In 2010 the State of Michigan passed the so called "super drunk" law which imposes higher penalties for persons arrested having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .17 or higher. Under the state-imposed "super drunk" law, first-time offenders face a higher potential maximum jail sentence, have their license suspended for one (1) full year (with the possibility of obtaining a restricted license dependent upon the installation of an "ignition interlock" device), pay higher fines and are required to participate in a one-year alcohol treatment program.
As criminal defense attorneys, we expected to see a number of our clients charged under the newer super drunk statute. However, absent compelling circumstances, such as an injury accident, the vast majority of our clients continue to be charged under the original drunk driving statute despite their elevated blood alcohol content. The reason for this appears to be relatively simple yet economically driven. By charging drivers under the newer "super drunk" statute, the local municipality incurs a significant loss of revenue as the newer charges must be filed through the state, prosecuted by state prosecutors and the resultant higher fines are ultimately paid to the state as well. To circumvent this revenue loss, drivers otherwise eligible for prosecution under the state "super drunk" statute are instead prosecuted under the original statute, prosecuted by city attorneys and the fines generated by the case are paid to the local municipalities rather than the state. Those with a blood alcohol content of at least .17 were also not hit with the enhanced penalties called for by the "super drunk" statute.
To address this issue, the state legislature decided in 2012 to allow municipalities pursue "super drunk" drivers at the local level provided the city has its own "super drunk" ordinance. In response, a number of municipalities began passing ordinances allowing them to seek enhanced penalties against those convicted of being "super drunk" while allowing them to retain the enhanced fines. Among those municipalities is the City of Farmington which proposed its own "super drunk" ordinance at a recent October 7th city council meeting. At the October 21st city council meeting, the ordinance was unanimously adopted and went into effect on October 27, 2013. We expect that drivers arrested in the City of Farmington having a BAC of at least .17 will now be charged under the local "super drunk" ordinance. For more details, go to http://www.ci.farmington.mi.us/Reference/Documents/OrdinanceC-773-2013-SuperDrunkTrafficandMotorVehicles.pdf
If you or someone you know has been arrested for drunk driving, the Law Offices of Freedman & Freedman will work diligently to guide you through the legal process and will aggressively defend you against any drinking and driving charges, "super drunk" or not. Call us today at 1-877-TKT-LAWS.