In an effort to further discourage drivers from drinking and driving, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed two public acts which are now referred to as Michigan’s “super drunk" law. This new law went into effect on October 31, 2010. Its main purpose was to increase the sanctions against first-time drunk drivers blowing 0.17 or higher.
How does this new law impact first-time drunk drivers with a high BAC? First off, instead of having their driving privileges suspended for just six months, they will now be suspended twelve months. Additionally, they will not be allowed to drive anywhere within the first 45 days. This is referred to as a “hard suspension." That means they cannot drive to work or school - they will instead have to find an alternate mode of transportation.
In the remaining 320 days after a hard suspension, the offender will be entitled to restricted driving privileges, but only if they install the ignition interlock device inside their vehicle. This means that people who are convicted under Michigan’s new law will be required to install an ignition interlock device at their own expense. In addition to paying for the installation of the device, the driver will also be responsible for the monthly fees that maintain it. Fees can range from about $50 a month to $100.
The device will prevent their vehicle from operating if they have any detectable alcohol in their system whatsoever. Once installed, the driver usually has to breathe into the device when first starting their vehicle, and then again, in the first 5 to 15 minutes. If the driver operates a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, the vehicle will be impounded whether or not they are the owner of the car.
The new sanctions also hit people where it hurts - in their pockets. Fines have now been raised to between $200 and $700. In addition to increased fines, the maximum jail sentence has nearly been doubled to 180 days. Whether or not people actually have an alcohol dependency, they will be required by the courts to complete a mandatory one-year alcohol treatment program. As repeat offender penalties were already harsher than first-time offenders, their penalties remain the same as before.
DUI penalties can have a large impact on every aspect of your life. When you are facing criminal and administrative consequences, you don’t want to take a chance with your future! So don’t wait – call an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.