply for drivers with a CDL endorsement as well.  

No comments:

Post a Comment