Michigan's New "Super Drunk" Laws

In January 2009, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed two new acts that have come to be known as Michigan's "super drunk" law.

The laws strengthen the state's drunk driving laws by amending several sections of the Michigan Vehicle Code. The first amendment to the vehicle states that any driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .17 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or per 67 milliliters of urine will be subjected to enhanced punitive and license sanctions. Some of these sanctions include increasing the fine to somewhere between $200 and $700 and increasing potential jail time to somewhere between 93 and 180 days. This new law only applies to first-time DUI offenders.The law does not apply to repeat offenders because it is believed the penalties for a second, third, or subsequent DUI are worse than the sanctions imposed under this new law.

Under the new laws, the offender will also be required to undergo 1 year of alcohol rehabilitation, such as an alcohol treatment program or a self-help program, unless it was a traditional first-time DUI offense (meaning the driver's BAC was less than .17). The requirement to attend a year-long rehabilitation program is a significant change to the vehicle code. Under current Michigan laws, alcohol rehabilitation is not a penalty requirement for any DUI conviction, even if the defendant has been convicted of drunk driving multiple times. Even those drivers found guilty of felony DUI are not required to complete such extensive rehabilitation.

In addition to these penalties, the Secretary of State will also suspend the license of any driver convicted of a "high-BAC drunk driving offense" for year. The first 45 days of that period is a "hard suspension," meaning the driver cannot drive at all. After 45 days, the driver may be able to regain some limited driving privileges, but only if the driver consents to having an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle (they also have to pay to have the device installed, as well as pay the monthly payments to maintain it). If the driver attempts to operate their vehicle with a BAC of .0025 or more, they will face double penalties. Furthermore, if someone ordered to install a device in their vehicle fails to have the device installed, the amendment calls for that person's vehicle to be impounded if they are pulled over.

Michigan's current drunk driving laws give judges the authority to decide which offenders will be ordered to install an ignition interlock device as part of their probation.

The laws are scheduled to go into effect on October 31, 2010.

Contact the Law Offices of Freedman & Freedman if you have recently been arrest for OUI in Wayne or Oakland County, and are now searching for an experienced and aggressive Michigan DUI attorney to defend you against your charges.