Allegedly Driving “Super Drunk” in Clinton County
John Kivela, the 46-year-old Michigan State Representative who was arrested for drunk driving in early November, will be facing “super drunk” charges. At the time of his arrest, no information was released regarding his BAC reading, so this news comes as a bit of a surprise.
Court records show that Kivela was arrested while driving to Lansing, late in the evening of November 9th. According to the police report that documents the incident, he was was allegedly speeding and swerving on US-127, doing 80 mph in a 70 zone.
The arresting officer, a deputy with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, said that when he pulled Kivela over, there was an open bottle of whiskey in the vehicle with him. He also seemed confused about how he had come to be there, but was certain of where he was going.
A statement was released on Kivela’s behalf, the day after his arrest, by Grassroots Midwest. The statement admitted that Kivela had been arrested for operating while intoxicated, and contained a formal apology. The apology was aimed at his wife and family, but also included his constituents and supporters.
Also in the initial statement was information about the fact that Kivela suffers from alcoholism. With regards to his issues with alcohol abuse, Kivela said the following, “I have battled with alcoholism for most of my adult life. My dependence on alcohol has become a problem, and I plan to seek treatment immediately.”
A second statement has since been released by Joshua Pugh, Kivela’s spokesperson. Pugh claims that since his release from the Clinton County Jail, Kivela has entered treatment. He describes the lawmaker’s approach as “focused on getting better, not looking back.”
Super drunk, by definition, means that a drunk driver’s BAC is 0.17 or higher. In effect, twice the legal limit for drunk driving in Michigan. And because the BAC is two times the limit or more, the penalties tend to reflect that fact.
A super drunk charge is usually punished by up to 180 days in jail, as opposed to the usual 90 for a standard DUI charge. In addition, the fines are higher, at $700, and the community service requirements, at 360 hours, are often doubled. There is also the potential loss of one’s license, required completion of an alcohol abuse program, and the required installation of an ignition interlock device.