BAC of 0.17 is Super Drunk Under Michigan Law
Dennis Robert Smith, a 42-year-old deputy with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, has pled guilty to a single charge of operating motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 or more. In Michigan, this is simply called driving “super drunk”.
Smith, whose indiscretion has not cost him his job (as it has for so many other officers who are arrested for drunk driving) was not offered a plea bargain. According to the prosecutor’s office, there was no plea offer and no sentencing agreement. Smith simply chose to take responsibility for his actions. Since his arrest, Smith has been released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond. This is what has allowed him to continue in his position with the Sheriff’s office.
Smith was initially pulled over by police in Muskegon County at about 2:30 am on Friday, May 1st. He was arrested for being severely impaired, and transported to the Muskegon County Jail. He was arraigned on May 13th and initially pled not guilty to the charges against him.
According to jail records, there was initially some controversy surrounding Smith’s arrest, but not because the arrest itself was suspect. Rather, it was because after his arrest, another Deputy released Smith from jail hours before he was fully sober, which is against jail protocol, and drove him home. According to a police press release, the Muskegon County sergeant who authorized the release and drove Smith home has since been fired.
Operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 or more, under Michigan law, is a misdemeanor. Having pled guilty, Smith could be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail. Smith’s sentencing has been scheduled for September 1st, before 60th District Judge Harold F. Closz III. Without a sentencing agreement in place it remains to be seen what the judge will decide is appropriate in this case.