The High BAC Law
In Michigan, a driver is allowed to drink and drive, as long as their blood-alcohol content (BAC) is under 0.08. Once a driver consumes enough alcohol for their BAC to reach or exceed 0.08, they are considered to be above the legal limit and are vulnerable to arrest for Operating While Intoxicated, also called OWI.
However, once a driver’s BAC reaches 0.17, which is just above twice the legal limit for blood alcohol content, they are considered to be “Super Drunk.” The offense is still considered to be a misdemeanor, however the penalties are considerably more severe. In fact the penalties for being convicted of “super drunk” driving are, on average, twice that of standard drunk driving penalties.
Penalties For “Super Drunk” Driving
If you have been arrested and charged as being “super drunk” and this is your first offense, or you have no other drunk driving convictions on your driving record within the last seven years, you can expect that the judge might apply any of the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $700
- Possible jail time of up to 180 days
- Up to 360 hours of community service
- Possible license suspension or restriction for up to 1 year
- 6 points added to your license
- Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program
- Use of an ignition interlock device
- 45 days driver’s license suspension
However, if you are convicted of “super drunk” driving and you have a prior conviction on your driver’s record that occurred within the last seven years, the penalties may be even harsher than the already enhanced penalties for a regular super drunk driving conviction.
The Ignition Interlock Device
Something to bear in mind with regard to the “super drunk” penalties, is that in addition to the added inconvenience of the mandatory use of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID), there is also the financial cost.
Under Michigan’s “super drunk” law, the installation and monthly maintenance of the BAIID must be paid for by the convicted offender. The installation usually costs about $50, while the monthly fees may cost up to $100. In order for the offender to have the device removed from their vehicle, the Secretary of State must issue a removal.
The BAIID is a lot like a built-in breathalyzer test. In order for the vehicle to start, the driver must blow into it, which measures their BAC. If you have consumed enough alcohol to put your BAC above the legal limit, your car won’t start. Additionally, the device will require that you retest within a 15 minute window, in order to ensure that you didn’t simply have a sober friend blow into the device before you started the car. Drivers caught attempting to override the BAIID will face even stiffer penalties and longer license suspensions.
If you are under license restrictions, and you are intercepted by a police officer while you are driving a vehicle that is not equipped with a BAIID (even a vehicle owned by your employer – there are no exceptions) you will once again face severe penalties.
Help With “Super Drunk” Charges
Being convicted of “super drunk” driving can be expensive, restrictive, and very frustrating. But while it may seem like there is nothing anyone can do to help you, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We have many years of experience successfully defending clients against drunk driving charges, and we can help you too. If you are facing super drunk driving charges, contact us immediately. We will work with you to protect your rights and ensure that you get the best possible defense.
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