The State of Michigan recently enacted a “Super Drunk” law that boosted the penalties for persons convicted of driving with an excessive blood alcohol content (BAC). A conviction under the new legislation will compromise your driving privileges and jeopardize your present and future employment. You will also have created permanent criminal record for yourself.
The Michigan Super Drunk law applies to drivers with no prior OUI convictions within the past seven years who operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .17 or higher. Drivers with a prior conviction within seven years face enhanced penalties, even more harsh then those for a typical Super Drunk conviction.
The enhancements include 45 days of no driving and 320 days of restricted driving with an ignition interlock or breathalyzer installed on the vehicle. It also has increased fines and more jail exposure.
Even if this is your first offense, you could be subject to enhanced penalties, which is why it is important to contact a Michigan Super Drunk lawyer as soon as possible.
Super drunk is the phrase that’s used to refer to the new law that went into effect in October of 2010. That law created a new category of offender. The super drunk, according to the law, would be a driver who has a bodily alcohol content of .17 or above at the time that they are driving. It only applies to first offenders. If it is a second offender, .17, .08, whatever it may be, that is a second offense category, and that is a whole different crime and a different analysis.
As far as the super drunk is concerned, it is first offender, .17 or above. That, of course, is twice the legal limit, as the legal limit is .08. According to the science, a unit of alcohol has the capacity or the ability to raise your bodily alcohol content by approximately .025. So, it is approximately six to eight drinks of alcohol in the person’s body at the time of the driving.
If you are charged with a standard operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge, you could face up to 93 days in jail. However, the maximum jail sentence for a Super Drunk charge is doubled to 180 days. The period of license suspension is also increased. While a typical OWI can result in a 30-day suspension and 150 days of restricted driving, a Super Drunk charge means no driving for 45 days and 320 days of driving with a restricted permit. You will also be required to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed during the restricted driving period.
A Super Drunk charge can also double the amount of fines you will pay upon conviction. Instead of paying $100 to $500 in fines, you may be ordered to pay $200 to $700. You could also be ordered to receive alcohol treatment for a minimum of one year.
The Super Drunk enhancement applies only if you have no prior offenses within seven years. If you do have a prior offense within seven years, then you will probably be charged as a second offender, no matter how high (or low) your breath/blood test results. A a Michigan DUI attorney can help you navigate these differences and mitigate the consequences as much as possible.
The effects of a Super Drunk charge are far reaching. When your insurance provider discovers your conviction, you could be required to pay higher premiums. In extreme circumstances, your insurer could drop your coverage, rendering you unable to drive. Your criminal record can also be accessed by third parties, which could make things difficult when applying for employment.
The law also makes drunk driving more expensive because it is the driver’s responsibility to pay the cost of installing the BAIID as well as the monthly fees required to maintain it. While the state does not regulate the cost of ignition interlock devices, the Legislature had previously limited the amount that can be charged to people on low-incomes to a maximum of $1.00 per day.
The new law increases this minimum to $2.00 per day, and for certain low income drivers the installation fee is waived. Drivers that do not meet the low income deferment requirements must pay the BAIID vendor’s usual rates. In Michigan installation fees are around $50, and depending on the vendor, monthly fees can be as high as $100 month.
The stakes are high when facing a Super Drunk charge. Fortunately, the Michigan Super Drunk lawyers at The Barone Defense Firm have the experience and knowledge to fight your case. The prosecution will use your BAC test results as evidence of your guilt; however, your lawyer may conduct an independent investigation to determine if the results are accurate. If the test was administered incorrectly or there was a problem with the breathalyzer machine, your results may be challenged.